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Celebrate Recovery Study Bible

Celebrate Recovery Study Bible

 

 

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NIV Celebrate Recovery Study Bible 30th Anniversary Edition

 

 

This is a review that I have been very excited to write given that I have a connection to this Bible. 16 years ago, I entered Celebrate Recovery and, through their ministry and discipleship, gained victiory over being a functional alcoholic, all by the grace and power of Jesus and His gospel.  Note: Zondervan provided this copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review and my opinions are my own.

 

Translation

As you no doubt guessed from the title, The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible uses the New International Version, the best seling English Bible in the world.

 

More than in any other Bible that Zondervan offers, the NIV is the ideal choice for this Bible. Addicts come from a wide range of backgrounds and education levels so the easy to read and understand NIV Bible is an ideal choice for reaching a broad audience. NIV is a phenomenal choice for discipleship as most of the commentaries on the market, most of the handbooks, and most of the dictionaries are based on the NIV. There is a host of rescources available to make the life changing message of the Bible come to life.

 

Features

 

Articles explain eight recovery principles and accompanying Christ-centered twelve steps

The 12 Steps and the 8 recovery principles are a discipleship program, no more and no less. The explanatory articles guiod the reader through building a life pleasing to God and free from addiction.

 

Over 110 lessons unpack eight recovery principles in practical terms

These lessons, which I recommend taking two per week, make the discipleship process more intentional and help you to understand the process as well has how the Lord is using the steps to transform your life.

 

30 days of devotional readings

The devotionals help you to gain a foundation of discipline as you begin your new life. They take you through all of the steps in the recovery process.

 

Over 50 full-page biblical character studies are tied to stories from real-life people who have found peace and help with their own hurts, hang-ups and habits

 

Book introductions

Among other things, the Introductions provide a theme, a challenge, an encouragement, and a reflection point. The CRSB is designed to be one of the most practical study Bibles on the market so it is not inundated with a lot of historical background or commentary. It simply provides practical tools for life change. 

Side-column reference system keyed to the eight recovery principles

This particular reference set, goes through each of the recovery principles so that you are able to follos the principle throughout the Bible.

 

Cover and binding

This is  a softcover edition. It is designed primarily for affordability. Given its focus on affordability, it does have a sewn binding.

Paper

The paper is quite opaque for such an affordable Bible. There is no ghosting at all. You could easily use just about any writing instrument for your notes.

Can I use this on my own?

Can you? Yes. Should you? No. Neither recovery nor the Christian Life are designed to be solo endeavors. We are called the Household of the Faithful, the Sheep of God’s Pasture, Disciples of Christ, and, many other names all of which speak to community, We learn from each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other as part  of the recovery process. Victory is more likely when standing with others instead of standing alone.

Is it just for addicts?

Nope, it is not just for addicts and, yet, in a very real sense, there is not any other kind of person. We all suffere from an addiction to sinning and need help to unpack how the truths of Scripture can transform your life.

No matter what you struggle with, the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible offers help, hope, and healing through the transforming power of one simple message: Jesus saves sinners and will transform your life for His glory.

Final Thoughts

The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible is one of the most practically helpful Bible offered by Zondervan. The principles and steps, when paired with Scripture, truly offer the freedom that so many crave. I can tell you from personal experience that the motto of AA is very true, “It works if you work it.” This study Bible is very much a discipleship tool that should be carried not only by addicts but by Biblical Counselors, Social Workers, Pastors, Deacons and anyone else who meets messed up people in their daily lives.

TBS Large Print Windsor/Family Bible Review

TBS Large Print Windsor/Family Bible Review

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Known for bringing very high quality KJV Bibles to market at incredible prices, Trinitarian Bible Society has done it again. The have refreshed their Large Print Family Presentation Bible with an upgrage to one of their most popular Bibles, now bringing  the  Windsor text into a large print edition.

(TBS provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review only an honest one and my opinions are my own.)

 Cover & Binding

My review copy has the black ironed calfskin cover, a change from the very textured cover on the Large Print Family Presentation Bible. It is Meriva Calfskin. To the best of my knowledge, this is the same ironed calfskin that can be found on the unrivalled perfection that is the Westminster Reference Bible. The paste down liner was rather a surprise. I had expected it to make the cover a little more stiff such as with the Large Print Family Presentation Bible. While it does make the cover more sturdy, it is still more limp and supple than other Bibles I own with a paste down liner.

The text block is smythe sewn as is the case will all TBS Bibles. As I have said in almost every review I have ever written, a sewn text block is an essential feature in a quality Bible; it is this feature that helps the Bible to last across generations.

Paper, Layout, and Font

The paper is crisp white but rather thin allowing modest show through (also called ghosting). The paper does have a minor issue, there is some page curl. The page curl is not severe enough to be challenging but I do find it mildly irritating.

We are given a plain text Bible, laid out in a double column verse by verse format. The 11-point font is crisp and very deep ebony. I do not know of TBS making a red-letter edition of the  Bible and this is no exception, a black letter text all the way through. The font is more of a semi-bold as opposed to the blackface/bold font style of the former Family Bible.

For Preaching/Teaching

This is an excellent Bible for preaching and teaching. The verse by verse format makes it very easy to locate the passage of Scripture you wish to use. Truth be told, I prefer the previous version of the Large Print Family Bible series. Please do not take that to mean that I have any dislike for the Large Print Windsor.

I very much enjoy the Windsor for daily reading but I find the older edition easier on the eyes with its very bold black format.

The Large Print Windsor will lay open on a pulpit or other type of lectern quite easily. It is also light enough to be used with one hand, which is especially handy if one is peripatetic.

For daily use

At less than an inch thick and weighing in at a little over a pound, the Large Print Windsor  is very practical for daily carry.

I am not sure that I would recommend writing in this Bible, unless it was done in pencil.

Should you buy

As I said  earlier this is an excellent Bible. You cannot go wrong  owning it.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this Bible is representative of everything I have come to expect from Trinitarian Bible Society. If TBS ever makes a wide margin Bible this would be the perfect choice. If they don’t, this is still a solid choice of KJV to own.

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

The Abide Bible and Journals are a very interesting offering from Thomas Nelson. They are not a study Bible system and neither are they a devotional system. Rather, I would describe them as a personal worship system. The Abide Bible is offered in both New King James Version (NKJV) and New English Translation (NET) and the Abide Bible Journals are offered with the NET. In this article we will review the Abide Bible in the NET alongside the 1st and 2nd Peter journal. (Both Bible and journal were provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As I was not required to give a positive review, my opinions are my own.)

 

 

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Abide Bible-Taylor University

From Thomas Nelson on the Abide Bible Journal

The Abide Bible Journals are designed to help you experience the presence of God and grow in your relationship with Him as you read and interact in Scripture. Each volume contains a book or section of Scripture in a clean, single-column format along with powerful passage-specific journaling prompts. And most important, right within the Word, lightly lined pages invite you to respond to what you’ve read and abide with God in active prayer and reflective response through the act of putting pen to paper.

The prompts within the text are based on four ways of engaging deeply with the Bible:

Praying Scripture: Pattern your prayers after biblical texts

Picture It: Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant

Journal: Focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life

Contemplate: Follow the simple 4-step practice of feasting in God’s Word

 

The Concept:

The concept for the Abide Bible comes from John 15:4,

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

As I understand from Thomas Nelson, the Abide Bible is designed to take you beyond simple reading of the Bible and to move you into the arena of actually living the Bible; having a vital, active relationship with Holy Scripture and more importantly, its author.

 

The Translation

I am reviewing the New English Translation. I have commented on this translation before, if you will recall, I rather like it. NET is a meaning based (dynamic equivalent/thought-for-thought) translation completed by the students and faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary. They Full Notes Edition carries with it all 68,000 translators’ notes, a fact which makes in the most heavily annotated English Bible available.

 

Many of my colleagues will say that a meaning based translation is not suitable for study but in the case of the Full Notes Edition, I could not disagree more. It is designed for study.

 

In the case of the Abide Bible, the footnotes are not provided, not that such a deprivation would negatively impact your experience with the Bible. While I love the NKJV, I think that the NET is a better choice for the Abide Bible. Given its intended use, I want a translation that does not require me to reach for a lexicon but instead, I want a translation that feels like I am with friend, which you definitely will get from the NET. I am also quite glad that the journals are in the NET Translation for the same reason, I want something that is easy to use.

 

Cover and Binding

The journal is softcover with an adhesive binding. I would have preferred to see a hardcover option but I understand that it would be enormously impractical given the groupings of the books.

 

The Abbie Bible that I was sent is the brown leathersoft. Thomas Nelson has really stepped up their game with their imitation leathers. Having handled many leathers over the years, I could tell from the touch that it is not real leather but I am not sure most people would pick up on that-it is very convincing. The binding appears to be sewn. I am glad to see sewn bindings return to the Thomas Nelson Lineup. Sewn bindings wil, literally, last you a lifetime of use.

 

Paper Layout and Font in the Journal.

The paper is a crisp white but not so bright as to cause glare. It performs very well in most light settings, including the Arizona sun, which is quite unforgiving.

On the left page we have the text of Scripture in a single column. On the right page we have the Abide Journaling Prompts and a lined column for journaling. Following the last page of journaling prompts we have an additional 15 lined pages for additional thoughts.

The font in the journal is quite a bit larger for the Scripture portion than what is found in the Abide Bible. I would gauge it at 9-point font while the journaling prompts come in at 8-point. Both, though, are quite readable.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font in the Bible

I am told that the paper is 36 gsm. You can see that it is quite opaque so it should work rather well for marking, highlighting, or journaling. There is a little bit of a newspaper texture to the paper which makes it rather easy to turn the pages.

Unlike the NKJV edition, this is a black letter Bible. The text is laid out in single column paragraph format, which is ideal for the intended use of the Abide Bible.

The Abide Prompts are in the outer column. Many of the pages, I would guess about half, include ample space for journaling.

Helps and Prompts

Introductions

 Each Introduction includes the usual material  including historical and literary context. It also adds a section called Prepare which is designed to help you to engage with Scripture.

Journaling Through Scripture

This section is not for a personal journal or even prayer requests. Instead, guided prompts help you to interact with scripture and to record/catalogue insights that you gather. Journaling is a critical component of Inductive Study which is the essential method to understand and internalize the Scripture.

Engage Through Artwork

“Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.” The Bible, itself, is art; it is God’s masterpiece and has inspired countless artistic works over the years. The artwork provided does not simply help us to visualize what we see in scripture, it spurs us on to worship by bringing the text to life.

 

Praying the Scripture

“Pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayer and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you want to express.” This is a similar concept to the Prayer Book used by some denominations. Many of us do not really know how to pray but the Abide Bible helps to guide us through the process.

Picture It

“Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant in important events.” The Bible IS literature, among other things, and the best literature invites us into the story. We identify with the characters and, on varying levels, the story speaks to us.

Contemplate

We are given a  4-step practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture.

Assorted Articles

There are some articles explaining how to engage with Scripture, studying vs engaging, and why we read the Bible. These are more of background material rather than what will take you through the process.

 

Final Thoughts

The Abide Bible and Journal  is an excellent resource when used as a complete system. Could you use each one separately? Yes but they are better together.

My preference is for the NKJV for study and teaching though the NET will do quite well for understanding and internalizing the Scripture.

It is important to remember that this will take time and discipline, but this is to be expected; nothing worth having comes easily. I think you, dear reader, will enjoy the Abide Bible and Journal and they will help you with your growth.

The NIV Open Bibles

The NIV Open Bibles

 

Following the 2019 and relaunch of the NKJV and KJV Editions of The Open Bible, Thomas Nelson has FINALLY released the NIV Edition of the Open Bible, an edition that I have been waiting 20 years for and some have been waiting nearly 40 years to launch

 

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Disclaimer:  Thomas Nelson sent one black imitation leather with thumb indexing free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Some information from Thomas Nelson

Product Description

The Open Bible is a great way to explore Scripture with the tools and helpful information that you need to understand it better. It features an easy-to-use topical index of over 8,000 names, places, concepts, events and doctrines. It also includes book introductions and outlines to with information on the historical context and themes of each book in the Bible. The Open Bible is sure to help you glean more from God’s Word.

Features include:

  • Topical index with 8,000 plus names, places, concepts, events, and doctrines
  • Book introductions and outlines provide historical context and themes of each book in the Bible
  • References include both verse and page number
  • Visual Survey of the Bible
  • 9-point print size

 

Layout

We will start with the biggest change first…The layout has always been a double column verse by verse format and that has not changed. Happily, in the NIV Edition, Nelson returned to not having a center column full of references.

There are 3 types of notes, each of which is laid out differently. Translators footnotes are found at the bottom of the right column. References, separated by a solid black line, are located at the bottom of the page, similar to what you will find in the NKJV Preaching Bible, except when there is a section of expositional notes. When expositional notes are provided, the references are placed into a box above the notes.

My review copy includes Nelson’s readily identifiable half-moon thumb indexing tabs.

Cover, Ribbons and Binding

I’m reviewing the imitation leather one but there are also genuine leather and hardcover versions available as well. The text block appears to be sewn as the Bible does not have any issues lying flat where I open it. There is some cockling (that popcorn sound) when you open the book. The cockling sound is a little irritating but it is not overly terrible. Like the NKJV, the cockling sound will go away with more use. We receive two ribbon markers for your daily OT and NT reading.

Font

We have Nelson’s Comfort Print series in 9-point font. The Open Bible is a red-letter edition and the red is really well done. Different publishers will often have trouble with the red lettering but Nelson executed quite nicely; The red letters are deep and rich.  For most people the font should be very easy to read.

The NIV Edition is, to my eyes, more readable than its NKJV cousin, even though it is not verse by verse like its counterpart. With the center column removed, the page looks less busy and if, like me, you need glasses, you will find this much easier to read.

Biblical Cyclopedic Index, now called The Topical Index

This is the standout feature of the Open Bible but it had been renamed for 2019 and is now called the Topical Index. There are 8000 entries cataloguing various topics in scripture. I have always found this to be most useful. It is very similar to the indexing that Kirkbride does with the Thompson but its keyed to NIV Reference System.

I would argue that this is one of the most important features in the NIV Open Bible. Many teachers lack resources for lesson preparation and this Topical Index easily provides a lifetime of lesson preparation material

Paper

The paper is surprising. It is fairly heavy (maybe 30-34 gsms) and quite opaque. This would work really well with colored pencils or with very fine tipped liquid highlighters.

We have similar paper in the NIV and NKJV editions BUT the paper is much less ostentatiously white in the NIV. That, coupled with the darker black in the NIV font makes readability much less of a chore.

Christ in the Scripture

Each book introduction includes a section showing how that book portrays Christ and shows Him throughout the whole of Redemptive History.

Survey

Each introduction also includes a brief survey of the book to be studied. The survey provides an overall summary of the book to be studied.

Exegetical and Expository Notes

Unlike most Study Bibles, the notes in the Open Bible are not commentary but exegetical and expositional in nature. The notes give you a solid foundation for your exegesis of Scripture.

Additional Helps 

The Front and Back Matter includes the Following Articles and Charts

How to Study the Bible

Christian’s Guide to the New Life

Guide to Christian Workers

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Harmony of the Gospels

Laws of the Bible

Miracles of Jesus

Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Christ.

Parables of Jesus

As a Preaching Bible

The Open Bible’s size leaves it ideally suited to preaching ministry, it is challenging for my bifocals and I. A pastor who is not visually impaired should not have any issues. 

Overall Thoughts

The Open Bible is a Bible which I have enjoyed regularly in the past. Overall it will be something I will continue to enjoy.

I am quite glad to see that my dissatisfactions have been addressed. It has been worth waiting 20 years for an NIV Edition.

 

NLT Giant Print Bible Review

NLT Giant Print Bible Review

 

The NLT Giant Print Reference Bible brings one of the most helpful English translations of the Bible to one of the most helpful formats, giant print. Before we continue the review, Tyndale House Publishers provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, simply an honest one, and my opinions are my own.

 

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The Translation

NLT is often confused with its predecessor, The Living Bible Paraphrased, but NLT is an actual translation. It is a Dynamic Equivalence Translation (Meaning Based). NLT usese the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Hebrew Text and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 27th edition and was translated by a team of 95 scholars across several denominations.

The English used is around 4th-6th Grade reading level. It is incredibly readable, making it one of the three best selling English translations of the Bible. In fact, it is one of the top two, rivalling NIV.

Is NLT good for teaching? Believe it or not, yes. Two-thirds of the world’s 800,000,000 English speakers have it as a second language. It is wonderful for teaching, so much so, that Oasis International, a ministry focused on resourcing African Christians, exclusively uses it

Cover and Binding

The edition that I am reviewing is teal leathersoft (a type of imitation leather) with a sewn binding and a paste down liner. The cover has a medium stiffness and is easy to hold in the hand,

Font

This is one of the largest fonts I have seen in a bible. It is a 14-point font on par with the monstrous Lexington font in the Giant Print ESV from Crossway. In the NLT, I have not encountered a more readable font. Tyndale really hit a sweet spot with the font size.

The black letter portions are very well done, a deep rich ebony. I hate to complain, it feels so ungrateful, but the red ink leaves a little to be desired. The red is not dim but it is not as dark as I would prefer. In the pulpit it does pose a little difficulty as the overhead lights tend to be severe and they cause the red letters to look faded out. On the other hand, in my reading chair, I had no issues. It is adequate for most situations but in the pulpit a black letter is preferable.

Paper and layout

I am not aware of an NLT in a verse-by-verse setting and this is no exception. This is a text only Bible laid out in paragraph format. There are no references at all but translation foot notes are provided at the bottom of the page. A solid black line separates the two columns of text with chapter numbers being very bold.

The paper is much improved over earlier editions. There is a tiny amount of show through but nowhere near as bad as in earlier editions. If you are going to mark, I recommend using Prismacolor brand colored pencils. In most Bibles you will get a good color without show through. The paper is bright white and it is very easy to turn the pages.

As a carry/reading Bibles

The Giant Print NLT is a 6”x9” Bible so it is considered full size. Is is relatively portable. Naturally, it is quite readable

For preaching and teaching

For the most part this does well for teaching and preaching. That being said, we must be candid and tell you that the type of lighting available will impact utility as a preaching and teaching Bible. There may be some fade out on the red letters.

Other Observations

There are no helps other than the translation footnotes and maps. A single teal ribbon marker is included for you to mark your progress in your reading plan. Bonded leather and thumb-indexed editions are available but I cannot find whether or not a black letter only edition exists.

Should you buy this Bible?

I cannot see any reason why not. Tyndale is really improving the quality of their Bibles as global adoption grows. I always recommend that teachers get the largest font which is practical for them and this Bible will fit the bill nicely.

 

 

 

NASB Large Print Bible in Blue Buffalo Hide

NASB Large Print Bible in Blue Buffalo Hide

Fans of the NASB, myself included, there is new reason to celebrate, an additional high-quality leather binding option-buffalo hide. In this review, we are considering the blue buffalo leather option, which Zondervan sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

 

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To begin, the edition I am reviewing is the Large Print Thin-line. It is, to the best of my knowledge, a new style for the NASB and one I rather enjoy, to be quite honest.

 

Cover and Binding

As I mentioned with regard to a similar option in the NIV, this is a very supple and flexible leather offering. This buffalo leather is on the same quality level as an ironed calfskin. Ironically enough, this Bible comes in at a lower price point than a traditional calfskin.

 

The leather lined cover is buttery soft and a delight to the touch. It is not as thick as the buffalo hide on other Bibles that I own but still feels every bit as sturdy.

 

Naturally we get a sewn binding. Zondervan left the binding a touch loose. This is to ensure ease of use one handed.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

As has been the case with its cousins in the Premier Collection, the NASB Large Print Thin-line Bible uses a crisp white paper. There is minor show through but nothing that will interfere with its use. If you are like me and enjoy marking in your Bible, I recommend colored pencil for marking in this Bible.

 

The Comfort Print Font Family really shines in this Bible. The verse by verse layout works out extremely well when paired with the 11-point font that Zondervan is offering. The red lettering is a little lighter than I had expected but it is still very well done and very easy to read.

 

In addition to being in a verse by verse format, we also have a double column setting. The double column setting makes it about 50-60% thinner than the most recognizable NASB Bible on the market, the Side Column Reference Bible.

 

The limited Translator’s Footnotes can be found at the bottom of the page.

 

For Everyday Carry

At around 1 inch thick, this is a great format for a daily use Bible. It should fit in most briefcases, backpacks, and purses without issue. I would say this Bible weighs in at 2 pounds or less so you should not experience any carry fatigue. The small, versatile format lends to a wide range of uses including personal study, one to one discipleship, or preaching.

 

As A Preaching Bible

An 11-point font is the smallest size that I would recommend for preaching and this particular Bible will do very well in the pulpit. As a text only Bible, there is nothing to distract from the text when preaching or if you are leading a responsive reading with your congregation.

 

Final Thoughts

NASB is one of the most important English Versions available and this is an excellent offering from Zondervan. Zondervan is the largest publishing partner that the NASB has and I have long wanted Zondervan to give us a broader selection of Bibles from which to choose; it is nice to see them finally doing so.

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

 

 

NIV Study Bible Photos (Click Me)

 

 

 

For nearly 40 years, the NIV Study Bible has been Zondervan’s flagship study resource for those using the New International Version of the Bible. In 2020, it has been revised and updated with 100 new articles and over 1,000 new study notes. Zondervan sent me a copy, in black bonded leather, free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

 

Translation:

New International Version, NIV for short, is the dominant English translation of the Bible for Anglophone Christians. The NIV is available in two types, Anglicised (published by Hodder and Stouhgton) and American Standard English edition published by Zondervan. These two families cover both sides of the English speaking world.

 

NIV is one of the two most recognizable mediating translations available. A mediating translation strives to strike a balance between Formal Equivalence (literal) and Dynamic Equivalence (thought for thought). NIV’s most similar competitor, Christian Standard Bible, leans more toward the literal side of the spectrum while NIV leans more toward the easy to read thought for thought end of the spectrum.

 

NIV as A Preaching Bible

NIV is an excellent choice for preaching. The translation rates around 6th-7th grade on the Flesch-Kincaide scale. The language is sufficiently technical and sophisticated so as to appeal to the more academically inclined disciple but it is also sufficiently easy to read so as to appeal to those disciples who have English as a second or third language. When bringing an expository sermon, NIV requires fewer restatements and definitions than other English texts.

 

NIV for Study

Some of my colleagues do not consider NIV to be good for study but I cannot agree with them. I find that NIV eliminates some steps when approaching study. Just as in preach ing, when studying a text, the NIV requires less restatement and fewer definitions. Additionally there are a host of commentaries, hand-books, study Bibles, and dictionaries based on the NIV including the powerhouse NIV Application Commentary, the New American Commentary, Holman’s Old Testament and New Testament Commentary and the premier single volume resource on understanding the Bible, Halley’s Bible Handbook.

 

Why choose a study Bible?

The choice to use a study Bible is one of practicality. Most Bible teachers are limited in the number of resources that are available for use, often having only one Bible and few, if any, study aids, which makes the acquisition of a study Bible a very helpful choice.

 

Why the NIV Study Bible?

The NIV Study Bible feature set makes it an excellent choice for a study Bible

 

Cross-References

The most important feature for Bible Study is a good cross referencing system, since the fundamental rule of hermeneutics is that the Scripture interprets the Scripture. In the NIV Study Bible, Zondervan provides around 68,000 references.

 

Translator’s Footnotes

       NIV Study Bible includes the full complement of Translator’s Notes. These include textual variants,  alternate translations, etc. I would say that the footnotes are a large portion of what makes the NIV so Easy to use.

 

Exegetical Study Notes

       Where many study Bibles contain what amounts to commentary, the NIV Study Bible has somewhere in the neughborhood of 25,000 exegetical study notes. The notes include explanations of the text, some cultural and historical background, alternate interpretations of the text , all of which is geared toward drawing out the meaning of the Scripture.

 

Introductions and Outlines

       The Introductions and Outlines in the NIV Study Bible are a little more in depth than in other study Bibles. Each introduction contains a detailed outline of the content of the book. Author, date of writing, purposes & emphases, and a timeline are all included. There is a small box containing “A Quick Look” at the book which highlights the theme, original audience, author, and approximate date of writing

 

Full color Maps and Charts

       Recognizing the needs of visual learners, Zondervan has included around 350 maps, charts, and photographs designed to make the world of the Bible come alive to your mind so you can behold the wondrous things in the Word of God.

 

Kholenberger’s Full Concordance

The complete NIV Concordance, created by John R. Kholenberger III is included. This topical study resource includes 4500-5000 entries with explanations and references.

 

       Index to Study Notes

There is a separate index to the study notes. This index is a topical breakdown of concepts addressed in the study notes, essays and articles to aid in understanding what the Bible has to say on a particular topic.

 

Expository Essays

There are over 100 expository essays included with the NIV Study Bible. These essays provide a more in-depth look at certain important concepts in our study of the Scripture.

 

Paper, Layout, Font and Binding

The paper is a crisp white which makes the red lettering very easy to see. Zondervan gives us a 9-point comfort print font. I, personally find the font a touch small BUT given the amount of content, a larger font would make this volume qite unwieldy.

 

Both the text and study notes are laid out in a double column paragraph format. The columns of Scripture Text are separated byt the center column references and the notes are separated from the Scripture by a bold black line.

 

The binding is sewn to ensure that it can stand up to the rigors of daily use.

 

How do I use the NIV Study Bible?

I am often asked if I regularly use the Bibles that I review and the answer to that is yes. I actually have a particular order in which I use resources, for a very specific reason, and the NIV Study Bible is used twice in lesson prep-it is my third and last resource. I start with the Teacher’s Study Bible and Halley’s Bible Handbook because I want to make sure that I have gotten a good handle on the minimum needed to understand the text. I turn to the NIV Study Bible, next, so that I can look for specific concepts that need a deep dive. Following this are commentaries and lexicons. Lastly I turn to my Study Bibles to compare what I have learned from the text to what other scholas have found with regard to the meaning and explanation of the text.

 

Who should buy the NIV Study Bible?

It is true that NIV Study Bible is for everyone but there is a particular group that I feel would benefit from the NIV Study Bible more so than others, Sunday School Teachers/Small Group Leaders. These wonderful saints serve Christ’s church faithfully, often without the benefit of Bible College and/or Seminary training. For them, a feature enriched study Bible is going to be very helpful.

 

Final Thoughts

I got my first NIV Study Bible in 1996 as a gift celebrating my baptism. In 1996, I began teaching Sunday School and  the NIV Study Bible informed my lessons. In 2005, I upgraded to the 10thanniversary edition. Later I upgraded to the full color edition. Currently, I use the digital version on OliveTree Bible Software. NIV Study Bible has proven a faithful and reliable companion.

 

NIV Study Bible gives you a full library of study materials. You can trust that, when you choose NIV Study Bible, you are choosing a resource that will help you to understand the Scriptures. This is a Bible worth your investment.

 

 

ESV with Creeds and Confessions Review

ESV with Creeds and Confessions Review

 

 

Additional Photos

 

The Crossway ESV with Creeds and Confessions is everything I have come to expect from Crossway, who, incidentally, sent me a copy in black trutone free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one.

Initially, I was actually surprised to find that this particular Bible did not blow me away. It is not a Bible that I dislike. It’s everything I have come to expect, sewn binding, good paper, etc. I like it and I enjoy using it but I don’t feel the same excitement that I get when I reach for other Crossway products such as my Literary Study Bible, Systematic Theology Bible, or the ESV Preaching Bible. HOWEVER, with more and more use the ESV with Creeds and Confessions has grown on me, so much so that I have recommended it several times to Christians who are new to what is commonly called Calvinism and are looking for a new Bible.

This Bible is very reserved, muted even. This does not surprise me as the most conservative Calvinists lean puritan and do not want a “flashy” Bible to take into the pulpit.

General Format

Essentially, the ESV with Creeds and Confessions is a large print ESV Bible, the back of which has the Reformed/Evangelical Confessions of Faith coupled with the Ancient Ecumenical Creeds. The font and layout are incredibly well done although it was not the layout I expected. (See next section)

What I Would Change

The original ESV with Creeds and Confessions was done by Schuyler Bibles a few years ago-it was an enlarged version of the New Classic Reference Edition with the Creeds and Confessions added in. I actually would have returned to that format. I would also move the Creeds and Confessions to locate them either in the front matter or between the testaments.  I would also add some lined notes pages. One could argue that this Bible is geared toward pastors and seminary professors so the lack of notes pages puzzles me. I would also remove the concordance, it seems a trifle unnecessary here-most of the people who would be picking up this particular Bible will most assuredly have plenty of other resources for in-depth topical study of the Bible.

Cover and Binding

The cover and binding are not unusual for Crossway. (I have the black trutone, which is Crossway’s polymer based imitation leather and includes a sewn binding. ) The TruTone Imitation Leather continues to get more and more convincing as Crossway continues to hone their craft.

It may surprise you to learn that, in many cases, I recommend Crossway’s TruTone before I recommend a genuine leather. I know a number of pastors who are on the go rather frequently and you don’t always want a more premium leather in your every -day carry Bible.

Paper, Layout, Font

Again there is nothing unusual here. The paper is bright white which works well with the black letter text. The text is laid out in double column paragraph format, approximately 12-point font. Crossway uses the Lexicon font family and continues to do so.

I think the Lexicon Font Family is more readable than most other Bible fonts on the market. I wear bifocals and frequently find ESV Bibles easier to read than other Bibles of similar size and font types.

The Creeds and Confessions

13 historic creeds and confessions are placed in the back, including the Apostles Creed (ca. 200–400), the Nicene Creed (325), the Athanasian Creed (381), the Chalcedonian Definition (451), the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Articles of Religion (1563), the Canons of Dort (1618–19), the Westminster Confession (1646), the London Baptist Confession (1689), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) Introductions to each of the 13 creeds and confessions written by historian Chad Van Dixhoorn were included.

First and foremost, I am a Baptist so seeing the London Baptist Confession is major for me. There is a bias (No way around it) in the Reformed Community which suggests that Baptists are not really reformed. This is grossly inaccurate and pejorative so seeing the LBC included was a major win for us.

You will also note that the 3 Forms of Unity are included. The Three Forms of Unity is a collective name for the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism, which reflect the doctrinal concerns of continental Calvinism and are accepted as official statements of doctrine by many of the Reformed churches. In short, these are foundational documents to Reformed Theology.

Our Anglican Brethren will also be glad to see that the 39 Articles of Religion are included as well. Many do not often think of the Anglicans as being reformed but they were an integral part of the Reformation in the United Kingdom.

Final Thoughts

The ESV with Creeds and Confessions is perfect for the modern day puritan. You will find it to be a very well made Bible but that is what defines Crossway- incredibly well made Bibles at very affordable price points.

My niggling little gripes aside, the ESV with Creeds and Confessions is a prime example of what makes Crossway the first choice in Bible for a host of people, especially the “Reformed Pastor.”

NASB MacArthur Study Bible 2nd Edition, Premiere Collection

NASB MacArthur Study Bible 2nd Edition, Premiere Collection

 

 

The 2nd Edition the MacArthur Study Bible has finally been released in Dr. MacArthur’s favorite translation, the New American Standard Bible. Like the NKJV, it has been added to the premier collection. (Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review only an honest one and my opinions are my own.)

Disclosure: John MacArthur is my favorite Bible teacher and the MacArthur Study Bible is my favorite study Bible.

 

Additional Photos

Translation Choice

This particular edition of the MacArthur Study Bible is offered in the New American Standard Bible (NASB). NASB is considered, by many, to be the gold standard for Bible translation and study and I see no cause to disagree, with the lone exception of the NKJV.

NASB is fastidiously literal in the tradition of its predecessor, the American Standard version. Some say it has a bit of a wooden feel but I don’t really see that. It seems to flow rather well.

Cover and Binding

Like its NKJV cousin, this Bible has a milk chocolate colored cover in the same exquisite goatskin as the remainder of the Premier Collection. It is as silky, smooth, and soft as Ghirardelli Chocolate (my favorite) and, it is even more glorious feel than the NKJV; the NASB edition has a considerably more pronounced grain than the NKJV, the most pronounced grain in the Premier Collection as far as I can tell. The goatskin is easily equal to the famed goatskin covers of RL Allan and Sons and beggars anything that Cambridge produces. To say that this cover drips quality is a perfect exercise in the art of understatement; it would have to be Thomas Nelson’s magnum opus, a work of art worthy of the ultimate book man can get his hands on-flawless goatskin aged to perfection and surrounding the holy words of Scripture. I cannot imagine an edition of Sacred Scripture I could enjoy more.

A leather liner ensures the flexibility of the cover. There is a gold gilt line encasing the perimeter of the Bible and, in tiny, gold all caps, at the bottom of the page, we find the words “goatskin leather cover.”

The front of the Bible is totally blank and the spine has MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible , and Thomas Nelson stamped in soft gold lettering. I did not really comment on this with the NKJV edition but I really like the muted front cover. A blank front cover is less ostentatious than you will find on other Bibles. To be perfectly honest, I do wish it were available in black goatskin but I do enjoy the brown as well.

As with the rest of the Premier Collection, the binding is sewn allowing the Bible to lie flat irrespective of where the text is opened. Both the front and rear of the Bible contain overcast stitching to reinforce the sturdiness of the text Block. Believe it or not, the text block is not as tight as in its NKJV cousin. This actually feels more pleasant in the hand and it is also more pulpit friendly in that it lays flat just a touch easier than the NKJV Edition.

Paper, Typography, Ribbons

There are 3 satin ribbons, 3/8” wide and they are offered in red, baby blue and mahogany. For some, three is the ideal number, but is the minimum that I find acceptable. The general idea behind the three ribbons is that you will have one to mark your OT readings, one for NT, and the last one for Psalms and Proverbs. If this were a preaching Bible, I would insist on two more ribbons. However, what we are offered, here, is quite adequate to the task at hand.

The paper is a 39 gsms European Bible Paper. This Bible actually has thicker paper than its siblings in the Premier Collection and it feels very similar to the paper used in the Cambridge Concord Reference Bible. The edges of the paper have red under gold art gilding. The paper is quite opaque allowing almost no show through.

2k/Denmark has designed all of the fonts in the Comfort Print Family and they ply their trade impeccably in this Bible. The text of Scripture is 9-point and the notes are 8-point. I have to say that this is the easiest 9-point that I have ever tried to read.

Layout

The Scripture text is laid out in double column paragraph format. The notes, which are also in paragraph format, are laid out in a triple column format (extremely helpful given the addition of 5000 more expository notes). In between the text of Scripture and the Notes Section you will find the Complete NASB Reference System, comprised of 95,000 cross references, textual variants, and translator’s notes.

Helps

The shining stars of the MacArthur Study Bible are the helps provided. For 50 years, Dr. MacArthur has made it his mission to “unleash God’s truth, one verse at a time” and in the MacArthur Study Bible every tool a person could need to comprehend God’s Holy Truths is made available to the reader. Let us look at the helps provided…

25,000 Exegetical and Expository Notes on Scripture

While many study Bibles offer commentary on Scripture, the MacArthur Study Bible goes further. By adding 5,000 notes to the previous 20,000, the MacArthur Study Bible now rivals the ESV Study Bible as the most heavily annotated Bible available.

The notes that are provided draw out the meaning of Scripture (exegete) and explain said meaning (exposition). However, they do not stop there; these notes whet the appetite and draw the reader further into the Scripture. Several pastors both well-known (Steve Lawson) and not well known (me) consult the MacArthur Study Bible on a regular basis. I would go so far as to say that if a person desired to understand and teach the Bible to others, the MacArthur Study Bible would sufficiently stand on its own and need no other tools

Book Introductions

The MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions provide a wealth of information for the student. We are treated to the usual information such as author, circumstance of writing, audience, etc. The difference in the MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions is the Interpretive Challenges Section. Several books of the Bible are difficult to interpret (think Revelation if you don’t believe me) and the MacArthur Study Bible deals with those challenges head on by identifying the challenges and then addressing them in John MacArthur’s signature direct approach.

Overview of Theology

This section does not appear in any other Study Bible, including Crossway’s excellent Systematic Theology Study Bible or Ligonier’s Reformation Study Bible. I absolutely love this feature. It is a very succinct Systematic Theology, ideal to educate the new disciple or for a seasoned pastor to teach through. The closest comparison is found in the Ryrie Study Bible’s Survey of Christian Doctrine.

I would advise that any study in the MacArthur Study Bible should begin here. Each subsection is well sourced with Scripture, succinct and logical. I can think of no better foundation for a new disciple than this Overview of Theology.

Maps and Charts

The maps and charts provided give contextual insight into the Scripture and provide aids for those who are visual learners. (It is always hard to comment on maps and charts because they are very plain and straightforward.)

 

Final Thoughts

If you had not guessed by now, I love the MacArthur Study Bible. I have multiple Editions: the NASB, NIV, ESV, 1st and 20th Anniversary Limited editions in NKJV, and digital copies on two different software platforms. By any stretch, the MacArthur Study Bible is my most oft reached for tool and it should be yours as well. If I were to find any negative in the MacArthur Study Bible, it would simply be nitpicking. As I have said, it is the Premier Study Bible and now in the Premier Collection it comes in a format worthy of the ultimate study Bible.

 

 

Large Print Wide Margin Text Only Bible from CBP

Large Print Wide Margin Text Only Bible from CBP

 

 

One of my favorite Bible formats, my preferred in fact, is a wide margin and, today, I am reviewing one of the best wide margin Bible available, the Large Print Wide Margin Text Bible from Church Bible Publishers {CBP}. (Disclosure: This Bible was not provided by CBP, neither did they solicit this review. This is on my own and at my own cost)

Bible Photos

A comment or two on Church Bible Publishers

Church Bible Publishers is based in Cadillac, Michigan and are owned and operated by a local church pastor and former missionary. If you follow them on social media, you will see that they still have a missionary zeal for getting the Word of God into the hands of the people.

 

ALL CBP Bibles are printed and bound in the United States, a rare feature in the realm of Bible Publishing. These Bibles tend to be much higher quality than their internationally printed counterparts, most if which tend to be printed in China. CBP has a video on YouTube showing actual production of CBP Bibles, including multiple quality checks along the way. One fact, when dealing with CBP, is that they hold the Bible in highest regard, no, they cherish the Bible. Each Bible is unique as is each reader of the Bible.

 

 

Translation

CBP is a dedicated King James Bible Publisher. In their case, I really appreciate this fact because it enables them to focus on the quality of the Bible they produce and give both the Bible itself and the reader the honor deserved.

 

Cover and Binding

This is a black lambskin cover with edge to edge synthetic leather lining. Generally, lambskin is the softest and most supple leather you can find. It is also a more tender leather and will need daily handling to prevent it from drying out.

 

CBP has ironed the lambskin so that it is very supple. I love a good grain on my Bible, especially pebble grain, but here that would be somehow disrespectful. There is a bit of sheen to it that will eventually turn into a nice patina, although I am not sure how obvious it would be since the Bible is black.

 

The liner, as I mentioned, is billed as synthetic but I have to say that does not impact the limpness or flexibility in the slightest. It most likely adds to the durability since lambskin is so delicate.

 

CBP sews all their Bibles, a testament to the quality they provide. The company is run by a group of local church pastors, if you had not already guessed from the name, and they know the demands placed on a pastor’s Bible hence the sewn binding. A sewn binding guarantees a lifetime of use and I wager the leather will need replaced long before the stitching.

 

Layout and Font

We have a 12-point font in a double column verse by verse format with 1.75 inch margins.  It is a pure text edition meaning there are no helps, not even translator’s footnotes. It is obvious that this format is designed for pulpit use or for the classroom.

 

CBP has given us one of the best red-letter editions available. The red is crisp and a deep rich cherry color. I tested the red under the brightest, most unforgiving light I could find, the Arizona Sun, and had absolutely no issues. You will, no doubt, have no issues under the lights on your platform.

 

Paper

This is around a 36 gsm white paper. It is fairly thick and makes for easy page turning. It is nicely opaque; I did not notice any bleed through with my pen.

 

For marking, I recommend that a colored pencil be your first choice; Prang is the brand I use. For ball-point pen I suggest Pilot Pen Company’s Better Retractable brand pen. Pilot gives, in my experience, the most consistent ink flow and does not leave the annoying pen impressions on the other side of the page.

 

Helps

The only study aid provided is a double column concordance. It seems to mirror the Cambridge Concordance and provides a fairly comprehensive index for study.

 

Compared to my other lambskin KJV

I have one other lambskin KJV (which I think was also done by CBP), a wide margin Classic KJV Study Bible, a special edition from the KJV Store. The leather feels identical, leading me to believe they are from the same source.

 

The look and feel of the paper is also very similar and the writing experience also seems to be the same.

 

I treat these as companions. The Classic Study Bible is by my bedside for evening reading and the Large Print Wide Margin is in my rotation for lesson prep.

 

As an Every Day Use Bible

This is not a small Bible, most large print Bibles are not. It runs a little on the heavy side at about 3.5 pounds, so frequent one-handed use may be impractical. All CBP Bibles are pulpit ready, their large print even more so, since as a teacher you should be using the largest font size possible in the classroom.

 

I have begun some markings but have not decided which categories of annotations I will add; generally I do word studies and sermon points. If I do it correctly, I can preach most, if not all texts, with nothing else than the marginal annotations.

 

A little more about caring for this unique leather

I want to add a couple tips for caring for lambskin as it tends to be a more delicate leather.

  • Don’t wash your hands immediately before handling this Bible. The oils from your hands work into the leather keeping it rich and supple.
  • Use Lexol when cleaning the Bible cover. It removes dirt but still nourishes the leather and keeps it supple
  • Handle this Bible regularly if it is not your primary Bible. Remember that the natural oils in your skin will work into the leather. Each Bible will have a unique shine because of your natural oils.

 

The Price Point

CBP sells their Bibles at cost or as close to it as possible. This Bible will run you about $75-$85 before taxes and shipping, depending on if you have a coupon.

 

Should you buy this Bible

The Large Print Wide Margin Text Bible is for you if you are looking for an unadulterated text block with plenty of room for your annotations.

 

If you are a Bible Teacher, in any capacity, then you should consider this edition.