Randolph McMann for Whitecaps Media: So, first things first: why are you called "one of the book's compilers," rather than "one of the book's authors"?
Kit Sublett: Well, because the book is made up primarily of verses from the Bible, and Ding and I didn't write that -- God did!
Fair enough. You mentioned "Ding." Is that John Dingman?
Yes. Only his mother and his wife call him John.
And what about you? Does anyone call you by your real name?
No. Not even my mom - she and my dad gave me the nickname Kit even before I was born. I've never gone by anything else.
Well let's get to the book. How would you describe it?
It's a great little resource for people to have. It's a topical verse book, which means that it has dozens of topics (I believe the actual number of topics is 43) and there are several verses printed out on each topic - basically the ones that Ding and I felt best captured what the Bible has to say about that subject.
How did the idea come about?
I was given a topical verse book back when I was about 13 years old. It was very helpful to me. I was already reading the Bible by that time in my life, but it was nice to have something that told me right where the answers were that I was looking for. It gave me a real appreciation for Scripture and how practical it is.
How did you chose the topics?
That was a collaborative effort between Ding and me. I had a list I had been working on for a while and ran it by him. He added some things. During the compilation process I took a few things out. Neither of us wanted the book to be too long. It's not an exhaustive, authoritative, scholarly book - it's just for the ordinary student of the Bible.
You mentioned the compilation process. How did that work?
I would send Ding two or three topics at a time. During his off-time from his Young Life duties he would put together a list of verses that he thought fit. He would send those to me and I would add to them or take a few verses out. Then I put the verses on each particular topic in an order that I thought flowed.
Working around Ding's busy schedule made it take longer than either of us anticipated. He works about 150 hours a week for Young Life!
Why the English Standard Version (ESV) ? Why not the more-popular New International Version (NIV)?
We would have been pleased to have it in the NIV and sought permission from both the NIV people and the ESV people. I assumed they would both give us permission and we would have to chose between the two. I was praying over that when I got word from Zondervan - they have the rights to the NIV - that we were denied permission, no specific reason given that I recall. So that prayer got answered conclusively!
I am thrilled that it's in the English Standard Version. I use the ESV personally and I have found it to be very reliable, very accurate, and beautiful. One of the side benefits for me is that more people will be introduced to the ESV through our little book.
Good luck with it. I'm sure lots of people will benefit from it.
That's our hope. I really do pray, as we say in the afterword, that people will be pointed to Christ through it and that they will fall in love with God's Word as Ding and I both have.
Kit Sublett (left) and John Dingman (right), collaborators on Answers from God's Word.