Writing a book review on a book of such importance as the Bible constitutes a unique experience regardless of how many times one has undertaken the process. Most book reviews focus on the meaning, implications, and history behind the content of a publication. With the Christian Bible, however, these tasks are insurmountable in a single book review, for these questions are the purview of the life of the Church as well as whole academic fields. Thus, as I have said before, attempting to summarize the contents of the Bible for a mere book review remains foolishness at best, since could not possible hope to do justice to what must be said.
Musings on reviewing Bibles aside, this particular review examines the New International Version Proclamation Bible (Zondervan, 2013). As with nearly every translation or version of the Christian scriptures, the contents of this Bible are well worth reading and are commended to readers and listeners everywhere. This general affirmation in mind, the duration of this review will focus on three aspects of the Proclamation Bible: the “Proclamation” Front Matter, two front cover designations, and some general notes on the style and construction of this particular Bible. Continue reading
In case you haven’t visited a bookstore of any kind lately or don’t just browse around Amazon for the fun of it (hey, grad students can dream, right?), let me offer you a tidbit of information: there are a LOT of Bibles available today—literally, tons of Bibles. There are different translations, various styles, made for diverse audiences, contrasting theologies at work—to say nothing of the plethora of languages in which the Bible is now available. In many ways, this dissemination of Bibles is good—people have more access to better translations and more applicable versions of the scriptures than at any other time in history. Yet the sheer smorgasbord of options is not without its problems, namely, which Bible should you read? Continue reading
Not too long ago, a report titled “The Bible in American Life” was released by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. Based on a nation-wide survey on Bible use and knowledge, this report found a number of things, some of the most interesting being:
— About 50% of Americans read “scripture” at any point during the last year; 48% of Americans read the Bible at some point last year
— 9% of American read their Bibles daily
— The King James Bible is the most popular English Bible translation by far
— The favorite passage among Bible readers is Psalm 23 followed by John 3:16
— Less than half of those reading the Bible sought help in understanding it
— 31% of those reading the Bible did so on the internet; 22% used devices of some sort
— Generally, Protestants read their Bibles more than Catholics, and (theologically) conservative Protestants more than liberal Protestants Continue reading
Ten thoughts on reading the Bible:
1. Never read a Bible verse. Always read at least a paragraph, preferably more. Best is reading a whole book (more on that below). You can make any one verse mean any number of things, but considering the larger context of passage places that verse within a more meaningful narrative, making it easier to understand what the verse is saying. So always read verses within their larger narrative context.
2. Keep a couple of different versions on-hand. Having two or three different Bibles around serves as a reminder that English Bibles are translations and that, whatever you may believe about inerrancy and inspiration, translations are neither. Having multiple versions around also enables you to draw upon different renderings of a passage when you try to understand what’s being said. Not all translations are created equal, of course, and which translations you choose will vary based on your preferences and Bible knowledge. But keep a couple different versions around.
3. Read the Bible aloud. This is something that I have been trying to do more myself. Much of the contents within the books of the Bible were delivered orally before they were ever written down. And once they were written down, they were often read aloud for hundreds (or thousands) of years before the invention of the printing press made personal copies readily available. Continue reading