Category: Resources and Reviews

ESV Large Print Bible Review

ESV Large Print Bible Review

 

One of the top 4 English Bible Translations that I use is the English Standard Version. It is no secret that I love Crossway’s Bibles and when the chance to review a large print ESV Bible came up, I had to jump on it.

Crossway sent me the top grain leather edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own. Also, some of the pictures were taken outdoors to capture this exquisite Bible in natural light.

 

A little from the publisher to get us started…

The ESV Large Print Bible features generous 11.5-point type and clear black letter text for easier reading and reference. A true large print edition, it includes an extensive concordance and helpful full-color maps. Readers of all ages will find it ideal for daily reading and study.

  • Size: 6.375″ x 9.25″
  • 11.5-pt type
  • 1,312 pages
  • Black letter text
  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • Concordance with nearly 12,000 references
  • Ribbon marker
  • Presentation pages
  • Full-color maps in back
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Lifetime quality guarantee

The Translation

ESV is an essentially literal translation, meaning it falls on the word-for-word or form based end of the translation spectrum. It is as accurate as NASB but not as rigid, I have found that is sounds very liturgical and the rhythm and cadence lends to reading aloud. It is ideal for congregational reading as well as personal study.

The Cover

This is top grain leather and we need to stop and ask the question, “What is top grain leather?” Buffalo Jackson trading company states “Top grain leather is the second highest grade of leather, and has the outermost layer of the hide removed. This difference makes the leather thinner and more workable for the manufacturer, which is reflected in the price compared to full grain leather.”

Based on the feel and smell, this top grain leather is almost certainly a calfskin. The grain is somewhat pronounced but I lack an adjective to describe the softness of the cover and the delight it brings to the touch. I own a couple goatskin, full grain leather Bibles that are not this delightful to have in my hands. I swear that Crossway does something to the leather to make you want to open your Bible over and over again. The best way I can describe the leather is to say that it is limp and supple and an absolute delight to touch.

Binding

Crossway is well known for their sewn Bibles, so well known, in fact, that they come with a lifetime guarantee. This particular Bible has what I describe as medium tightness. Some Bibles like R. L. Allan’s are very loose and tend to feel like they might fall apart at any second while other Bibles like Cambridge Bibles are very tight and even though they lay flat are not as loose in the hand. The ESV Large Print Bible is the perfect blend, loose enough to be comfortable for one handed use yet tight enough to not leave you wondering if it will fall apart.

Paper, Font, and Layout

The font is spectacular, 11.5-point; it is a true large print, unlike many who deem a 9-point font to be a large print. This size incredibly easy to read. Crossway uses fonts in the Lexicon Family which are somewhat bold, with deep rich blacks. This is not a red letter edition and you may have mixed feelings about that but I do not find them useful on my podium when I am trying to teach.

36 GSM Thinopaque paper is what Crossway uses for paper. This is an ideal choice with the double column paragraph format that we are treated to here. The paper is thin enough to keep the Bible from being cumbersome yet still thick enough that you can mark in the Bible without bleed through and while we are on that subject, this is a line matched Bible and there is no show through of the text.

As a Ministry Bible

During my review period, the ESV Large Print Bible came with me into my secular employment arena alongside my NLT. For one on one ministry it cannot be beat. The overall size fits on almost any desk easily. On the lectern, it was everything I wanted- large font, easy to read, portable; I could not ask for more.

Overall Thoughts

It is hard for Crossway to outdo itself and I doubt that any other publisher could out perform Crossway. The quality offered by Crossway is unmatched anywhere. I highly recommend their Bibles to anyone.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Marking in Your Bible/In-Depth Study

A Beginner’s Guide to Marking in Your Bible/In-Depth Study

 

As a pastor, I am asked, quite often, for advice on how to mark in a Bible. Finally, after answering more than 2 dozen times, I decided to share this advice with all of you, my beloved readers.

You will need:

  • A new, unmarked Bible (As it happens, the writing of this article coincides with my beginning to mark in a new ESV Large Print Bible in top grain leather.) There are a number of excellent choices available, but I recommend avoiding the ones with artwork already in the margins; you want your markings to be your own.
  • A set of marking tools (For highlighting, I recommend Bible Hi-Glider from GT Luscombe, for underlining, I recommend Prang colored pencils, and for your annotations, I recommend Pilot Brand Better Retractable Ball Point Pen in fine point). You can use any or all of the three.
  • A plan for how you will study (Chapter and Verse, Topical, Systematic Theology)
  • A journal (Moleskine is nice as is Picadilly Essential Notebook)
  • A Bible Dictionary. a Concordance, and a single volume commentary (I recommend either the MacArthur Bible Commentary (Single Volume) or the Wycliff Bible Commentary. (Warren Wiersbe has an excellent 2-volume set if you like)

 

Before you begin, Pray. You want to be sure that you are being guided by the Holy Spirit. Ensure that you have decided on if/how you will color code before your first session. Will you simply highlight verses you want to commit to memory (ideal for 1st time students of the Bible) or will you have a more detailed approach.

 

Here is my approach for this new Bible:

I will be using the GT Luscombe Hi-Gliders. There are 6 colors and I will be highlighting Six Essentials of Christianity

 

  • Orange = Sin
  • Yellow = Grace
  • Pink = Salvation
  • Green = Fruit of the Spirit
  • Purple = the Kingdom
  • Blue = New Heaven and New Earth

 

Here are the steps I recommend following:

  1. Choose your topic. For our example we will choose sin.
  2. Look up your topic in your concordance and turn to the first passage.
  3. Read the passage the 1st time without making any marks
  4. Read the passage again with your journal handy. Write down any words you are not familiar with and leave room to note definitions. Also make note of any questions that you may have as you are reading.
  5. Read the passage for a third time, this time underlining or highlighting as you go.
  6. Make any marginal notes that will help jog your memory about what you have learned so far.
  7. Consult your commentary for further insight. Read any cross-references you find and mark the passage address (John 1:1) in your journal
  8. Pray for the 2nd time, ensuring that you thank the Holy Spirit for His word and to ask him to illuminate His truth to your mind.

 

Repeat the process as often as you have planned for your study. Some people stretch this process out for a week and others repeat daily. There is no correct or incorrect option; follow the pace best suited to how you learn. A quality study is what we are after, not a quantity of verses studied.

Wesley Study Bible Review (CEB Edition)

Wesley Study Bible Review (CEB Edition)

 

Once in a while you come across a Bible that makes you stop cold in your tracks, you absolutely have to know more about the features that are included with the Bible text. Enter the Wesley Study Bible…(By way of background, I was raised in a Pentecostal Church, Pentecostalism having grown out of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement)

 

Note: This Bible was provided free of charge by Abingdon Press in exchange for an honest review.

 

First published February 1, 2009 the initial release, from Abingdon Press, was an NRSV Bible, without the Deuterocanonical/Apocrypha books. In November 2012, the Wesley Study Bible was republished, this time in the Common English Bibletranslation (also without the Apocrypha).

 

Where did the Wesley Study Bible come from? The Wesley Study Bible was developed by scholars from 11 denominations, in North America, with roots in the Wesleyan/Methodist Movement: The United Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Christian & Missionary Alliance (Pentecostal/charismatic), Christian Methodist Episocpal Church, Church of the Nazarene, Church of God (Anderson, IN also pentecostal/charismatic), Free Methodist Church of North America, The Wesleyan Church, Salvation Army, and the United Church of Canada. The Wesley Study Bible is not just for those in the Wesleyan/Methodist/Pentecostal/Holiness Movements; every Christian can benefit from features that are in this Bible…

 

From the Publisher

“Lead an abundant life, grow as a faithful disciple, and find new avenues to serve. By studying The Wesley Study Bible, readers will share God’s grace and find the good gifts God has for them. As God transforms them through study, they will be inspired to transform the world. Contributors from across the Wesleyan family join together to help others experience God in fresh ways. The Wesley Study Bible highlights the depth of John Wesley’s perspectives on scripture and features accessibly written notes and articles contributed by pastors, theologians, and Bible scholars. Easy-to-understand explanations of core terms encompass the following themes: eternal life, forgiveness, grace, heaven, holiness, justice, and mission.”

 

About the Common English Bible

 

What is the CEB? (From commonenglishbible.com)

The Common English Bible is not simply a revision or update of an existing translation. It is a bold new translation designed to meet the needs of Christians as they work to build a strong and meaningful relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

A key goal of the translation team was to make the Bible accessible to a broad range of people; it’s written at a comfortable level for over half of all English readers. As the translators did their work, reading specialists working with seventy-seven reading groups from more than a dozen denominations review the texts to ensure a smooth and natural reading experience. Easy readability can enhance church worship and participation, and personal Bible study. It also encourages children and youth to discover the Bible for themselves, perhaps for the very first time

I do not care for the fact that the CEB changes Son of Man (a decidedly Messianic Term) to the Human One. I feel this takes away from the deity of Christ and fails to give Him the reverence due.

 

 

Holiness of Heart and Life Articles (for every Christian)

One of the hallmarks of John Wesley’s ministry was his emphasis on practical holiness, essentially being the hands of God in the world. (Please note, I am not talking about works based salvation.)

 

There are approximately 150 side-bar articles on the fruit of your salvation, holiness of heart and life. These offer wisdom and applicable advice on what it looks like. As a pastor once told me, you don’t do works to be holy but because you have been made holy. In these valuable articles you will find tangible and measurable examples of holiness.

 

Wesleyan Core Terms (mostly for Methodists of all stripes)

No matter which Christian Fellowship you belong to, there are terms that are important to understand such as Free Grace, Holy Spirit, Personal Holiness, etc. These terms are essential to understanding your faith and committing that faith to others.

 

As with the Holiness of Heart and Life Articles, there are approximately 150 side-bar articles explaining these terms.

 

Study Notes & Introductions

There are approximately 7500 Study Notes. The notes are designed to be of a very pastoral/practical nature, that is to say, to guide you into ways to put your faith into action.

 

The introductions are not as detailed as you will find in other study Bibles. I think that is done in keeping with the pastoral tone of the Bible.

 

 

This is a Bible that is designed to be experiential. If you are using it correctly, you will find yourself motivated to live out the holiness that has been gifted to you (James 1:22). If you look at Matthew 25, Jesus meant it when he said “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink, sick and in prison and you visited me.”

 

Overall, I really enjoy this particular study Bible. It is, candidly, difficult to discuss with someone who is not from this background. It’s a niche Bible but at the same time it isn’t. No matter your denominational background, you will be able to find something in the Wesley Study Bible that will benefit you.

 

TLB Large Print Review

TLB Large Print Review

 

I am really excited for today’s review as I am reviewing one of the most influential Bible versions ever produced, the very first one to receive a Quadruple Diamond Award (1 Diamond = 10 million units) from the ECPA, The Living Bible Paraphrase. For 40+ years, with over 40,000,000 units sold, the Living Bible has been impacting lives. In 1996 TLB gave birth to one of the two most used English translations of the Bible the New Living Translation, also published by Tyndale and, itself, a Triple Diamond winner. This is one of a very few English versions that I think every single English speaking Christian needs to have.

 

Tyndale House has provided a large print two-tone, thumb indexed, version for free in exchange for an honest review. I have a padded green hardcover (probably 2 or three, actually) that I use on a regular basis.

Product Description

The Living Bible is a “thought-for-thought” translation of the Bible. It is a “paraphrase” – a summary of Scripture- rather than a word-for-word translation of Scripture. As such, its purpose is to summarize what the writers of the Scriptures meant rather than quoting them directly. The Living Bible may be particularly helpful for those who are new to the Bible, or for those who have difficulty understanding the words of the Bible.

Features Include:

  • Double column format
  • 10- point type
  • Footnotes
  • Bible Reading Plan
  • 2 Maps black & white
  • Topical Concordance

 

Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 1184
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 10 X 7.3 X 1.6 (inches)
ISBN: 1496433521
ISBN-13: 9781496433527
Text Layout: Double Column

 

 

What is The Living Bible?

The Living Bible is a paraphrase of the English Revised Bible, American Standard Version of 1901 (American Standard Version or ASV for short). The ASV, long held to be one of the best English Translations, is an ideal source for a paraphrase given its meticulous nature and attention to detail in translating.

 

Why paraphrase the Bible?

In Dr. Taylor’s own words, “The children were one of the chief inspirations for producing the Living Bible. Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the King James Version, which we were then using, or the Revised Standard Version, which we used later. All too often I would ask questions to be sure the children understood, and they would shrug their shoulders—they didn’t know what the passage was talking about. So I would explain it. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thought. It suddenly occurred to me one afternoon that I should write out the reading for that evening thought by thought, rather than doing it on the spot during our devotional time. So I did, and read the chapter to the family that evening with exciting results—they knew the answers to all the questions I asked!”

 

Doesn’t a paraphrase take away from God’s Holy Word?

It can but that is entirely dependent on the person doing the paraphrase and their commitment to the Scripture. In the case of TLB, there is nothing taken away from the Scripture. It is clear, when reading, that Dr. Taylor held the Scripture in high esteem and truly wanted even the simplest and most childlike to be able to understand the Scripture.

 

Cover and Binding

This review copy is TuTone/Imitation Leather and, as best as I can tell, has an adhesive binding, though it could very well be sewn. The binding is nice and tight, which lends to the possibility of smythe sewing and the TuTone cover is very soft, though it is distinguishable from real leather. It should easily last for 10 plus years of service.

 

Paper and Font

We are given a crisp white paper with minimal show through and almost no glare; in most light settings, I had no issue with reading. The font that Tyndale chose is really stellar and is incredibly easy on my eyes. Many Bible publishers call a 9-point font large print, which irritates me to no end; in academia 10-point is the standard for large print so Tyndale choosing to follow the academic standard is incredibly helpful.

 

Layout and Indexing

For layout, we have a double column paragraph format, with double column being the most common format for Bibles. While my preference is for verse by verse, the paragraph format does lend toward easier reading. The plain text format will lend to easy reading and you will find limited footnoting interspersed throughout the text.

 

True to form, Tyndale has provided thumb indexing to make the Bible more accessible to the reader. Thumb indexing is still done by hand so some Bibles may appear uneven.

 

As a carry Bible

The size of this Bible works really well in my briefcase; this is very important for me because I do a tremendous amount of 1 on 1 ministry as a bi-vocational pastor.

Should I buy this Bible?

You should buy a copy of the Living Bible Paraphrase in whichever format your budget will allow. For ESL Bible Students, the Bible is rendered into an easy to understand level of English that will grow with you as you increase your command of the English language. First time Bible readers will find that the approachable language makes the Bible easy to internalize. For the pastor and the professor, the TLB will be of immense help in capturing the thought. We have two goals as Bible students, to find out exactly what the words say and then to find out what they mean and the TLB, paired with a word-for-word translation will give a tremendous amount of help in communicating the Gospel of Christ.

 

ESV Archaeology Bible Review

ESV Archaeology Bible Review

 

Order from Christian Book Distributors

 

Crossway has finally answered Zondervan with an Archaeology Study Bible of their own. While I did enjoy Zondervan’s NIV Archaeological Study Bible I am thankful that Crossway’s is not the monstrous tome that its colleague is, though they serve a similar purpose. I am reviewing the hardcover, which was sent free of charge by Crossway in exchange for an honest review.

 

Other Bibles and Works in this Class

This particular class of study Bibles is, in my estimation, one of, if not the most, important class of study resources because of its focus on the historical and cultural context of the Bible. ESV Archaeology Bible joins 3 works from Zondervan/Harper Collins and at least one commentary set from Inter-Varsity Press. They are:

  • IVP Bible Background Commentary
  • NIV 1st Century Study Bible
  • NIV Archaeology Study Bible
  • Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Currently NIV and NKJV with NRSV coming soon)

 

An essential part of understand the Bible is to know the historical and cultural context as we look for Authorial Intent. We want to see what God said to the original audience and then look for how it applies today.

Product Description (From Crossway)

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is a cutting-edge academic resource for those looking to dig deeper into the historical context of the Bible. It features study notes written by field-trained Biblical archaeologists and scholars, color maps, photographs, and drawings- all designed to bring life to the ancient text of Scripture. With editorial oversight from Dr. John Currid (PhD, University of Chicago) and Dr. David Chapman (PhD, University of Cambridge), the ESV Archaeology Study Bible assembles a range of modern scholarship, helping readers situate themselves in the Bible’s historical context by recognizing the truth that the eternal God became flesh entered human history at a specific time and in a specific place.

 

Features Include:

  • Presentation page
  • 2,000+ study notes
  • 700+ full-color maps and photos
  • 4 Timelines
  • 15 articles like “The Bible and History,” “Archaeology and Preaching,” Major Biblical Finds,” and “Daily Life in the New Testament Era”
  • Book introductions
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Double-column
  • Cross references
  • Footnotes
  • Lifetime guarantee (on leather and TruTone)
  • 9 point type (Bible text)
  • 8 point type (Study notes)
  • Black letter text

 

Maps and Photos

This is my absolute favorite amongst the helps. Often when I am preparing a lesson, I want to visualize a place or see a location on a map and these maps and photos make the world of the Bible more accessible to me. With nearly 70% of the population being “visual learners,” you could not find a more helpful tool for internalizing the Scriptures. At the risk of being trite, the maps and photos will help you put yourself in the narrative of Scripture, visualizing the land where Jesus walked and the people He talked to.

Book Introductions

The Book Introductions were a pleasant surprise; I had expected several pages of background material on each book of the Bible. What I got was much more pleasing to the eye and to the mind. The Introductions provide just enough material to give you an understanding of how the book fits the culture of its audience and also how it impacts redemptive history. The Contributions from Archaeologysection of each introduction is a delightful little bonus that brings the whole picture together.

 

Notes, Outlines, References

This is a study Bible but do not expect the massive amount of notes that you find in other study Bibles. To my surprise, the Oxford Annotated Bible has more notes in total, but perhaps not of the same quality. The 2,000 or so study notes, here, stay focused on the primary task for this Bible, helping you to understand the cultural background of the Bible and to see how God superintends archaeological finds to prove the Bible’s truth.

The Outlines and References are much more succinct in the Archaeology Bible than in other Crossway Study resources and this keeps with the theme of being focused on a single area of study. The outlines and references are more than sufficient to give you a framework of study but you will want to add other tools for a complete exegesis of the Scripture.

 

Articles

There are 15 somewhat in-depth articles. They can be found at the beginning, between the testaments, and at the end. The articles are:

  • What is Archaeology?
  • Ten Most Significant Discoveries in the Field of Biblical Archaeology
  • Daily Life in Israel in the Old Testament Times
  • Judea-Palestine in the Time Between the Testaments
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Roman Empire and the Greco-Roman World
  • Daily Life in Judea-Palestine in the New Testament Times
  • Doing Archaeology
  • Archaeology as an Academic Discipline
  • Expository Preaching and Archaeology
  • Archaeological Dating
  • Biblical Geography and Archaeology
  • Inscriptions, Coins, and Papyri
  • A Short History of Archaeology in the Near East

Overall, these articles are extremely well written, which you would expect from a group of professors. There is one area that I would have really liked to see treated more; like my colleague at the Bible Buying Guide, I would have really appreciated some treatment of the original language documents beyond just the Dead Sea Scrolls. In our time, there have been some significant papyri discovered and it would be nice to see a dedicated article regarding original manuscripts.

 

Final Thoughts

This is one of the two most valuable study Bibles that Crossway has produced with the ESV Literary Study Bible being the other. I am embarking on a chronological journey through the 4 Gospels and I have already cleared a space on my desk for this Bible as it will provide extremely helpful background information for our study.

 

I do not, often, upgrade the Bibles that are sent to me for review but there is a strong possibility that I will upgrade this edition to a leather one for much longer use. I give the ESV Archaeology Bible the strongest recommendation possible.

 

 

ESV Thinline Bible Review

ESV Thinline Bible Review

 

Order from Christian Book Distributors

Order from Amazon

 

 

One of our most valuable partners is Crossway, publishers of the ESV Bible and I am pleased to be reviewing another of their excellent Bibles, the ESV Thinline Bible, which Crossway provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. They sent the Brown Natural Leather edition for us to review…

Special Note: my wife actually laid claim to this Bible the day that it came out of the box.

This ESV Thinline Editionfeatures:

  • Two-column paragraph format
  • Weights & Measures Table
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • 8 Pages of full-color maps
  • Presentation page
  • Family record section
  • Ribbon marker
  • Concordance
  • Eight pages of full-color maps
  • 8-point text size
  • 8.75″ x 5.75″ x 1.00″

 

The Leather and Binding

There is not a doubt in my mind that this “natural leather” is is actually a cow’s hide.  Truthfully, it feels as though someone simply removed all the hair from the skin of the cow and made a Bible cover from the top layer of skin. It is fairly stiff, which is to be expected from a mature cow and so it does not lay completely flat upon first opening.  Over time, the natural oils that occur in human skin will work their way into the cover and it will become softer and more supple. In the interest of full disclosure, there will always be a small measure of stiffness because it is a paste down liner as opposed to edge lined leather.

As is usually the case, this Bible has a sewn binding for lifelong durability.

Paper and Font

For such a small footprint, the paper is actually excellent. I have never found crossway paper to be lacking and in this case, it is no exception. If this were going to be your primary Bible for carry, you would have no issues with marking your favorite verses. As always, I recommend purchasing your highlighting products from a Christian Bookstore as they will have instruments specifically geared toward Bible marking.

Regular readers of this site will know that I have mixed feelings about red letter Bibles. This stems from two things: usually a very poor and inconsistent red ink and the fact that I write in my Bibles in red ink and so there is usually a visual disconnect for me. In this edition, though, Crossway’s red ink is very well done. It is rich and consistent which pleases my wife who uses this Bible on a regular basis.

It works out that my wife really enjoys this particular edition because an 8-point font is, in most cases, too small to be comfortable for me (the Cambridge Cameo, and I think Concord, being the only exceptions. Most people will not have any issues with the font size and it should, in most cases, be quite useful for daily reading.

For carry

The dimensions on this Bible make it ideal for carry in your purse or briefcase. You will find it large enough that you do not have to squint to read it but not so large that it will be cumbersome.

Overall Thoughts

At its price-point, you would be hard pressed to find a better leather Bible. Crossway’s Bibles are always superb and if they are not you can count on their customer service team to replace it fairly quickly.

 

 

 

God’s Word Translation Review

God’s Word Translation Review

“A most interesting translation.” That is my overall impression of the God’s Word Translation of the Scriptures. Before we go further, I need to point out that God’s Word for the Nations Missionary Society provided this Bible for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Let’s begin with some information from the publisher:

THE THEORY USED TO PRODUCE GOD’S WORD

  • Closest Natural Equivalence
  • Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Form Equivalence
  • Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Function Equivalence
  • Closest Natural Equivalence Maintains the Balance

 

Closest natural equivalent translation attempts to be exactly what its name implies. Above all else, it provides readers with a meaning equivalent to the source language (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek in the case of the Bible) in the target language (English in the case of GOD’S WORD). Second and equally important, it seeks ways to express that meaning naturally in a way that a native English speaker would have spoken or written. Finally, it expresses the meaning naturally in a way that is as close as possible to the way the source language expressed the meaning.

This translation most certainly falls into the dynamic equivalence/thought for thought/meaning based end of the Bible translation spectrum. It is an incredibly easy version to read and understand and I really appreciate that. Many of the people that I minister to have English as a second language and I would be confident in placing the God’s Word Translation in any of their hands.

I would mark this translation as a 3rd to 4th Grade Reading Level. For a Bible to be translated at this level of understanding is absolutely fabulous. Matthew 18:3 tells us that we need to become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and the English used here would certainly be simple enough for most children to understand.

There is the question of gender in translation and God’s Word Translation endeavors to be what is considered to be gender accurate. What this means is it chooses the most accurate pronouns based on the audience addressed. This is different from being gender neutral which seeks to eliminate the patriarchal aspects of a patriarchal society. I am not sure how some of my conservative colleagues would receive this aspect of the translation but I have no issue with it.

I have used GWT alongside three translations: my New American Standard Bible, my New International Version, and my King James Version. Like the NIV, the GWT is very easy to understand and accurate to the thought of the original language documents. Similar to the New Living Translation, the GWT provides a very illuminating, almost commentary feel to the Scripture.

Who should use the GWT? My recommendation for GWT is to provide it to those who have English as a second language. I would also advise giving the GWT to elementary school students looking to read the Bible for the first time.

How should you use GWT? My recommendation for use depends on a couple factors.

Personal/Small Group Study: I recommend GWT in use alongside an essentially literal translation such as NASB or ESV. The GWT will provide a more well rounded understanding of the Scripture.

1st Time Readers: Given the ease of use, I highly recommend the GWT for 1st time Bible readers. There are a number of reading plans and devotional sources available for use. I would pair the GWT with a reading plan designed to get you through the whole Bible in a year, Tyndale’s One Year Bible is an excellent choice.

Pastoral Use: GWT is an excellent choice for an alternate translation from the pulpit. We always want to have two or three translations in use when preaching and GWT will most definitely help you to communicate the clear meaning of the Scripture.

All in all, the GWT was very interesting and I will be using it more in the future. It will be added to our distribution inventory for those who have never had a copy of the Scripture and for our chaplaincy visits to leave behind for prisoners and hospital patients that are in need of the Bible. I commend it to you for your use. Whether or not to make it your primary translation, I leave up to you but I do think it is well worth your investment.

Africa Study Bible

Africa Study Bible

 

It is my great honor to have a copy of the Africa Study Bible to review; I am even more grateful that Tyndale provided it free of charge in exchange for an honest review. To serve side by side with Tyndale and Oasis International is a gift I would never have imagined. To see what God is doing through the Africa Study Bible is mind boggling.

 

Bible Information:

Tyndale tells us: The Africa Study Bible brings together 350 contributors from over 50 countries, providing a unique African perspective. It’s an all-in-one course in biblical content, theology, history, and culture, with special attention to the African context. Each feature was planned by African leaders to help readers grow strong in Jesus Christ by providing understanding and instruction on how to live a good and righteous life:

  • Over 2400 notes explain the Bible, inspire readers to apply truth to everyday life, teach Christian values and doctrine, and more.
  • “Touchpoints” and “Proverbs and Stories” give African perspective on the Bible and also show parallels with African wisdom.
  • A narrative timeline highlights God’s work in Africa.

There are over 1.3 million African immigrants in the US and an additional half million African born people living in the UK.

Translation The Africa Study Bible is available in the New Living Translation (NLT) and I cannot imagine a wiser choice. NLT almost feels like it was designed for those who have English as a secondary language. The word choices are simple yet accurate. Some feel like the English you find in the NLT detracts from the reverence due the Bible. I could not disagree more. Time after time, I see people have an “I get it now” reaction when they hear the Bible read in the NLT and to its detractors I say, “How can you not be moved to worship when someone finally understands the Bible.”

There are approximately 2000 languages/dialects on the African Continent giving our brothers over there a very unique and full flavored faith experience. English, however, has the potential to be a uniting language for Africa as there are slightly more than 500,000,000 English Speakers making it the second most spoken language in the world. NLT, with English so simple that a small child can be conversant, is the natural choice for a Bible for all of Africa.

 

Why Africa is Important to Christianity: In a sense, Christian History is African History. Christianity stems from the portion of the world where Africa and Asia intersect. According to Church History, Mark the Evangelist (the same Mark who penned the Gospel According to Mark) became the leader of the Church in Alexandria in 43 A.D. Further, In the first few centuries of our faith, African Christian leaders such as Origen, Lactantius, Augustine, Tertullian, Marius Victorinus, Pachomius, Didymus the Blind, Ticonius, Cyprian, Athanasius and Cyril led the church with responses to Gnosticism, Arianism, Montanism, Marcionism, Pelagianism and Manichaeism, and the idea of the University. It is legitimate to say that without the African Fathers, there would not be Christianity. So it is fitting to honor the land that so vibrantly defined and defended our faith with a Bible that speaks to its unique culture and ministry needs.

 

Helps Some of the helps are fairly standard for a study Bible and some are fairly unique.

Center-column References Scripture interprets Scripture and in the Africa Study Bible you get around 40,000 references. This is, without doubt, the most important of the helps as it will be used by virtually every user of the Bible to help you follow the message of Redemptive History

Introductions The Introductions include two unique sections that I absolutely love, Overview and Story and What this Book Teaches Us. It is entirely possible that many users of the Africa Study Bible will be first time Bible users and these 2 sections within the introduction provide both a “big-picture” understanding of Scripture and the main lessons that one should be able to take away from study.

Application Notes As the name suggests, application notes are bite sized examples of how to apply the Scripture to life in general and African life in particular.

Proverbs and Stories Proverbs and stories share the wisdom of the Elders and the Ancients and illustrate how these pearls of wisdom are drawn on Scriptural Truth.

Articles and Learn Notes Here, we find the materials that help us go deeper into our doctrine and theology.

Africa Touch Points These are notes that highlight Scripture References with a special connection to Africa, especially the African Church Fathers

 

Overall Impression When I first began using the Africa Study Bible, I was overcome with emotion. I had no idea how much influence Africa has had over Christianity and I was amazed at the wisdom I had found inside. Many of the proverbs felt like sitting at the feet of the Church Fathers and learning directly from them.

Endorsement

I would encourage every pastor that I know to buy two of the Africa Study Bible, keep one for their use and give the other to a pastor in Africa. I endorse this Bible with a 9.9 rating (I wish it had wide margins.)

Special Note: A number of this site’s readers are who I refer to as “the Faithful Brethren in Africa,” men and women who have touched my heart in ways they will not know this side of Heaven. To be permitted to serve these men and women is one of the greatest treasures that God has permitted me to enjoy. Now to have a tool like this, so I may better understand our Faithful Brethren, I really have no words adequate to express my gratitude and joy. My hope, and my prayer, for the Africa Study Bible and her publishing partners is this: “May the glories of Christ spread across Africa as the sun parts the sky and above all, may Christ be glorified in the reading.”

Teachers Study Bible Review

Teachers Study Bible Review

 

One of the oldest names in Christian Study materials is Standard Lesson, a member of the David C Cook publishing family. Standard Lesson publishes a number of valuable resources and today, I am bringing a review of one of their most important resources, the Standard Lesson Teacher’s Study Bible. It is available in KJV and NIV and I am reviewing both, a hardcover KJV and a duotone NIV. (Note: These Bibles were acquired at my own expense and this review was not solicited by Standard Lesson, in any way. My opinions are, wholly, my own.)

 

Publisher’s Product Description

The Standard Lesson Study Bible includes over 13,000 lines of commentary derived from 60 years of the best-selling Standard Lesson Commentary combined with the most popular study Bible features. Whether preparing for a Sunday school class, a small group, or to share insights with a friend, you will find this Bible packed with a wealth of resources for virtually every Scripture passage on which a lesson would likely be based.

The Standard Lesson Teacher Study Bible is designed specifically for teachers and serious students alike.  Great for Sunday school, adult Bible fellowships and small groups, this Bible contains a wealth of resources for virtually every Scripture passage on which a lesson would likely be based.

What you’ll find:

  • New International Version or King James Version text
  • A daily Bible reading plan
  • Study Notes compiled and selected from sixty years of the best selling Standard Lesson Commentary content. Contributing scholars include ministers, professors and other experts in Bible exposition and Christian education.
  • Enhanced Biblical Content Introductions.
    • What to review before you teach
    • Questions this book answers
  • Cross-references to other relevant passages
  • Discussion questions with “talking points” for deeper understanding
  • In-text maps showing the world of the Bible
  • Harmony of the Gospels
  • Introductions to each book in the Bible
  • Comprehensive time line to Bible events
  • Pronunciation Guide to help pronounce those hard-to-say names and places
  • Concordance of key words throughout the Bible
  • Easy-to-read, 10 pt. font

 

 

Translation Choices

Standard lesson makes this Bible available in the two most widely circulated English translations of the Bible NIV and KJV. I have used both translations for years, 31 with KJV and 25 with NIV. I would love to see it available in my preferred study translation, NASB (which I have used for just slightly less than NIV at 22 years), but by choosing these two translations, Standard Lesson has kept with their tradition of uniformity and made the Teacher’s Study Bible available to the broadest spectrum of churches possible.

 

The NIV text, featured here, is the 2011 edition. For some of my readers, this will be a turn off due to misguided perceptions of a liberal agenda driving the translation. I have read all the relevant literature and I disagree that this is an agenda driven translation. NIV dominates the English speaking world with over 40% market share and for most English speaking Christians, this is the translation that is meant when the Bible is spoken of.

 

In my case, usage is at a 50/50 split; I carry NIV with me into my secular job (I am bi-vocational) and I keep the KJV beside my bed for late evening study sessions.

 

Paper, Font, Layout, & Cover

The paper has to be thinner to accommodate the sheer volume of materials available and it is surprisingly opaque. I do not have issues reading either book; any show-through is almost non-existent.  The layout is double column; on most pages there is a column of Scripture and a column of notes. We have a complete black letter text which is excellent for color coding and marking. Both Bibles are available in hardcover and truetone (imitation leather). The binding does appear to be sewn, which would certainly be a wise choice given a Bible of this size.

 

For the remainder of this review, I want to talk about actual ways I use this Bible instead of simply providing abstract comments on the helps.

 

Introductions

The Introduction features some of the most useful material I have encountered for planning lessons. What to Review Before Teaching visits relevant material for the interpretation of the particular book you are preparing to teach. I have found this to be most useful in preparing an overview of the text.

 

Practical Questions Answered is perhaps my favorite section in the introductions. These are questions that will commonly be asked by disciples as they are learning. By reviewing these questions in preparing for a lesson, I can anticipate questions that I will encounter in my one on one discipleship and answer them or I can use these questions as a building block to other discussion questions.

 

Teaching Through is a brief outline of the book that covers the main points that I, as a teacher, need to be familiar with before teaching through the book.

 

Notes, Talking Points, and Discussion Questions  

The notes are brief commentary based on the Standard Lesson Commentary and the International Sunday School Uniform Series. Admittedly, I am not very familiar with those materials but the materials which have been drawn from them are very useful for teaching. The talking points, just like the practical questions, are points to bring up during teaching and the discussion questions are incredibly useful in one on one discipleship or small group sessions. They have served me as a launching point for more in-depth discussion.

 

There are other materials but these are the ones I actually use.

 

Would I recommend the Teacher’s Study Bible? Heartily. I recommend it for the person that wants to teach Sunday School or lead a small group but feels hopelessly unqualified. I also recommend it for the missionary who may be encountering a different culture and is unsure of how to open the Scripture. Being drawn from an international/uniform curriculum should prove helpful across cultures and countries.

 

Are there any disadvantages? The only drawback I see is more of a personal gripe than any real detraction from this Bible; there is not much in the way of notes pages. I would expect that, in a teacher’s study Bible, you would have some pages for notes, preferably either following the introductory material or after the book itself.

 

Final Thoughts

The Standard Lesson Teacher’s Study Bible is a very useful tool. I feel confident in saying that any person who desires to teach the Bible to another would find themselves well equipped for the task by adding this tool to their repetoire.

CEB Study Bible (Updated) Review

CEB Study Bible (Updated) Review

The CEB Study Bible is as interesting as it is inconspicuous. Its cover is not loud or busy; it looks like it belongs on the shelf in your pastor’s library. We will get into the translation in a few minutes, but first, I want to point out a few things that stand out to my eyes.

  1. The CEB Study Bible is very similar in size and weight to the CSB Study Bible from Holman Bible Publishers as well as the Thompson Chain Reference, just slightly larger than the MacArthur Study Bible and slightly smaller than the ESV Study Bible. Why does that matter? Well, size affects portability, which can impact use. Given that it is not as heavy as some of my other study Bibles, portability should not pose a problem.
  2. The font size is 8-point. While this is not my first choice in a font size, it is quite readable. Besides that, with the amount of content that is on each page, a larger font would make this Bible too cumbersome to take with you.
  3. This is a full color Bible, including the charts and illustrations. Aside from making it easier to see, it also makes the CEB Study Bible more fun to engage.
  4. In the front there is a list of abbreviations and textual resources including Greek Manuscripts that were used. I do not think I have ever seen that before and I have to say that I like that feature. When you decide on a translation for personal use, you want to be sure that you are using the best manuscripts available, which certainly looks to be the case here.

If I only knew those four facts, I would certainly be curious enough to pick up a copy to investigate. However, as with every study Bible, there is much more to discuss.

Let’s start with the translation:

CEB is a Dynamic Equivalence/Thought-for-thought/meaning based translation.

From the Common English Bible Website

“What is the CEB?

The Common English Bible is not simply a revision or update of an existing translation. It is a bold new translation designed to meet the needs of Christians as they work to build a strong and meaningful relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

A key goal of the translation team was to make the Bible accessible to a broad range of people; it’s written at a comfortable level for over half of all English readers. As the translators did their work, reading specialists working with seventy-seven reading groups from more than a dozen denominations review the texts to ensure a smooth and natural reading experience. Easy readability can enhance church worship and participation, and personal Bible study. It also encourages children and youth to discover the Bible for themselves, perhaps for the very first time.”

There is one glaring issue that I want to deal with. The CEB translates bar-enos/ben-adam as the “Human One.” When I originally reviewed the CEB Study Bible, I did not call attention to this and that was a mistake. Jesus used the term, Son of Man in reference to Himself and a look at the usage is clearly messianic in nature. I will not go so far as to call the translation a blasphemy (because I do not know what is in the heart of the translators) but I will say that it is troublesome at the least and an attack on the deity of Christ at the worst.

Who Sponsored the Common English Bible?

The Common English Bible is a distinct new imprint and brand for Bibles and reference products about the Bible. The translators and editors that worked on the Bible are from various denominations and locations around the world. Publishing and marketing offices are located in Nashville, Tennessee. The CEB translation was funded by the Church Resources Development Corp, which allows for cooperation among denominational publishers in the development and distribution of Bibles, curriculum, and worship materials. The Common English Bible Committee meets periodically and consists of denominational publishers from the following denominations: Disciples of Christ (Chalice Press); Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (Westminster John Knox Press); Episcopal Church (Church Publishing Inc); United Church of Christ (Pilgrim Press); and United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press). Abingdon Press is the sales distribution partner for the CEB.”

Abigdon Press features the NRSV and NIV in the translation comparisons on the CEB website which leads me to believe that CEB is probably meant to be more ecumenical as opposed to more conservative (NASB would be the conservative example). The notes feel somewhat similar to the New Interpreters Study Bible, not a surprise since both are published by Abingdon Press, but we will get more into that later.

The Johannine Comma is not in this translation and the ending of Mark is marked off as is the first part of John Chapter 8. Let’s look at a couple verses. We will compare with NRSV, NIV, and NASB. (the first two are provided by the publisher. The third is mine.

The Model Prayer

CEB

Pray like this: Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

NIV

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

NRSV

Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

NASB

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 10:23

Common English Bible (CEB)

Whenever they harass you in one city, escape to the next, because I assure that you will not go through all the cities of Israel before the Human One comes.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

New International Version (NIV)

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

New American Standard Version

23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

            As I referenced earlier, I am totally annoyed at the choice of “the Human One” instead of the “Son of Man” The Son of Man, in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, is an eschatological term and denotes the Messiah in His role as Divine King and Judge in the end times. (I will get into more detail on the Son of Man in another article.) I am saddened by the fact that this translation choice was used as opposed to Son of Man.

Romans 3:22-24

Common English Bible (CEB)

God’s righteousness comes through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who have faith in him. There’s no distinction. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace, because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ* for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

New International Version (NIV)

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

New American Standard

22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

More comparisons can be found at commonenglishbible.com and you can compare to your favorite translation at biblegateway.com

Helps

I don’t normally comment on perceived bias, but in this case it seems almost unavoidable. Looking at the denominational list of the translators and contributors, I would have to suggest that there will probably be a liberal bias in the notes. In an effort to show as much grace as possible, I try to give the benefit of the doubt. I would like to believe that the notes would be simple ecumenical, but the presence of the “progressive (read-ultra liberal)” United Church of Christ suggests otherwise.

To my surprise, there is a tremendous amount of content provided in terms of the helps.

  • There are approximately 10,000-15,000 notes (a definite number was not provided for me)
  • 21 Maps are provided in conjunction with National Geographic.
  • There is a picture that is relevant to each book of the Bible included in the introduction. This is a very nice feature to help you visualize the environment.
  • There are approximately 200 charts, graphs, illustrations and pictures and 300 sidebar articles to help you did deeper into the message of scripture. These sidebars are actually my favorite feature. During the time I have been using this Bible, I have encountered a few points that I did not know before and that IS the key with a Study Bible; it has to help you understand the Bible more than you did when you sat down to read it.
  • At the end of the Bible text, there are several articles on the unity of the Bible and some helps for studying the Bible. IF you have never attempted study before, you will find them a great stepping stone. After 20 years, I have my own methods I follow.
  • References (around 50,000-70,000) are in the side column alongside the text.

I am frequently asked, “Matt, as a very conservative Baptist, why do you fool around with these ‘ecumenical’ study Bibles?” I use “ecumenical” resources alongside conservative resources because I tend to find more offered in the way of textual criticism as well as historical background information in the helps. Some of the reading guides and study aids also tend to be very helpful.

I do need to caution you, though, that I do not recommend that you use any ecumenical resources unless you are very solid in your theology.

Text & Paper

We are presented with a black letter text (you want this in a study bible so that when you make markings in a different color they will stick out.) As I said earlier I make it a (7 or) 8-point font, small but still readable.

The paper is creamy white and fairly opaque. While there is not a ton of room for writing, you should be able to make your notations and other markings with minimal trouble. Ghosting is minimal and I commend Abingdon Press for this, especially since there is nothing more annoying than ghosting when you are trying to study.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I can only give the CEB Study Bible a 7.5 and this is solely based on a few translation choices with which I have major problems.

 

More Photos

 

 

 

The CEB Study Bible is as interesting as it is inconspicuous. Its cover is not loud or busy; it looks like it belongs on the shelf in your pastor’s library. We will get into the translation in a few minutes, but first, I want to point out a few things that stand out to my eyes.

 

  1. The CEB Study Bible is very similar in size and weight to the CSB Study Bible from Holman Bible Publishers as well as the Thompson Chain Reference, just slightly larger than the MacArthur Study Bible and slightly smaller than the ESV Study Bible. Why does that matter? Well, size affects portability, which can impact use. Given that it is not as heavy as some of my other study Bibles, portability should not pose a problem.
  2. The font size is 8-point. While this is not my first choice in a font size, it is quite readable. Besides that, with the amount of content that is on each page, a larger font would make this Bible too cumbersome to take with you.
  3. This is a full color Bible, including the charts and illustrations. Aside from making it easier to see, it also makes the CEB Study Bible more fun to engage.
  4. In the front there is a list of abbreviations and textual resources including Greek Manuscripts that were used. I do not think I have ever seen that before and I have to say that I like that feature. When you decide on a translation for personal use, you want to be sure that you are using the best manuscripts available, which certainly looks to be the case here.

 

If I only knew those four facts, I would certainly be curious enough to pick up a copy to investigate. However, as with every study Bible, there is much more to discuss.

 

Let’s start with the translation:

 

CEB is a Dynamic Equivalence/Thought-for-thought/meaning based translation.

 

From the Common English Bible Website

 

“What is the CEB?

The Common English Bible is not simply a revision or update of an existing translation. It is a bold new translation designed to meet the needs of Christians as they work to build a strong and meaningful relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

 

A key goal of the translation team was to make the Bible accessible to a broad range of people; it’s written at a comfortable level for over half of all English readers. As the translators did their work, reading specialists working with seventy-seven reading groups from more than a dozen denominations review the texts to ensure a smooth and natural reading experience. Easy readability can enhance church worship and participation, and personal Bible study. It also encourages children and youth to discover the Bible for themselves, perhaps for the very first time.”

 

There is one glaring issue that I want to deal with. The CEB translates bar-enos/ben-adam as the “Human One.” When I originally reviewed the CEB Study Bible, I did not call attention to this and that was a mistake. Jesus used the term, Son of Man in reference to Himself and a look at the usage is clearly messianic in nature. I will not go so far as to call the translation a blasphemy (because I do not know what is in the heart of the translators) but I will say that it is troublesome at the least and an attack on the deity of Christ at the worst.

 

Who Sponsored the Common English Bible?

The Common English Bible is a distinct new imprint and brand for Bibles and reference products about the Bible. The translators and editors that worked on the Bible are from various denominations and locations around the world. Publishing and marketing offices are located in Nashville, Tennessee. The CEB translation was funded by the Church Resources Development Corp, which allows for cooperation among denominational publishers in the development and distribution of Bibles, curriculum, and worship materials. The Common English Bible Committee meets periodically and consists of denominational publishers from the following denominations: Disciples of Christ (Chalice Press); Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (Westminster John Knox Press); Episcopal Church (Church Publishing Inc); United Church of Christ (Pilgrim Press); and United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press). Abingdon Press is the sales distribution partner for the CEB.”

 

Abigdon Press features the NRSV and NIV in the translation comparisons on the CEB website which leads me to believe that CEB is probably meant to be more ecumenical as opposed to more conservative (NASB would be the conservative example). The notes feel somewhat similar to the New Interpreters Study Bible, not a surprise since both are published by Abingdon Press, but we will get more into that later.

 

The Johannine Comma is not in this translation and the ending of Mark is marked off as is the first part of John Chapter 8. Let’s look at a couple verses. We will compare with NRSV, NIV, and NASB. (the first two are provided by the publisher. The third is mine.

 

The Model Prayer

CEB

Pray like this: Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

 

NIV

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

 

NRSV

Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

 

NASB

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 

Matthew 10:23

Common English Bible (CEB)

Whenever they harass you in one city, escape to the next, because I assure that you will not go through all the cities of Israel before the Human One comes.

 

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

 

New International Version (NIV)

When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

 

New American Standard Version

23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

 

            As I referenced earlier, I am totally annoyed at the choice of “the Human One” instead of the “Son of Man” The Son of Man, in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, is an eschatological term and denotes the Messiah in His role as Divine King and Judge in the end times. (I will get into more detail on the Son of Man in another article.) I am saddened by the fact that this translation choice was used as opposed to Son of Man.

 

 

Romans 3:22-24

Common English Bible (CEB)

God’s righteousness comes through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who have faith in him. There’s no distinction. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace, because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.

 

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ* for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

 

New International Version (NIV)

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

 

New American Standard

22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

 

More comparisons can be found at commonenglishbible.com and you can compare to your favorite translation at biblegateway.com

 

Helps

 

I don’t normally comment on perceived bias, but in this case it seems almost unavoidable. Looking at the denominational list of the translators and contributors, I would have to suggest that there will probably be a liberal bias in the notes. In an effort to show as much grace as possible, I try to give the benefit of the doubt. I would like to believe that the notes would be simple ecumenical, but the presence of the “progressive (read-ultra liberal)” United Church of Christ suggests otherwise.

 

To my surprise, there is a tremendous amount of content provided in terms of the helps.

 

 

  • There are approximately 10,000-15,000 notes (a definite number was not provided for me)

 

  • 21 Maps are provided in conjunction with National Geographic.

 

  • There is a picture that is relevant to each book of the Bible included in the introduction. This is a very nice feature to help you visualize the environment.

 

  • There are approximately 200 charts, graphs, illustrations and pictures and 300 sidebar articles to help you did deeper into the message of scripture. These sidebars are actually my favorite feature. During the time I have been using this Bible, I have encountered a few points that I did not know before and that IS the key with a Study Bible; it has to help you understand the Bible more than you did when you sat down to read it.

 

  • At the end of the Bible text, there are several articles on the unity of the Bible and some helps for studying the Bible. IF you have never attempted study before, you will find them a great stepping stone. After 20 years, I have my own methods I follow.

 

  • References (around 50,000-70,000) are in the side column alongside the text.

 

I am frequently asked, “Matt, as a very conservative Baptist, why do you fool around with these ‘ecumenical’ study Bibles?” I use “ecumenical” resources alongside conservative resources because I tend to find more offered in the way of textual criticism as well as historical background information in the helps. Some of the reading guides and study aids also tend to be very helpful.

 

I do need to caution you, though, that I do not recommend that you use any ecumenical resources unless you are very solid in your theology.

 

Text & Paper

We are presented with a black letter text (you want this in a study bible so that when you make markings in a different color they will stick out.) As I said earlier I make it a (7 or) 8-point font, small but still readable.

 

The paper is creamy white and fairly opaque. While there is not a ton of room for writing, you should be able to make your notations and other markings with minimal trouble. Ghosting is minimal and I commend Abingdon Press for this, especially since there is nothing more annoying than ghosting when you are trying to study.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

 

Overall, I can only give the CEB Study Bible a 7.5 and this is solely based on a few translation choices with which I have major problems.

 

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