Tag: Exposition

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.

Martus (Word Wealth)

Martus (Word Wealth)

Revelation 1:5  brings us our first Word Wealth for the Boook of Revelation…

Martus (witness); Strong’s #3144: Compare “martyr” and “martyrdom.” One who testifies to the truth he has experienced, a witness, one who has knowledge of a fact and can give information concerning it. The word in itself does not imply death, but many of the first-century witnesses did give their lives, with the result that the word came to denote a martyr, one who witnesses for Christ by his death (Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13; 17:6).

CSB Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible Review

CSB Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible Review

 

One of the top two Study Bibles, AMG’s Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible, has combined with one of fastest growing translations on the market, the Christian Standard Bible. Admittedly, the two have been together for a while but this is the first opportunity I have had to review the combination. This review, however, was not solicited by AMG but is, rather the result of a gift to our ministry.

 

Click for Photos

Why is the Keyword Bible important?

I have said that the Keyword Study Bible is one of the top two Bibles and want to explain why I think it is a vital investment for many Christians.

Most of the teachers in any particular church are not seminary trained, and in reality, the bulk of pastors around the world are not seminary trained, so they will have limited experience with the original languages of the Bible for lesson preparation. This is where AMG really shines in the Christian publishing world, it makes the original languages more accessible to the average Bible teacher. More on that when we get to the tools.

The Translation

The Keyword Bible is finally available in the Christian Standard Bible, one of the fastest growing translations on the market, one that I suspect will soon rival NIV. A couple of unexpected colleagues have recently adopted the CSB which prompted my looking a little further into the translation.

Similar to the NIV, CSB is a mediating translation. This is a blending of the rigidly literal word for word translation style of Bibles like he NASB and the free flowing meaning based style of translations of Bibles such as the NLT. There are areas where CSB is very literal, precise, and technical and other areas where it is free flowing and more meaning based. CSB calls this Optimal Equivalence; optimal is quite a fitting word for the translation.

Cover and Binding

This is a very highly grained genuine leather cover with a paste down liner. This is one of the few Bibles where I prefer a paste down liner, which AMG did give to us. Of course they sewed the binding; you cannot have a good quality study Bible without a sewn binding as they will not last.

Layout, Font, & Paper

The Keyword Bible has a double column format with center column references. The verses are laid out in a paragraph format as opposed to a verse by verse, where each verse would begin on a new line. We are also given a 1-inch margin although my copy is thumb indexed making the margins a little smaller but I won’t miss the margins

The font is crisp and deep ebony for the black letter and a rich cranberry for the red letters.

The Keyword Bible is one of those Bibles which demand to be written in and marked up (I have a brand new set of Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils waiting to do just that.) and the paper is quite opaque and a little thick. I would guess about 32 GSMs on the paper. Were I to describe the color of the paper, I would call it eggshell white; your colored pencils will work out very nicely on the paper.

 Tools

What really makes this Bible different and sets it apart are the grammatical codes and notations. There are numbers, letters, and underlining within the Scripture text. Words that are underlined have the Strong’s number. You can look these numbers up in the dictionary in the back. If the number is bold, the entry will be expanded (annotated). If the number is not bold, it’s just the regular Strong’s entry. Not every word gives the Strong’s number. There are lots of them on every page, but there will always be one that I want to be coded that’s not coded. For these words I have to look them up myself and write the number over the word. Grammatical codes are a string of letters that appear before the word. They are only found in the New Testament. These codes show the part of speech for that word. There is a list of grammatical codes in the back and on a supplied bookmark.

Book Introductions

The book introductions are about a half a page each. They cover the history and customs (limited) of the people the book was written to or about, and gives information of the significance of the book. I cannot speak for others but this is one area that I would have liked to see developed a little more. Since Dr. Zodhiates is, himself, Greek, it would have been very nice to have some material on Greek culture. If nothing else, a 1 page article could have gone a long way towards helping to understand the New Testament better.

Notes Section

The notes at the bottom of the page discuss theological, exegetical, historical, and geographical points from the text. This is not like a standard study Bible with lots of commentary on every page. The main function of this study Bible is to be a linguistic aid rather than a commentary packed into a Bible. If you are looking for commentary, this Bible probably is not for you; if you want to better understand Scripture (especially if you are a Bible teacher) then this is not a should have it is a must have. If I could only have 2 Bibles for the rest of my life, this and the Thompson Chain Reference Bible are what I would choose. Between the two, you will find that you have everything necessary to grow in your knowledge of the Bible and of the Lord.

The study notes are provided by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates the founder of AMG. They are fairly influence free and exhibit mainstream evangelical thought. Unlike most study Bibles, though, this Bible does not provide notes on most passages of the Bible. Rather it provides notes on key passages of scripture and every verse has a keyword noted and linked to the dictionary in the back. On a side note, it is quite useful to understanding the New Testament that Dr. Zodhiates was Greek. Who better to explain a Greek Text than a native Greek?

Grammatical Codes

The Grammatical Codes section contains a page with all of the codes and 3 pages of examples. The codes show the verb tense forms of the Greek. The information explaining how to use the codes is found in the next section – Grammatical Notations. I would recommend placing the Grammatical Codes after the Grammatical Notations, so the explanation on how to use them comes before the codes themselves. The information is in this Bible, it’s just a little confusing at first because it looks like two separate sections when it really should be one section.

Grammatical Notations

The Grammatical Notations section is 20 pages and explains how to use the Grammatical Codes. The focus is on verbs. It covers the five features of verbs (tense, voice, mood, person, and number. They are written so that anyone can use them).  Each of the features are explained and plenty of examples are given. They give enough information to be helpful and get you started, but it doesn’t give you everything you need to know. This section is very clear about that and gives references to other works to help learn Koine (New Testament) Greek. This section is the most technical and difficult to use.

 Pastoral Use

I have Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bibles in three of the four translations I use most-NIV, NASB, and Now CSB. I had an NKJV as well but passed it on to another pastor (replacing that one is on my agenda). As a pastor, and this would work out well for any other Bible teacher, I study with the Keyword Bible and preach from a somewhat smaller Bible.

The Keyword Bible calls out the essential Hebrew and Greek words for your audience to know. You could almost build your lessons around just those but I do not want you to do that. Historical and cultural backgrounds must be added to the original languages.

 

Final Thoughts

Pick your translation and own one- there is no excuse for a Bible teacher to be without a Keyword Bible. The Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible is far and away the best study Bible you can own, especially in light of how accessible it makes the original biblical languages. My friend and colleague up in Oregon, the noted pastor-scholar Kofi Adu-Boahen has called this the most underrated Study Bible on the market and he is absolutely correct- many of my fellow teachers have said they have never considered the Keyword Bible and that is a tragedy that they should willingly cheat themselves out of such an excellent tool. Another colleague, the eminent pastor, Randy Brown, speaks of the Keyword Bible in more even more glowing terms than I do. To repeat, every Bible teacher should own one.

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.

MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition, Premier Collection

MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition, Premier Collection

 

The premier study bible has been updated after 20 years and two million copies sold and, to celebrate, Thomas Nelson has added it 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.)

Translation Choice

The 1st Edition, the 20th Anniversary Special Edition, and now the 2nd Edition all come in the New King James version. The Late R.C. Sproul, David Jeremiah, and Dr. Gary Coombs (president of Southern California Seminary) all love and prefer the NKJV, as do I. It is one of my two most heavily used translations (more than 1200 lessons in 23 years). It is fastidiously literal with the New Testament based on the venerable Textus Receptus, and the Old Testament drawing from the Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica. NKJV is heavily footnoted with references to textual variants as well as alternate translations being offered.

In terms of choice for study, the NKJV has only one true rival, the New American Standard Bible and, happily, the MacArthur Study Bible will soon enough be released in the NASB.

Cover and Binding

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, perhaps even more touchable than any other goatskin Bible that I own. The goatskin easily rivals Cambridge Bibles  and sits on a level nearly equal to the famed goatskin covers of RL Allan and Sons. To say that this cover drips quality is a perfect exercise in the art of understatement; it is a masterpiece, 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.

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 King James Version, and Thomas Nelson stamped in soft gold lettering.

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.

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 Thomas Nelson Complete Reference System, comprised of 72,000 cross references 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.)

Thomas Nelson’s Concordance of the New King James Version

As I said above, the NKJV is one of the two most fastidiously literal English translations available and is very well suited to study. To that end, Thomas Nelson provides one of the most detailed concordances that is available in a Study Bible. I would love to see Nelson import their Biblical Cyclopedic Index into the MacArthur Study Bible, but in doing so they would obliterate any need for any of their other excellent resources. I digress…

The Concordance provides breadth and depth to each word or topic being studied. A person could, literally, spend their entire life studying the words and topics in the concordance and only barely scratch the surface of the Bible’s truth.

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.