"The Maxwell Leadership Bible - NIV (book review), edited by John C. Maxwell

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lot of Bibles in America.  I'm beginning to think publishing companies publish gimmick Bibles in September like gyms offer membership discounts in January.  For both, their design is to get people in, but they fail to keep people there.  Leadership guru, John Maxwell, can now add the book of all books to his portfolio: the Holy Bible.

The Bible itself is the New International Version with several leadership principles and articles intertwined throughout its pages. Now, I'm not opposed to gimmicks, new gym memberships, or Bible reading, but I'm skeptically concerned with why this version had to be published.  After all, John Maxwell already has a million books on leadership.  As trustworthy as he is, do John Maxwell's words somehow lend more credibility to the words of God?


1) Each biblical book contains an introductory page or two, which contains smaller sub-units regarding God's role in the book, listings of "Leaders" and "People of Influence", and various "Lessons in Leadership".  The introduction of each book concludes with an index of "Leadership Highlights", which directs readers to various pages within the biblical book that Maxwell highlights as containing leadership principles or qualities.

2) Leaders whose names were listed in the introductory section of each biblical book are described within the book why they were good or bad at displaying leadership qualities.

3) Drawing on his book, "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", Maxwell plants brief snippets of each of these 21 laws throughout the Bible.  The laws in view in the particular books describe how the characters displayed leadership or lack thereof.

4) Numerous leadership principles are highlighted throughout each biblical book, highlighting...well...leadership qualities, rather than godliness.

5) There are more, but they're not really all that noteworthy.  You'll see why if you just keep reading.


Why am I being so hard on The Maxwell Leadership Bible?  Because it is man-centered rather than Christ-centered.  For example, in 1Kings 10 (p. 421), Maxwell highlights a section entitled, "Play to Your Strength: the 70-25-5 Principle".  Introducing the highlight, Maxwell writes, "Great leaders play to their strength."  He continues to explain the wisdom and riches of Solomon, but gives only a mere tip-of-the-hat to Solomon's Creator.  The short reading ends with a question and answer: "How did Solomon gain such fame?  He focused on what he did best.  Leaders would be wise to follow a similar pattern, called the 70-25-5 principle."  Rather than pointing readers to Yahweh-God, he directs them to his own 70-25-5 principle! 

Another leadership lesson, this one found in Romans 15 (p. 1,356), simply refers to Christ as a "model", rather than the Savior of sinners.  In his "Servanthood: Leaders Lose the Right to be Selfish", Maxwell's 4th point describing a servant is simply this: "Imitates Christ -- we are to look to Jesus as our model."  Ohhhh, Jesus: the good teacher, good role model, good example.  But no Savior!

Here's one more.  Embedded in Titus 2 (p. 1,465), Maxwell provides a lesson in "Leadership Development: From Shepherding to Developing".  There, Maxwell provides three lists (Shepherding, Equipping, Developing) containing ten items each.  Descriptors included in those lists include such traits as, "Care", "Feel better", "Addition", "Skill-oriented", "Person focus", "Empowering", etc.  Nowhere does Maxwell point readers to godliness, holiness, or the Cross. 


While I understand leadership principles can be drawn from God's word, I don't think those principles were the Holy Spirit's focus when inspiring its writing.  I didn't sense much of an inspiration by Mr. Maxwell to point readers to the Cross.  Instead, he points readers to the self.  In this Bible version, there's a whole lot of Maxwell, but little-to-no Jesus.  If Jesus Christ, Paul, Peter, etc pointed sinners to the Cross, I think it would be good for us to maintain our focus there, as well.  Mankind is broken because of sin, and no leadership quality will ever heal our sin sickness -- and THAT is the focus of God's word.

I give the Maxwell Leadership Bible just 1 star out of 5 (because I have to give it something, right?). 


In exchange for my unbiased review, BookLook Bloggers provided me with this free copy.  I was not promised favors, threatened, or coerced to provide a positive review of it.  All opinions are mine. 

1 comment:

  1. One more Bible from the Sola Bootstrapa series.