Mark Rasbach’s favorite Bible is the Recovery Devotional Bible. Since March the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, Hollywood, Calif., has placed more than 300 copies in the pews for members and visitors to take home—and keep. “It’s the most universal Bible,” he says. “We all have addictions. But for most of us, they’re secret.”
In April, Rasbach heard from a woman who’d visited Hope. She wrote from the California Rehabilitation Center in nearby Norco, asking for something helpful to read. So he sent her a Recovery Devotional Bible.
“That Bible got through by the Holy Spirit,” Rasbach says, explaining that all hardcover books are banned from state prisons because contraband can be hidden in the spines. When he sent Bibles to other inmates who soon wrote asking for a copy, all were returned.
To his dismay, Rasbach quickly found out that the publisher, Zondervan, no longer printed this version in softcover format—and wouldn’t, unless the order could be 1,000 or more copies.
He didn’t want to substitute another softcover Bible. “This is the Bible these people can relate to,” he says. “It’s in language they understand.”
And Rasbach wouldn’t let those letters go unanswered: He re-covered the Recovery Devotional Bible. It costs $42 per copy—buying the hardcover edition for $21, printing a “counterfeit” soft cover for $2, rebinding for $15 and mailing for $2. He’d sent out 86 by year’s end, with requests for 30 more on his desk.
He hopes to supply even more in 2006.
At presstime, the Zondervan board of directors voted to reissue the softcover edition at $15. Rasbach had sent the company copies of letters from prisoners, telling just how much the Recovery Bible meant to them.
Donations of $7,000 have covered the costs of the Bibles for the pews and for the prisoners.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers