Book Review: The NIV Proclamation Bible

NIV Proclamation BibleWriting 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).[1] 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

The Bible In American Life

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

Book Review: The NIV Journey Bible

NIV Journey BibleAs noted previously on this website, writing a book review of the Bible remains something of a daunting task. Yet reading and reviewing important literature constitutes a central part of what pursuing truth is all about. The Bible we are reviewing today is the New International Version The Journey Bible[1], which is all about “Revealing God and How You Fit Into His Plan.”[2] This Bible has peaceful, water-colored cover, and is sturdily constructed for a paperback. There are always concerns about how long a paperback cover will last for a book as thick as the Bible, but Zondervan’s years of experience in this realm seem to have produced a quality Bible here. The best feature of the Journey Bible comes right at the beginning, in the “Read This First” section. Here the editors explain how this Bible is designed for people asking questions about God, how this version is not offended by intellectual rigor, and how the resources included are designed to help people along their journey to God, provided they approach the message within with an open mind. This seemed like the perfect opening to a seeker friendly Bible, and does an excellent job of setting the tone for an honest reading of the Bible text. [3] Continue reading

Book Review: NIV Teen Study Bible

NIV Teen Study BibleReviewing a Bible requires rumination upon the purpose of writing book reviews. Many a book review offers reflections upon on the meaning, implications, and history behind the content of publication. For the Christian Bible, however, these tasks involve entire academic fields within the Academy and constitute the life-work of the Church. Hence, to summarize the contents of the Bible for a mere review remains foolishness at best, for one could not possible hope to do justice to what must be said. And yet, though the contents of this book review focus on the style and structure of the NIV Teen Study Bible, we must not forget our need to study and live its contents, for as Ronald Reagan once said, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”

The Bible we are reviewing today is the updated New International Version Teen Study Bible[1] with features written by Larry and Sue Richards.[2] This Bible has catchy a catchy cover, and is sturdily constructed, though this leaves is somewhat large and heavy, at least at Teen Bibles go. The study features of this Bible are not your typical footnotes and commentary, but rather in-text features boxes explicating the meaning of the text, integrating real life into the messages of the Bible, summarizing key ideas, and offering panoramas into the metanarrative of the Bible story. These features, the preface, and introductions to each Biblical book are short and concise, and focus on the application of the text than on literary, historical, or specifically theological aspects of the books. For someone new to the Biblical text, the brevity of these introductory materials comes as a welcome relief from what is often a deluge of information included in a study Bible. Continue reading