Sometimes, faith leads you off the beaten path.
Such is the case with Andrews University and a group of ministry activists, who have teamed to produce beautiful, leather-bound Bibles designed for prisoners.
Known as the prison ministries of the Andrews Study Bible, the book is designed to be a keepsake for inmates and spread the good news, while accommodating their special needs.
It’s cheaper than traditional, high-quality Bibles — $20 compared to $100 — but still impressive enough to become treasured behind bars. Bonded with leather and immaculately produced, the Bibles are themselves are a work of art.
“We believe these Bibles tell the inmate they have value, which matters a lot, as they are mostly shunned by society and forgotten by their families,” Judy Mackie, who runs a nonprofit, Binding Broken Hearts, told the Adventist Review.
“We get letter after letter expressing their joy and thankfulness that someone cares.”
The partnership began after officials at Andrews University Press — the publishing arm of Andrews University — began noticing Mackie buying their regular, highly acclaimed Bibles in bulk at retail prices, $70-$99 apiece.
After Andrews officials reached out to her, the idea took root for a less-expensive but still comprehensive edition of the Andrews Study Bible, which debuted in 2010 and has quickly become one of the most coveted editions of the good book.
An initial printing of 5,000 copies of the prison volume in 2014 sold out quickly. Ditto for last year’s run of 5,000. And ditto again for the 2016 pressing.
“If you could just see the faces of some of the inmates who have received the Andrews Study Bibles, your heart would melt,” said Dan Preas, a prison ministry leader in Washington.
Doing good work is a mission for Andrews University, the flagship school of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Like the Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities, the schools stress community over conformity.
Class sizes are small, allowing students to work closely with professors committed to helping them forge their own path.
It’s an experience that simply isn’t available at traditional universities. And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates than four-year institutions.
Be bold. Be different. Go independent.