Category: Resources and Reviews

Knowing Jesus Day 26: Jesus is Arrested

Knowing Jesus Day 26: Jesus is Arrested

Matthew 26:36-75 (NLT)

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away[a] unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands[b] of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus before the Council

57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered.58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council[c] were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand[d] and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[e]

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, 68 jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”

Peter Denies Jesus

69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.[f]

72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

Footnotes:

  1. 26:42 Greek If this cannot pass.
  2. 26:53 Greek twelve legions.
  3. 26:59 Greek the Sanhedrin.
  4. 26:64a Greek seated at the right hand of the power. See Ps 110:1.
  5. 26:64b See Dan 7:13.
  6. 26:71 Or Jesus the Nazarene.
KJV Hallmark Reference Bible Review

KJV Hallmark Reference Bible Review

 

When it comes to KJV Bibles, Hendrickson has really hit it out of the park. The KJV Hallmark Reference Bible easily stacks up against the new Premier Collection KJV from Thomas Nelson or the Concord Reference Bible from Cambridge Publisher’s.

Note: Hendrickson-Rose Publishers sent this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Product Description from Hendrickson

Hendrickson Publishers is proud to introduce the Hendrickson Hallmark Reference Bible- Deluxe Hand-Bound Edition in Large Print in top-grain goatskin leather. Hand-bound with care, this premium quality Bible was crafted with excellence on a detailed level including spine hubs, beautiful foil stamping, gilded page edges, and three ribbon markers. This newest addition to the Hendrickson Bible line offers a new tier for customers looking for the very best.

Features:

  • Top-grain goatskin leather
  • Hand-bound lined-to-the-edge cover
  • Foil stamping
  • Spine hubs
  • Three ribbon markers
  • Gilded page edges
  • Presentation page
  • Full-color maps
  • 2-piece box
  • Verse references
  • Concordance
  • Red-letter text
  • 11.25-pt. font size

General Comments

I currently own a couple Hendrickson Bibles and I have always been satisfied with the quality of their products. They are a smaller publishing house, comparatively, but they have some of the most helpful resources available.

Layout:

This time we will start with the lay out. This is a double-column verse by verse reference Bible with end of verse references. Typically, I prefer center-column references, mostly out of habit but Hendrickson could easily convert me to the end of verse reference model.

The layout is very clean-the page is not busy at all. Regrettably there is not a lot of margin to work with but in a “hand size” Bible, there are some compromises that need to be made.

There is a school of thought that says single column format is the best; for reading they are quite correct. For preaching, I prefer a double column verse by verse and this fits in that category nicely.

Cover and Binding

I have handled several of Hendrickson’s leather Bibles, my favorite being the NIV Minister’s Bible Deluxe Edition in Morocco leather. The goatskin that Hendrickson chose is absolutely spectacular. It has what may be the most pronounced grain I have encountered on a leather Bible. I believe the technical term is pebble grain, especially considering that the grain feels like a softer version of the pebbles at the bottom of a fish tank. The liner seems to be synthetic but I can’t bring myself to complain about that. In this size Bible, I want the cover to be a little stiffer so a synthetic liner is the right choice, more flexible than paste-down but not as floppy as leather lined.

Naturally in a quality Bible we get a sewn binding. The text block lays flat virtually anywhere you open the book and I expect no less from a premium Bible.

Paper

I have not seen paper like this in any other Hendrickson Bible. Ordinarily my major complaint is that the paper they chose is too thin but not in this case. It is sufficiently thick that you will not experience much bleed through with a highlighter, if any at all.

A ball-point pen will not pose any issues at all for marking in this Bible.

The paper is a little on the heavier side so the Bible feels very substantial in your hand even though it is very lightweight over all. I commend Hendrickson on this paper choice; they clearly had the pastor in mind when designing this Bible.

Font and Ink Coloration

Normally red-letter editions are not a choice I make since the red ink tends to be wildly variant in quality and opacity. Sometimes you get something pinkish and sometimes you get something so faded that you can barely see it. However, the red letters are very well done with a consistent, deep red with rich color saturation throughout the text.

The black letters actually seem more rich and ebony than in other Bibles. This has to be a phenomenon of the paper. It reminds me, very much, of the black coloration that you get in a Cambridge Bible. It really is exquisite.

As a Preaching and Carry Bible

In the pulpit I use 2 translations simultaneously, KJV and NLT and I preached from this Bible three times in during my review period. It is so easy on the eyes and practical that it rivals the Premier Collection KJV from Nelson for the perfect preaching Bible.

The “hand size” format makes this Bible, essentially, the perfect every day carry Bible. The font is large enough for easy use and yet the Bible is small enough for your purse or laptop bag.

Compared to Zondervan

The Hallmark Reference Bible really holds its own against the other newcomer to the premium Bible market, the Premier Collection Giant Print KJV Reference Bible. In fact, if the KJV is your preferred translation, either one is near perfect. My experience has been this, Hallmark Reference for Carry and 1 to 1 ministry with the Premier Collection as my study text.

Final Thoughts

Hendrickson really knocked it out of the park. My only complaint is that I have nothing to complain about. There is nothing about this Bible that leaves one wanting. For the “hand size” Bible class, this is just about perfect.

Im surprised at what Hendrickson has been able to achieve in the Hallmark Reference Bible, not because I did not expect quality from Hendrickson but because of the price-point. You can get this Bible for below $175.00.

Knowing Jesus Day 13: Jesus feeds 5000 families

Knowing Jesus Day 13: Jesus feeds 5000 families

John 6:1-14 (NLT)

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money[a]to feed them!”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.”13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

14 When the people saw him[b] do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”[c]

Footnotes:

  1. 6:7 Greek Two hundred denarii would not be enough. A denarius was equivalent to a laborer’s full day’s wage.
  2. 6:14a Some manuscripts read Jesus.
  3. 6:14b See Deut 18:15, 18; Mal 4:5-6.
New Disciples Day 13: the Eternal King Has Come

New Disciples Day 13: the Eternal King Has Come

Luke 2:1-20  (NLT)

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

New Disciples Day 12: the Promise of an Eternal King

New Disciples Day 12: the Promise of an Eternal King

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!

Footnotes:

  1. 9:6 Or Wonderful, Counselor.

 

Jeremiah 20:5-18  (NLT)

And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city—the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings—will be carried off to Babylon. As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you prophesied that everything would be all right.’”

Jeremiah’s Complaint

O Lord, you misled me,
and I allowed myself to be misled.
You are stronger than I am,
and you overpowered me.
Now I am mocked every day;
everyone laughs at me.
When I speak, the words burst out.
“Violence and destruction!” I shout.
So these messages from the Lord
have made me a household joke.
But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
I can’t do it!
10 I have heard the many rumors about me.
They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.”
They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.”
Even my old friends are watching me,
waiting for a fatal slip.
“He will trap himself,” they say,
“and then we will get our revenge on him.”

11 But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.
Before him my persecutors will stumble.
They cannot defeat me.
They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.
Their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you test those who are righteous,
and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
13 Sing to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
For though I was poor and needy,
he rescued me from my oppressors.

14 Yet I curse the day I was born!
May no one celebrate the day of my birth.
15 I curse the messenger who told my father,
“Good news—you have a son!”
16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old
that the Lord overthrew without mercy.
Terrify him all day long with battle shouts,
17 because he did not kill me at birth.
Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb,
that her body had been my grave!
18 Why was I ever born?
My entire life has been filled
with trouble, sorrow, and shame.

 

Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)

Zion’s Coming King

Rejoice, O people of Zion![a]
    Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
    He is righteous and victorious,[b]
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
    riding on a donkey’s colt.

Footnotes:

  1. 9:9a Hebrew O daughter of Zion!
  2. 9:9b Hebrew and is being vindicated.
Knowing Jesus Day 5: Jesus is rejected in His hometown

Knowing Jesus Day 5: Jesus is rejected in His hometown

Luke 4:14-30 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.[a]

20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

23 Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ 24 But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.

25 “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. 27 And many in Israel had leprosy in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”

28 When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29 Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, 30 but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:18-19 Or and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Isa 61:1-2 (Greek version); 58:6.
The Christian Basics Bible and Discipleship: A Pastoral Use Case

The Christian Basics Bible and Discipleship: A Pastoral Use Case

One of the Bibles that I had most enjoyed reviewing was the Christian Basics Bible which, along with the NLT Wayfinding Bible plays a major role in the discipleship portion of my ministry. The Christian Basics Bible has been with me for a year and so, I wanted to share how I use it for discipleship.

I primarily use this Bible as a guide for one on one discipleship and that is how I encourage others to use it as well.

Naturally, the fact that the Christian Basics Bible features the NLT was a major consideration for me. NLT has become my favorite teaching translation over the last year and I do not ever see myself going back. NLT is very very easy to understand and because of that it is incredibly useful. I really cannot explain the feeling you get when the person you are teaching finally connects with the Bible.

Many disciples, my own wife included, have commented that reading the NLT was the first time they really felt like God was communicating with them. When you begin using the NLT in your church, you will see similar results in the people you are discipling.

The 28-day reading plan gets the most usage of any feature in the Bible since most of the people I minister to have not really seen the inside of a Bible before. It is important to begin here because it is a much less intimidating pathway to walk into understanding the scripture. I am really glad that this option is there because we, as pastors, sometimes have trouble with the fact that not every Christian is as involved with or familiar with the Bible as we are.

I get plenty of use out of the topical articles/Basic Truths of the Christian Faith but not in the way you might expect. For many, these articles would be a sermon preparation tool as a pastor would use them to create a topical series. I like to pair the topical articles with Q&A. I have a new learner write down their questions on a particular topic and then we turn to the topical articles guide to find out what the Bible teaches us on a particular topic. This is probably the least disciplined area of ministering to a person since each new learner will have different areas of life in which they need to hear from God.

The Now That You Are a Christian article rounds out my use. The whole point of this Bible is to develop new Christians into faithful disciples and this article takes us into the longest use portion of the Bible. Here, we take a new learner through the process of developing an understanding of God, Christ, Sin, Salvation and others. My goal is to help the new disciple to develop a type of theology and to have that theology be strong enough to sustain our new learner through the trials that will no doubt come as he/she matures in Christ.

There are a number of different ways to use the Christian Basics Bible in your ministry. I hope that it is as helpful to you as it has been to me.

NKJV Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line Review

NKJV Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line Review

 

Let me start with saying that this is the NKJV I have always wanted. Many of my teachers use the NKJV and I love to follow along with them but I have never really found a satisfying NKJV. Something always felt lacking: the font was too small, or there were too many helps, or it was too big…you get the idea.

I am happy to say that the Premier Collection NKJV Large Print Thin-line hits every sweet spot for me; I think it will for you too.

Product Description from Thomas Nelson

The slim design of the NKJV Large Print Thinline Reference Bible means you can bring it along, wherever your day takes you. When you open it up, you’ll discover the exclusive Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print. typeface in large print, designed to provide a smooth reading experience for more engagement with God’s Word. And with features like a complete cross-reference system, book introductions, a concordance, and full-color maps, you’ll have the tools to get more out of God’s Word without having to pack more.

Features include:

  • Complete cross-reference system
  • Concordance
  • Lightweight for easy travel
  • Full-color maps
  • Easy-to-read 11-point print size

Product Information

Format: Genuine Leather
Number of Pages: 1248
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 10.00 X 6.75 X 1.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0785220887
ISBN-13: 9780785220886
UPC: 9780785220886
Series: Comfort Print
References: Cross References
Text Color: Black Letter
Text Size: 11 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn
Page Gilding: Gold

 

Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own. 

Cover and Binding:

Like the other Premier Collection Bibles, this one is black goatskin but there is something different about it. It feels better to the touch, not only suppler but more granular. Because I sometimes walk and hold my Bible while preaching, the tactile experience is very important to me. The leather is very, very soft and the grain is just pronounced enough to excite every nerve ending in my fingertips. I absolutely love the feel of this Bible; your Bible should be one that is a delight to have in your hands so that you will want to spend time in the Word regularly.

Naturally, in a premium Bible, you will find a sewn binding and the Premier Collection is no exception. The sewn binding means that it will easily lay flat on your pulpit or in your hand. This Bible is also perfectly balanced for one handed use, almost like Nelson looked for the most peripatetic pastor they could find and then built this particular Bible around his needs.

Portability

Thin-line Bibles are designed for portability and easy carry. At around 1-inch thick, a true thin-line will easily fit in your briefcase or purse. While Nelson did not provide the weight to me, I would be shocked if this Bible weighed in at more than 1.5 pounds. You can easily carry this Bible around for quite some time without your arms getting tired. It is, most definitely, as light as it looks.

Font and Layout

The Comfort Print Font really shines in this particular Bible. The 11-point font is laid out in a double column paragraph format with the references laid out at the bottom. At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this because all of my NKJV have either center-column references or end of verse but I really like this layout. You can read without interruption and, if references are necessary for the task you are completing, the references can easily be found.

Paper

The paper, even though the same as the others, feels just a touch thinner and lighter. This is, of course, a trick my mind is playing on me since it is the same Bible paper that can be found in the other Premier Collection Bibles.

For marking in this Bible, a ball-point pen or colored pencil is indicated. Anything else will most probably bleed through.

In the Pulpit

Preaching from this edition was surprisingly easy. Normally, I would always preach from a verse by verse format as that has been my norm for 22 years. However, I am pleased to say that I was able to handle the text without any issues. I pastor a house church and use medium white light to illuminate my pulpit. There were no issues of glare at all which is a problem attendant to many other Bibles.

The black ink that Nelson used is just right; it is a deep and rich ebony that is wonderful on the eyes. Some Bibles lack consistency in the way the ink is laid on the paper but there are no issues here.

Overall Impression/Final Thoughts

You cannot really call a Bible lust-worthy. You can, however, call it pulpit worthy and this is the most pulpit worthy NKJV I have seen. For the price, you cannot go wrong. If NKJV is your translation of choice, then this needs to be your Bible. The only way Nelson could improve upon this would be to make it wide margin and that would, perhaps, be gilding the lilly.

 

 

 

Biblical Theology Study Bible Review

Biblical Theology Study Bible Review

 

Three years ago, Zondervan and D.A. Carson released one of the most in-depth study Bibles that is available, the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. It has now been improved upon and re-released as the NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible. The name change was made to better reflect the intended purpose of the Bible. Doubtlessly, it also helped eliminate confusion between the NIZ Zondervan Study Bible and the NIV Study Bible which is also published by Zondervan.

Note: Zondervan provided a hard cover edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Product Description from Zondervan

Discover how the details of Scripture come together to form God’s grand narrative of redemption! The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible is an excellent resource for those seeking to understand the individual parts of Scripture, and how those parts join to create a cohesive whole. Deepen your knowledge of God’s Word with insightful book introductions, sectional introductions, and 20,000 study notes written by a team of over 60 trusted theologians and Bible scholars explaining specific verses and themes.

 

Features Include:

  • 28 theologically rich articles by authors such as Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung
  • 20,000 verse-by-verse study notes
  • Hundreds of full-color photos
  • Over 90 Maps
  • Over 60 Charts
  • Book Introductions
  • Over 60 trusted contributors
  • Cross-references
  • Concordance
  • Single-column
  • Black Letter
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface
  • 5 point Bible text; 6 point study notes text

Please Note: The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible was previously published as the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. Study notes and content are the same. Updates include: the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface; a new three-column layout; hundreds of pages thinner and more visually appealing.

 

The Font

This is the new Comfort Print Font from Harper Collins and, generally, it is phenomenal. I must confess, though, that I find it semi-challenging. While I can read it, my eyes get tired after around 30 minutes of use.

 

The Translation: NIV

NIV is brought to us by Biblica.  Here is some information from Biblica and my thoughts will follow:

  • ACCURATEThe NIV translators are united by their conviction that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. That, along with their years of studying biblical languages, helps them to capture subtle nuances and the depth of meaning in the Bible.
  • CLEARIf the first recipients understood God’s Word when they heard it, so should you. That’s the driving force behind the NIV’s commitment to clarity. The Bible should be every bit as clear to you as it was to its original audience.
  • BEAUTIFULBible reading isn’t just a solo exercise; it’s meant to be a shared experience. That’s why the NIV translators prioritize literary beauty, resulting in a Bible translation that’s suitable for public reading and use in churches.
  • TRUSTWORTHYThe NIV is translated by an independent, self-governing team of Bible scholars. No publisher, commercial or otherwise (not even us!), can tell them how to translate God’s Word. The translators come from dozens of denominations and churches, and they can only make changes to the text if 70% of the committee agrees — safeguarding against theological bias.

 

NIV and I are nearly the same age (1978 vs 1982) and so it is no stretch to say that I grew up with the NIV and I would say that a good many of my generation have as well. To be fair, the KJV and NASB have also been with me and I love all three.

NIV is incredibly easy to understand but it is still rigorous enough for the serious student of the Word to dig in, grow, and learn. I go back and forth with various translations and the main reason I keep coming to the NIV is its familiarity. NIV is both an old friend and a trusted source of wisdom and it lives up to Biblica’s statement that the Bible speaks.

I want to make a statement as a pastor: You can trust your NIV. There are well meaning Christians who will tell you that the NIV has been “corrupted” or something of the sort; it has not. New Greek manuscripts are being discovered regularly and, unlike other languages, English has a tendency to be fluid so, sometimes, it is needful to update. It is vital that you find a translation that you can read and understand and NIV will fill that place nicely.

 

CONTENT REVIEW

Introductions

There are Section Introductions and Book Introductions. The introductions are fairly in-depth including an excellent outline.

Study Notes

In addition to a biblical-theological focus, the study notes aid the reader in gaining a better grasp of the text within its biblical, theological, grammatical, cultural, and social context. There are 20,000 plus notes available and they are laid out in a 3-column format at the bottom portion of the page. The study notes are so detailed that every single category of Christian, from the new disciple to the seminary student, to a seasoned pastor will be able to benefit from the content.

Margin Content

The margin content contains three parts. First, there is room for personal note taking, assuming you have the ability to write in a small enough font. Secondly, the cross references are located in the outside of the margins. Thirdly, there are optional alternate readings of parts of verses.

Maps, Charts, and Pictures– These things are all over the place! They have a map for Jacob’s journey in Genesis, a chart for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus, a chart showing the distance in miles between OT cities, a picture of King Tut’s golden chariot in 2 Chronicles, a map and diagram of the familial house of Herod in Matthew, an extensive chart harmonizing the Gospels, and even a chart contrasting the Levitical priesthood with Jesus’ priesthood in Hebrews. The pictures are in full color. The more you read the text of Scripture the more you will see the value and helpfulness of the extensive charts. The chats are as helpful to understanding the text as the study notes.

Articles

The articles in the Biblical Theology Study Bible focus on 28 of the most common biblical-theological themes in the Bible. Themes like the gospel, the glory of God, creation, sin, law, covenant, priest, temple, justice, worship, and mission are expounded upon and set within the context of the whole revelation of Scripture.

Overall Thoughts

The Biblical Theology Study Bible is an excellent resource that definitely has a place in your pastoral ministry. There are some font challenges for me but they are not sufficient to degrade my opinion. I do recommend it but I will not tell you how to use it since there is not a wrong way to use it.

 

 

Large Print Westminster Reference Bible Review

Large Print Westminster Reference Bible Review

TBS has painted the peacock. I described the KJV Westminster Reference Bible as the KJV perfected and yet TBS made it better. This Bible fits the nickname of “sword.” Here are the dimensions:

Page Size:265 x 188mm (10.4″ x 7.4″)

Thickness:34mm (1.3″)

Print Size:11.8 point

Product Code:120LP/UBK

ISBN:9781862284753

 

The Cover and Binding

Calfskin with a paste down liner. In the case of a Bible this large, a paste down liner is actually a preferable choice. In fact, I suspect that if it were leather lined it would be completely impossible to use one handed; candidly single handed use is very challenging but I have large hands so I can pull it off.

TBS sewed the binding on the Large Print Westminster. I cannot imagine a scenario where a Bible this large would not be sewn. Sewing the Bible guarantees that it will last you a lifetime.

The References

200,000 references!! On this fact alone the Westminster rivals the Thompson Chain References and bests the NASB Side Column Reference Edition and its 95,000 cross-references as well as Crossway’s ESV Classic Reference Bible and its 80,000 references. I call it a rival because, even though it has 100,000 more references than Thompson, it does not offer the topical chains that Thompson offers.

Amazingly all three editions, Compact, Standard, and Large Print offer the 200,000 references. This is where the Westminster really shines. The references are a combination of those in the Concord Reference Bible and those from the Self Interpreting Bible.

Based on the references alone, TBS should do everything in their power to make sure that every pastor on the planet has an opportunity to own a Westminster Reference Bible. If you had no other Bible study tools and no other Bible, you could still go the rest of your life without running out of material to preach.

 

Translation

The Westminster uses the King James Version. This particular version of the KJV has notes that have been preserved from the original translators and carried forward to this edition. It is quite fascinating; not only do you get an introduction to each chapter, but you also get a peek into the minds of the most learned men who crafted what would become the dominant Bible in the English speaking world for over 400 years.

Font, Text Layout, Readability

This is a monstrous 11.8-point font. The layout is double-column verse by verse with the references in the side columns. Because of the generous font and amount of references, you are, sadly, left lacking a useful margin just like in the standard size and the compact. This time, I am actually glad that there is no serviceable margin; it would simply be too big.

Marginal Wordlist

Rather than placing that glossary in the back of words that are no longer in use or have changed meaning, the Westminster places updated words in the margin on the page where the word appears. They are keyed to the text with an asterisk. The margins include the asterisk, the original word, and a short definition. 

Tables of Weights and Measures

In the back is 5.5-pages of tables for weights and measures. They show the type of measure, equivalent Old Testament measure, equivalent New Testament measure, Hebrew and Greek words, approximate equivalent Imperial measure, approximate equivalent metric measure, biblical references, and the time that’s covered. The margins of the Bible include a symbol to tie the text to these tables.

 

Tables:

  • Old Testament Weights
  • Old Testament Lengths
  • Old Testament Liquid Measures
  • Old Testament Dry Measures
  • Old Testament Money
  • Old Testament Time
  • New Testament Weights
  • New Testament Lengths
  • New Testament Liquid Measures
  • New Testament Dry Measures
  • New Testament Money
  • New Testament Time

 

List of Words and Proper Names

Rather than having a self-pronouncing text, the Westminster has a 15-page list of words and names with self-pronouncing marks. It shows the syllables and shows how to pronounce consonants, blends, and nouns. It contains every name and foreign word. It also has a chart to show how to pronounce the symbols.

 

Reading Plan

In the back is the Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading plan. This is a two-year plan that takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. The first year starts with Genesis and Matthew, and the second year starts with Ezra and Acts. It can also be used as a one-year plan, which would give you 4 readings per day with all four readings from different places in the Bible.

In the Pulpit

My podium is not particularly large and when the LP Westminster is opened on the pulpit, it covers the entire preaching surface and I love it! The Large Print Westminster and its references are so good, in fact, that you don’t even need notes. You can follow the references and have a perfectly prepared sermon.