God's justice—his "setting things right”—is a foundational principle of the Bible. His plan for justice to triumph is traced from Genesis to Revelation, and as a theme it forms the backbone of Scripture.
Designed to inform and inspire, NIV God's Justice: The Holy Bible carefully addresses the timeless and universal issues around injustice. Written by a team of international writers who bring a global perspective to these issues, NIV God's Justice: The Holy Bible is designed to fire readers’ passion for social justice and take positive steps to bring justice issues to light in their own circle of influence. The writers come from every continent, representing organizations such as the International Justice Mission, Compassion and World Vision. Well-Known UK and US contributors include Kirsh Kandiah, Tim Stafford, Andy Crouch, Ron Sider, and Joel Edwards.
- The complete text of the NIV Bible, the world’s most-read and most-trusted modern-English translation
- Book Introductions for every book in the Bible highlight how the theme of God’s justice is addressed throughout the entire Bible
- Study notes on passages that speak to the problems of injustice in the world (governmental oppression, human trafficking, slavery, financial inequality, and more) and how God’s overall plan is to restore his creation
- Prayers and questions for reflection at the end of each book of the Bible
- World Christian perspective on God’s justice brought through a portfolio of 57 international scholars and writers
- Full-color interior design with wood-carving images of trees from around the world
|Product dimensions:||7.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 2.00(d)|
About the Author
Tim Stafford is Senior Writer for Christianity Today and the author of more than thirty books including The Student Bible (with Philip Yancey). His most recent publications are Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern-Day Experiences of God's Power, and Birmingham (a novel). Tim and his wife, Popie, have three children and live in Santa Rosa, California.
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God's Justice: The Holy Bible
The Flourishing of Creation and the Destruction of Evil
By Tim Stafford
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2016 Biblica, Inc.
All rights reserved.
VOLUME 5 LIFE OF JESUS
Matthew Mark Luke John Acts
by Tim Stafford
A black pastor in a South Africa township tells of his church members' despair. "They don't believe that God really cares for black people." Beaten down by discrimination, HIV/AIDS and the overwhelming difficulties of poverty, few of his church members hope to see any justice in life. "Part of our challenge is the mind-set saying our poverty is a given. It's God given. God is white."
A visitor asks the pastor: "In the face of such hopelessness, why are you still here?"
"The whole narrative of Jesus of Nazareth is amazing to me," he answers. "I would follow this man. A man who embraces everyone, who protects the dignity of those who are assaulted — lepers, Zacchaeus, women."
If you want to grasp God's fierce intention to set the world right, read Jesus' life. It is an amazing, intriguing, disturbing and challenging story. You can read it a hundred times and keep learning more.
Given the number of Old Testament scriptures that Matthew cites, we can infer that he wrote for Jewish Christians. They probably struggled with hostility from family and community who, not accepting Jesus, turned against them.
Anybody facing such rejection will ask the same questions poor black South African Christians do. Is our faith in Jesus valid? Does God really care? If he does, why are we treated so badly?
Matthew wants his readers to understand that followers of Jesus have not lost their identity as God's chosen ones. On the contrary, they have found it.
Yet doing God's justice brings conflict. Jesus himself experiences complete rejection and hostility. It comes not because God has deserted Jesus, but because Jesus upsets the status quo. The conflict leads to Jesus' death, but God uses Jesus' suffering in a dramatic and unforeseen way.
In Matthew's telling, Jesus is born with a great heritage, descended from the heroes of Israel, Abraham and David. Signs accompany his birth. Yet he starts life as a political refugee. He grows up in Galilee without money, power or connections, living in a beat-down, poverty-stricken, occupied country — a place that thirsts for justice.
When Jesus begins to preach that the longed-for day of God's kingdom is arriving, he immediately attracts crowds of the poor and the sick. He heals them and evicts evil spirits. He touches untouchables, curing them of leprosy. Very soon people begin clamoring that he is the hoped-for king, the liberating "Messiah." Indeed, he is, and he comes to set the world right. But the way he does it disappoints and confuses almost everybody, including his closest followers.
Some would like Jesus to make the most obvious response to oppression: to fight. Plenty of revolutionaries rise up in Israel to throw off Rome's powerful empire, but Jesus leads in another way.
Actually, he pays virtually no attention to Rome. Nearly all of Jesus' time and attention go to his fellow Jews. This can only be because Jesus believes that the key to the future is not in Rome but in God's plan for Israel. As Matthew is at pains to show, Jesus believes that God has chosen Israel as the nation to bring justice to the world. (Matthew keeps quoting from the Old Testament to demonstrate that Jesus is the living embodiment of its hopes and prophecies.)
Israel does not look like a country blessed by God. It is occupied by a foreign power. The majority of people are desperately poor, earning barely enough each day to survive. Beggars are everywhere. Anyone with an extra shekel gets taxed heavily by Rome. occupying troops are cruel. God's blessings are hard to see. So is God's justice.
Yet Jesus believes in God's promises coming true. His Beatitudes (5:3–12) proclaim a happy day for the poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry, the sorrowful and the persecuted. In the famous Sermon on the Mount (chaps. 5–7) he presents a new way of life. Jesus chooses twelve disciples, a loaded number considering Israel had twelve tribes. Jesus is seeking a renewed Israel.
How will this renewed Israel bring justice to the world? Jesus shows the way. He travels throughout Palestine, helping people who have no other hope. He casts out evil spirits. He feeds hungry crowds. He seeks out the most despised people and tells them stories of the new kingdom. he teaches his disciples to follow his example, healing and announcing the good news of the kingdom.
Jesus is much more than a community organizer. He acts like the King of the kingdom of God. As the true Messiah, come to liberate his people, he will lead the way for them. The way, however, does not look like a victory march. Jesus frequently warns his followers that he is leading them to Jerusalem, the capital city, where he will be killed. His belief is that this death will once and for all undo the power of sin and death — the root cause of all injustice. Jesus the Messiah King will suffer and die for Israel and for the whole world. Then he will rise again.
Of all Jesus' teachings, this outline of his life is undoubtedly the most unpopular. One disciple rebukes him for predicting such a tragic end. But Jesus bravely leads the way to his own death. The story of God's justice comes to its climax in the greatest act of injustice ever done — the murder of the innocent Son of God.
Reading Matthew, we learn that opposition is normal. Jesus faced it; so will his followers.
Not only is it normal, but God works through the fabric of suffering to save the world. This is a startling turn. In the Old Testament psalms, believers often cry out to God to bring victory over their enemies. Here, in Jesus' life, it is the enemies' triumph that does God's work. Jesus dies by torture, and his body is wrapped and placed in a tomb. God rescues him, overcoming death and giving Jesus a new, transcendent life. Now nothing can kill him. As he tells his disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (28:18).
In a sense, the fight for justice is over, with Jesus the victor. In another sense, the struggle is just beginning. Immediately after claiming his authority, Jesus gives his disciples their assignment: go and make disciples all over the world, "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." That phrase hails back to the Old Testament, where Israelites are often reminded not to forget God's law, with its deep commitment to societal justice. Jesus has repeatedly instructed his disciples in the life of God's kingdom, with its blessings for the poor and downtrodden. The disciples are invited — all people are invited — to carry the story of God's justice forward, bringing blessing to the world in the name and power of Jesus.
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, 7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, 8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, 9 Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, 15 Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us").
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
"A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"
4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Excerpted from God's Justice: The Holy Bible by Tim Stafford. Copyright © 2016 Biblica, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsIntroducing God's Justice: The Holy Bible, iii,
Finding Your Place in the Story of God's Justice, vi,
A Bible Designed for Understanding, vii,
1 Samuel, 333,
2 Samuel, 373,
1 Kings, 411,
2 Kings, 449,
1 & 2 Chronicles, 489,
POETRY & SONG,
Song of Songs, 901,
LIFE OF JESUS,
1 Corinthians, 1583,
2 Corinthians, 1603,
1 Thessalonians, 1651,
2 Thessalonians, 1659,
1 Timothy, 1665,
2 Timothy, 1674,
1 Peter, 1719,
2 Peter, 1726,
1 John, 1733,
2 & 3 John, 1741,
Table of Weights and Measures, 1776,
A Word About the NIV, 1777,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
NIV, God's Justice Bible By Tim Stafford is a wonderful Bible! This Bible carefully addresses the timeless and universal issues around injustice. NIV, God's Justice Bible By Tim Stafford is designed to fire readers’ passion for social justice and help them create positive steps to bring justice issues to light in their own circle of influence. It's an absolutely wonderful Bible and I especially love the Full-color interior design with wood-carving images of trees from around the world. They'res also Prayers and questions for reflection at the end of each book of the Bible that I find extremely helpful for really digging into God's Word. NIV, God's Justice Bible By Tim Stafford also includes book introductions for every book in the Bible that highlight how the theme of God’s justice is addressed throughout the entire Bible. I really love this Bible and highly recommend it! Disclosure: I received product(s) for free, in exchange for my honest review. I only recommend products I've used personally, and believe will be good fit for consumers.