Jeff Swanson gave his life to the Lord at age 10. At age 18 he had two spiritual encounters. These encounters changed his life forever and put him on a path to search for the ultimate truth of all things, with an intense desire to never be lied to again. Two years later he became spirit-filled and the Lord led him to leave Colorado and everything familiar to him to go to Oral Roberts University (ORU). (The mission of ORU is to teach students how to obey God's voice). After graduating, he knew he was supposed to stay in Oklahoma. This is his story:
The Bible says in Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. The Plan started with such a desire in my heart. In 1989 I had a desire to see God's Word in chronological order. It started as a list of scriptures and a desire to paint a picture of future unfulfilled prophetic scriptures. This list grew for the next 14 years. Then, in 2004, the Lord started dealing with me to intensify my study of His word in Chronological order. In 2006 I got a picture in my spirit all of God's Word in order from Creation to Completion. The initial vision was to post this out on the internet as a legacy to win souls after we are gone. The confirmation of this came in two ways. First, I was given the initial steps to chronicle the New International Version (NIV, 1984). Next, I asked the Lord if He really wanted me to put His word in order from a historic point of view and an eschatological point of view. It was a yes or no question in which the response to each was "Yes." I said, "That seems impossible," to which the Lord responded, "Nothing is impossible with God. I will show you what you need to know. I will show you where to go. I will show you what you need to do. Trust Me and know that this is pleasing unto Me (11/26/2006)."
Later the Lord spoke this into my heart, "Jeff, you are building a road map of world history. Never again doubt that what you are doing is from Me (9/05/09)." The finale came a couple weeks after we had a substantial financial loss. The Lord said this to me, "Ask Me for the chronological Bible in eBook, and I will give it to you (10/5/2009)."
Then the trials of approval started. In order to publish commercially with NIV, there is a three step process of which I was completely ignorant of before starting down this path of obedience. The first step is get approval from the Community of Bible Translators (CBT). The CBT is a prestigious Christian group of 12 individuals with credentials tallying longer than this article. Their membership spans most of the major denominations. They decide if a project is acceptable for use with the NIV. Authors are not allowed to present directly to the CBT. Zondervan has to intercede for them. This removes any assertions of personal bias. Three days before we were scheduled to meet with Zondervan to present the project, I was called and told basically not to bother coming up to Grand Rapids because five well known authors have proposed something like this in the past and they have all been turned down. I responded in faith and said I will see you 10:00 am Monday morning. After driving for two days through the coldest January in 20 years, I met with Zondervan and presented.
On January 29, 2010 I heard the Lord speak to me and say, "Today your life is going to change." Later that day I received an email stating that we had been approved by the CBT. I thought that was it. I was wrong. A few weeks later I received a phone call stating that Biblica, the organization that owns the worldwide rights for the NIV, wanted more information to make their decision for approval. This was the second step of the approval process. I sent samples, and after waiting a few weeks, we learned they had denied the proposal. However, by the favor of God, we were able to gain audience with them and overcome their three objections. On April 1st, 2010, they reversed their decision and granted us worldwide publishing permissions. Interestingly, according to my calculations this is 1977 years to the day of Christ's crucifixion.
The final step in the process was contract negotiations with Zondervan. Up to this point in time all preliminary responses would have been unprofitable. To make a long story short, after flying up to Zondervan and meeting face-to-face, we came to an agreement that allows everyone to win. The amazing thing was that on October 5th, 2010, one year to the day, at the same very hour that the Lord told me He would give me the chronological Bible in eBook, I received a call from Zondervan stating they had executed the contract and I now had the rights to publish.
The rest of the story is about market timing. My vision was to build a website. Before September of 2009, I had never heard of an eBook in the modern sense. That is when a gentleman convinced me that eBooks were the way to go (just prior to the Lord's promise to publish). What is amazing is that in October of 2009, Amazon released their new PC version of the Kindle. This made it possible for anyone with a computer to read an eBook. The other amazing thing is that the eBook market shifted that year. In February of 2009, Amazon was selling less than 10% eBooks and more than 90% paper books. By May of 2009 they were selling 35% eBooks. And by Christmas Amazon was selling more than 50% eBooks!
Even the delays in getting approval and contract negotiations were necessary. First, my wife and I had to have a work done in us, preparing us for what was to come. Second, the technology necessary for a vital part of the eBook, the search mechanism, was not in place until July, 2010. Third, Amazon's price structure, which made profitability possible, was not implemented until July 2010.
The divine imprint on this project spans 20 years. Only God could orchestrate the culmination of so many events at one time: The growth of the eBook market, the skills of the developer, the inward preparation, the product's completion, technology's advancement and readiness, the NIV approval process, the profitable contract, and individuals encouraging us to make right decisions.
God saw all this in His plan before the foundation of the world was created. He ordained this for the last days, just prior to the return of His son Jesus Christ. According to Jeremiah 29:11 God has a plan for you as well, if you will receive it by faith:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Swanson. THE PLAN BIBLE is a tradmark of Jeff Swanson. All rights reserved.
Video production and site design: ©2010 BookBrander.com.