Author: Matt Sherro

Outline of 1 Thessalonians

Outline of 1 Thessalonians

I. Paul gives thanks for the Thessalonians (1:1-50)

II. Paul’s personal defense (2:1-16)

III. Events after leaving Thessalonica (2:17-3:13)

IV. Exhortation to godly living (4:1-12)

V. The Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus (4:13-5:11)

VI. Final admonition (5:12-28)

New Testament Overview*

New Testament Overview*

Matthew: Written to a Jewish audience, this Gospel links the Old and New Testaments. It presents Jesus as the Messiah and King promised in the Old Testament. Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ authority and power.

Mark: Mark probably had pragmatic Roman readers in mind. His Gospel stresses action and gives a straightforward, blow-by-blow account of Jesus’ work on earth.

Luke: A doctor, Luke was also a fine writer. His Gospel provides many details of human interest, especially in Jesus’ treatment of the poor and needy. A joyful tone characterizes Luke’s book.

John: John has a different, more reflective style than the other Gospels. Its author selected seven signs that pointed to Jesus as the Son of God and wove together everything else to underscore that point.

Acts: Acts tells what happened to Jesus’ followers after he left them. Peter and Paul soon emerged as leaders of the rapidly spreading church.

Romans: Written for a sophisticated audience, Romans sets forth theology in a logical, organized form.

1 Corinthians: A very practical book, 1 Corinthians takes up the problems of a tumultuous church in Corinth: marriage, factions, immorality, public worship and lawsuits.

2 Corinthians: Paul wrote this follow-up letter to defend himself against a rebellion led by certain false apostles.

Galatians: A short version of the message of Romans, this book addresses legalism. It shows how Christ came to bring freedom, not bondage to a set of laws.

Ephesians: Although written in jail, this letter is Paul’s most optimistic and encouraging. It tells of the advantages a believer has in Christ.

Philippians: The church at Philippi ranked among Paul’s favorites. This friendly letter stresses that joy can be found in any situation.

Colossians: Written to oppose certain cults, Colossians tells how faith in Christ is complete. Nothing needs to be added to what Christ did.

1 Thessalonians: Composed early in Paul’s ministry, this letter gives a capsule history of one church, as well as Paul’s direct advice about specific problems.

2 Thessalonians: Stronger in tone than his first letter to the Thessalonians, the sequel goes over the same topics, especially the church’s questions about Christ’s second coming.

1 Timothy: As Paul neared the end of his life, he chose young men such as Timothy to carry on his work. His two letters to Timothy form a leadership manual for a young pastor.

2 Timothy: Written just before Paul’s death, 2 Timothy offers Paul’s final words to his young assistant.

Titus: Titus was left in Crete, a notoriously difficult place to nurture a church. Paul’s letter gave practical advice on how to go about it.

Philemon: Paul urged Philemon, owner of a runaway slave, Onesimus, to forgive his slave and accept him back as a brother in Christ.

Hebrews: No one knows who wrote Hebrews, but it probably first went to Christians in danger of slipping back into their old, rule-bound religion. It interprets the Old Testament, explaining many Jewish practices as symbols that prepared the way for Christ.

James: James, a man of action, emphasized the right kind of behavior for a believer. Someone who calls himself or herself a Christian ought to act like it, James believed, and his letter spells out the specifics.

1 Peter: Early Christians often met violent opposition, and Peter’s letter comforted and encouraged Christians who were being persecuted for their faith.

2 Peter: In contrast to Peter’s first letter, this one focused on problems that sprang up from the inside. It warns against false teachers.

1 John: John could fill simple words, such as light, love and life, with deep meaning, and in this letter he elegantly explains basic truths about the Christian life.

2 John: Warning against false teachers, John counseled churches on how to respond to them.

3 John: Balancing 2 John, this companion letter mentions the need to be hospitable to true teachers.

Jude: Jude gave a brief but fiery exposé of heretics.

Revelation: A book of visions and symbols, Revelation is the only New Testament book that concentrates on prophecy. It completes the story, begun in Genesis, of the cosmic battle between good and evil being waged on earth. It ends with a picture of a new heaven and new earth.

 

*This overview is from

The NRSV Student Bible

c.1994, 1996 by Zondervan

used by permission

Old Testament Overview*

Old Testament Overview*

Genesis: The book of beginnings describes creation, the first rebellions against God and God’s choosing of Abraham and his offspring.

Exodus: God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and led them to the desert of Sinai. There he gave Moses the laws to govern the new nation.

Leviticus: God set up laws for the Israelites, mostly regarding holiness and worship.

Numbers: Because of their rebellion and disobedience, the Israelites had to wander in a wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land.

Deuteronomy: Just before his death, Moses made three emotional farewell speeches, recapping history and warning the Israelites against further mistakes.

Joshua: After Moses’ death, Joshua commanded the armies that conquered much of the territory in the promised land.

Judges: The new nation fell into a series of dismal failures. God raised up leaders called “judges.”

Ruth: This story of love and loyalty between two widows shines out brightly in an otherwise dark period.

I Samuel: Samuel became a transition leader between the time of the judges and that of the kings. He appointed lsrael’s first king, Saul. After his own failure, Saul tried violently to prevent God’s king-elect, David, from taking the throne.

2 Samuel: David, a man after God’s own heart, brought the nation together. But after committing adultery and murder, he was haunted by family and national crises.

1 Kings: Solomon succeeded David, with mixed success. At his death, a civil war tore apart the nation. Successive kings were mostly bad, and the prophet Elijah had dramatic confrontations with King Ahab.

2 Kings: This book continues the record of the rulers of the divided kingdom. None of the northern kings followed God consistently, and so Israel was finally destroyed by an invader. The southern kingdom, Judah, lasted much longer, but finally Babylon conquered Judah and deported its citizens.

1 Chronicles: The book opens with the most complete genealogical record in the Bible, then adds many incidents from the life of David (often the same as those in 2 Samuel).

2 Chronicles: Often paralleling the books of Kings, this book records the history of the rulers of Judah, emphasizing the good kings.

Ezra: After being held captive in Babylon for decades, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland. Ezra, a priest, emerged from one of the first waves of refugees.

Nehemiah: Nehemiah returned from the Babylonian captivity after the temple had been rebuilt. He concentrated on restoring the protective wall around Jerusalem and joined Ezra in leading a religious revival.

Esther: This story is set among captive Jews in Persia. A courageous Jewish queen foiled a plan to exterminate her people.

Job: The most godly man of his day suffers the greatest personal tragedy. The entire book deals with the question “Why?”

Psalms: These prayers and hymns cover the full range of human emotion; together, they represent a personal journal of how to relate to God. Some were also used in public worship services.

Proverbs: The proverbs offer advice on every imaginable area of life. The style of wise living described here leads to a fulfilled life.

Ecclesiastes: A life without God, “under the sun,” leads to meaninglessness and despair, says the Teacher in a strikingly modern book.

Song of Songs: This beautiful poem celebrates romantic and physical love.

Isaiah: The most eloquent of the prophets, Isaiah analyzed the failures of all the nations around him and pointed to a future Messiah who would bring peace.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah led an emotionally tortured life, yet held to his stern message. He spoke to Judah in the last decades before Babylon destroyed the nation.

Lamentations: All Jeremiah’s warnings about Jerusalem came true, and Lamentations records five poems of sorrow for the fallen city.

Ezekiel: Ezekiel spoke to the Jews who were captive in Babylon. He often used dramatic stories and enacted parables to make his points.

Daniel: A captive in Babylon, Daniel rose to the office of prime minister. Despite intense political pressure, he lived a model life of integrity and left highly symbolic prophecies about the future.

Hosea: By marrying a loose-living wife, Hosea lived out his message: that Israel had committed spiritual adultery against God.

Joel: Beginning with a recent catastrophe in Judah (a locust plague), Joel foretold God’s judgment on Judah.

Amos: A country boy, Amos preached to Israel at the height of its prosperity. His grim warnings focused on materialism.

Obadiah: Obadiah warned Edom, a nation bordering Judah.

Jonah: Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh and found Israel’s enemies responsive to God’s message.

Micah: Micah exposed corruption in every level of society, but closed with a promise of forgiveness and restoration.

Nahum: Long after Jonah had stirred Nineveh to repentance, Nahum foretold the mighty city’s total destruction.

Habakkuk: Habakkuk addressed his book to God, not people. In a frank dialogue with God, he discussed problems of suffering and injustice.

Zephaniah: Zephaniah focused on the coming day of the Lord, which would purge Judah, resulting in a remnant used to bless the entire world.

Haggai: After returning from the Babylonian captivity, the Jews began rebuilding the temple of God. But before long they set aside that task to work on their own homes. Haggai reminded them to put God first.

Zechariah: Writing around the same time as Haggai, Zechariah also urged the Jews to work on the temple. He used a more uplifting approach, describing how the temple would point to the coming Messiah.

Malachi: The last Old Testament prophet, Malachi faced a nation that had grown indifferent. He sought to stir the people from apathy.

 

*This overview is from

The NRSV Student Bible

c.1994, 1996 by Zondervan

used by permission

Outline of Ephesians

Outline of Ephesians

I. The plan of God and the believer’s salvation (1:1-2:22)

II. The mystery of the Gospel (3:1-22)

III. The Christian life in the world (4:1-5:21)

IV. Christian relationships (5:22-6:9)

V. The Christian’s battle with evil (6:10-24)

THOMAS NELSON PREMIER COLLECTION GIANT PRINT KJV BIBLE REVIEW

THOMAS NELSON PREMIER COLLECTION GIANT PRINT KJV BIBLE REVIEW

 

Disclosure: This Bible was acquired at my own expense. Thomas Nelson did not solicit this review.

I have had terrible trouble finding a KJV for my pulpit but I believe Thomas Nelson has solved that problem for me. Read on to find out why… 

Product Description from Thomas Nelson

The Premier Edition of Thomas Nelson’s KJV Giant Print Reference Bible combines fine craftsmanship with the depth of a complete cross-reference system. Typeset in Thomas Nelson’s KJV Comfort Print. in an extra-large size, you will enjoy a smooth and easy reading experience in a beautiful King James Bible designed to last. Featuring a supple goatskin leather cover, durable edge-lined binding, premium Bible paper, beautiful art gilding, and four ribbon markers, this special edition is a treasure for a lifetime in God’s Word.

Features include:

  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Fine goatskin cover
  • Presentation page
  • Black-letter text
  • 12-point type
  • Concordance

 Initial Impression:

Previously, I reviewed the Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thin-line and I was quite impressed. That being said, the Premier Collection KJV Giant Print Reference Bible (hereafter, Premier KJV) takes that impressiveness up a notch. It is the best KJV that is available at this price point, $149.99, and I would dare to go so far as to say that the Cambridge Turquoise and Concord Reference Bibles, the definitive KJV reference Bibles, have met their match.

Silly as it may sound, There is something special about holding a high quality KJV in your hands. To me, at least, it feels different, almost more reverent.

Font:

The font is the stand out feature of the Premier KJV. It was designed by the preeminent font type foundry, 2K/Denmark. As part of the Harper Collins Family, Nelson calls this font, Comfort Print and it is aptly named as you can easily spend hours with this text and not have any eye fatigue.

A 12-point font size is what we are given here; it is just right for use in the pulpit or the classroom. I have tried a number of different Bibles trying to get the right font size and typeface for my preaching and have not had any success, until this Bible. What we are given, here, is absolutely perfect.

When I stand before the saints to open the word, the last thing I want is a Bible that I struggle to see since I don’t always hold it up close to my face when I read the text. As I mentioned earlier, I have tried over a dozen different KJV Bibles in my pulpit and this is the one that works the best. 12-poin hits the sweet spot for text size. Previously, I had been using a specialty KJV with a 13.5-point font but it was a little cumbersome in the pulpit.

Layout, Coloration, References

The Premier KJV is laid out in a double column verse by verse format with center-column references. This is the format that I have used for most of my ministry career and so it is quite familiar to me. It will sound cliche but this is the way I expect a Bible to look. I have used this format for over 20 years and I find to to be the most practical.

Verse numbers, Chapter Headings, Page Numbers, and the 1st letter of each chapter is in a cranberry red. This is a crisp rich red that really stands out on the page.

Unlike other Bibles, the center column for the references is not broken off by a harsh black line. It makes the page more pleasing to the eyes. Nelson offers around 70,000 cross-references.

Cover, Ribbons and Binding:

The Premier Collection all have goatskin covers and a sewn binding. The binding is tighter than on the NIV so it feels less likely to fall out of my hand. It also has a better feel to my finger tips; I think the leather is a little thicker but it is still edge-lined. The leather smell, which I always look for, is not as pronounced as I would have expected but it is there and is still intoxicating.  There are three silk ribbons, 3/8″ wide to use for marking your readings.

There is a signature, in Genesis, where the sewing is quite clear. At first this was a concern to me but after speaking with some of the folks at Thomas Nelson, I am not worried about it any more. This particular signature is sewn in such a manner as to help the book, itself, lay flat when opened to Genesis. This was quite a smart play on Nelson’s part as it can be very frustrating to try to preach a text in Genesis if the Bible will not stay open.

Paper

Even though I know they use the same paper, I prefer this one over the Premier NIV. It seems to be more opaque and there is less of a shine in the sunlight. I would be more inclined to mark in this vs the Premier NIV, though I would only use a ball-point pen or a gel highlighter for marking.

The paper is 36 GSM European Bible Paper and it is similar to what you will find in Cambridge Bibles. Tactile perception on this paper is incredible, almost as if the Bible screams, “hold me. Study me. Preach from me.” I have mentioned in a number of reviews that you really want a Bible that feels comfortable in the hand and this Bible pushes all the right buttons.

As a carry/daily use Bible

The KJV has more girth so I like carrying it better than the Premier NIV. It feels more substantial. As expected it fits quite comfortably in my laptop bag.

I don’t think there is anything more recognizable than the King James Bible and this Bible is no exception. Several times, people have seen it on my desk at my secular job and it has sparked conversations about the Bible, why I carry it, and given opportunities to share the Gospel.

Final Thoughts

You may have noticed that I have not covered every feature of this Bible but I have covered the ones that are important to a buying decision. At $149.99, the Premier KJV puts a premium reference Bible within reach of many more Christians than Cambridge, Allan, or Schuyler Bibles. It is well worth your money.

 

Why more than one translation?

Why more than one translation?

A number of observers have commented on, or rather asked about, our use of more than one translation on Sunday mornings, specifically, Why do I read from the KJV first and then the NLT or NIV? I would like to offer some understanding and, hopefully, wisdom on this matter…

I use two translations, primarily, to give us a well-rounded sense of the text for the morning. Many of you, my beloved, have English as a 2nd or 3rd language and so I use NLT and NIV because they are very easy to understand and, generally, are the most readily available translations outside the United States. Indeed, in Asia, the NIV and NLT are in a statistical tie for the dominant English translation of the Bible.

As for the KJV, I use it because it has stood the test of time, and I am not only referencing the fact that it has been the Bible of the English speaking world for over 400 years. 31 years ago, at the age of 5, I learned to read and my mother and grandmother taught me to read using phonics and the King James Bible. While it has not always been my main Bible, there has never been a point in my time as a disciple when I have not owned a King James Bible. It is familiar, an old friend if you will, who always leads me before the Throne of Grace. There are times when I struggle with depression and it is the KJV Psalms that I turn to for ministering to my soul.

KJV is also the Bible I heard in church for the first 25 years of my Christian life. It is the same for many of our members and for a large swath of Christianity, the KJV is what they envision when they hear the word Bible. It is timeless, beautiful, powerful, a salve for the hurting soul and the very life of our worship.

Lastly, I use 2 translations to minister more effectively to all who come to church. The true Gospel divides, as it should, separating the wheat from the tares and it does so well enough on its own; there is no need to have a particular translation of the Bible alienate someone. Christ, our Great Shepherd knows His sheep and we know well His call. Our desire is, always, to make sure that you hear the call and, ultimately, that is why we use more than one English translation. We  want you to hear the call of our Savior to come to Him and live, regardless of your familiarity with the English Language.

 

Grace to you my beloved.

Pastor Matt

ZONDERVAN PREMIER COLLECTION LARGE PRINT THINLINE REVIEW

ZONDERVAN PREMIER COLLECTION LARGE PRINT THINLINE REVIEW

 

 

Disclosure: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to post positive comments; my opinions are my own.

Crossway, Cambridge University Press, Broadman & Holman, R. L. Allan and Sons, Schuyler, Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins), and now Zondervan (Harper Collins). What do all these publishers have in common? They all publish deluxe/premium Bibles in various English versions and at varying ranges of the pricing spectrum. The closest in materials and price point to the Harper Collins Premier Collections are from Crossway and Holman. We will compare the Crossway and Holman editions today as well.

I am reviewing the Large Print Thinline NIV and I will compare it to the the Holman CSB Large Print Ultra-thin Reference Bible (LPUT) and the Crossway ESV Large Print Bible.

Product Description from Zondervan

This NIV Premier Collection Bible features a soft, fine goatskin cover and many other quality finishes such as art gilding, edge lining, and three thick ribbon markers. The NIV Premier Collection Bible combines fine craftsmanship with ultimate readability and portability. It features the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print font expertly designed for the New International Version (NIV) text, and delivers a smooth reading experience to complement the most widely read modern-English Bible translation.

 

Features:

  • Hand-bound in a supple goatskin leather cover
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art Gilt page edging, with gilt line and perimeter stitching
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print typeface
  • Three satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Premium European Bible paper, 36 gsm
  • Black-letter text
  • Family record section

 

Price Point-

  • NIV Large Print Thin-line $149.99
  • ESV Large Print in Top Grain Leather $139.99
  • Holman CSB LPUT-$129.99

Cover Material and Binding:

  • NIV: Black Goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Crossway: Black calfskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Holman: Black goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.

Winner: Tie between Zondervan and Crossway.

Among all three, we have the top Bible in its translation and class. Zondervan’s goatskin is quite wonderful. It is smoothly ironed with just the faintest sense of grain. That scent, which only a true book aficionado will love is there; it is intoxicating and it is what I look for most when I open a new Bible. This leather is infinitely more touchable than the Holman and that is part of what sets Zondervan apart; your first sensation when you interact with your Bible is how it feels. It should feel natural in your hand, not too cumbersome, loose but not so floppy that it falls out of your hand if you use it one handed.

When you look at the leather, you will notice tiny variations in the skin and you need to know that this is not a defect. Many times you will see “blemishes” in leather goods and this is a natural result of using real animal skins. I have come to look for these little variations as they make it more unique.

A goatskin leather cover and a sewn binding guarantees your Bible will last for a lifetime, which is exactly what Zondervan guarantees.

Side note: Both Holman and Crossway beat Zondervan with a tighter binding.

 

Font

  • NIV: 11.4-point comfort print font type
  • Crossway: 11.5-point font type.
  • Holman: 9-point font type

Winner: Zondervan

Zondervan uses what it calls a comfort print font that was designed by 2/k Denmark, who also designed the typeface on the Holman and the similarities are obvious when you look at the two Bibles. Zondervan and Crossway give us true large print fonts.

While Crossway offers Zondervan stiff competition, the Comfort Print from Zondervan is, far and away, the easiest font that I have read. Zondervan and 2/k Denmark teamed up to create a font family that is very easy on the eyes and is intentionally designed to minimize eye fatigue.

Paper:

All 3 Bibles use a 36-GSM Bible Paper but this time Holman is the clear winner.

Zondervan’s paper is sufficiently opaque to be easy to read. However, there is a bit of a shine so it can be challenging in the pulpit. I have a tendency to be mildly peripatetic and so there was not really a major issue with the shine.

The remainder of the review will focus exclusively on the Zondervan and my thoughts…

 

Ribbons:

Zondervan gives 3 satin ribbons- Navy blue, light blue, and standard blue. The color variation is an offset to the blue under silver art gilding and is another feature designed to make the Bible easy on the eyes.

Layout:

We have a double column paragraph format that is text only. For classroom teaching, this is an ideal layout. When you are standing before your learners and bringing the Word, you do not want any distractions. Some of my colleagues prefer to preach from a single column format but I just cannot do it. I have taught from a double column for so long that I can’t function without that layout.

As a pastor’s Bible:

The Large Print Thin-line NIV is very portable and fits nicely into my laptop bag. It is very easy to use one handed. Because of its portability, it went with me for one-on-one discipleship, on a hospital visit, and into the pulpit. Overall, I found it to be very practical. If I had one complaint it would be that the sewing is loose enough that the Bible feels very floppy; I would like to see it sewn a little tighter.

Is anything missing?

That is a tough question to answer. A concordance is definitely left out and I’m not sure why. I would like to see end of verse references and a few lined pages for notes. The absence thereof is not problematic, more of nit picking on my part.

Would I recommend the Large Print Thin-line? Who should buy it?

I do recommend the NIV and so I recommend this by default. As for who should buy this particular Bible, I would primarily recommend this edition for someone who is teaching the Bible on a regular basis and especially for missionaries. In my personal opinion, it is the most practical Bible that Zondervan offers.

Final Thoughts:

Zondervan’s sheer size as a publisher enables them to offer a very high quality Bible at what is a fairly low price point for the premium class. Many Christians only have one Bible and it needs to be a good one; when I say a good Bible, I mean a high quality edition that will easily last 25 years or more.

I am glad to see that the world’s best selling English Bible is available in a format worthy of Sacred Scripture. I am also pleased to see that Zondervan is offering a price point that will be more accessible to many Christians.

 

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