Tag: discipleship

NIV Quest Study Bible Review

NIV Quest Study Bible Review

 

 

Additional Photos

Zondervan has quite an impressive array of Bibles available in the New International Version and one of the most interesting they offer is the Quest Study Bible, the only Question and Answer based Study Bible available. The were kind enough to send me a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.

 

Edition being reviewed: Black Leathersoft, Thumb- indexed. ISBN: 9780310450832

 

Click here to purchase

Translation: As mentioned the Quest Study Bible is offered in the New International Version (NIV). NIV is one of the mediating translations currently available. Mediating translations are exactly as the name implies, in the middle of the translation spectrum, not as woodenly literal as a formal equivalence translation and not as free flowing as a dynamic equivalence translation. NIV is, statistically, the best selling English translation on the planet; outside the United States, it is THE Bible for the Anglophone Nations (KJV gives it a good run for its money, here in the States.).

 

Cover and Binding

This is a black leathersoft edition and I have found that Zondervan is really doing well with their imitation leather Bible covers. The imitation leather is becoming more and more convincing. I would argue that a leathersoft cover is actually preferred to a leather cover since the polymer based cover is less likely to degrade with time.

 

We are given a sewn binding, which not only speaks to the quality of the book but also happens to be the only acceptable choice for biding the book block.

 

Helps

This is the most important feature in any Study Bible so I want to call out each individual section.

 

Introductions:

The introductions present and answer 6 Questions: Why read this book? Who wrote the book? When was it written? To whom was it written? Why was it written? What should I look for in this book? These questions are foundational to the understanding of any book in Scripture; they present the cultural and historical background of the book.

 

Instead of an outline of the book, we receive a timeline for when the book was written. Often, Christians forget that the Bible is not presented in chronological order so the timeline help us with the understanding where the books fit together.

 

Question and Answer Side-bar Notes

This is the feature that gives the Quest Study Bible its name. 7,000 of the most commonly asked questions about the Bible are laid out in the sidebars along with answers which make the information easily accessible. Utilizing these Q&A notes, a Bible teacher can easily anticipate many of the questions which will be encountered and have answers ready for learners of any age or any level of proficiency.

 

Top Questions

The 350 most asked questions are laid out beneath the Scripture text and side bar notes. These questions provide more in-depth answers than the sidebar notes. If you were to address just one question per day, you would have grasped the answers to the most commonly asked questions about the Bible and be prepared to give an answer when asked.

 

Charts, Timelines, Maps

Like any good Study Bible, the Quest Study Bible offers resources for visual learners. In-text maps, charts, and timelines will help visual learners to internalize the message of the Bible including the historical and cultural contexts.

 

Subject Index

Any good teacher will tell you that a good subject index is vital for teaching the Bible and the one provided with the Quest Study Bible is excellent. There are two obvious routes to go with this Subject Index, teaching one specific topic at a time or utilizing the Subject Index for a topical excursus while teaching each book of the Bible. In either case, the Subject Index will be a most valuable tool.

 

Layout, Font, & Paper

The Quest Study Bible is laid out in single column paragraph format with the Q&A  Study Notes in the side panels. Generally, I do not care for single column formats due to readability issues. However, this edition is comparatively readable due to the enhancements of the Comfort Print Font Family.

 

Naturally this is a black letter edition for the text of Scripture. I realize there there are those who are devotees of red letter editions which do serve a purpose but a black letter edition is a wiser choice in a Study Bible; it makes for more ease of use when annotating, especially with colored pencil.

 

The paper is comparatively thin but not so thin as to have much show through or bleeding when writing.

 

Who should buy the Quest Study Bible?

The ideal choice for a user of the Quest Study Bible is the New Disciple. New believers will have many questions and the Quest Study Bible is designed to anticipate those questions and to present the answers in the most user friendly format possible.

 

As a Discipleship tool

If you had not considered the Quest Study Bible as a discipleship aid, you definitely need to reconsider. There is, perhaps, no Study Bible more ideally suited to one on one discipleship than the Quest Study Bible.

 

What’s missing?

For reasons unknown to me, the Quest Study Bible, like most of Zondervan’s offerings, lacks any real place for notes. There is an edition, exclusive to Costco, which includes a very nice journal. I would love to see more notes pages, at least 3-5 pages per book, maybe following the introduction.

 

Final Thoughts

Much like my Teacher’s Study Bible, I am already intimately familiar with the content included with the Quest Study Bible. If one bears in mind the intended audience, the Quest Study Bible is well done. I would venture to say that around 1/3 of my audience may be too advanced to benefit from the Quest Study Bible but creative teachers will find good uses for this Bible.

The 4-fold Gospel (A.B.Simpson)

The 4-fold Gospel (A.B.Simpson)

Perhaps one of my favorite articles by A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, is the 4-fold Gospel. This article looks at 4 ministries of Jesus found in the 4 Gospels: Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, Soon Coming King.

 

The link below is provided by permission of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. As with them, I pray it blesses you.

 

The 4-Fold Gospel PDF

Arminianism- The F.A.C.T.S.

Arminianism- The F.A.C.T.S.

Many of my Calivnist Brethren, in their zeal to defend Scriptural Truth, often  and unfortunately mischaracterize the soteriology of the Arminians.

 

While I do disagree with them, as a Calvinist my own self, I emphatically oppose characterizing Arminians as heretics. In the link below, Dr. Brian Abasciano lays out Arminian Soteriology on behalf of the Society of Evangelical Arminians.

 

The F.A.C.T.S.

What is Dispensationalism (guest post from James Quiggle)

What is Dispensationalism (guest post from James Quiggle)

Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. Every household is run in a particular way, which we might call an “economy.”

From time to time God changes his economy—the way in which he runs his household—as human civilization develops. Those different economies are called “dispensations.” For example, we can see God ran his previous economy, the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, different than the way he runs his present economy, the dispensation of the NT church.

Dispensationalism as a theology is defined by three basic beliefs.

  1. The consistent application of the Literal hermeneutic (method of interpretation) to every Scripture and every doctrine. (In contrast, Reformed theology does not apply the Literal hermeneutic to eschatology—end times prophecy—but interprets by allegory or spiritualizing.)
  2. The NT church is not a new Israel, but a different people group in God’s plans. Dispensationalism believes God has a continuing plan for national ethic Israel and a different (but in some ways related) continuing plan for the NT church. (In contrast, Reformed theology believes the NT church has become the new Israel and God has transferred to the NT church all the promises he made to national ethic Israel, most now to be fulfilled spiritually, not literally.)
  3. The purpose of God in the world is his own glory. In contrast, Reformed theology, while it believes in God’s glory, believes God’s purpose in the world is salvation. Dispensationalism believes God gets glory not only from salvation but also from his justice on unsaved sinners, and how God leads his saved people in the world to victory over sin.

That is the basic outline.

Tony Evans Study Bible Review

Tony Evans Study Bible Review

Photos

 

 

I spent a little more time than usual before writing this review because I am not altogether familiar with Dr. Tony Evans.(Holman Bibles provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one.) The material has proved to be more helpful than anticipated. So let’s dive right in.

 

Translation Choice

Holman Bible Publishers holds the copyright on Christian Standard Bible so it is natural that the Tony Evans Study Bible would be offered in the CSB. As a translation, it is mediating (middle of the road) between strictly literal and thought for thought. The best way I could describe it would be to say that if you made a hybrid out of the New Living Translation and the New American Standard Bible, you would get the Christian Standard Bible.

It is approximately an 8th grade reading level for the Bible text. The CSB was translated with an emphasis on readability and it does accomplish that goal nicely. When it comes to use, I primarily use it for comparative purposes and the excellent footnotes. The translation is a very good edition and most worthy of being used for teaching.

 

Cover and Binding

There are several cover options available; I was send the brown and black portfolio design in leather touch. Like Crossway, Holman makes absolutely incredible imitation leathers. I have had a couple people handle it and tell me that they thought it was, indeed, the genuine article. I would say that it would easily last 20 years or more with proper care. For an every-day carry Bible, this or hardcover is preferred as it will hold up to the rigors of daily life very well and you won’t be afraid to beat it up.

Like most Holman Bibles, the Tony Evans Study Bible has a sewn binding. This is a more utilitarian feature to comment on but a very important one. It is the sewn binding that allows a Bible to stand the test of time. It also allows the Bible to lay flat on your pulpit or desk with relative ease.

 

Font, Paper, Layout

The only complaint that I have about this Bible is the font size. I am fairly nearsighted and Holman has a tendency to use a smallish font in its Bibles. The font, here, is supposed to be a 9-point but it certainly feels more like an 8 for the Bible text. I can read it if I take my glasses off but I would much prefer a true 10-point font.

The paper is nicely opaque. It has a parchment look to it. I love the way it feels, kind of like an older book even though it is quite new. I am not sure which tool to recommend for writing, probably a ball-point pen though. It is generally a safe bet when marking in your Bible.

For text layout, the Scripture is in a double column paragraph format. The notes are laid out in three columns. If I had a gripe it would be the choice of a paragraph format for the text. I find verse by verse to be much easier to read.

Helps

Here is a listing of the helps. Following that will be a few examples of how I use them

  • Study notes crafted from Tony Evans sermons and writings
  • 40 inspirational articles
  • 50 “Lessons on Kingdom Living”
  • Plethora of “Questions & Answers”
  • Numerous “Hope Words”
  • Over 150 videos of sermons linked with QR Codes
  • Devotionals, and teaching from Dr. Evans, page-edge cross-reference system
  • Special back matter section with key definitions
  • Theological and doctrinal charts, and other study helps
  • Concordance
  • Bible reading plan

 

Here are some ways I use the Tony Evans Study Bible

  1. A Guide for Discipleship Class: Taking one section per week, the Overview of Theology offers an 8-week discipleship class. I am actively teaching a group discipleship class on Wednesday nights and as soon as I saw this section, I began to add quotes into the lessons that were prepared.

 

  1. An Apologetic Aid: The section on Bibliology is expanded into a second article. I have been using this as a tool in one on one discipleship to help provide a solid foundation on our understanding of the Bible and how to defend that belief.

 

  1. An Inspirational Resource: There is a section called Hope words. These are inspirational quotes, just a couple sentences, designed to encourage you in your walk with Christ. I have been sharing these in the office at my secular job (I’m bi-vocational) and my colleagues tell me that they have been most helpful.

 

  1. A Discussion Guide: The Q&A is an excellent tool to facilitate discussion in small groups. The answers provided by Dr. Evans are able to stand by themselves but the questions also lend themselves to discussion. They provided opportunities to peek into the heart of the pastor, or members of the group.

 

 

 

 

Overall Impression

As I said in the beginning, the Tony Evans Study Bible’s material is surprisingly helpful. I could easily see it as an ideal choice for a 1st time Bible student. In point of fact, I would say that it should be one of your first two choices for a new disciple, the other being the Swindoll Study Bible.

 

CSB Ultimate Bible Guide

CSB Ultimate Bible Guide

The publishing juggernaut, Holman/B&H Publishing continue to put out resources on the Bible not only at breathtaking speed but also in a variety of formats designed to help disciples at all levels of maturity. Today we are reviewing one of their handbooks, the Ultimate Bible Guide featuring the Christian Standard Bible translation. If you are not familiar, a handbook is a beginners level resource for understanding the Bible.

Note: I purchased this book on my own. B&H was not involved in the decision to review. My opinions are my own.

Translation:

Most Bible Handbooks feature either NIV or KJV but this features the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I have to say that I am quite pleased to see this. CSB is an excellent translation, the third iteration of Holman Christian Standard Bible, and, a rising star in Christian circles.

CSB is an Optimal Equivalence or Mediating Translation. It endeavors to provide a balance between a form based (essentially literal) and a meaning based translation. I would put it on the level of the 1984 Edition of the New International Version and, probably, a notch or two above the 2011. It is a very faithful translation of the Bible into English. I have used it in ministry in quite a few different ways. While my main translation is not CSB that has less to do with the translation and more to do with habit. It is a trustworthy translation that deserves consideration for your studies.

Content

Key Text

This is the central verse for each book of the Bible. If there was one verse that you should know for each book, the Key Text would be the verse that you would know.

Key Term

This is your watch word for the book of the Bible.  For example there is a call out on the word wilderness in the Book of Numbers. The call out points out that wilderness is referenced more than 40 times in Numbers

One Sentence Summary

As its name suggests, the One Sentence Summary, sums up each particular book of the Bible in a single sentence.

God’s Message

The God’s Message section covers the purpose in writing the book, Christian worldview themes, what the book teaches about God, what the book teaches us about humanity, and what the book teaches us about Salvation. All in all this section is very helpful in seeing how the story of redemption comes together in the Bible.

Christ In

We all know that that Bible is the story of Jesus. Now in the Christ In section, we can see how each book points to Jesus and how that portrait fits into the scope of Redemptive History.

Background Information

This encompasses many of the usual sections that we would encounter in a study Bible. We find information about the author, date & time of writing, cultural background. We are also told about the original audience which helps us to understand how to interpret the Scripture as we are seeking out Authorial Intent.

Literary Features

We often forget that the Bible is multiple genres of literature in a single volume and the Literary Features Section gives us a look at the type of literature comprising each book of the Bible. Helpful hint: knowing the type of literature presented is integral to a proper interpretation of the Scripture.

Themes

Simply put, this is a paragraph about the main thesis/theme of each book. 

Cover and Binding

The book itself is hardcover made out of fairly sturdy book board. To my surprise this little gem has a sewn binding. You don’t normally see a sewn binding in a mass market edition and especially at this price point. Since the binding is sewn this should last for quite a few years.

Buying the Book

I recommend keeping the book on hand for giving to new disciples. It will provide a solid overview of the Bible. Youth pastors should also keep the Ultimate Bible Guide on hand for students who are either new to Bible Study or want a rapid reference for on the go use.

Final Thoughts

I was rather surprised by how much content you get in this little book. To give you an idea of the size, it is comparable in footprint to the Cambridge Cameo Reference Bible, so fairly pocket sized. I recommend it highly, if for no other reason than it is a highly useful companion to the Christian Standard Bible.

 

 

 

Restoration Principles

Restoration Principles

Many Christians, today, live with brokenness in their relationships with God and others. The Bible is God’s gift to us for our restoration and healing. The content which follows originated with New Life Ministries and is used by permisison. May you be blessed in the reading.

R – Rest and Reflection

This Restoration Principle focuses on taking the time to slow down—to rest and reflect on the life issue, circumstance, or difficult season we face. Through rest and reflection, we gain new insights and perspectives that help foster honesty, admission, responsibility, and a right attitude as we begin our journey toward life restoration.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”

(Matthew 11:28).

E – Eternal Perspective

This Restoration Principle focuses on developing an eternal perspective toward the life issue, circumstance, or difficult season. When we begin to understand who God is, and when we accept and stand on the promises and truths found in God’s Word, we are empowered to walk forward with confidence and hope in our restoration journey.

“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration —“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”

(Jeremiah 29:11).

S – Support

This Restoration Principle focuses on having the humility and strength to ask for help and support as we continue on the path toward life restoration. We were never meant to do life alone. Hope, joy, and peace come when we humble ourselves before God, fully surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, and invite others to come alongside us to help us in our journey.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you”

(Luke 11:9).

T – Thanksgiving and Contentment

This Restoration Principle focuses on being thankful and content with God’s blessings so that we remove any obstacles that may prevent us from being good stewards of those blessings. Thankfulness and contentment bring us joy and peace as we continue this journey of restoration and grow in our relationship with Jesus.

Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

(1 Thessalonians 5:18).

O – Other-centeredness

We all have a tendency to be self-centered, particularly in difficult seasons of life. This Restoration Principle focuses on exhibiting the love of Jesus to family, friends, coworkers, and others in need. Letting go of selfish desires and earthly security and choosing instead to focus on others and the truth of God’s Word bring us freedom and joy.

“This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you”

(John 15:12).

R – Relationships

This Restoration Principle focuses on restoring relationships, resolving relational conflicts, and accepting forgiveness from those we may have wronged or giving forgiveness to those who may have wronged us. Life restoration comes through living in community and right relationship with others, so that we may encourage one another, serve one another, keep one another accountable, and experience the harmony and reward of restored relationships.

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts

(Ecclesiastes 4:9).

E – Exercise of Faith

This Restoration Principle focuses on exercising and living out our faith through service to others. This includes trusting God, applying Scripture in our everyday life, helping other Christians grow in their faith, and sharing the good news of the gospel with those who may not know Jesus. Lasting life restoration is found and sustained when we are able to share our restoration story and the hope, joy, and peace we found in God’s Word and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God

(1 Peter 4:10).

 

A 12 Step Program as an Instrument of Discipleship

A 12 Step Program as an Instrument of Discipleship

There are a number of well-intentioned Christians who will tell you that there is no room in Christianity for a 12-Step Program. My response may or may not surprise you: I think they are wrong. It is my long considered opinion that a 12-Step Program is fully suited to being used in discipleship and I say that as someone who has gone through both A.A. and Celebrate Recovery and have been free of alcohol for 14 years. Any kind of addiction is a terrible taskmaster, as any sin is, and unless you have struggled with an addiction you will never really understand it and you may struggle with properly discipling an addict.

Addictions are both medical and spiritual conditions; a 12-Step Program, when properly utilized, will instill a proper discipline in behavior and, paired with the appropriate Scriptures, provide a spiritual foundation as well. How? Let’s look:

Steps 1-5 deal with the human condition and our need for a savior.

STEP 1: We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies—that our lives had become unmanageable.

“I know that nothing good lives in me. . . . I want to do what is right, but I can’t” (Romans 7:18; see also John 8:31-36; Romans 7:14-25).

STEP 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

“God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13; see also Romans 4:6-8; Ephesians 1:6-8; Colossians 1:21-22; Hebrews 11:1-10).

STEP 3: We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable” (Romans 12:1; see also Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 10:14-16; James 4:7-10).

STEP 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

“Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD(Lamentations 3:40; see also Matthew 7:1-5; 2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

STEP 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16; see also Psalms 32:1-5; 51:1-3; 1 John 1:2-6).

 

Steps 6 & 7 deal with walking humbly with God.

STEP 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor”(James 4:10; see also Romans 6:5-11; Philippians 3:12-14).

STEP 7: We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9; see also Luke 18:9-14; 1 John 5:13-15).

 Steps 8-10 begin to teach relational holiness and how to restore relationships with those we have sinned against.

STEP 8: We made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you” (Luke 6:31; see also Colossians 3:12-15; 1 John 3:10-20). 

STEP 9: We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

“If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar and . . . someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God”(Matthew 5:23-24; see also Luke 19:1-10; 1 Peter 2:21-25).

STEP 10: We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall”(1 Corinthians 10:12; see also Romans 5:3-6; 2 Timothy 2:1-7; 1 John 1:8-10).

In step 11, we begin to practice the discipline of regular prayer. I would include journaling, here.

STEP 11: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart”(Colossians 4:2; see also Isaiah 40:28-31; 1 Timothy 4:7-8).

Step 12 deals with the Great Commission

STEP 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.“

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself” (Galatians 6:1; see also Isaiah 61:1-3; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 4:1-5)

It is true that a 12-Step Program is not the most sophisticated discipleship program you will ever encounter but we need to remember that most people who are going through a program either are not Christians or are severely lapsed in their walk with Christ. The idea is to redirect the disciple back to discipline and scripture.

THE TWELVE STEPS AND SCRIPTURE

THE TWELVE STEPS AND SCRIPTURE

The following, excerpted from the NLT Life Rcovery Bible, is offered as a response to those who insist that 12-step programs are incompatible with Holy Scripture. That is quite far from the truth as any discipleship program, and the 12 Steps are certainly that, must be in an orderly and systematic fashio.

The Twelve Steps have long been of great help to people in recovery. Much of their power comes from the fact that they capture principles clearly revealed in the Bible. On this page is a list of the Twelve Steps and the corresponding Scriptures that support them. This will help readers familiar with the Twelve Steps to discover the true source of their wisdom—the very word of God.

STEP 1: We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies—that our lives had become unmanageable.

“I know that nothing good lives in me. . . . I want to do what is right, but I can’t” (Romans 7:18; see also John 8:31-36; Romans 7:14-25).

STEP 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

“God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13; see also Romans 4:6-8; Ephesians 1:6-8; Colossians 1:21-22; Hebrews 11:1-10).

STEP 3: We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable” (Romans 12:1; see also Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 10:14-16; James 4:7-10).

STEP 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

“Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD(Lamentations 3:40; see also Matthew 7:1-5; 2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

STEP 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16; see also Psalms 32:1-5; 51:1-3; 1 John 1:2-6).

STEP 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor”(James 4:10; see also Romans 6:5-11; Philippians 3:12-14).

STEP 7: We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9; see also Luke 18:9-14; 1 John 5:13-15).

STEP 8: We made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you” (Luke 6:31; see also Colossians 3:12-15; 1 John 3:10-20).

STEP 9: We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

“If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar and . . . someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God”(Matthew 5:23-24; see also Luke 19:1-10; 1 Peter 2:21-25).

STEP 10: We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall”(1 Corinthians 10:12; see also Romans 5:3-6; 2 Timothy 2:1-7; 1 John 1:8-10).

STEP 11: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart”(Colossians 4:2; see also Isaiah 40:28-31; 1 Timothy 4:7-8).

STEP 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.“

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself” (Galatians 6:1; see also Isaiah 61:1-3; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 4:1-5).

~NLT Life Recovery Bible Used by permission of Tyndale House  Publuhsers

NLT Study Bible Review

NLT Study Bible Review

NLT Study Bible Review

 

Why review the NLT Study Bible? This is a phenomenal resource, as you will see below, which is full of valuable tools to aid you in your study. I don’t about it as often as other study Bibles so I am reviewing to call your attention to this outstanding resource.

First, some information from Tyndale House Publishers (Note: the NLT Study Bible was acquired at my own expense and Tyndale House was not involved in the decision to review.)

“Explore the Scriptures with almost 50 of today’s top evangelical scholars, including Daniel Block, Barry Beitzel, Tremper Longman, John N. Oswalt, Grant R. Osborne, Norman Ericson, and many more. Every feature in the NLT Study Bible has been created to do more than just impart information. Ask questions, and the NLT Study Bible gives you both the words and the world of the Bible. Seek deeper understanding, and find the meaning and significance of Scripture, not just facts. Knock on the door of God’s Word, and see what doors are opened to you.”

Now the review…

 

Translation: As its name suggests, the translation is the New Living Translation, one of the two best selling English translations; it is in a statistical dead heat with the NIV. NLT is a thought-for-thought or meaning based translation. Meaning based translations try, as best as possible, to capture the thought behind the original words and to convey that thought into the English language.

 

Translated into the English a 6th grade student would use, the NLT is far and away the easiest to understand of the major English translations. Faithfully accurate: Because the NLT uses a thought for thought style of translation, the original intent is easily captured. passages make more sense in the NLT, an “I get it now” experience is common.

 

Helps (Tyndale’s information will come first followed by my comments):

 

50,000 cross-referencesconnect related verses, not just words, so they are always applicable. Additionally, parallel lines (//) show passages describing the same events or saying something similar. An asterisk (*) indicates Old Testament quotes in the New Testament.

This is one of the most heavily cross-referenced Bibles you can find. The huge number of cross references is very important because Scripture interprets Scripture. The ideal scenario for using the cross references is in preparing a systematic verse by verse exposition of the Bible.

25,000 study and textual notesprovide background and deeper explanations of words, phrases, verses, and sections. Historical and literary notes open the world of the Bible and the context in which it was originally read and heard. All notes in the NLT Study Bible were developed with the “So what?” test in mind—the goal is study notes that focus on the meaning and message of Scripture, not just facts. The study notes also include the NLT textual footnote apparatus, which identifies variations in the Hebrew and Greek text as well as providing alternate translation possibilities.

This is my favorite feature of the NLT Study Bible. In terms of total annotations, it has only two rivals: the ESV Study Bible with around 27,000 notes and the Reformation Study Bible with nearly 30,000 study notes. Among the notes that are offered, the Textual Footnote Apparatus is, in my estimation, the most important feature. Despite the ease of understanding the translation, the apparatus makes this, at the least, a college grade text. The identification of textual variants and alternate readings will enable the pastor to provide a more well-rounded view of the Scripture to the congregation.

300 Theme Articlesidentify the major topics and ideas of the Bible. Placed alongside particularly relevant passages, they also point to other passages and theme notes. These articles provide the first steps in developing a biblical theology without attempting to formulate a specific doctrinal system.

Tyndale really does a good job of staying within the mainstream of evangelical christianity. It does not lean toward either Calvinism or Arminianism. It does tend to lean away from Dispensationalism but I do not fault it for that. The idea is to present a conservative text from which to study.

220 Charts, Illustrations, Maps, and Timelinesorganize and illuminate important information in the text that can otherwise be difficult to understand or interpret the significance of. Examples include a chart of Israel’s Annual Calendar, regional and event related maps, the Temple at various stages, an overview of the entire Bible, and more detailed, specific timelines such as the time of the kings of Israel.

There is not much that needs said here. The visual aids are primarily geared as a memory aid/tool and they excel at that.

90 Profilespaint portraits of major figures in the Bible—good and bad. The story of Scripture unfolds through the lives of the people in it. Their lives instruct us with examples and counter-examples, helping us to better understand the Bible, its world, and its message. Their relationship with God, or lack of it, helps us to understand how we can have a relationship with God and what it should look like.

Again, there is not much that needs to be said. These notes help to make the major players of the Bible more real and relatable.

200 Greek and Hebrew word studiestrace the use of important words throughout the Bible. Because the NLT is a dynamic translation, a particular word in Greek or Hebrew is not always translated the same way but is translated in a manner that is appropriate for the context. This makes word studies richer and more productive, because the range of meaning for a particular Greek or Hebrew word becomes very clear, and it is easier to avoid common misunderstandings about what the word means. There are word studies for 100 Hebrew words and 100 Greek words. Several instances of each word are included in a chain to illustrate the range of meaning. Each occurrence is indicated with a superscript letter (a, b, c, etc.) and a corresponding superscript in the cross-reference column. Each entry includes the Hebrew or Greek word, a reference number for the glossary at the back, and study tools such as Strong’s Concordance and a chain-reference link to the next highlighted occurrence of the word.

When your motto is, “the truth made clear,” word studies are absolutely essential. I have heard pastors preach an entire sermon on a particular word (John MacArthur) and walked away feeling like blinders had been lifted from my eyes or that I had just come out of a fog. I would be hard pressed to say which feature I find more important, the word studies or the cross references; both are quite essential.

85 introductory articlesset the stage for each Bible section, book and time period. The articles give background information in three layers. First, Old and New Testament articles give a broad overview of each testament. Second, section and chronology articles help orient you to the kind of literature and timeframe of the writings included, giving information on setting, genre, and more. Third, book introductions give more detailed setting and message information as well as an outline, timelines, maps, author information, and a focus on the overall meaning and message of that book. Additional articles include a harmony of the Gospels, the inter-testamental period, and the time after the apostles.

The information about the articles, provided by Tyndale, is sufficiently self explanatory.

 

General Thoughts

This is a true study Bible in that there is something that you can benefit from irrespective of your experience with the Bible. As an example, I am a seasoned teacher and currently a senior pastor and both the apparatus and the word studies inform my sermons and provide a platform for launching more in-depth studies. In discipling others, I find the profiles to be quite helpful in helping my students to relate to the Scriptures.

 

The NLT Study Bible pairs perfectly with the Cornerstone Commentary Series from Tyndale (review coming soon). In fact, I would say that it is a gateway to using the Cornerstone Series for in depth study.

 

Tyndale has had some challenges with the opacity of its paper in some editions of the NLT but you will not find that here. The paper’s opacity lends itself to using by a desk lamp despite still being thin enough that you need not worry about the book being overly heavy.

 

The New Testament is a “Red-letter” edition. I have mixed feelings about this type of Bible. On the one hand it is very nice to have the words spoken by our Lord to be set apart for easy reading and I love that. On the other hand, when I write notes in a Bible, I usually do so in red. Even though the two shades of red are never the same, it can get a little distracting. I recommend using blue for your markings in the NT.

 

Who should use/buy the NLT Study Bible? While everyone can benefit from the NLT Study Bible, I recommend it for an intermediate level student. You will find it to be simple enough that you will not get bogged down and filled with enough resources that you will have years of solid study.

 

Is anything missing? At the risk of nitpicking, a good study Bible should have more than just a couple blank pages for notes and it would great to see a couple pages for each book, either at the end of the introductory materials or at the end of the text for each book of the Bible. I definitely recommend pairing the NLT with a good notebook; I do not think it would be possible to use this Bible to its full potential without taking notes.

 

Final Thoughts:

I have a couple colleagues that do not like study Bibles, they think it promotes intellectual laziness. I do not find that to be the case with the NLT Study Bible; in fact, it is quite the opposite for me. I find myself launching into deeper study with additional resources because the NLT Study Bible leaves me wanting more. I hope, beloved reader, that you will get one and enjoy it.

 

I do want to add; I disagree with the historicist/idealist interpretation of Revelation that you find in the notes. My area of expertise is Old Testament and I do not find that either a historicist or idealist view in Revelation fits the Old Testament’s eschatology. That being said, it is not a sufficient reason to detract from recommending this study Bible so I do. I think you should get one and use it daily for your study.