1 John: A Devotional On Love, Obedience, and Side Effects of Salvation by Nicole Hanson

This short devotional is unique in that it includes original watercolor paintings by the author. Each of the 23 chapters begins with a painting, an exhortation to read the selected verses from 1 John from a bible version that is easy for the reader to understand, followed by the author’s commentary and journal prompts. 

I enjoyed the addition of the painting and the journal prompts. However, I would have liked to have seen a place where readers could write their responses or thoughts about the biblical reflection posed by the author. This would reinforce the idea that not words but action is the basis for faith-based behavior. 

I was also curious as to why the author chose to include the exhortation to read the bible verses being discussed but not include them in the book itself. Since I was curious, I decided to check about copyright laws and scripture. 

While the King James Version of the Bible is in the public domain in the U.S., most other translations are under copyright, which means there are restrictions for quoting from them. Additionally, although the King James Version is in the public domain in most countries (except for the U.K.), it may not be the easiest translation to read for some people. As a result, readers may be more comfortable reading a selected passage from a version of the Bible that they are more familiar with and find easier to understand, which is undoubtedly why the author suggested it.

As with any text citation, properly attributing a Bible quote is essential. While requesting permission can be time-consuming, it’s sometimes a necessary step to ensure legal compliance. However, in this case, the book only focuses on 2-4 verses from 1 John in each chapter, so it’s unlikely that the snippets would make up more than 25% of the text. That being said, the author says she is using the New Living Translation (NLT) for the scriptures. The copyright holder of that particular translation, Tyndale House Publishers, gives permission for up to 500 verses in a book as long as it’s not 25 percent of the book nor the entire bible book.

 Regardless, 1 John: On Love, Obedience, and Side Effects of Salvation by Nicole Hanson would make a nice addition to any bible study, whether in a group using the journal prompts and author’s commentary as a platform to open discussion or individual biblical contemplation.

I received an ARC from the author for this review.

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