I occasionally receive review copies of new gardening books on the market. Recently I was sent a copy of one that touched me as a gardener and a Christian. Zondervan Publications has just put out the NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, with commentary and reading suggestions by Shelly Cramm. In this gardening edition Shelly invites the reader to:“…putter together [with the author] for 52 weeks, gathering information and insight from the Bible’s plants, landscapes, and common cultivating practices into gentle, prayerful daily musings on God’s Word. A hybrid of study Bible and devotional Bible, with an understory planting of quotations from garden writing classics, [this book] will connect you to all that God intended in our working the land and taking care of it.”
Devotional materials are sprinkled throughout the books of the Bible and linked together into Garden Tours, Garden Work, and Garden Stories. The Garden Tours begin with – what else? – the Garden of Eden, progress through Egypt, the Promised Land, and Palace Gardens, ending in the urban gardens of Revelation and the end of time. Garden Work mirrors the labors of gardeners everywhere, from preparing the soil, through cultivating and weeding, and ending in the joys of harvest. Garden Stories include the spiritual lessons that come from the changing seasons and days, the garden allegories in the writing of David, Solomon, and the prophets, and of course the many parables that Jesus used to teach spiritual concepts.
The devotional material was written by Shelley Cramm, a North Texas housewife and mother of five. As she labored in her garden and her personal devotional time in the Bible, she was inspired to begin writing about the garden concepts and lessons she saw in Scripture. “The Bible stories about plants and gardens simply resounded within me as I worked in my yard and made me crazy – in that way that gardeners are crazy – to try new things and trust my faith to see what might be possible.” The possible became reality in the eventual publication of this devotional edition of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.
The NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible has a list price of $34.99 and is available wherever fine books are sold.