NKJV Minister’s Bible

Study Bibles and Specialty Bibles are all the rage and a top priority with publishers at the current time. Just examine our most recent reviews and you’ll find a large number of study Bibles. However, Ministry Bibles are a highly specialized category. At the same time, it is one of the minister’s most valued possessions. With all that’s involved in the minister’s daily duties, it is most beneficial to have a resource available for consultation for all of those daily demands.NKJV Minister's Bible

With the several that are available, the NKJV Minister’s Bible, recently published by Thomas Nelson, fits the requirements excellently. The biblical text is the New King James Version; however, it is the features which makes this edition so valuable. The “Resources for the Minister” section has been converted from Nelson’s Minister’s Manual, NKJV Edition and includes virtually all advice, suggestions and examples that a minister would need. Categories include Weddings, Funerals, Dedications, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Worship, Pastoral Care and Invitations.

This Bible is unique for several reasons. First, the abundant minister’s helps are placed in the middle of the Bible (between the OT and NT) as opposed to the end. There is even a thumb index indicating the location making accessibility effortless. Second, the size is handheld, measuring 9 x 5 1/2 inches and the soft brown leathersoft cover makes for elegance and ease of handling. Third, the 9-point type, while somewhat small, is still easy to read. And fourth, it comes with three ribbon markers which is, of course, most convenient.

This is one of those specialty Bibles that every minister should definitely have in his possession. The contents and their arrangement make it highly convenient for the busy life of a pastor.

Disclaimer: This Bible was provided to me by Thomas Nelson publishers for a fair and honest review.

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The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies

The question that is posed by this volume is this: How is your knowledge of all things biblical?Baker Compact Dictionary

Let’s face it, the study of the Bible requires knowledge of a highly specialized vocabulary and unless one is an ivory tower biblical scholar, we have all been scrambling to define a term or gather more information on an unknown subject. The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies will likely solve the problem. While it is not all inclusive or detailed in its treatment, it does contain over 500 definitions and pieces of information.

The title aptly describes the challenge posed by the initial question. It is published by Baker Books, a prolific publishing powerhouse. The book is compact – 41/4 x 7 x ½ – but you’ll be amazed by how much information can be squeezed into 209 pages and still have the print at a readable size. It is certainly a dictionary, containing entries from A to Z. And, finally, it includes definitions and explanations of all things biblical. It includes entries on an incredibly wide variety of subject areas – names, people, places, events, Bible translations, archaeological finds, grammatical terms (simile, metaphor, etc.), theology, history, just to name a few.

The authors are Tremper Longman III (OT) and Mark L. Strauss (NT), both PhD’s, Yale and University of Aberdeen, respectively. Both are respected scholars in their fields.

Primarily, this is not a volume to be read through at a casual reading sit-down, although a perusal may prove to be interesting. A simple thumbing through the pages will certainly get one’s attention. Rather, it will most frequently be used as a reference resource referred to repeatedly.

I would imagine that every serious Bible student would want to have this book readily at hand when doing some serious biblical study. In fact, it is recommended that every Bible student have this close by. It’s definitely worth the $10 or so.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Baker Books for a fair and honest review.

The Woman’s Study Bible

Another month; another book review; another Study Bible. That should come as no surprise. Virtually all Bible publishers are cranking out Study Bibles at a speed beyond metaphorical description, all bent to a certain theme, audience or demographic. On occasion they all seem to blend together. One would think the market place is over saturated. Yet, occasionally, one is published that is exceptional; it reaches the designated audience precisely.The Women's Study Bible

Such is The Woman’s Study Bible. Ladies, be not skeptical. Whereas most Bibles targeted toward women rely on a majority of fluff, this one is hardly in line with that pattern. The editors approach this Bible in an organized manner with an exegetical hermeneutic rather than “find a verse to make it fit a female issue.” It is written with the intelligent, inquisitive woman in mind – those who not only want to know but to know the “why” behind the question.

From the introduction, focusing on female issues, to the many articles strategically placed in appropriate sections, this Bible is well thought out. For example, a chart on the “Beatitudes for Women” is placed immediate to the text of Matthew 5; articles Ruth, Orpah and Naomi are all located on the proper pages in the book of Ruth as opposed to scattered randomly; and the many maps that are included are located on facing pages according to their pertinence.

Articles specifically targeted to women’s needs abound. Spiritual parenting, how to pray for children, words that encourage, what love and obedience mean, women in the workplace and the difference between marriage in the OT and today are all examples of the focused articles that can be found.

Structurally, this Bible is also a gem. The text is the NIV 2011 edition with the appropriate concordance. Importantly, the print is large enough to read. It does follow a typical Study Bible format with the text on the top portion of the page and study notes on the bottom.

This is exactly what a good Study Bible should be – regardless of the target audience. It makes one want to read and discover truths from familiar and not so familiar passages of Scripture in order to joyfully lead a more godly, vibrant life for our Lord.

This review was mostly written by Ellie Marrandette, New Creations Ministries; the one who really evaluated and put this Bible through its paces.

Disclaimer: This Bible was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for a fair and honest review.

CSB Apologetics Study Bible

The first book review of 2018 is … another Study Bible. This time it’s the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) Apologetics Study Bible.CSB Apologetics Study Bible

This one is a gem. To begin, it is an upgraded and expanded version of the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible. It is upgraded in the sense that the text utilized is the CSB published in early 2017. The CSB is a modern English translation that employs a philosophy of translation that combines the best of Formal Equivalence and Functional Equivalence. This results in a translation that the Holman Bible Publishers term as Optimal Equivalence. (We’ll leave it to the reader to go through the four page “Introduction to the CSB” to get all the details.) The end product is a highly readable modern English translation but perhaps not ideal for in-depth study.

But what makes this Study Bible so highly beneficial is that it is enlarged from the HCSB version, itself an excellent Study Bible. It is expanded in two primary categories. The first is the “Annotated Bibliography for Apologetics,” which has increased from ten to thirteen pages. This provides a valuable resource for doing further work and research in the field of Apologetics. The second falls under the category of “Additional Features.” Many new articles dealing with various aspects in the apologetics field have been added to this new version. For example, an article focusing on Genesis 14 entitled “Did Those Places Really Exist?”, provides some valuable archaeological insight. There are over 125 separate articles placed in proper apologetic positions throughout the Bible – an extremely significant storehouse of information.

Additionally, setting the apologetics aspect aside, this is a mini Study Bible. The study notes are not extensive or highly detailed but do provide useful information on the text. You will have to go to a more complete Study Bible or commentary to get more comprehensive information on the text.

My estimation is that 85% of the material in the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible has been repeated in the CSB version. For instance, the Concordance, Maps & Charts and Study Notes are all from the HCSB. But that should not prevent one from adding this valuable volume his library. There will be many positive hours of reading and studying with it.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Holman Bible Publishers for a fair and honest review.

NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible

Before the year closes, one more review – naturally concerning another Study Bible. This is the NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson with material supplied by Kairos Journal.NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible

According to their website Kairos Journal “seeks to embolden, educate, equip, and support pastors and church leaders as they strive to transform the moral conscience of the culture and restore the prophetic voice of the Church.” Their doctrinal statement is orthodox and conservative, however, I would have preferred the word “inerrant” also be included in part c. concerning the Bible. In short, Kairos Journal is a parachurch ministry.

The overall structure of this Study Bible is traditional. Each book of the Bible has introductory information – Introduction, Background, Content, Insight and Outline. Unique to this volume are eight topical categories – Church, Corruption, Economics, Education, Family, Government, Sanctity of Life and Virtue. It is around these eight categories that the “study” portion of this Bible is based. Throughout the text there are articles attending to the categories as appropriate.

For instance, as one begins Genesis, there is an article under the category of Education with the subtitle “Evolution and Intelligent Design.” This is immediately followed by an article on Family: Homosexuality and Transgenderism and then an article on Government: Environmentalism. For sure, the Unapologetic Study Bible makes no apologies for tackling the difficult and controversial subjects.

I found the Unapologetic Study Bible to be a cultural gem. Its unique approach makes it an excellent reference volume whether or not one agrees with the point of view. If one thinks the Bible is a dusty, musty piece of literature from ages past with no relevance for today, this Study Bible will get you thinking. True to their goal, Kairos Journal has produced a Bible that should be on the shelf of every pastor and teacher. Finally, I would highly recommend the Unapologetic Study Bible to anyone who believes or doubts that the Bible is relevant to the twenty-first century culture.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this volume by Thomas Nelson for a fair and honest revie

The Spurgeon Study Bible

It can be safely assumed that 99.44% of the people reading this review know the reputation of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. One could well argue that he was the most prolific preacher and writer in the history of the Christian faith. So it was inevitable that eventually a publisher would produce a “Spurgeon Study Bible.”The Spurgeon Study Bible

Voila! Holman Bible Publishers has taken that step. And it is a classy production! In a publishing world awash in “Study Bibles” (We have another “Study Bible” waiting in line for our next review), this one is a unmistakable standout. And to add to its exclusivity, Alistair Begg was employed as the editor. Begg is the Senior Pastor of Parkside Church not far from Cleveland, OH and the progenitor of Truth For Life.

The Spurgeon Study Bible is done in the newly minted (2017) Christian Standard Bible (CSB) also published by Holman. Format wise it is virtually identical to other Study Bibles – book introductions (which include a section concerning Spurgeon’s thoughts on the book), maps, concordance, and notes at the bottom of the pages. But it is this last which makes this so special. All of the notes are from Spurgeon’s writings making it a goldmine of reference material. If you want to know what Spurgeon though about Genesis 1 and 2, go there and the notes are before you. And, of course, excerpts from the “Treasury of David” are waiting for you in the Psalms.

Other features include a brief biography of Spurgeon written by Begg and twenty of The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon (ten from the OT and ten from the NT). These are well presented with Spurgeon’s original handwriting and a clean transcription appearing on facing pages. Preachers will find it interesting how Spurgeon’s mind worked.

Also included is an introduction to the CSB providing the translation philosophy for the CSB. It’s worth the read.

This is a Study Bible for all believers. Everyone will be blessed and enriched by this volume. If you love the writings of Spurgeon, this is a must for your desk. My copy is sitting within an arm’s reach.

Disclaimer: This Bible was provided to me by Holman Bible Publishers for a fair and honest review.

NIV Reader’s Bible

In today’s world of Bible printing and translation, there is a copy of Scripture for everyone and every need. Quite honestly, if you cannot find a Bible that matches your reading level and style and that suits your desired study interest, you would be better served to learn Hebrew and Greek and return to the original languages. However, into this world now enters a Bible that fills a void – just plain ol’ reading the Scriptures. What a concept!NIV Reader's Bible

The NIV Reader’s Bible  adds to that collection but it is like water in the desert. It is exactly what the title claims. In fact it promotes itself as being “Designed for a seamless reading experience.” It is precisely that. It has been created just to be read. There are no chapter and verse references within the text. Book, chapter and verse designations are given at the top of each page – and that’s it. The lone exception is the book of Psalms in which each Psalm is numbered but there are no verse references. The only reading assistance given in the entire Bible is in the form of paragraphs throughout the text. Textual and translation footnotes have been converted into endnotes and placed at the end of each book which also aids in the reading experience.

The text itself, of course, is the highly readable NIV which, since it is a dynamic equivalent translation, lends itself perfectly to this format. It is smooth reading without distractions to the eye – even in good sized print – 10.5 point type size.

Here’s the summation of the matter: This Bible is perfect for a Scripture Reading Plan, whichever one you may select – absolutely perfect. Nothing within the text will divert the eye of the reader. You won’t be able to do in-depth study with this Bible, but that was not the intention of Zondervan, the publisher. Zondervan wants us to Just Read It.

And, as you might imagine, from a marketing standpoint, the timing on this release is also strategic, just in time for the gift-giving season. So, if there is someone on your list who needs to just READ the Bible, this is the ideal gift.

This Bible is a must if you just want to sit down and read Scripture.

Disclaimer: The Bible was provided to me by Zondervan for a fair and honest review.