STEPHEN M. MILLER is an award-winning, bestselling Christian author of easy-reading books about the Bible and Christianity and author of the Casual English Bible® paraphrase.
A former newspaper reporter, Miller has a bachelor’s degree in news journalism from Kent State University and a master’s degree in biblical studies from Nazarene Theological Seminary. He describes himself a journalist who covers the Bible as his beat.
He launched his full-time freelance writing career in 1994, after working as a news reporter and later as an editor of Christian books, magazines, and Bible curriculum for a group of Christian denominations in the Wesleyan theological tradition.
Miller lives in the suburbs of Kansas City with his wife, Linda, a registered nurse. They have two married children who live nearby: Rebecca with her husband Jonathan, and Brad with his wife Jill. And they have four grandchildren.
In the beginning
Miller was born in Oakland, Maryland. He was the first of six children—four boys, two girls—born to Clyde and Virginia Miller.
Steve’s parents grew up a mile apart in coal country near Tunnelton, West Virginia, a deer hunter’s long walk south of Morgantown.
After Steve came along, Clyde went looking for a job that didn’t involve dragging a pick into a dark hole.
He moved the family to Akron, Ohio where he became a tool and die maker, crafting steel parts for machinery.
Virginia didn’t work outside the home until all the kids were in school. Then she took a part-time job as a sales clerk at JC Penney—as much for the clothing discount as for the slight salary.
Steve, at age 15, started working part-time after school at a Sohio service station, pumping gas, changing oil, and fixing flat tires. (Sohio stood for Standard Oil of Ohio.) It was a job he kept into his college years, until the owner died. The salary, which started at 75 cents an hour, paid for his first car. An extreme vehicle. Extremely used. Ford Galaxy, dingy green. The first time he drove it, he didn’t know how to work the manual choke. A kid on a bicycle passed him.
News journalism at Kent State University
In college, Steve knocked out his general courses at the nearby University of Akron. Then he transferred to Kent State University, where he got a bachelor’s degree in news journalism.
For those wondering where he was in 1970 when the Ohio National Guard came to Kent State to quell the Vietnam War protests and ended up killing four students in the parking lot outside the School of Journalism, Steve was a senior in high school.
His mother enrolled at Kent State the same year he did. She got a degree in elementary education, launching her career as a public school teacher. Don’t ask Steve who finished college with a higher grade-point average.
Steve commuted to college; he couldn’t afford to live on campus. He drove the 45 minutes each day to Kent, Ohio. After the owner of the Sohio service station died, Steve found a full-time summer job working in a factory. He ran heated molds that pressed uncured rubber into auto parts. Then he dug out the parts with a brass pick. He sweat through his clothes in the first 10 minutes, and through his boots by 30. At shift’s end, his crust of body salt sculpted him into Lot’s wife’s brother.
When Steve landed a summer internship his senior year, working as a news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune in central Ohio, life was looking up. He lived in a rented trailer and listened to his mouse traps snapping at night. Which wasn’t as tough as listening to the girl next door match her oscillating voice to a record player with an rpm that couldn’t decide which r to pm. But Steve was out of the rubber factory. And into an air-conditioned office.
After graduation, he took a job as a news reporter with the Alliance Review. He worked there a year and a half, covering general news and editing the religion section and the business section. Small paper. Pleasant town.
It was during those months that he decided the Christian publishing world needed a little help from writers and editors who had taken journalism 101. He admits his arrogance.
He moved to Kansas City in 1976 to attend Nazarene Theological Seminary. The seminary offered no programs for Christian journalists. The options were: preacher, Christian education minister, or missionary. Steve wanted none of the above. All he wanted was an education in the Bible and theology. He took the two-year Christian education program, and concentrated his electives in biblical literature and theology.
He worked at Nazarene Church Headquarters as a magazine, book, and curriculum editor for about a dozen years, receiving the top editing award from the Evangelical Press Association. It was the award of excellence for the magazine he edited, Illustrated Bible Life.
That same year, in 1994, Steve resigned from Nazarene Headquarters to begin a fulltime career in freelance writing.
By then, he was already writing part-time for Reader’s Digest Books, helping them with Who’s Who in the Bible—the first in a series of four Bible-related books he helped them write.
As a fulltime freelance writer, Steve covered a wide range of topics for secular and religious publishing companies. From international travel to family matters to health topics for the Mayo Clinic, helping Mayo write 10 books. All the while, he wrote articles and books about the Bible. This was the writing he most enjoyed, and knew best. It became his niche.
His first bestselling book was How to Get Into the Bible, published without the help of an agent. The lousy deal he let himself get talked into convinced him that good agents are worth the 15 percent they charge.
Steve teamed up with Robert V. Huber, a former Reader’s Digest editor, to write The Bible: A History, for Lion Publishing of England. The book won the non-fiction book of the year award in 2004 from England’s Christian broadcasting media. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages, including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.
Steve’s next award-winner, which turned out to be a bestseller as well, was Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible. It won the 2006 non-fiction book of the year award from Christian retailers. It also spent most of the year on the Christian bestseller list.
This book, illustrated with color pictures and written in a magazine style laced in humor, convinced the publisher there was a market for easy-reading Bible reference books.
Best Christian nonfiction book in United States: Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible (Awarding organization: Christian Retailing; the Retailer’s Choice Award)
Best Christian nonfiction book in England: The Bible—A History (Awarding organization: Christian Broadcasting Council)
Award of Excellence: Illustrated Bible Life magazine (Awarding organization: Evangelical Press Association; top award in magazine editing)
Gold Medallion Finalist: How to Get into the Bible (Awarding organization: Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association; one of top 5 Bible study books of the year)
Gold Book Award: Complete Guide to the Bible (Awarding organization: Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association; sales over half a million)
• Eyewitness to Crucifixion, 2020
• Visual Walk Through Genesis, Harvest House, 2016
• The One-Stop History of the Bible, Lion, 2016
• A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible, Harvest House, 2015
• Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible, Harvest House, 2014
• Complete Bible Handbook, Barbour, 2014
• 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible, Bethany House, 2014
• Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Barbour, 2013
• Complete Guide to the Bible – Student Edition, Barbour, 2013
• Understanding Jesus: A Guide to His Life and Times, Barbour, 2013
• Bible Snapshots, Barbour, 2012
• Who’s Who & Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, Barbour, 2012
• How to Live in the Moment, Amazon Kindle, 2012
• Complete Visual Bible, Barbour, 2011
• Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy, Barbour, 2010 (Revised 2013, Spanish 2014)
• Complete Guide to the Bible, Barbour, 2008 (Spanish edition 2013)
• Incredible Mysteries of the Bible, Zondervan, 2008
• Student’s Guide to the Bible, Barbour, 2008
• Everyday Understanding, Thomas Nelson, 2007
• Everyday Relevance, Thomas Nelson, 2007
• User’s Guide to the Bible, Lion, 2007
• Who’s Who & Where’s Where in the Bible for Kids, Barbour, 2006
• Big Dummies of the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 2005 (Spanish 2005)
• Who’s Who & Where’s Where in the Bible, Barbour, 2004
• The Bible: A History, Lion, 2004
• How to Get the Bible into My Life, Thomas Nelson, 2002
• Extreme Journey, Thomas Nelson, 2001
• Present Moments: Cherishing Everyday Experiences, Vine Books, 1999
• How to Get into the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1998 (Spanish) ¬
• Complete Guide to the Bible, Reader’s Digest, 1998 – Principle contributing writer, associate editor
• Illustrated Dictionary of Bible Life and Times, Reader’s Digest, 1997, contributing writer
• The Bible Through the Ages, Reader’s Digest, 1996, contributing writer
• Who’s Who in the Bible, Reader’s Digest, 1994, contributing writer
Casual English Bible®
Welcome to the Casual English Bible.
First thing: It’s a work in progress, a beta edition, still unedited. For more background, see FAQ.
Casual English Bible is a paraphrase written the way we talk today, in everyday English.
As I’m working on it, struggling over how to put ancient ideas into today’s ever-changing language, there’s one group of readers I target more than any other: People who don’t read the Bible.
I try to write what they can’t resist reading.
Casual English Bible started as an experiment in my own private Bible study. I was writing a book about Genesis for a Christian publishing company. And I thought it would help me understand the book of Genesis better if I paraphrased all 50 chapters of Genesis as a personal Bible study project.
Oh my goodness. I loved doing it.
I learned stuff about the Bible and life in Bible times that I never knew—and I’ve got a seminary degree followed by over 40 years of writing and editing Bible background books and magazines and Bible study curriculum.
Paraphrasing the Bible into casual English was like no Bible study I had ever imagined. I got so excited that I tried to get my Bible study group to paraphrase a few verses on Sunday morning.
They didn’t like it so much. Maybe it’s a writer thing.
After paraphrasing Genesis, I jumped into the New Testament Gospel of Luke and then to Luke’s sequel, the book of Acts.
Since then I’ve worked my way through the New Testament on my own time, at my own expense. I don’t have a sugar daddy or a sugar momma supporting this work. But I’m going to keep at, and I’ll keep making the online paraphrase free for everyone to read.
I hope you find the Casual English Bible engaging, enjoyable, and hard to put down.
It’s all of that to me as I work on the paraphrase one word at a time.
Leader’s guides & atlases
I’ve decided to create a leader’s guide along with an atlas of high-definition maps for each book of the Bible that I paraphrase.
Each set will be available as a PDF download for $4. You get both the leader’s guide and atlas for $4.
Most Old Testament guides will come later, once I finish the paraphrase. But I’ll keep adding the maps to each Old Testament book as I progress.
Here’s the link to all the sets available: Casual English Bible Leader’s Guides & Atlases.