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

Book Review: Believe (Frazee)

Believe (NIV)The Bible is a complex book, full of countless stories, prophecies, and genres of writing, each of which (ostensibly) applies to the Christian life in some way. It is no easy task, however, to read the entire Bible and grasp how each portion relates to the others or how 21st century Christians should engage the scriptures in their complexity. To assist those journeying towards God through a close reading of the Bible comes Believe: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus (Zondervan: 2014) edited by Randy Frazee. Continue reading

Book Review: NIV College Devotional Bible (Zondervan)

College Devotional BIbleCollege students are busy, with class, homework, living on their own, a social life, and (often) work vying for their time. Amidst this busyness, it’s relatively easy to neglect the more important things in life, like reading your Bible. To help address this problem, Zondervan has released the New International Version College Devotional Bible.

The College Devotional Bible is intended to encourage Bible reading among college students by emphasizing regular devotions and a series of reading plans that help keep students in the scriptures. Included in this Bible are 222 devotionals, which include a scripture reading, a short devotional story (historic, pastoral, or narrative), and reflection questions. These are generally good devotional moments, geared toward busy students and the questions they may come across while at college. While it would have been helpful to have an index of all these devotions, having them tucked within the contexts of the scriptures serves as a good encouragement to read this Bible along with the devotional content. Continue reading

Book Review: The Case for the Real Jesus (Strobel)

The Case for the Real JesusIn some respects, The Case for the Real Jesus: Student Edition stands as but one Christian apologetics book among a market full of many. The back cover isn’t full of important Christian ‘celebrities’ and theologians saying how great this book is. There was no flashy marketing campaign when this book hit the shelves. It’s not a hardback tome proclaiming itself to include the answers to every question which might confront the Christian faith. In some ways, this relatively short book (at just fewer than two hundred pages) is pretty easy to overlook. But to ignore the contents of this book would be a major mistake.

In The Case for the Real Jesus: Student Edition, journalist Lee Strobel and Jane Vogel engage six of the most common challenges to Christian claims about the Historical Jesus and offer serious historical information on these claims for readers to consider. Through interviews with six scholars, Strobel tackles questions about the reliability of the Gospel accounts of Jesus, the reliability of New Testament texts, counters to the resurrection, the influence of pagan religions upon stories about Jesus, Jesus’ fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, and what Christians should believe about the historical Jesus in today’s context. By looking at each of these topics seriously, Strobel provides a valuable tool for those seeking to understand and defend their Christian faith. Continue reading

Book Review: Celebrate Recovery Bible

Celebrate Recovery BibleThe New International Version Celebrate Recovery Bible is geared toward those looking for hope in the face of difficult life circumstances and destructive habits. Developed by Jeff Baker and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, the Celebrate Recovery Bible includes the text of 2011 NIV accompanied with several useful features designed to guide Christians toward true recovery in Jesus Christ. 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

Book Review: The Case for Christ: Student Edition (Strobel)

The Case for Christ - Student Edition (Lee Strobel)Lee Strobel may be the most well-known Christian apologist of our time; he is certainly one of the most proficient, having written and co-written nearly thirty books on apologetics, in addition to working on numerous audio and curriculum series. Having read several of Strobel’s books over the years, I was delighted when The Case for Christ: Student Edition arrived in the mail last week.

Beginning with his own life story and incorporating numerous stories from his time at the Chicago Tribune, Strobel engages the three major questions he investigated before becoming a Christian. These include “Who Is This Jesus?”, “How Reliable Is the Information about Christ?”, and “Can a Dead Man Come Back to Life?” In answering each question Strobel traces his own learning progression, sharing important questions he asked, answers he found, and person experiences and lessons he had along the way. Additionally, there are several periscopes into cultural topics which supplement Strobel’s general trajectory of a historical defense of Christ as the resurrected Son of God. As a student edition, this work is short, easy to read, and contains enough graphics and sidebars to keep easily distracted readers interested. One thing I especially appreciated was that this book could be read start to finish or topically, as each section was essentially self-contained. Continue reading