Tag: Tyndale BIbles

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

 

 

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“Coloring Bible verses helps me to remember what the Bible says.”-Donna Sherro (my wife)

 

Among journaling and wide margin Bibles, there is a class called art-journaling editions. This is my first time reviewing an art journaling Bible; I am reviewing the large print edition of the Inspire Bible from Tyndale House. Tyndale provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are the views of my wife and I.

 

Translation Choice

Inspire is offered in the New Living Translation, a translation which is very close to my heart. The NLT is the translation that the Lord used when redeeming my wife.

 

The NLT is an extremely readable translation of the Bible. NLT is frequently confused with its predecessor, the Living Bible Paraphrase and is branded a paraphrase. It is most assuredly a translation and one that you can trust. Many of the people that I have instructed from the New Living Translation have responded with something to the effect of “Oh! It makes sense now.” NLT is a Bible that will speak to your heart.

 

Cover and Binding

The cover is imitation leather. There is no color name listed but it has a lilac coloring and an impressionist style paining of flowers on the bottom. My wife said, “it’s very pretty and now it’s mine” upon seeing it being taken out of the box.

 

Inspire is printed in large reflective letters on the cover, approximately in the exact center. The embossing is rather eye catching.  Tyndale has provided a paste down liner and a sewn binding. It should prove to be a very durable Bible.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font

“It’s very easy to read. It feels more like a regular book” -Donna

 

As my wife pointed out, Inspire is laid out more like a traditional book. It is a single column paragraph format. The font is completely black letter and I would estimate around a 9.5-10-point font. The margins are approximately 2 inches wide, some of which include Scripture art and some of which are lined for annotation.

 

The paper has a cream color which makes it very easy to read in most light situations. The texture is rather soft and touchable for how thick the paper is. Most marking and coloring instruments will work nicely in the Inspire Bible. As usual, I do not recommend markers but pencils, crayons, archival pens, ball-point pens etc would work out quite nicely.

 

My Thoughts vs Donna’s Thoughts

Admittedly, this class of Bible is not a favorite of mine. I am both a pastor and a theologian and a very reserved one at that. As a consequence, I sometimes overlook something very helpful where Donna does not miss it. Here is what she says about Inspire:

  • It makes the Bible mine because I can add my own notes
  • Coloring the verses helps me to memorize what the Bible says
  • It will help visual people remember what they are reading.
  • Inspire makes me want to read the Bible more.
  • NLT is easy to understand for everybody.

 

As it happens, my wife can find herself being more astute than I am. I am very good at forgetting that experiencing the Bible is a very personal thing. Inspire is as much an experience with the Scriptures as it is the Scriptures.

 

Who should buy Inspire

First and foremost, visual learners should buy Inspire. The coloring aspect will make it very enjoyable. Secondarily Inspire is a good fit for any ladies who are looking to add more of the Bible to their lives.

 

Large Print Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition

Large Print Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition

 

Additional Photos

 

Everything you love about the Life Application Study Bible, 3rd Edition is now available in an option for those of us with visual limitations, Large Print with a 10-point font. Tyndale sent me a copy of the genuine leather edition free of charge in an exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own.

 

The Translation

Currently, the 3rd Edition is available in New International Version (Published by Zondervan) and New Living Translation, the two most popular as well as easiest to understand English translations of the Bible available. The edition being reviewed today is the NLT.

 

NLT is a meaning based translation in English that rates at a 6th grade reading level. It is incredibly easy to understand and works very well across the ministry spectrum.

 

Cover and Binding

This edition is black genuine leather. It includes a rich pebble grain which provides much tactile delight. The cover is not overly thick but the paste down liner gives it a more sturdy feel. In a Bible this size, you definitely want a paste down liner as an edge to edge leather liner might make the Bible a little unwieldy.

 

Tyndale sewed the binding on the Life Application Study Bible, a decision I advocate vigorously. The sewn binding ensures a lifetime of use (I have seen sewn bindings which have been in use more than 100 years.).

 

Paper & Font

The Paper is thin but nicely opaque. There is a minimal amount of show through but nowhere near as bad as on some other Bibles. You will definitely have no issue using a ball-point pen or colored pencil for your markings.

 

The font has been upgraded to 10-point in the Scripture text and 8.5 in the notes. It is much more readable than the standard or personal sizes, ensuring that this edition will get much more use, by me, in lesson prep.

 

The Scripture text is still in a single column with the notes in a double column format. I would love to see Tyndale release a Bible in a verse by verse format but the font size in this edition more than compensates for the paragraph format.

 

Use Case for LASB

I was quite glad to see that one of the world’s foremost expositor’s, Dr. Steve Lawson, uses a Life Application Study Bible and for the same purpose I do, to bring the week’s lesson to a close with application ideas.

 

Of the 3 major expository questions, the one I most often struggle with is, “What do I do about it?” The Life Application Study Bible far excels at answering that question.

 

I also find the personality profiles to be most helpful. Many Christians have told me that they find the Bible difficult to relate to but the personality profiles overcome this by highlighting the main characters of Redemptive History and makes them more relatable by putting their good and bad points on display.

 

Who is this Bible for?

In general terms, Life Application Study Bible is for everyone; in a more specific sense it is for the person struggling to see how the Bible fits every-day life and to find their place in Redemptive History. It might sound a little cliché but LASB really does answer the question, “Does God have anything to say to me?”

 

For Christian Workers and Bible Teachers

There are a couple items I wish to call out which did not get much mention in my standard size LASB Review.

 

How to Follow-up with New Believers

There are 14-points outlined to help you follow up with a new disciple. Each one includes some “homework” to help the new disciple be firmly established in the faith-walk. You will also find a scripture passage that is germane to the point you are working through.

 

 

So you have been asked to speak

There is nothing scarier than your first lesson. It has been almost 24 years since my first and, sometimes, I still struggle with the same fears and uncertainties I had 24 years ago. This section provides six steps to putting together a compelling lesson for your audience.

 

Compared to the Standard Lesson Teacher’s Study Bible

The Life Application Study Bible and the Standard Lesson Teacher’s Study Bible have to be the two most helpful Bibles for teachers. (Truly there are Bibles that go more in-depth in exposition but they can easily overwhelm.)

 

The Teacher’s Study Bible and the Life Application Study Bibles are not competitors; they are complimentary to one another. The Teacher’s Study Bible excels at the first two Expository Questions, What does it say? and What does it mean? The Life Application Study Bible excels at answering the 3rd Expository Question, What do I do about it?

 

Should you buy the Life Application Study Bible?

Most assuredly. In fact, if you are a teacher, you would do very well to own both of the Bibles mentioned above. A Bible teacher should have many tools in his belt.

 

If you are not a Bible teacher, you should still own a copy of the Life Application Study Bible. It makes the Bible very easy to understand and that, after all, is the key to a life pleasing to God, knowing and understanding His word.

Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review

Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review

The Life Application Study Bible (LASB)…year after year it remains one of the best-selling in the Study Bible Category and, in fact, it is Tyndale’s best seller. It’s volume is only matched by the ESV Study Bible. They are numbers 1 &2. Now, in 2019 Tyndale has updated the LASB in the world’s two best selling English Translations, NLT and NIV.

Disclaimer: Tyndale sent copies of each edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.

Features Include:

  • Enhanced, updated, and with new content added throughout
  • Now more than 10,000 Life Application® notes and features
  • Over 100 Life Application® Bible character profiles
  • Introductions and overviews for each book of the Bible
  • More than 500 maps & charts
  • Dictionary/concordance
  • Side-column cross-references
  • Index to notes, charts, maps, and profiles
  • Refreshed design with a second color for visual clarity
  • 16 pages of full-color maps
  • Durable Smyth-sewn binding, lays flat when open
  • Presentation page
  • Single-column format
  • Christian Worker’s Resource- a special supplement to enhance the reader’s ministry effectiveness
  • Full text of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT) or New International Version (NIV)
  • Single Column text for Scripture, Double Column for Notes and Side Column References
  • Black Letter
  • Text Size: 8.5 Point and Note Size: 7 Point

 

Translation Choices

Currently the 3rdEdition LASB is available in the New Living Translation and the New International Version. While not confirmed by Tyndale, I have to imagine that this is because these are the dominant two English Translations of the Bible in the English Speaking World. In my case, it is an embarrassment of riches because I love both translations and use both, NLT in the church service and NIV at home for personal devotions. In either case, you get the same great study content. Since some will ask, the NLT will get the most use in my situation as a huge percentage of my audience uses NLT as their main Bible. 

Cover and Binding

Both of my review copies are Leather-touch a.k.a imitation leather. The NLT is teal with silver foil stamping and the NIV is brown and tan with gold foil stamping. Insofar as I can tell, the binding is glued so do be mindful of the heat. With proper care, it should last several years but if you are concerned about the binding it can be sewn by a professional re-binder.

Font, Layout, and Text Coloration

The text is a little small for my taste, but that has more to do with me approaching 40 and having eyesight issues than anything else. The Scripture portion is 8.5-point font size, similar to the Wayfinding Bible and the current edition of the NLT Study Bible. We have the notes and cross-references at 7.5. Again, a little small for my taste but still manageable. LASB has matured and, now, is nearly the same size as the NLT Study Bible and so the font needs to be a little smaller to keep the size of the book manageable.

 

Before I discuss the features, I want to deal with an important question: Would I, a pastor, buy and actually use the LASB?

 

This will actually bring my LASBs current; I have all 3 physical editions plus the iPhone app: The 1stEdition in Burgundy Genuine Leather with the NLT, the 2ndEdition in Hardcover with the Holman Christian Standard Bible, both of which I actually purchased and now I add the 3rdEdition as a review copy. I, regularly, use the LASB in my sermon preparation. There are 3 questions that I answer in every sermon: What does it say? What does it mean? What do I do about it? The LASB is quite helpful for the 3rdquestion as it is the application question.

 

Features

THE TEXT

In offering meaning based translations of the Bible, the LASB makes the Scripture more accessible to the average reader.

 

FOOTNOTES

Tyndale provides two types of annotations and both are equally important in a Study Bible.

 

Translators’ Footnotes

For both the NLT and NIV, the translator’s footnotes include alternate readings, manuscript variants and so forth.

 

Study Notes

There are 10,000 annotations provided, in a double column format below the text. These notes do not simply explain the text, they help with application of the Scripture to your daily life. Of the three questions that we endeavor to answer with the Scripture, these annotations answer the most important question, What do I do about the text/How does it apply to my life?

 

BOOK INTRODUCTIONS

Each introduction contains several sections designed to help open the Scriptures for you.

 

Mega-themes

Mega-themes showcase the most important ideas of each book of the Bible. These ideas are the essential concepts for understanding the various books of the Bible.

 

Overview

The overview section provides a summary of the book. It also provides general application lessons for the Scripture.

 

Blueprint

The Blueprint section of the introduction is fairly straightforward; they are outlines of each book of the Bible. For the Bible teacher, this outline provides a solid teaching structure while the student receives an excellent starting point to break the book into manageable pieces for study.

 

Vital Statistics

Vital Statistics are straight facts about the book: author, date, place of writing etc. These are basic background to the book and are primarily intended as a starting point for further study of the Scripture.

 

General Thoughts:

There are two roadblocks that I have found people to run into more than any other: “I don’t understand the Bible” and “the Bible is not really relevant to today.” Both are based on the faulty assumption that the Bible is nothing more than an ancient book. Thankfully, the Life Application Study Bible blows that idea out of the water. The LASB helps the pastor to accomplish our two most important tasks: helping disciples to understand the Bible and helping disciples respond to the Scripture to the glory of God.

 

I know that a number of pastors frown on the use of a Study Bible but I disagree with them. As a general rule. I advise believers at all levels of maturity to own and use a study Bible. For new believers, this is a great choice in a study Bible to own and use.

 

 

 

The Living Bible Large Print Review

The Living Bible Large Print Review

 

I am really excited for today’s review as I am reviewing one of the most influential Bible versions ever produced, the very first one to receive a Quadruple Diamond Award (1 Diamond = 10 million units) from the ECPA, The Living Bible Paraphrase. For 40+ years, with over 40,000,000 units sold, the Living Bible has been impacting lives. In 1996 TLB gave birth to one of the two most used English translations of the Bible the New Living Translation, also published by Tyndale and, itself, a Triple Diamond winner. This is one of a very few English versions that I think every single English speaking Christian needs to have.

 

Tyndale House has provided a large print two-tone, thumb indexed, version for free in exchange for an honest review. I have a padded green hardcover (probably 2 or three, actually) that I use on a regular basis.

Product Description

The Living Bible is a “thought-for-thought” translation of the Bible. It is a “paraphrase” – a summary of Scripture- rather than a word-for-word translation of Scripture. As such, its purpose is to summarize what the writers of the Scriptures meant rather than quoting them directly. The Living Bible may be particularly helpful for those who are new to the Bible, or for those who have difficulty understanding the words of the Bible.

Features Include:

  • Double column format
  • 10- point type
  • Footnotes
  • Bible Reading Plan
  • 2 Maps black & white
  • Topical Concordance

 

Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 1184
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 10 X 7.3 X 1.6 (inches)
ISBN: 1496433521
ISBN-13: 9781496433527
Text Layout: Double Column

 

 

What is The Living Bible?

The Living Bible is a paraphrase of the English Revised Bible, American Standard Version of 1901 (American Standard Version or ASV for short). The ASV, long held to be one of the best English Translations, is an ideal source for a paraphrase given its meticulous nature and attention to detail in translating.

 

Why paraphrase the Bible?

In Dr. Taylor’s own words, “The children were one of the chief inspirations for producing the Living Bible. Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the King James Version, which we were then using, or the Revised Standard Version, which we used later. All too often I would ask questions to be sure the children understood, and they would shrug their shoulders—they didn’t know what the passage was talking about. So I would explain it. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thought. It suddenly occurred to me one afternoon that I should write out the reading for that evening thought by thought, rather than doing it on the spot during our devotional time. So I did, and read the chapter to the family that evening with exciting results—they knew the answers to all the questions I asked!”

 

Doesn’t a paraphrase take away from God’s Holy Word?

It can but that is entirely dependent on the person doing the paraphrase and their commitment to the Scripture. In the case of TLB, there is nothing taken away from the Scripture. It is clear, when reading, that Dr. Taylor held the Scripture in high esteem and truly wanted even the simplest and most childlike to be able to understand the Scripture.

 

Cover and Binding

This review copy is TuTone/Imitation Leather and, as best as I can tell, has an adhesive binding, though it could very well be sewn. The binding is nice and tight, which lends to the possibility of smythe sewing and the TuTone cover is very soft, though it is distinguishable from real leather. It should easily last for 10 plus years of service.

 

Paper and Font

We are given a crisp white paper with minimal show through and almost no glare; in most light settings, I had no issue with reading. The font that Tyndale chose is really stellar and is incredibly easy on my eyes. Many Bible publishers call a 9-point font large print, which irritates me to no end; in academia 10-point is the standard for large print so Tyndale choosing to follow the academic standard is incredibly helpful.

 

Layout and Indexing

For layout, we have a double column paragraph format, with double column being the most common format for Bibles. While my preference is for verse by verse, the paragraph format does lend toward easier reading. The plain text format will lend to easy reading and you will find limited footnoting interspersed throughout the text.

 

True to form, Tyndale has provided thumb indexing to make the Bible more accessible to the reader. Thumb indexing is still done by hand so some Bibles may appear uneven.

 

As a carry Bible

The size of this Bible works really well in my briefcase; this is very important for me because I do a tremendous amount of 1 on 1 ministry as a bi-vocational pastor.

Should I buy this Bible?

You should buy a copy of the Living Bible Paraphrase in whichever format your budget will allow. For ESL Bible Students, the Bible is rendered into an easy to understand level of English that will grow with you as you increase your command of the English language. First time Bible readers will find that the approachable language makes the Bible easy to internalize. For the pastor and the professor, the TLB will be of immense help in capturing the thought. We have two goals as Bible students, to find out exactly what the words say and then to find out what they mean and the TLB, paired with a word-for-word translation will give a tremendous amount of help in communicating the Gospel of Christ.

 

NLT Wayfinding Bible: A Pastoral Use Case

NLT Wayfinding Bible: A Pastoral Use Case

wayfinding Bible

Instead of simply  providing a review of the NLT Wayfinding Bible, and focusing on the physical book, I want to talk to you about how I, as a pastor, use the Wayfinding Bible.

(Disclaimer: Tyndale provided this Bible free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.)

First, here is the website for the Wayfinding Bible: http://www.wayfindingbible.com

The Problem: Many Christians want to read the Bible but get bogged down and lost along the way.

The Solution: The NLT Wayfinding Bible.

The NLT Wayfinding Bible offers 3-unique reading plans and several supplemental readings. Here are the three reading plans

FLYOVER ROUTE
: 50 of the most important events in the bible that tell one big story.

DIRECT ROUTE
: 200 readings to develop a full understanding without getting bogged down in any one place.

SCENIC ROUTE
: 400 readings to explore new territory, discovering the depth and richness of God’s word.

Our Use Case:

At Abounding Grace Baptist Church, I use the Wayfinding Bible on a weekly basis for my congregation.

Scenic Route: The Scenic Route guides the Bible Train, which is our Family Worship Guide. Every Monday, I send out the Bible Train Guide which includes the Scenic Route readings, discussion questions, and some introductory remarks for the weekly readings.

Side Trips: The 25 Topical Side Trips become Quick Scripture Reference Guides (QSRG). Each QSRG provides ready reference material for believers. There are additional guides beyond these but these are integral to our discipleship process.

Flyover Route and Direct Route: The flyover and direct routes comprise the first and second level of our 1 on 1 ministry. 1 on 1 is our discipleship process for members at Abounding Grace. We use these readings to lay a solid foundation of understanding for the new disciple and then build doctrinally from there.

General Thoughts and Recommendation:

Few of the Bibles that I have reviewed have been as useful to me as a pastor. The Wayfinding Bible joins two other Tyndale Bibles in my tool belt for discipleship, the Christian Basics Bible and the Swindoll Study Bible. The Wayfinding Bible makes reading more interactive and enjoyable, both of which are critical. The Bible impacts our lives when we understand it and internalize it; it should also be a joy to read.

The Wayfinding Bible is an incredible tool to have because of how customizable it is. There are a number of ways you can start the readings and you can do them corporately or individually or both like we do at Abounding Grace. Tyndale’s motto is “the Truth made clear” and I think this particular edition of the NLT hits it out of the park for making the Truth clear. It does not stop there, though. It lets you make the Truth yours by helping you to internalize it and pass it on to others.

If you want to help a new Christian to grow, this has to be the Bible you give them. Then sit back and watch the Bible and the Holy Spirit working in concert, the disciple will never be the same again.

 

NLT Christian Basics Bible Review

NLT Christian Basics Bible Review

 

 

NLT Christian Basics Bible Review

As I am preparing to step into a Senior Pastor role, I find myself looking at resources for the disciples who come to church and today I would like to introduce you to one of the two Bibles newly saved disciples will be offered, the NLT Christian Basics Bible. (Disclaimer: unlike other review Bibles, this was not sent by Tyndale nor was a review solicited; this is completely on my own.)

First, some information from the publisher:

New to the Bible? The Christian Basics Bible is for you! It can be difficult for readers who are new to Scripture to explore the Bible’s teachings and to understand how Christian beliefs are established in its pages. The Christian Basics Bible is filled with features designed to help readers-especially those new to the Bible-connect biblical teachings to Christian beliefs and to see how those beliefs apply to their lives. By delivering the right amount of both information and application, the Christian Basics Bible can become the catalyst that helps you to live a vibrant Christian life guided by God’s Word.

Product Information

Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 1700
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 1496413571
ISBN-13: 9781496413574
References: Cross References

Initial Thoughts:

I was rather surprised with the Christian Basics Bible; my original expectation was something geared more toward teens or perhaps children and I was not expecting much theology. I half expected the Christian Basics Bible would just call out the major stories that most people would already be familiar with. Instead, you actually get Theology, and good Theology at that.

Translation Choice:

The editors chose the NLT and they could not have made a better choice. The NLT is translated using English at an early middle school level, approximately 6th-7th grades. The “Meaning Based” or “Thought-for-Thought” approach is what gives NLT its broad appeal; if you did not know it, outside the United States, NLT is in a statistical tie with the NIV for the dominant English Translation and I find that it is perfect for someone who has English as a second language.

Front Matter:

First up, we are given a Read This First Article. This article is a brief overview of the Christian Basics Bible and a guide to using it.

Becoming a Christian

This article provides a guide to how to become a Christian and begin a life of discipleship. The article discusses the need for a savior, the need to repent, and how to do so. There is a sample prayer provided to help the new disciple in confessing sin and yielding to the Lordship of Christ.

Now That You Are a Christian

Following on the Becoming a Christian article, this article guides new disciples through the beginning stages of the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus. The article references several topical articles located throughout the Bible that will provide guidance in starting that relationship.

What is the Bible

This is the longest of the three articles. It covers Bible history, the major sections of the Bible, and the languages of the Bible. The article also covers the overall message of the Bible as well as its priority in the life of a believer.

A Timeline of the Bible

This is an estimated chronology of when the events in the Bible happened. It is fairly self explanatory.

Main Study Helps

Book Introductions

Like any good study Bible, each book comes with its own introduction. Each introduction has a 1-paragraph summary of the book. The What’s It All About section provides an overview of the book and where it fits in the overarching story of redemption. The What Does It Mean for Us section gives us a glimpse of how the truths of each book applies to our lives today. Lastly, the Overview Section provides a brief outline of the book.

Topical Articles

Interspersed throughout the Bible are topical articles related to what it means to be a Christian. Each article concludes with a reference to another article that is related to the topic being studied. Topical exegesis isn’t my favorite way to study the Bible but when you are trying to learn theology for the first time it is a very helpful way to begin.

Back Matter:

Reading Plans

Plan 1 takes 28 days and gives an introduction to the Bible. Plan 2 will take approximately 180 days and provides a panoramic picture of the Bible. There is not a Plan 3 but that isn’t a drawback. By the time a new disciple completes plans 1&2, there should be enough familiarity with the truth of Scripture to be able to decide what is desired to be studied next and select an appropriate study plan.

Basic Truths of the Christian Faith

At first glance, you would think this is a concordance, but you would be mistaken. This is a topical guide to the major subjects a Christian would be expected to deal with in their life. There is an introduction to the topic followed by an expository outline to the reader through the topic.

Glossary

There is a brief glossary which helps readers to understand the terms that Christians commonly use.

Visual Overview of the Bible

Lastly, there is a visual overview of the Bible. These are 14 full color maps and charts to help you visualize what you are reading about and make the Bible come alive.

Final Thoughts

This is not what I had expected and I am delighted by that fact. I have spent almost a month on reviewing the materials offered and I am well pleased. The theology is basic enough that a reader would have a solid foundation after following the 200 days of readings recommended in the reading plans but it will also provide a jumping in point for deeper discussion of theology.

This is one of two Bibles that we will be providing at Abounding Grace Baptist Church for those who are new disciples, the other being the Swindoll Study Bible and we will choose which one to give based on how much, if any, the new disciple already knows about the Bible. I highly recommend the NLT Christian Basics Bible.

 

 

Swindoll Study Bible Review

Swindoll Study Bible Review

In 1996, Chuck Swindoll and Zondervan released the Living Insights Study Bible; 21 years later is it back (sort of) as part of the NLT Family in Tyndale’s Swindoll Study Bible. I say it is sort of back because it would appear that Tyndale not only updated the translation but they also updated the content. I will be reviewing the hardcover, iPhone, and iPad editions in one simultaneous review. (All 3 were provided by Tyndale House free of charge in exchange for an honest review.)

As is our habit, let’s begin with some particulars from the publisher:

The Swindoll Study Bible offers the best of Chuck Swindoll’s wit, charm, pastoral insight, and wise biblical study directly to you as you study God’s Word. Chuck’s warm, personal style comes across on every page, and his informed, practical insights get straight to the heart of the Bible’s message for the world today. Reading each part of this study Bible is like hearing Chuck speak God’s Word directly to your heart. It will both encourage readers’ faith and draw them deeper into the study of God’s Word.

In Chuck’s own words:

“This study Bible was designed with you in mind. As you read the Scriptures, imagine me sitting beside you and sharing personal stories, important insights, and hard-earned lessons that will encourage you to walk more closely with Jesus Christ. You’ll discover the whowhatwherewhenwhy, and how of the Bible. Who wrote it and whenWhat does it mean, and where did its events occur? Why should I trust it? And most importantly, how can I apply it today?

“It’s that last question more than any other that has fed my passion to publish this Bible. My primary focus in ministry has been teaching biblical insight for living—for genuine life change. After all, that’s why God communicated His Word to us—that we may become like His Son, Jesus Christ, the central figure of this Book.”

 Product Details

  • Published: October 17, 2017
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Text Size: 9.0
  • Trim Size: 6.5 x 9.188 in.
  • Pages: 1984
  • ISBN: 978-1-4143-8725-3

 

Now on to the review…

Free App:

The first thing I want to point out is the free app that is bundled with the print editions of the Swindoll Study Bible. It is provided by Tecarta Bible Apps (https://tecartabible.com) and is available to use on your qualifying iOS and Android devices.

The app includes the NLT Bible (SRP $7.99) and the Swindoll Study Notes (SRP $14.99) giving you $22.98 of free content. The Swindoll Study Bible App will sync any content that you already have in your Tecarta account, but if you do not have one you will need to register first. There is a promo code that is under a scratch and reveal tag on the page following the maps and there are instructions for redeeming your code. It is very important that you use the same email to redeem your code that you used to sign up for Tecarta so that the premium content that Tyndale is including syncs into your account.

Currently, I have the app on both my iPhone and my iPad Pro; the iPad Pro app being the one used more often. When linking this app with your Tecarta account, you will find that there is a plethora of resources that the app developer makes available to you. Some of the content that is available is at a lower cost than other soft-ware but most of it is priced similarly to OliveTree and WORDSearch Bible, which are the two that I use most frequently, though I am also a long time user of e-Sword. If you have not invested in any software for your Bible Study, Tecarta is equally as good as the ones from the major publishers but the advantage is that it is built from the ground up entirely for mobile.

There is a lot more to say on the app and there will be a 2nd review article focusing on that.

The Translation Choice

The Swindoll Study Bible is offered in the New Living Translation (NLT). where the original, the Living Insights Study Bible from 1996 was in NIV. As Chuck Swindoll and I have both discovered, the NLT is, perhaps, the easiest Bible to read and understand without becoming a complete paraphrase. I have really grown to love the NLT, in part because it so easily captures Greek and Hebrew thought, but mostly I love the NLT because that is the Bible my wife was reading when came to Christ and yielded her life to Him. I commend the NLT to you for the same reasons, if you have never understood the Bible before, you will with NLT and you may even find that this is the Bible that Christ uses to draw you unto Himself.

Around a month ago, I switched to NLT as a primary translation for 1-to-1 discipleship, for the content here at Exploring the Truth, for daily devotional reading and for any public speaking that I will do. I always pair my NLT with a word for word translation (NAS, ESV, or KJV) and I recommend you do the same. I feel like reading the NLT is like listening to a wise old friend explaining the Scriptures.

Living Insights Notes

In this edition, the Living Insights Notes have been moved to the bottom of the page and now look and function more like a traditional study Bible’s notes. Each Living Insight is designed to illuminate a specific verse of Scripture. Unlike many study Bibles, the Swindoll Study Bible does not feature a study note for each verse of Scripture; instead the notes are structured to help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

I absolutely love the Living Insights Notes. They are perfect for on the go teaching.

Book Introductions:

Each book comes with an introduction that is focused on answering the following questions: Who wrote the book? Where are we? Why is this book important? What’s the big idea? How do I apply this? You will notice that the introductions in the Swindoll Study Bible fell much more pastoral than they do academic and if you are a Bible teacher in a church or small group, these insightful articles will prove most useful to laying a foundation for your teaching.

Application Articles

Application Articles are adapted from Chuck’s sermons and explain important passages with his winsome style including stories, illustrations, and usually three to five specific points of application. This is my favorite feature of the Swindoll Study Bible. Oftentimes we are left to ask the question, “What do I do about what I just read?” and these application articles tackle the most common passages that face this question.

People Profiles

Quite simply, people profiles highlight the lives of major players in the drama of Redemptive History and points out lessons, from their lives, that we could all benefit from learning.

Holy Land Tour

Learn more about geographic locations where biblical events occurred. These include a photo of the modern archaeological sites, many that can be viewed today, and a modern-day map of the location. You’ll be transported to the ancient sites with background information and devotional content, similar to being on a tour of the Holy Land with Chuck and his Insight for Living team.

Prayer Moments

Scattered throughout the text, prayer moments are similar to the prayers that Chuck Swindoll uses to close out his weekly sermons. Each prayer focuses on asking God to help us apply the truth of a particular passage of Scripture.

I do not ever recommend using someone else’s prayer in place of your own. On the other hand, you can easily use the prayer moments as a guide to help you get started with your prayer during personal worship.

Is Anything Missing?

This is probably a niggling little complaint, but I would have liked to see references; end of verse references would do just fine here without interrupting the layout. It is very important to understand that Scripture interprets Scripture and references go a long way toward that process, especially for a new believer.

I also think it would be nice to see and upgraded/deluxe edition in genuine leather.

How to Study the Bible (Searching the Scriptures Section)

This section showcases the genius of Chuck Swindoll. So many study Bibles have a section on how to use them but I think the Swindoll Study Bible is the only one that I have ever seen that includes a section on how to study the Bible. Many people that I encounter, especially new disciples, have trouble getting started with Bible study and the How to Study the Bible and practice section will remedy this problem easily.

Who would benefit from the Swindoll Study Bible?

In my estimation, the Swindoll Study Bible should have broad appeal. The app will most definitely appeal to Millennials and younger who are very tech savvy and want to do their study on electronic devices. On the other hand, the physical Bible will appeal to traditionalists who desire to study in an actual book; I happen to very much enjoy both.

You may find yourself saying that the content seems very simplistic. I would discourage you from dismissing this Bible simply because the notes are not overly complex. The Bible tells us we need to become like a child, in our faith, to see the Kingdom of Heaven and the Swindoll Study Bible endeavors to help us get there with its simple, down to earth, practical resources.

Usage Experience

After around two weeks of regular use, I could see this being my every day carrying Bible. The coloration of the pages is different enough that I don’t find much in the way of eye strain. The font is a crisp black and, despite being around an 8-point size, it is very easy to read.

The theological content is very solid. Dr. Swindoll takes a consistently literal approach to the Scripture, which I would expect from any dispensational theologian. The major takeaway that I have from the content is a better way to say the things that I teach; I have taught at various levels for 21 years so there is not a lot of new content for me. If you are a new disciple, or are looking for a gift for a new disciple, I encourage a purchase of the Swindoll Study Bible.

Overall Impression

I have a number of Study Bibles but I have to say that this one has moved into a favorite spot for me. I have told my wife that, when it comes to teaching, I endeavor to be as in depth as John MacArthur but as approachable and easy to understand as Chuck Swindoll. Tyndale publishes two other Study Bibles that I enjoy, the Life Application Study Bible and the NLT Study Bible. Of the three, my recommendation is that you buy the Swindoll Study Bible, especially given the fact that I usually find some gripe with the Bibles I review and cannot in this case.

 

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.