Dr. Sheila Hayford, author of Chapter by Chapter: The Voice of God Study Bible, developed her love for reading and writing very early. “My mum is an educator, and my beloved dad was an attorney with a love of music, poetry, and theater, so I grew up loving the arts,” Hayford says. “Mum read to us, and Dad taught us some of his favorite poems with choreography lessons to accompany the poems.”
Hayford, a retired pediatrician, writer, and philanthropist, began studying the Bible intently in her teenage years. Her passion for facilitating communication with God led her to publish Morning Glory: 365 Devotionals Like No Other! in 2017, followed by Morning Glory 2. In Chapter by Chapter—out now from What a Word Publishing and Media Group—Hayford expands on her previous devotionals by offering clear, comprehensive, and edifying commentary on scripture. The book enhances the experience of Bible study by placing biblical passages in a broader context and breaking down complex language and ideas into graspable concepts. Readers can follow along in whatever capacity best suits their needs.
“Chapter by Chapter: The Voice of God Study Bible stands apart from the devotionals in that you study the Bible at your own pace,” Hayford says. “You do not have to complete the Bible in a year; you take your time with God and give God time to speak with you.” Chapter by Chapter provides an approachable, engaging format, with a bright, colorful cover, illustrations, and pages for readers to integrate their own reflections on scripture.
Particularly during challenging times, Hayford believes that the Bible is an essential resource for survival and inspiration. The God Hayford knows is one of kindness, benevolence, and beauty—and she wants others to know this God as well. “Chapter by Chapter: The Voice of God Study Bible reveals God as a loving God,” she says, “who greatly desires a loving and authentic relationship with each individual.”
In Chapter by Chapter, figures from scripture—for example, Moses, whose story Hayford believes to be of timeless relevance and value—serve as models of inspiration for those suffering from pain or struggling with life. “Moses had huge problems in his life; he was a murderer and a fugitive,” she says. “And yet Moses dared to believe God’s word and have an authentic relationship with God and found his calling to lead a whole nation out of bondage.”
Hayford’s hope is that, with its welcoming and encouraging presentation, Chapter by Chapter will galvanize readers to practice kindness within their own communities. “So as God ministers to us, God will also give us the grace to help others,” she says. “We must also understand that as we seek God for answers to our questions, God also asks questions of us. Moses not only wanted the presence of God. Moses also wanted one-on-one time with God.”
Chapter by Chapter provides readers with that same opportunity to develop a unique, wholly personal connection with God, as well as a chance for atonement and honest reflection. “We learn that intimacy with God is dependent on the level at which the individual or group has chosen to interact with God,” Hayford says. “So, when we come to God, God speaks to us and gives us clarification, guidance, promises, healing, wholeness in our minds and soul and empowers us to live victoriously and purposefully.”