Enter to possibly win this unique one-of-a-kind ORIGINAL hand-painted COVER (shown above) of the NIV Artisan Collection Bible! One winner will be selected at random. One entry per person; legal residents of the USA 18 years of age and older. Entry period: April 30, 2019 (8:00 am ET) – May 30, 2019 (8:00 am ET). Enter here.
The only NIV Bible (@NIVBible) with a printed hand-painted cover design and art hidden in its page edges is now available as the NIV Artisan Collection Bible (Zondervan, 2019), featuring the work of artist Edna Marie Esparra.
The printed covers showcase hand-painted flair depicting brightly-shaded floral designs. When the Bible is opened, art appears on the page edges. When the Bible is closed, the image vanishes into shimmery foil gilding.
The text of the Bible is printed the exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface; custom fonts that are easy and relaxing to read. Each page of the Bible has lightly ruled, wide margins for journaling, reflecting, taking notes, and creating personal art.
How did you move from being an industrial engineer to creating a Bible painting ministry?
Edna Marie Esparra: It was definitely not a short process that brought me to where I am today. I graduated from an all arts school set on becoming an art teacher, yet did not pursue it. There were many things to consider, but mainly it was pressure from the media that instilled in me a fear of instability if I chose education as a career path, so I went with industrial engineering instead. I figured, “I like math, too, and it’s a steadier job,” so I went with it.
Striving for excellence I managed to graduate and land a steady job, but I was deeply unhappy, although economically stable. I quit that job and took on a secretarial position for a lawyer. Soon after, I met the man who’s now my husband and ended up making a drawing of us. Quickly, I realized that the talent and passion I’d had years ago in high school were still there. Over a span of a couple years, drawing led to watercolors, that led to portraits, that led to hand-lettering, that led to Bible painting.
Short as it seems, the journey to get here was long, hard, and full of struggles. Still, God was faithful, and brought me back to the passions I had, reminding me that where his hand leads he provides. I don’t know for certain what the future holds, but I know God is preparing me for new things, and I’m ready to hold on to him fiercely as we walk through this next journey together.
Explain the work and appeal of Everlasting Words Design.
Edna Marie Esparra: Everlasting Words Design reflects God’s beauty in an inspiring way that invites you to draw nearer to him. Every piece is unique and personal and it’s done with excellence and dedication. Pouring God’s love into each brush stroke is one of the most important things, if not the most important, about this business. You deserve to feel that love always, and that’s what the NIV Artisan Collection Bibles reflect: God’s love for you, for detailed intricate things, for excellence.
What do these covers mean to you and how do they inspire you to continue furthering God’s kingdom in your own small way?
Edna Marie Esparra: I feel the closest to God when I have alone-time with him; it just so happens that those times include painting on occasion. Whenever I sit down to sketch a flower or replicate a landscape, I get a small sense of the grandeur of God; I understand a bit of his creativity and how it moves within me. Inevitably, I’m overcome with gratitude for who he is, what he’s done, and how he chooses to use each of us as part of the body of Christ. My thanksgiving comes out through worship and praise, in the more conventional way of singing, but also through other arts.
The beauty of doing life with him is that we get to give, in abundance, what in abundance we receive from him. He doesn’t want to confine us anymore than he wants us to put him into a box. He wants to celebrate with us as we find our own ways of sharing who he is—and the truth we believe in—to others. When we set out to live like this, there’s no way of subtracting God’s love from the equation; it just naturally seeps into all we do.
Each of these covers, and the verses on them, remind me of these things; of this way of life I’m set on living. God is within me and he won’t let me fall. I’m sure of this whenever I paint. I’ll sing to the Lord in thanksgiving, but also find different ways to praise. He makes things new and creates new ones alongside us. Never does he try to thwart us. Instead, he fuels our creative ideas. And when we let him fill us with love, we get to give that love in return to others.
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Edna Marie Esparra: “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4.
My entire life I’ve served the Lord. Growing up in church, it’s all I’ve ever known. It’s beautiful to see God’s faithfulness to his promises in this verse and understand that what I’ve chosen to believe in is true. Now, more than ever, I’ve been able to see how the dreams he placed in my heart are becoming a reality full of holy ambition; a reality I have the privilege of experiencing hand-in-hand with him.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Edna Marie Esparra: Don’t let fear stop you from doing the things you’re passionate about. Chances are, those are the very things God wants you to use for his kingdom. Find out what those talents, gifts, passions, and abilities are and use them to the best of your ability for God’s glory.
Most important of all, don’t embark on this journey alone. Surround yourself with a group of people that inspire you to do what God has called you to do and that help you reach those things. Let them remind you who God called you to be when you’re starting to forget; allow them that space.
If these designs do anything for you, may they inspire you to open that Bible and more than read it: live it, to the point where you reach a level of intimacy with God that you never imagined. I know a painting alone doesn’t do that, but God-willing, it’ll bring you one step closer.
About the Artist
Edna Marie Esparra founded Everlasting Words Designs, a Bible painting ministry, in 2017. A former industrial engineer, she quickly changed paths and discovered her true passion when a friend asked her to custom paint a Bible cover. Creating personal and inspirational artwork that glorified God turned into a new journey for her life and career. An avid lover of flowers, landscape views, writing, and music, you can find Edna sitting in her home studio painting fields of wild flowers and hand lettering while she listens to her newest playlist. She resides in Puerto Rico with her husband and two adorable dogs.
The NIV Starting Place Study Bible is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
About Comfort Print®
Zondervan Bibles teamed up with 2K/Denmark, the world’s foremost Bible typeface foundry, to create exclusive Comfort Print® Bible fonts. NIV Comfort Print Bibles are easy to read at any size because the typeface was designed to be both efficient and readable. Zondervan Bibles believes that the beauty of the message should be reflected in the physical form of the book. Choosing the right typeface is one significant element in creating beautiful Bibles. To learn more about Comfort Print® fonts, visit www.ComfortPrintBibles.com.
About the NIV (@NIVBible)
The New International Version (NIV) is the world’s bestselling modern-English Bible translation—accurate, readable, and clear, yet rich with the detail found in the original languages. The NIV is the result of over 50 years of work by the Committee on Bible Translation, who oversee the efforts of many contributing scholars. Representing the spectrum of evangelicalism, the translators come from a wide range of denominations and various countries and continually review new research in order to ensure the NIV remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance, and authority. Every NIV Bible that is purchased helps Biblica, a nonprofit ministry organization, translate and give Bibles to people in need around the world. To learn more, visit www.thenivbible.com.
Zondervan (@Zondervan) is a world leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. Zondervan, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, Mich. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com.
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