This summer, in honor of our 25th anniversary, we are sharing a bit more about who we are. Each week you will meet an Accordance employee, learn about that individual’s favorite works, and read a brief personal message. We hope you find these enjoyable and beneficial.
Meet Rick Mansfield
Rick Mansfield is Accordance’s Technology Evangelist. He has been using Accordance since 1998 and came on with the company fulltime in 2014. Rick has MDiv and ThM degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. This past year, Rick, along with his wife, Kathy, and their hound, Lucy Mae, moved back to Louisiana where all three originally called home. Despite their Baptist heritage (for which they are very grateful), Rick and Kathy recently became catechumens at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Two Defining Encounters with the Bible
My first Bible teacher was my mother. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in her lap, in her rocking chair, while she read Bible stories to me. In those early years, I had two books of Bible stories. Not only did I love the stories, but I also enjoyed spending hours studying the pictures that were on every page. This first encounter with the Bible’s message would be defining for my entire life.
Although church life has been central to my experience as far back as I can remember, I admit that I was not an overly-pious teenager. Sometime around the 10th or 11th grade, I found myself at home in bed for an entire week with mononucleosis. I never knew how I caught it; no one I knew had it. There wasn’t a lot to do while lying sick in bed. We only had three channels on television, and it was all soap operas and game shows in those days. With nothing else to do, I looked over at my Bible, which usually only got touched if I remembered to take it to church on Sunday. I wiped the dust off of it and began reading.
For whatever reason, I began reading in Matthew’s Gospel. If I had started at Genesis, I’m not certain if my teenage attention span would have survived Leviticus. I’d heard the Bible all my life—from my mother’s lap to Sunday School lessons and pastors’ sermons. But I’d never really read it and kept reading before. I’d never read a Bible passage in a larger context!
Now, I’ve never been one to look at circumstances like getting sick and say without doubt, “God made me sick so he could get my attention!” I just can’t say anything like that with certainty. But I definitely believe in a God who seeks us out and will redeem the difficult times in our lives for his glory. I read Matthew, Mark, and Luke and a good bit of John’s Gospel that week while I was sick. I’d love to say that I was a different person the very next week when I went back to school, but the process worked a bit more gradually than that. When I went back to doing the kinds of often-ill-advised things teenagers do, I was startled that Bible verses I had read would pop into my thoughts. My encounter with the Bible’s message that week began a process of change in my life that still continues manifesting itself to this day.
My life verse is Ezra 7:10, which I’ll quote from the NASB since that’s the version I originally memorized it in many years ago: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” I’ve often said that I feel closest to God when studying the Bible and most in his will when teaching its message to others.
The Orthodox Study Bible
The Orthodox Study Bible. I use it for the daily lectionary readings, but I’ve also been using the two-year reading plan that comes with the Accordance edition of the OSB. Although I’ve read the Bible many times, I realized a while back that I’d never read an Old Testament based on the Septuagint (LXX), and I’d never read all the extra books in the LXX not found in most Protestant Bibles. The two-year plan in the Accordance edition of the OSB is perfect for slowly reading through the entire Bible. I also appreciate the notes in the OSB that are packed with Orthodox thought and practice as well as many quotations from the Church Fathers. Let me also add that the OSB may be of interest to non-Orthodox readers because its included Old Testament translation, the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint, is the most readable LXX translation I’ve ever used. For non-Orthodox, the OSB would be worth purchasing just to get this translation.
The Orthodox Study Bible
Regular Price $34.90