Bible Top Tens: 40 Fun and Intriguing Lists to Inspire

Delightful book of lists brings the Bible to life

HUNTINGTON, Indiana, April 13, 2012 – In her new book, Bible Top Tens: 40 Fun and Intriguing Lists to Inspire and Inform (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012, 160 pp), Scripture-enthusiast Mary Elizabeth Sperry organizes Bible topics and people into multiple lists intended to both enchant and instruct.

“This book is intended to help people build their knowledge of Scripture,” stated Sperry, who works in communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Lists can serve as a memory aid or provide ideas for further reading and study.”

Readers will be fascinated by lists of the top ten holy women with attitude, sibling rivalries, villains, battles, angels, underdogs, journeys, challenges, promises and even animals. Each list contains relevant insights and inspiration for today. The format of the book makes it easy to read about topics of particular interest to the reader. Sperry: “Feel free to skip around, following your interests.”

Sperry points out that we can relate to and learn from many Biblical people and situations. “Identifying with a real person in Bible history gives you a companion on your own faith journey,” says Sperry, “and this clears a path into Scripture which you can learn from.”

Sperry likewise acknowledges God’s sense of humor throughout the Bible. “Look what happened to Jonah,” she says. “He tries to run away from what God asks him to do, and ends up swallowed by a big fish and spit out where he was trying to avoid going. Throughout the story, you can watch God playing with him and trying to get through … and it makes you laugh.”

Sperry’s list of the top ten biblical mothers – who exemplify tireless, sacrificial love – can inspire today’s moms. Some mothers in the Bible pushed too hard for their children’s success, others endured infertility, early loss of children, single parenthood, premature widowhood, ill children, even separation due to a child’s religious vocation – as did the Mother of Christ, among others.

The Bible also puts forth resounding models for today’s young people.

Bible Top Tens’ list of Biblical youths can inspire today’s generation to live their faith well. It spotlights adolescents and young adults who fearlessly stood up for Christ in word and deed, followed reliable moral teachers, sacrificed their choicest goods, talents and time, opted for gifts of lasting value, and embraced God’s plan for their lives – even when it was much different from their own. In a self-absorbed modern age, these mentors stand stoically against the tide and inspire strength and character.

And who doesn’t struggle with forgiveness – whether extending it or humbly asking for it?

“Not only is the Bible bursting with examples of God’s forgiveness toward his people, but of human mercy,” says Sperry. This topic encompasses several of the book’s top-ten lists – sibling rivals, relationships saved through love, friendships repaired through renewed faith and understanding, even peacemakers who bridged differences and prompted reconciliation.

Endorsements for Bible Top Tens include:

  • Stephen J. Binz (biblical scholar and author of Lectio Divina Bible Study): “This is a unique and delightful way to explore the people, places and sayings of the Bible – a fascinating tour of Scripture.”
  • Dr. Mary Healy (Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary): “Sperry’s book of Bible Top Tens is entertaining, educational, through-provoking, and often surprising. A great tool for catechists, youth ministers, parents, and all Catholics who aspire to become biblically literate and have fun while doing so!”


Title: Bible Top Tens: 40 Fun and Intriguing Lists to Inspire and Inform
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Author: Mary Elizabeth Sperry
Release Date: March 2012
Length: 159 Pages, Paperback
Price: $13.95
ISBN: 978-1-61278-585-1
Order Available in print and e-book:

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Interview Questions

Mary Elizabeth Sperry
Bible Top Tens: 40 Fun and Inspiring Lists to Inspire and Inform

1.This is a very novel idea for a book on Scripture – fun lists of top tens.What led you to write it?

2.Please talk briefly about how you were introduced to your Catholic faith, and then to the Bible.

3.What version(s) of the Bible should Catholics be using?

4.How has your love of Scripture deepened over the years?

5.How is the Catholic Mass based on Scripture?

6.And so, why is an understanding of Scripture really essential to a person’s faith?

7.Often God meets people “where they are”, it is said – and that’s how they first become aware of Him and yearn to know Him more.How does delving into a Biblical figure or event catalyze this?

8.You have said that the Bible even gives us a glimpse of God’s sense of humor. Can you give examples of that?

9.So, how would a person use your book to get insight into his own life or situation?

About the Author

Mary Elizabeth Sperry

Mary Elizabeth Sperry is the Associate Director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Permissions and New American Bible (NAB) Utilization at USCCB Publishing. She has worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops since 1994, in the Secretariat for the Liturgy, USCCB Publishing, and the Department of Communications.

She is the author of the newly released Bible Top Tens: 40 Fun and Intriguing Lists to Inspire and Inform (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012) and soon-to-be-released Ten: How the Commandments Can Change Your Life (Franciscan Media, 2012).

Her articles have appeared in The Liguorian, Emmanuel, Today’s Parish Minister and other publications.She has spoken in the dioceses of Dallas, Harrisburg, and Orange, and has given talks and retreats in numerous parishes.She has been interviewed about the Bible on National Public Radio, CBS Radio, NBC News, Catholic Community of Faith, Relevant Radio Network’s “Drew Mariani Show,” and Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Seize the Day” show.

She holds a master’s degree in liturgical studies from the Catholic University of America and a master’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned three undergraduate degrees from Penn State University, in foreign service and international politics, economics, and Russian language and literature.

Sperry resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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