Chances are that amidst your Black Friday shopping (or today’s Cyber Monday spending spree) you somewhere caught sight of camouflage. T-shirts, DVD collections, hats, beards, coats—you name it, there’s a probably a Duck Dynasty version of it somewhere. The Robertson family and their hit show on A&E have taken the country by storm the past several years, first with their classic country humor and traditional family values, and more recently with a number of interviews and new products. I was exposed to a few episodes of Duck Dynasty while at my in-laws last Christmas and have subsequently been following them in the news. A few weeks ago I learned of their latest item: The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2014).
In a media market saturated with all-too-often mindless and mediocre programming, the ‘good ol’ fashioned’ values of the Robertson clan stand out, especially their open commitment to God and (at least occasional) discussion of morals and theology. While “television Christians” rarely translate their talk to the walk of the real world, the good folks of Duck Dynasty feels different, especially with the publication of this Bible. Executively edited by Phil Robertson (the family patriarch) and oldest son Al Robertson (a pastor), The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible represents a clear and substantial stand for the Christian faith and scriptures. There are two major components to this Bible: the standard text of the New King James Version and several sets of devotional insights offered by Phil and Al.
From the start, readers are told that the devotional materials of The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible focus on the core values of Robertson family: faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom. Throughout this Bible, Phil and Al each offer fifty-two devotional readings dedicated to these topics, helpfully categorized in the front matter and indexed by subject in the rear matter. These “Set Your Sights” devotionals are about two pages each, with categorization, devotional (generally very solid and different from the contents of the Duck Commander Devotional), and then “On the Hunt” verses for suggested further reading. Also valuable are the thirty days of “Lifechangers” devotionals at the beginning of this Bible. Phil does not shy away from admitting he had a sordid past and that Jesus transformed his life—this month of readings does a good job expounding on the lessons of how Christ can change your life too.
Additionally useful are the introduction to the New King James Version, the ABCs of Salvation, reading suggestions for 30 Days with Jesus, and several tables listing important events in the life and ministry of Christ and the Apostles. Further, The Duck Commander Bible comes with some free downloadable materials to assist with Bible study. The construction of this Bible is very solid, especially the hardback version—this is no cheap marketing tool, but a quality book which should be able to withstand years of reading. I was a tad disappointed that the cover wasn’t camouflage (and lacks a beard of any sort), but the exterior does have an appropriate ‘outdoors-y’ feel without being overbearing.
While some may find fault in the “primitive” or “fundamentalist” Christianity of the Robertson, I find their willingness to stand for what they believe in—and the messages of this Bible—to be a breath of fresh air. My only concern with this Bible comes not with the materials provided by the Robertson family, but with the contents of the NKJV. As I have noted in previous Bible reviews (and will continue to emphasize), despite its familiarity, the Bible is an ancient book which needs to be properly introduced in order to be properly understood. Brief introductions to each of the Biblical books would have served this Bible well. That said, The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible is still a more than adequate version of the word of God.
The message of faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom is an important one, and continues to resonate with many people today. And the Robertson’s do a fine job here proclaiming the Gospel of Christ along with those values. The important thing with any Bible is getting people to engage the narrative and read the good news, and this Bible does a fine job of stimulating that interest. Overall, The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible comes highly recommended for all Duck Dynasty fans (especially those still in need of Christmas gifts) and generally recommended for Christians looking for a Bible with included devotional materials.I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.