NIV Ragamuffin Bible by Brennan Manning

ragamuffinFans of dc Talk will remember the famously spoken word opening of What if I Stumble, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle… That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable” That’s Brennan Manning and his writing is all over this NIV.

NIV Ragamuffin Bible
by Brennan Manning
November 2013

There are hundreds of quotes, devotions and reflections taken from the life works of Friar Manning included in this 2011 version of the NIV. Those who are familiar with Manning’s focus on grace (as seen in his most famous book, the Ragamuffin Gospel,) and accepting people will find a treasure trove of quotes to help with their daily reading.

I’m a fan of the newest NIV and think it remains one of the best translations available. I’m not a big fan of adding a little bit of content and coming out with a completely new Bible. Sure there are hundreds of included quotes and works but there are over 1400 pages in this Bible so we are talking about a quote or reflection every three pages and many times there are a couple Manning quotes on the same page and there is definitely a skewing towards the New Testament. So what we get is quite a bit of “regular” Bible and then a few quotes.

Also, many of the 150 quotes are short questions without clear answers, like, “How would you respond if I asked you this question: Do you honestly believe God likes you, not just loves you because theologically God has to love you?” (p 693). Fortunately, the reflections and devotionals are much deeper and include some theology that may be difficult for newer Christians.

One thing you can’t get away from is the criticism in some circles, especially Evangelical circles, of Brennan Manning himself. The fact that he was a Roman Catholic tends to immediately set people back. That he was so focused on accepting people as they were tends to cause some to complain that he is too focused on grace and not focused enough on sanctification. I’m not sure what to think. But the quotes used in this NIV tend to be non-controversial and thought provoking.

This is an NIV that is full of contrasts: it’s light on new content but the content it has is useful; it focuses on a controversial figure but does a great job highlighting commonalities. In a phrase: it’s a mixed bag. For fans of Brennan Manning, though, this is a no brainer.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.