At 85 years “young,” Dr. Gene Getz, Chase Oaks’ founding pastor and now Pastor Emeritus, is probably one of the most active octogenarians living today! While most people his age are enjoying retirement and golfing, Gene is busy studying, teaching, and traveling to speaking engagements all over the world! His latest project, The Life Essentials Study Bible, continues to impact how people are studying God’s Word and applying it to their lives. Gene’s ministry spans nearly 60 years, which has included teaching as a professor at both Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and Dallas Theological Seminary, pastoring for 30 years and writing 60 books, including “The Measure of a Man” which has become a classic and has never gone out of print in more than 40 years! Gene’s innovative, yet biblical approach to doing church was pioneering and ultimately led to the start of the “Fellowship Bible Church” movement which inspired hundreds of Fellowship Bible churches and “Fellowship-type” churches all around the world. Now those are some pretty impressive stats!
But Gene would be the first to tell you that it’s not about him and all that he’s accomplished, rather it’s about God and investing in eternal truths and values. I recently got the privilege to attend a special banquet for Gene’s ministry that shared stories of the impact that his “Life Essentials Study Bible” as well as “The Measure of a Man” book are making in literally millions of people’s lives!
So what’s so special about this study Bible versus any other study Bible? First of all, the overall layout and design are unique. Interspersed on the pages are highlighted “blue” sections of the biblical text, which point out the main theme for that portion of scripture. Then from those highlighted sections, Gene has identified 1,500 principles to live by that provide commentary and easy application points. If that wasn’t enough, there is a QR code that links to a video of Gene actually teaching that portion of the scripture. It’s literally over 300 hours of teaching! This Bible, which has aptly been termed, “A Seminary in a Box,” is truly revolutionary and reaching people from all walks of life, from businessmen, to police officers, to prisoners, to third-world pastors in far away regions of the world. Here are just a few of the amazing stories that were shared at the banquet.
Russell Lindsey, an executive at Heritage Asphalt Construction Company in Dallas, shared at the banquet that “The Life Essentials Study Bible” has helped him get into God’s Word daily, and he encourages his employees at the company to read it with him.
“The thing that I love most about the Life Essentials Study Bible is that I’m able to look at the history and chronological order of how the Bible is laid out, take a chapter and read it, see how it’s highlighted, listen to Dr. Getz on the video and hear him pose a question that I wouldn’t have pulled out of there and really grow from that.”
Chief of Police Larry Hesser of Henderson, NC reached out to Gene by letter 30 years ago after reading “The Measure of a Man,” to ask him if he’d be willing to write a “Code of Ethics for Cops” based on the 20 biblical principles found in Gene’s book. Larry posted that document in his police station, then years later after learning of Gene’s newly revised version of “The Measure of a Man” that included QR codes of Gene teaching on the principles, Larry once again reached out to Gene for something new he had in mind for this book.
Fellow Chief of Police, Mike Alexander, was struggling with how to manage his own team of officers who were resorting to alcohol, domestic violence and depression due to the high stress of the job.
“Police officers are some of the most healthiest individuals going into the profession, but we are some of the most unhealthy both mentally and physically coming out on the other end.”
These brave men and women who put their lives on the line daily are hurting on the inside, and Mike wanted to do something about it. Mike spoke with Larry and the two of them scheduled an appointment with Gene. Gene gave them a copy of his Life Essentials Study Bible, which they loved!
As a result of their interaction with Gene and his book and Bible, Mike and Larry have a vision to get a copy of each of these resources into the hands of every police officer in US Law Enforcement—that’s roughly 600,000-800,000 individuals! Now that’s a big goal!
Brad Woolf and his girlfriend, Wee, were starting a new chapter in their lives together in Austin. Brad had never been a church-goer, but he felt like they should start attending church since that was a good way to meet new people and create a new network. Needing a Bible to bring to church, Brad stopped by a bookstore and saw on the shelf Gene’s Life Essential Study Bible in a shiny box. Brad thumbed through it and loved the layout. Needless to say, he purchased a copy and began to read it and watch the videos. Impacted by the teaching and God’s Word, Brad was convicted that he and Wee needed to get married and get right with God. They decided to get married in the Philippines, Wee’s native country, and Brad brought a copy of Gene’s Bible to give to the pastor officiating their ceremony. The Pastor loved the Bible and asked if he could get more copies and if someone could come and train him and a group of his fellow Filipino pastors on how to effectively use this interactive Bible. Brad reached out to Gene to tell him about this opportunity, and Gene was thrilled and shared with Brad that this was his vision to help pastors in other countries to get a copy of the Bible. Gene challenged Brad to not only deliver the Bibles to these 50 pastors but also train them on how to use the Bible effectively. Brad learned in the process that:
“There are over 77,000 evangelical churches in the Philippines and the majority of their pastors have had very little, if any, formal Bible training.”
In addition to the Philippines, doors are opening to share this “Seminary in a Box” Bible in countries like China, India, Uganda and others! What a tremendous opportunity to help provide a resource for these pastors who are eager to learn and share God’s Word with their communities!
I could go on and on about all the amazing stories that were shared on this special evening, but suffice it to say, that God is definitely up to some BIG things through Gene and his ministry! I didn’t even mention the transformation happening in prisons all across the globe thanks to Gene’s “Heart of a Man” books for male prisoners and “Hannah’s Gift” books for female prisoners! These studies are bringing hope to individuals who once had no hope.
And here’s the amazing thing, for every Bible purchased, Gene’s ministry donates a Bible! In addition, any profit that the ministry makes from Bible sales, they donate back into the ministry. Gene’s vision for however much time God gives him on this earth is to continue to be “Investing in Eternal Truths and Values.” And it’s obvious that he’s embracing that vision with a passion and vigor that should be an inspiration to us all!
The Bible tells us that “God’s Word does not return void” (Isaiah 55:11), meaning anywhere that God’s Word is shared and dispersed, it always has a 100% ROI! Now that’s something worth investing in!
If you’d like to learn more about Gene’s ministry and the various resources that are available, visit www.BiblePrinciples.org. If you’d like to be a part of what God’s up to through Gene’s ministry, you can donate below.