Tag: Bible Teaching

ptōcheia (word wealth)

ptōcheia (word wealth)

Revelation 2:9  brings us to consider poverty in the New Testament Context

ptōcheia (poverty); Strong’s #4432: From a root meaning “to cower.” The word indicates a state of abject poverty, destitution, indigence, and affliction, and is used three times. In the NT it describes the voluntary poverty that Christ experienced on our behalf (2 Cor. 8:9); the condition of saints in Macedonia (2 Cor. 8:2); and the extreme want of the church of Smyrna (Rev. 2:9). The root word means “to cower,” describing the posture of a beggar.

CSB Giant Print Reference Bible Review

CSB Giant Print Reference Bible Review

 

Following my church adopting the Christian Standard Bible as our teaching translation, I sourced a new Bible for preaching and after careful consideration, I ordered the Bible which I am reviewing today, The CSB Giant Print Reference Bible in brown genuine leather (goatskin).  Note: Neither Holman Bibles nor the CSB marketing team provided this Bible for review; I sourced it at my own expense.

 

Additional Bible Photos

 

The Translation Choice:

Why the CSB? In short, technical precision and readability. This is an optimal equivalence or mediating translation, similar to the NIV. The major difference between the two is that the CSB is more toward the formal equivalence end of the spectrum where the more free-flowing NIV is closer to the dynamic equivalence.

Being the more formal of the two lends to the technical precision of the CSB. Also lending to the technical precision of the translation. Christian Standard Bible  is one of the most heavily footnoted of any English Bible translation.

 

The Cover and Binding

Holman has a gift for understatement. This Bible is billed as being genuine leather. On the back of the Bible, itself, you will read, stamped in gold lettering, goatskin leather.  This is the same ironed goatskin that is to be found on the CSB Pastor’s Bible. It is a rich milk chocolate reminiscent of the coloring of a chocolate bar from Cadbury. There is no real grain on this one but that is actually quite nice for my purpose; I am a systematic expositor and I like my preaching Bible to be a bit more reserved.

 

This Bible has a sewn Binding and a paste down liner. In the case of this Bible, the paste down liner was a smart choice; there is a bit of heft and a leather liner could make it a bit unwieldy. By now, you have been reading my reviews enough to understand why a sewn Bible is so very important- it will far outlast a glued binding.

 

Paper, Layout, Font, Indexing

This edition is thumb-indexed. This is not the traditional half-moon indexing; it is more rectangular. The tabs for the New Testament are bright red, a subtle reminder of the blood shed at Calvary.

 

The text block is in a double column paragraph format with verse numbers being in bold. End of verse references are provided. We have a 14-point font with design cues reminiscent  of the NIV’s comfort print. It is very easy on the eyes with the black letters being a deep rich ebony and a dark cranberry for the red lettering. It does look as though line matching has been used as there is not a lot of shadowing.

 

The paper has great opacity for being somewhat thin. I would put it around 28-gsm. You will not have any problems turning the pages and a ball-point pen (I recommend Pilot Brand) or colored pencil (I recommend Prismacolor) should not give you any bleed through.

 

In the Pulpit

I love a very large print in the pulpit and have even preached from the CSB Pulpit Bible but I tend to not stand still so this is a much easier Bible to use. I can hold this Bible at arm’s length or rest it on my podium and read aloud without any issues.

 

Compared to the Pastor’s Bible and the Verse by Verse Reference Bible for preaching

The giant print, amazingly, is slimmer than that of the Pastor’s Bible. This is due to the fact that the Pastor’s Bible has a bit thicker paper. They have the same brown goatskin for the leather cover. I have to give the giant print the win, though for being easier to read in the pulpit.

 

The Verse by Verse is everything I had always wanted in a Bible from the CSB and it is my primary CSB Bible. That being said, there can be no question of the superiority of the Giant Print Reference Bible in terms of font; in all other areas they are equal.

 

As an Everyday Carry Bible

The Giant Print Reference Bible is a standard size Bible. It fits easily into a messenger bag or briefcase. The overall size and wight made it very east to carry. This is my primary ministry Bible at the moment and I found it to bring the perfect blend of form and function.

 

Buy this Bible if

  • You want a huge, easily readable Bible
  • CSB is your preaching/teaching translation
  • You want a Bible that is very utilitarian without a lot of bells, whistles, or distractions
  • You want premium leather feel without breaking your wallet.
NIV Preacher’s Bible Review

NIV Preacher’s Bible Review

 

 

Zondervan’s NIV Preacher’s Bible is the NIV that many pastors have been desirous of for a long time. Does it stack up? Before we answer that let me disclose that Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

 

Preacher’s Bible Photos

 

We will go a little out of order in this review. Let’s begin:

Font

Sadly, the font is the area where I have to complain. While it is comfort print and would be fairly easy on the eyes for most people, it is rather small. Zondervan lists at 9.5 but I would put money on that being the font size with leading.  I cannot, for the life of me, understand why a “preacher’s Bible” has a font size smaller than 11-point. Your preaching Bible really ought to have as large a font as possible so that you are not needing to squint while trying to preach. Zondervan’s sister company, Thomas Nelson uses an 11.5-point font and a true 11.5 at that. It does make for a thicker Bible but I would call that a worthwhile trade off. Incidentally, the Preacher’s Bible has a cousin in the Large Print Thin-line which does have an 11-point font (in paragraph format).

I would like to point out that readability is helped out by line matching the text on both sides of the page.

Cover and Binding

This is without a doubt the best goatskin that Harper Collins (Zondervan’s Parent) has offered in the Premier Collection. The grain is very pronounced and quite delightful to the touch. We have an edge lined cover and a sewn binding.

It is a black goatskin that, I think, rivals current offerings from Cambridge. Harper Collins has really stepped up their game here. The goatskin is not quite on the level of R.L. Allan or Schuyler but you get very good quality for the price point.

Paper

This is a 36 gsm Indopaque paper. It is quite a bit higher gsm than in the NASB Preacher’s Bible that Zondervan offers. It is a crisp bright white, a considerable help to readability given the smallish font. The paper is nicely opaque and should hold up to annotations rather well. Always start with colored pencil or ball-point pen somewhere in the back of the Bible until you arrive at what works well for you.

Layout, Pagination, Intended Solution

Normally, I put the layout with the font but this is a unique NIV so the layout gets moved.

This is the only verse-by-verse layout offered in the NIV. Like the paper, this aids in readability to offset the smallish font. Verse numbers are set apart, as you will see  in the photos. They are more obvious than in the NASB cousin and makes it incredibly easy to find the verse that you are looking for.

Like what Zondervan did with the NASB Preacher’s Bible, the NIV Preacher’s Bible has the same pagination as the NIV Comfort Print Pew and Worship Bible- every page begins and ends with the same word in each Bible.

The Preacher’s Bible and Pew & Worship Bible offerings, in either translation solve a major problem for many pastors, myself included- having everyone on the same page, literally. In my younger days, I did not understand how few people had actually gotten inside a Bible and thought that pew Bibles were promoting laziness. These days, however, I realize just how many Christians are entirely unfamiliar with the Bible. The Preacher’s Bible paired with the Pew and Worship Bible allows the pastor to tell the congregation on which page to find the text for either the responsive reading or the day’s sermon.

Compared to my current NIV

Currently, I am using the Giant Print Reference Bible for preaching and will probably continue to do so given that it has a 13.5 font vs 9.5, even though it is a paragraph format. That is not to say that I will not use the Preacher’s Bible. It really is a very nice Bible and very helpful. More on usage in the next section.

The NIV Preacher’s Bible has the advantage on cover material, it is goatskin where the Giant Print Reference Bible is a bonded leather. It also has better paper. In truth, if it were easier to read, it would be the ideal NIV. Note: Most people will not have an issue reading the Preacher’s Bible, I just happen to be rather nearsighted.

Usage with distribution Bibles

We have two Bible distribution platforms at Abounding Grace Baptist Church, one of which distributes pew Bibles. We will be transitioning to distributing the Pew and Worship Bible along with placing them at the church. This will solve the issue of helping new disciples to learn the Bible. In so doing we will be able to tell parishioners where to find the day’s text.

For Carry

At less than an inch thick,  this Bible is very well suited to carry. It will easily fit into a laptop back, executive portfolio, or other such carrying item. The weight is negligible.

The Preacher’s Bible Compared with Large Print Thin-line

Overall, these two Premier Collection Bibles are fairly evenly matched. Aesthetically, the cover on the Preacher’s Bible is my preference. The Preacher’s Bible  has a much more pronounced grain and is more pleasing to the touch than the Large Print Thin-line, which is not to say that the Thin-line is not delightful to the touch, it just happens that enjoying a fairly pronounced grain is one of my quirky little oddities.

To my eyes (and your experience may be different), the Large Print Thin-line has the advantage in font size. Paragraph format is not my favorite format but it is what I am used to with the NIV and I confess the 11-point font is easier on my eyes.

Comparing with the NASB Preacher’s Bible

The two are nearly identical, not counting the translation. The NASB has a larger font by around half a point but that does not really affect readability of either. The big differentiator is the NIV makes the verses quite a bit more obvious and, if you own both, you may find verse navigation easier in the NIV.

Final Thoughts

The font is a problem for me. I hate complaining about a Bible but I did say I would give an honest review. I will overcome the font issue, for as long as possible, because it provides a solution for me as a pastor.

Overall, this is a really well-crafted Bible. Most pastors who preach from NIV will really benefit from this Bible. It is, after all, the NIV Bible that many, many pastors have wanted for a long time.

I hope that Zondervan will release other verse-by-verse Bibles in the future. Verse-by-verse tends to be the most practical format for preaching and it has become clear that Zondervan has realized this fact. I hope they will expand their offerings, at the least for pastors if not for the entire market.

NLT Select Reference Bible

NLT Select Reference Bible

This review was from 2015 but was “lost” as a result of a server failure. It has been recovered and is being shared again for your enjoyment.

 

 

NLT Select Reference Bible Review

On a recent trip to the Philippines, I was invited to take another look at the NLT. While there, the opportunity to review the Tyndale NLT Select Reference Bible was opened to me. The experience of both was, to put it mildly, a most unexpected pleasure.

(A quick disclosure and we will get into the review: Tyndale House Publishers provided a black goatskin NLT Select Reference Bible at no charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to provide positive feedback.)

Let’s begin with some official remarks from Tyndale House Publishers:

“The New Living Translation is an authoritative Bible translation rendered faithfully into today’s English from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars. The NLT’s scholarship and clarity breathe life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages—but even more powerful are stories of how people’s lives are changing as the words speak directly to their hearts.

The NLT translators set out to render the message of the original texts of Scripture into clear, contemporary English. The result was a Bible that is faithful to the ancient texts and eminently readable.”

Now the official product description which can be found at http://www.tyndale.com/Tyndale-Select-NLT-Select-Reference-Edition/9781496404749#.VkAXaYSMCCQ

 

Tyndale Select Bibles are the highest quality bindings available in the New Living Translation. Select Reference Editions are the premier Bibles in the Tyndale Select line. Select Reference Editions deliver God’s enduring word in a fresh, yet timeless, reading experience. Each full-grain leather Bible is meticulously handcrafted with excellence, and Smyth-sewn with the greatest of care to ensure durability, flexibility, and a lay-flat binding.

Handsome editions are available in black or brown full-grain goatskin leather. Goatskin leather covers are edge-lined to maximize the suppleness for a luxuriously soft leather Bible that is a pleasure to hold. Other premium features of the goatskin leather edition include perimeter stitching, two ribbon markers, a gold foil frame around the inside cover, and luxurious art-gilded page edges, revealing red under gold gilding.

The attractive single-column interior of the Select Reference Edition makes this Bible enjoyable to read. The line-over-line setting and top-quality paper maximizes the brightness of the page and minimizes show-through for optimal readability. Other premium interior features include the generous 8.75 font, spacious margins, and over 40,000 cross references. Printed, bound, and meticulously handcrafted at Jongbloed’s premier bindery in the Netherlands, Select Reference Editions are Tyndale’s finest-quality Bibles available in the New Living Translation

Now on to my review:

The Translation

The New Living Translation is, technically, classified as a Dynamic Equivalence Translation but in more common language we would call it a meaning based translation. Much to my surprise, I find myself liking meaning based translations more and more as I grow in ministry.

The NLT was originally intended to be an update to Ken Taylor’s Living Bible Paraphrase of the American Standard Version. However, Tyndale House felt a new translation would be better. (You can read all the details at the Tyndale website). It is translated at a middle school reading level there by making comprehension of the Bible more accessible to a wide audience.

Many of my “conservative” colleagues do not seem to like the NLT, not that I understand why. I can think of nearly a dozen people whose first time reading the entire Bible was in the NLT; I think that is part of the reason for my growing fondness of the NLT. NLT actually holds a special place in my heart because it is the Bible Christ used to draw my wife unto Himself for redemption.

Cover Material

This Bible is available in both goatskin and calfskin, both of which will last you a lifetime. A reader had asked, with regard to another Bible, if goatskin is better than calfskin. Technically speaking, the answer to that would be yes. However, in choosing a Bible, either one is considered to be a premium cover material.

As mentioned earlier, the edition being reviewed, here, is the black goatskin. I have read the reviews from several colleagues and have not seen mention of what kind of goatskin we are using. I will assume (dangerous, I know) that we are being treated to highland goatskin since this is bound by the master craftsmen at Royal Jongbloed in the Netherlands. It is as glorious to the touch as anything I have ever felt. There is a pronounced grain, meaning you can feel the “bumps” in the skin which I much prefer to ironed hides.

Binding

The binding is hand bound and smyth sewn so that the book itself lays flat when opened to any section. Jongbloed has a distinctive spine hinge that is a little stiff when the book first comes out of the box. A number of my colleagues do not like this feature but I, actually, think it makes the Bible a little more special. There is a feeling, when you take a Jongbloed bound Bible out of the box for the first time, that this Bible was crafted just for you by a master artisan and when you get to “break it in” it makes the experience all the more personal. To be sure, the spine loosens up rather quickly and the stiffness becomes no bother.

Why Cover and Binding Matters

For most of my readers, and indeed Christians all over the world, all that they have available is a single Bible, and said Bible might well be the only Bible they have for their entire life and ministry. Cover and Binding should be in your top two deciding factors because they determine how long you will be able to utilize your Bible. As an example, I have a Bible that has been in my family for over 50 years and aside from some scuffs where the Bible was dropped, it is as good today as it was the day it came out of the box. For lifelong use, you want to choose a sewn binding and the highest quality leather that you can find.

What comes in the box?

Aside from the glorious Bible, which is protectively wrapped in black paper, you will find a double sided insert from Tyndale. One one side, there are Bible Care Instructions. This seems like such an obvious inclusion, but you would be surprised at just how many Bibles do not come with this in the box and, as a consequence, how many people damage the spine on their Bibles. On the second side is a little snippet about the design and then the guarantee information. Like all premium Bibles, this is guaranteed for life against failure due to a defective manufacturing process.

The Text Block

Layout

This is a single column paragraph format of which I am, normally, not a fan. However, this time it really works. With no disrespect intend to the Sacred Writ, this feels more like a normal piece of literature. You can easily get lost in the moment while doing your daily reading and take in much larger chunks of the Bible.

References are in the outer margin and I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I am glad to see that the placement was carefully thought out so that the text is not broken up. On the other hand, this is one Bible that screams for a margin wide enough to notate.

The inner margin, often called the gutter, is better in this Bible than in most of the other Bibles on the market today. It is sufficiently large enough to not have the text block curl into it which would cause difficulty reading.

Font, Coloration, Readability

This is the only area where I have a gripe, but it is a legitimate one. The 8.75 font size will be difficult for some to read. I have found that a 9-9.5 font size is the sweet spot. While I can easily read this Bible in most circumstances, a low light setting, such as the one on my bedside table can pose problems.

This is a complete black letter text. I know that red-letter editions have their fans but I do not mind a black letter text. The choice to go completely black letter ensures that if you were to take this into the pulpit you would have an easier time reading it and it also ensures that if you use other colors to annotate, you will have distinctive coloration for your eyes to fixate on.

Paper

The paper is, from what I have read, Indopaque paper with 28gsm and 79% opacity. In English, that simply means that you don’t have that pesky ghosting effect nor will you have bleed through.

In daily use

This Bible has been with me every day since it arrived approximately two and a half weeks ago. It has gone into and out of my laptop bag several times a day, come to church with me, done my daily reading before bed, done some supplemental reading on my lunch break and even found its way into conversations with others.

The NLT Select Reference Bible was quite a surprise to me; with the exception of wide margins, it brought everything I could want into a Bible. There are 40,000 cross references (Scripture interprets Scripture) a 119-page concordance/dictionary combo for study aids, and the NLT itself.

Overall thoughts

I have a confession to make: I did not expect to like this Bible. Sure it is a premium edition and it hits on all my key points. However, previous to my trip to the Philippines, I had more or less dismissed the NLT off hand as being more of a paraphrase. Then, while overseas, reality came along and slapped the taste out of my mouth. I read the NLT again (like it was the first time) and I got excited. Yes, it’s translated to be easy to read but that is part of its charm. You get a very easy to understand translation that doesn’t just invite you to read the Bible but instead invites you to fall in love with the Bible all over again.

Had Tyndale asked my opinion in advance, I might have suggested verse-by-verse for the layout but that might then cause it to lose its attractiveness. I would sum up my thoughts this way: NLT, read it again for the first time.

 

 

CSB Study Bible Review

CSB Study Bible Review

This particular review has taken me a little longer than normal, not because there is anything wrong with the CSB Translation but because old habits die hard. The HCSB, predecessor to the CSB has been one of the translations that I have used for a number of years and I am trying to make it a main translation but after 21 years with NASB, old habits really do die hard.

The particular CSB that we are reviewing today is the CSB Study Bible in jacketed hardcover which was provided by B&H Publishing free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

The CSB Study Bible is an update to the HCSB version of the Holman Study Bible.

From the Publisher

The CSB Study Bible continues to offer the ECPA award winning Holman study system with all of its study notes and tools uniquely designed to be on the same page as the biblical text to which they refer. Newly expanded to offer additional word studies, feature articles on the apostles by Dr. Sean McDowell, and more.

The CSB Study Bible features the highly reliable, highly readable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), which stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity. The CSB’s optimal blend of accuracy and readability makes Scripture more moving, more memorable, and more motivating to read it today — and share it always.

For the growing believer whose desire is to know Scripture more intimately and live out its loving instruction, the CSB Study Bible always keeps you and God on the same page.

Features include:

  • 368 word studies to introduce you to the context and meaning behind key Greek and Hebrew words
  • High-quality smyth-sewn binding that will lie open whether you are reading Genesis 1 or Revelation 22
  • Full-color visuals to help you see the structure and context of Scripture come alive, including 94 photographs, 55 maps, 44 paintings, 21 illustrations/reconstructions, 19 charts, and 61 timelines
  • Introductions and outlines for each book, including background information, theological themes, and insights into the unique contribution of each book
  • Easy-to-read layout with two columns of text, center-column cross-references, and three columns of notes

Why do you need a study Bible?

A number of my colleagues do not care for study Bibles and I think this is a bit short sighted. The primary audience for a study Bible is a new disciple. Fully 95% of the Christians in America will not get the benefit of Bible College but will need resources to help them grow. A good study Bible, and this one is an excellent choice, will provide an excellent foundation for discipling a new believer.

Translation Choice

The CSB is what we would call a mediating translation, or to use B&H’s description, Optimal Equivalence. It is not strictly literal like the NASB nor is it an entirely meaning based translation like NIV or NLT. You will find the text to be literal where it needs to be and meaning based where it needs to be. All in all, I really like the translation and I will eventually replace my NASB and NIV with the CSB and the NLT.

Study Notes

The study notes are conservatively estimated at 15,000 but I would say that we are closer to 20,000. The notes easily rival both the MacArthur and ESV Study Bibles, two of my favorites. They are very comprehensive and do not simply explain the text but they provide cultural and theological background as well.

The predecessor, HCSB, was often times called the “Hard Core Southern Baptist Bible” because it is copyrighted and published by a Southern Baptist entity. However, the notes are not strictly Southern Baptist, even less so now than in the preceding edition. I would say they are pretty much mainstream evangelical.

Hebrew and Greek Word Studies (CSB Only)

There are times when you need to go deeper into a word’s meaning to be able to interpret Scripture correctly. The CSB Version of the Holman Study Bible offers Hebrew and Greek Word Studies. A word study will feature the word, its pronunciation, how it is translated in the CSB, an explanation of the word’s use in the Bible. This is arguably my favorite feature in the Holman Study Bible. In the updated version we are treated to 315 Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic word studies.

The word studies do not take the place of learning any of the original languages but they are most helpful for a Sunday School Teacher or a younger pastor who wants to go a little more in-depth with the audience.

If there was to be one feature that would cause me to recommend this study Bible over some others, it would be the word studies.

Additional Helps

141 photos, 62 timelines, 59 maps, 40-page concordance, 20 articles and essays on practical and theological issues, 16 illustrations and reconstructions, and 15 charts all come together to make what is doubtlessly one of the best tools you can add to your library.

The photos bring Scripture to life in new ways as they enable visualization of the lands of the Bible that may have been hard to imagine before. The timelines bring the historical context into the Bible and the charts present key information in a systematic way for more practical study

Overall Impression

All in all, I like the CSB Study Bible. I would prefer the paper to be a little heavier so that I felt comfortable writing in it but that is simply a niggling little complaint. Despite snarky remarks from its detractors, there is not really any denominational or theological bias in the CSB Study Bible.

If this is going to be your main/only Bible, spend a little more and get a leather edition. There is nothing wrong with a hardcover but it will wear out faster than a leather edition will.