All posts by Terry Delaney

Michelangelo for Kids by Simonetta Carr

Carr, Simonetta. Michelangelo for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2016. 132 pp. $18.99. Purchase for less at Amazon.

Introduction

Simonetta is definitely no stranger to Christian Book Notes. I have reviewed a number of her books, most of which are for children, and have been fortunate enough to interview her as well. This is her first book in this series which includes resources on Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, a Van Gogh to name a few.

Summary

Part biography, part introduction to art, part art lab, there is something for every student of art in this resource.

From the back of the book:
Michelangelo Buonarroti – known simply as Michelangelo – has been called the greatest artist who has ever lived. His enormous masterpieces astonished his contemporaries and remain some of today’s most famous artworks. Michelangelo for Kids offers and in-depth look at his life, ideas, and accomplishments, while providing a fascinating view of the Italian Renaissance and how it shaped and affected his work.

Young readers will come to know Michelangelo the man as well as the artistic giant, following his life from his childhood in rural Italy to his emergence as a rather egotistical teenager to a humble and caring old man. They’ll learn that he did exhausting, back-breaking labor to create his art yet worked well, even with humor, with others in the stone quarry and in his workshop. Budding artists will come to appreciate the artist’s techniques and to understand exactly what made his work so great.

Review

Too be honest, I am not much into art or art history. I mostly know Michelangelo as the orange-bandanna wearing turtle who loves pizza. That is, until I flipped through this book. I did know he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel having grown up Roman Catholic. This book was extremely informational. Also, with all of the activities, my kids thoroughly enjoyed it.

I would like to point out, however, that this is not a Christian book per se. Simonetta explains in a blog post why she decided to write this particular book. Personally, I am grateful she took on the responsibility to write it. Having known her through email conversations and becoming familiar with her writing style and faithfulness to historic fact, she has proven herself to be a trustworthy biographer. Also, she was able to intertwine the Reformation and its influence on the artist even though he remained Roman Catholic.

I am fairly certain this resource become a staple in children’s art classes for years to come.

Recommendation

If you homeschool your children and you teach them art or art history, you will want to use Michelangelo for Kids as one of your resources. It is full of 21 different activities that will engage the children (and the teachers!) all the while teaching them about one of the greatest artists of all time, if not the greatest.

I highly recommend this resource to anyone interested in an introduction to the life of Michelangelo.

Shaken by Tim Tebow with A.J. Gregory

Tebow, Tim and A.J. Gregory. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms. New York: WaterBrook, 2016. 224 pp. $25.00. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for much less.

Introduction

Truthfully, Tim Tebow needs no introduction. Ever since he exploded on the scene as two-time national champion and Heisman Trophy winner in college football for the Florida Gators, he has been making headlines for his faith and athleticism. He was a surprise first round draft pick of the Denver Broncos before he was signed by the New York Jets and then released by the New England Patriots. He recently made headlines again by signing with the New York Mets. He also works for the SEC Network and ESPN and, due to his faith, made “Tebowing” famous (i.e., bowing in short prayer).

He is perhaps best known for his faith as this book explains.

Summary

The book begins with his being cut by the New England Patriots and his dreams of playing in the NFL dying. He shares his experiences of the highs and lows of a professional life before the ever criticizing eye of the media. Through it all, Tebow explains that his identity has never been in his awards or titles or victories or defeats. Rather, his identity has always been in Christ.

Review

This book shows how important it is to understand who you are in Christ. If you get caught up in the rat race of life and allow others to define who you are, you are going to wind up hurt and disillusioned. Tebow, with the help of A.J. Gregory, explains how important it is to seek the greater identity found in Christ.

Tim Tebow is obviously not a pastor, but he certainly has a large platform. He is a great example for everyone to emulate regarding using the influence God has granted you to point others to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Tim does exactly that as often as he can.

He shows that the limelight is not the place you really want to be though so many aspire to that kind of greatness. To think about a young man working out his theology and faith before an ever increasing hostile world is hard to imagine, but Tebow has done it and done it well.

What is more, while most of us will never have the platform Tebow does, we all have influence in various spheres of life. He offers us a great example of how we should live our lives as salt and light in this world.

I do wish, however, there would have been more Scripture, but I also understand what Tebow is seeking to accomplish with Shaken. For that, I thought the book excelled and will be a wonderful ministry tool.

Recommendation

If you enjoy biographies about athletes, you will enjoy Shaken. If you enjoy reading about the faith of athletes, you will enjoy Shaken. If you know a young man who loves the Lord and loves athletics, you need to get him a copy of Shaken. I do recommend this book to all believers and unbeliever alike.

 

One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd

Ladd, Jason B., One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview. Wasilla: Boone Shepherd, LLC., 2015. 318 pp. $16.99. Purchase at Amazon for less and on Kindle for much less.

Introduction

Jason Ladd has flown the F/A-18 “Hornet” as a Weapons and Tactics Instructor and the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” as an Instructor Pilot in the United States Marine Corp. He also flew combat missions in Iraq. While in the Marines, he fought the greatest battle of his life…what did he believe in regarding God and salvation. One of a Few is his retelling of how he came to faith in the one true God.

You can learn more about Jason at his blog, and, for a limited time, download the audio book for free though it does require a subscription at JasonBLadd.com.

Summary

Divided into three parts over 27 chapters, Jason recounts his journey from skepticism to unbelief to belief.

We learn that Jason grew up in a military family and spends his young life filled with spiritual apathy as many children do. Even though he grew up in the military, he never developed a solid moral foundation even with his basic knowledge of right and wrong instilled in him by his father.

Ladd enters the US Marine Corps, becomes a fighter pilot, and sees combat in Iraq before life events align to nudge him into profound spiritual inquiry. Digging deep into his quest for truth, he realizes the art and science of fighter pilot fundamentals can help him on his journey.

Ladd takes the reader on an interesting journey as his skills as a fighter pilot are no match for the One who sought Jason in order to save him from the ultimate defeat.

Review

First, I must confess that I am a veteran of the United States Army and therefore have no reason to really say anything good about a Marine! (This is a joke for those who have never been in the military. We all can tease one another because we are part of a brotherhood that transcends much of American culture.) That being said, Jason explains how he joined a brotherhood that transcends all culture and can only be found in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Jason’s story is gripping and will keep the reader turning pages well into the evening. His zeal to find the truth and his willingness to leave no stone unturned is to be commended…especially as a Marine. As I read this biography that became an apologetic for the Christian faith, I couldn’t help but think back to my own salvation and growth in the Christian faith. For the resources he quotes and recommends are the same resources that were extremely influential in my early walk with Christ while studying philosophy at a state university.

Jason challenges his reader to do the research himself. It is almost as if he is daring the reader to doubt the claims made by Christ and the Christian faith. In the end, this resource proves to be an excellent read that will leave you breathless as a fan of combat pilots as well as the equipping with information that there is something greater out there and you have the responsibility to understand what it is God is calling you to.

I love his question, “What are you fighting for?” This is a question we all must ask. Often the answer will not be what we think.

Recommendation

I heartily recommend this biography to all. Further, it can be an excellent tool for the young man interested in the military generally and in fighter pilots specifically. They will have a modern day veteran to look up to who will point them even higher than any aircraft can travel.

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible – Zondervan Publishing

Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture. Craig S. Keener, John H. Walton, editors. Nashville: Zondervan Publishing: 2016. 2,400 pp. Hardback – $49.99; Imitation Leather – $79.95. Purchase at Amazon for much less or on Kindle for an even greater savings.

Introduction

I have reviewed and even given away a number of various study Bibles (you can read these here) and while I typically do not care for niche Bibles, I am becoming a collector of study Bibles. This particular study Bible is published by Zondervan and uses the New International Version translation.

Check out this video for an introduction from the editor of The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible.

Summary

While including the entire text of the New International Version (2011), this study Bible is full of many additional features. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Targeted book introductions explain the context in which each book of the Bible was written
  • Insightful and informative verse-by-verse study notes reveal new dimensions of insight to even the most familiar passages
  • Key Old Testament (Hebrew) and New Testament terms are explained and expanded upon in two helpful reference features
  • Over 300 in-depth articles on key contextual topics
  • 375 full-color photos, illustrations, and images from around the world
  • Dozens of charts, maps, and diagrams in vivid color
  • Additional study Bible tools: cross references, a concordance, indexes and other helps

The edition I have is also a red-letter edition meaning the words of Jesus Christ are in red.

Review

First, while I prefer the ESV translation personally, I will not comment on the NIV translation in this particular review.  This review will look at what separates this study Bible from the others.

First, one of the most striking aspects of this study Bible that is noticeable the moment you open it and flip through its pages are the full-color pictures, timelines, maps, and even the beige coloring of the center-column cross references. Also, each chapter and subject heading is set apart in color and quickly helps the reader to scan for a particular section or passage of Scripture.

Second, the study notes do not offer any theological insight or information because, quite frankly, that is not the nature of this particular study Bible. Rather, it offers the cultural insight of the time and place from when the particular text was written. For example, when Israel first took over the Promised Land to when Christ walked the streets of Jerusalem, there was much change in the culture and that is highlighted throughout this study Bible.

The reader will see how Israel functioned as a theocracy (during the time of Moses and the Judges) became a monarchy ruled by kings and later became a conquered nation ruled by many different nations through the years. What is more, the study notes bring this history to life and offer deeper understanding for the events taking place.

Third, the Hebrew to English and translation chart and Key New Testament Terms dictionary prove invaluable to the reader as not many will ever take a Biblical languages course or seek to read technical commentaries. Having these key resources at your fingertips proves to be a great aid in understanding the original meaning and intention of the authors.

Fourth, this one study Bible replaces two other resources by John Walton and Craig Keener: The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. It is my understanding that the New Testament volume, originally published in 1994 is no longer in print though it can still be purchased on Kindle or Amazon.

Personally, these two resources are indispensable to my sermon preparation each week and consequently are placed on a shelf immediately behind where I stand at my desk. Even though I will keep both of the aforementioned resources in my library, I will also keep this study Bible readily available as I am sure it will be used as frequently as the other two.

Finally, the tag-line in much of the advertising by Zondervan is “Context changes everything.” While I do not think that a student of Scripture will have any doctrinal beliefs radically changed by understanding the cultural background (I may be wrong on this), I do believe that learning this information will take one’s faith to a much deeper level as they strive to understand how the Bible is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17) even today across time and cultural boundaries.

Recommendation

If you are a student of Scripture and want to learn more about the authorial intent of a passage in order to better understand its intended purpose for your life in the 21st century, then you can not do much better than owning a copy of The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. Remember, this is not theological insight (though a case can be made that all Bible study is theological); rather, it is cultural information meant to help the reader better understand what was taking place when the text was written. I highly recommend this resource to every Christian.

Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 3

SibbesV3_scan-203x320Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 3 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction/Summary

I have reviewed a few other titles by Richard Sibbes (read those here and am currently working through the 7-volume set of the Works of Richard Sibbes.

Sibbes was a surgeon when it came to expositing Scripture. This third volume of the seven volume Works is a case in point. The entire volume is a commentary on 2 Corinthians 1. That is it. 550 pages covering 24 verses.

From The Banner of Truth Trust,

More than anything else, Richard Sibbes was a great preacher. He never lost sight of the fact that the best Christian counselling is done through the patient and enlivening exposition of the Word of God. Sibbes excelled as a comforter of the troubled and doubting, but he also possessed the rare gift of illuminating every passage of Scripture he handled by drawing out its significance for his hearers and readers. The republication of the Nichol edition of his complete works is a notable event for all who have an appetite for helpful and faithful biblical preaching.

Review

It is fascinating to me that Thomas Manton was the original editor of this particular volume. In fact, the original title as written by Manton offers more insight into why this is so long: “A Learned Commentary or Exposition upon [2 Corinthians 1] being the Substand of many Sermons formerly preached at Grayes-Inne, London…by Richard Sibbs.”

As you read this commentary you find that you are sitting in the pew listening to Sibbes as it were exposit week in and week out the Word of God – specifically, this one chapter of 2 Corinthians. The first chapters are typically introductory material with greetings and some groundwork for the occasion of the letter.

Sibbes, however, finds this first chapter fascinating and offers many doctrinal insights and personal applications and exhortations in what many might gloss over as being “unimportant” in the context of the entire letter.

For example, in dealing with 2 Cor. 1:11 where Paul writes, “You also must help us by prayer” (ESV), Richard states prayer “is not a work of gifts, but of grace. It is a work of a broken heart, of a believing heart” (p.183). In fine puritanical fashion, he continues on for seven plus pages on the doctrine of prayer.

Every phrase in the first chapter of 2 Corinthians is treated as such. It is no wonder this volume is 550 pages.

It is no wonder Dr. Sibbes was noted as one of the greatest preachers of the Puritanical era.

Recommendation

If you are looking for an example of what biblical meditation looks like, you need to read this particular volume. If you are looking for what in depth Bible study and exposition looks like, you need to pick up this volume. If you are looking for a quality devotional, you need to pick up this volume.

In other words, Volume 3 of The Works of Richard Sibbes is must reading for most Christians. I highly recommend this volume (as well as the entire set) to all Christians.

Reformation Commentary on Scripture OT Vol. V: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles Edited by Cooper and Lohrmann

OT 5Reformation Commentary on Scripture Old Testament Vol. V: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles. Edited by Derek Cooper and Martin J. Lohrmann. General Editor, Timothy George, Associate General Editor, Scott M. Manetsch. Downer’s Grove: IVP Academic, 2016. 799 pp. $50.00. Purchase at Westminster for less. You can purchase for Kindle for much less.

Introduction

I have reviewed a number of the commentaries in this series already. You can read those here.

The editors seek to introduce readers to the depth and richness of the minds of the Reformation era.  The four goals are, 1) enrichment of contemporary biblical interpretation through exposure to Reformation-era biblical exegesis, 2) a renewal of contemporary preaching and 3) a renewal of biblical interpretation through exposure to Reformation-era exegesis, and finally 4) a deeper understanding of the Reformation itself.

Summary

This particular volume looks at the historical books of the Old Testament that detail the prophetic reign of Samuel to the fall of Jerusalem. Herein we find many of the beloved stories of the Old Testament as found in children’s Bibles the world over.

The commentators, too numerous to list individually, offer their thoughts and insights on Scripture during an era of church history that is noted for having been rigorous in Biblical study and application.

Review

In lumping six of the largest historical books in the Old Testament canon, this particular commentary is quite large at 800 pages. This may be too much for some or too little for others.

For example, only 6 1/2 pages are exhausted with comments on 2 Samuel 7 – arguably one of the most critical chapters in these 6 books of Scripture and perhaps all of the Bible. There are only 5 pages for the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 18).

Perhaps the one of the best features, that I have yet to discuss in my reviews, is the general introduction found in every volume that offers a brief introduction to the many traditions of the Reformation. For example, the Anabaptists, the Zurich Reformers, the Genevan Reformers, and even the historical context (very important!) in which these men wrote. This all helps to give today’s reader a bit more of an understanding of what influenced their interpretations and applications of Scripture.

Most of the time these Reformers simply stuck to the Scriptures. Sometimes, however, they would make a point about how the Catholic Church violated Scripture. Still other times, their own framework for learning, a humanism that is not what it is today, would bleed through and lead them on a somewhat errant path…by today’s understanding and application.

Regardless, their is a treasure trove of insight in these pages.

Recommendation

The historical books are fertile ground for sermon illustrations and even applications to sermons not to mention numerous sermon series. This commentary is an excellent resource to add to your personal library as it will undoubtedly aid you in your understanding of historical Christianity and the applications for these texts to our lives even today.

 

Biblical Tranquility: An Adult Coloring Book

Masing, Marguerite. Biblical Tranquility: An Adult Coloring Book – 21 Inspirational Scenes to Color and Frame. Los Angeles: Judy O Productions, Inc., 2016. $8.99. Purchase at Amazon.

Introduction/Summary

From the Preface, “What is it about coloring that releases a creative energy within us? Could it be because it is how we were designed?”

“God created man; then God inspired man to create. Biblical Tranquility is a beautiful adult coloring book that offers the faithful a dynamic way to express creativity through intricate images bursting with spirit and allegory. This devotional book for coloring enthusiasts features 31, detailed scenes from the Old and New Testaments, including Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Moses Parting the Red Sea, The Last Supper, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection, and more. Enjoy hours of quiet contemplation and meditation on Holy Scripture while adding color to scenes from the Bible’s most iconic passages.”

Each coloring page fits nicely into an 8 1/2′ x 11″ frame.

Review

Um…I never thought I would be reviewing a coloring book…for adults. While I am not a fan of coloring, I can see the allure of spending time quietly coloring. You can hear the sound of the colored pencil scraping over the page.

There is nothing earth shattering about the scenes depicted as most of them are what people grew up reading about in Children’s Bibles. I do appreciate the Biblical references at the bottom of each page.

I also think it is drawn with a Roman Catholic audience in mind given a few of the titles and the use of halos around  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s heads.

Recommendation

If you enjoy coloring or are more artistic than I am (that would pretty much be anyone older than 5!) then you would enjoy this coloring book. At only $9, it seems like it would provide hours of quality entertainment and even possibly be a platform for solid meditation on Scripture though I do not recommend meditative coloring!

 

 

Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 2

Sibbes 2Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 2 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction

I have reviewed a few other titles by Richard Sibbes (read those here and am currently working through the 7-volume set of the Works of Richard Sibbes.

Sibbes was appointed a lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. Later, through the influence of friends, he was chosen to be the preacher at Gray’s Inn, London, and he remained there until 1626. In that year he returned to Cambridge as Master of St Catherine’s Hall, and later returned to Holy Trinity, this time as its vicar. He was granted a Doctorate in Divinity in 1627, and was thereafter frequently referred to as ‘the heavenly Doctor Sibbes’. He continued to exercise his ministry at Gray’s Inn, London, and Holy Trinity, Cambridge, until his death on 6 July 1635 at the age of 58.

Summary

There are only five books included in this particular volume. They are Bowels Opened (Sermons on the Song of Solomon 4-6), The Spouse’s Earnest Desire After Christ, A Breathing After God, The Returning Backslider (a commentary on Hosea 14) and the Glorious Feast of the Gospel.

Review

As with most writers and pastors of the Puritan age, I believe they go to far with their allegorical understanding of the Song of Solomon, but the practical aspects and conclusions are extremely helpful. Specifically due to the modern-day relaxing of the view of the church.

For most Puritans, the Song of Solomon was meant to be read as a description of Christ and His relationship with the church. While that may be true today, it certainly was not the authorial intent of Solomon when he wrote it. Regardless, Sibbes makes some most comforting claims for the comfort of the believer throughout his sermons on these four chapters of Scripture. For example, God makes us good and stirs up within us holy desires.

His second book in this volume is a short look at the second verse of the first chapter of Song of Solomon and offers a treatise on the Christian’s need to earnestly desire after Christ.

The third book is an exposition on Psalm 27:4: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Being the great surgeon he is, Sibbes offers an in depth look at how our every living moment ought to be consumed with Christ. He states that Christ is the object of the Christian’s desire and that we ought to be continually in prayer if we are to persevere in our desires.

In a poignant, and perhaps much needed look at Hosea 14, Sibbes looks at the way in which a backslider should return to the faith and also how we, as believers, ought to receive them. Perhaps Sibbes offers us a different perspective on Hosea, but one thing I  know, is that this particular book of the Bible is a bomb waiting to go off in many churches and Christian lives due to its portrayal of radical grace.

The final book in this second volume looks at the Gospel and is an exposition of Isaiah 25:6-9.  Of all of the books I have stated that the church needs today, it may be this book in this volume that is most needed. To understand just what a feast this gospel message truly is cannot be overstated. In just under 100 pages, Sibbes draws the reader into the beauty of the gospel and helps us to see how we have been starving ourselves with the modern gospel presentations and offering we regularly serve up to others.

Recommendation

In all honesty, I approached this volume as being one of the weaker volumes in the whole set. Turned out, I could not have been more wrong. Though I disagree with his understanding of Song of Solomon, I found his application to be appropriate. His look at Hosea 14 is a sweet balm for those weary souls looking to return to Christ. Christian, you should read that in order to be better equipped to minister to those who are hurting.

The final book, however, is  most needed. We need to know what the gospel is (ALERT! Most Christians can’t articulate it!) and know that it is the greatest offering we can give to anyone in the world today.

I do recommend this volume by itself if you are struggling with your affections for Christ or need to meditate on the necessity of the gospel. Ultimately, Richard Sibbes has never failed to offer me help and hope through his exposition of the Word of God.

New Dictionary of Theology – Historical and Systematic Edited by Martin Davie, et al

New Dictionary of Theology – Historical and Systematic. Edited by Martin Davie, Tim Grass, Stephen R. Holmes, John McDowell, and T.A. Noble. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2016. 1,200 pp. $60.00. Purchase at Amazon for $40.94.
*Price subject to change.

Introduction

The first edition of the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, published in 1988 and edited by Sinclair Ferguson and David F. Wright was monumental at the time and remains the standard single reference work in systematic and historical theology.

Here in 2016, this standard has been substantially expanded from 738 pages to 1,200 pages and now focuses on a wider variety of theological themes, movements, and even those who are responsible for the past and current trends of theological thought. The name of this resource has been altered to show this expansion. It is now entitled The New Dictionary of Theology: Historical and Systematic (NDTHS).

Summary

It is extremely difficult to summarize an encyclopedia. I will use what the publisher has on the back of the dust jacket.

From African Christian Theology to Zionism, this volume of historical and systematic theology offers a wealth of information and insight for students, pastors and all thoughtful Christians.

Over half of the more than eight hundred articles are new or rewritten with hundreds more thoroughly revised. Fully one-third larger than its predecessor, this volume focusing on systematic and historical theology has added entries and material on theological writers and themes in North America and around the world. Helpful bibliographies have also been updated throughout.

Over three hundred contributors form an international team of renowned scholars including Marcella Altaus-Reid, Richard Bauckham, David Bebbington, Kwame Bediako, Todd Billings, Oliver Crisp, Samuel Escobar, John Goldingay, Tremper Longman III, John McGuckin, Jennifer McNutt, Michael J. Nasir-Ali, Bradley Nassif, Mark Noll, Anthony Thiselton, John Webster and N. T. Wright.

This new edition combines excellence in scholarship with a high standard of clarity and profound insight into current theological issues. Yet it avoids being unduly technical. Now an even more indispensable reference, this volume is a valuable primer and introduction to the grand spectrum of theology.

Review

Not only has the book expanded by 33% of pages, the number of editors tripled from two to six. Originally, Sinclair Ferguson and David F. Wright were the editors. Now, we have Martin Davie, Tim Grass, Stephen R. Holmes, John McDowell, and T.A. Noble serving as editors. This is notable as the original two editors are noted as men of Reformed theology while these current six editors are noted more for their collective conservative theology. This immediately shows that the NDTHS is meant for a much wider audience than ever.

With over 300 contributors, this edition of the NDTHS is a resource for every Christian theologian whether they are liberal, Reformed, mainline, conservative, or whatever qualifier they choose. The work is simply a massive resource that will inform the pastor, teachers, student, or “mere” Christian on just about any subject found in historical and systematic theology.

Some of the additions have made this a greater global resource as they have added articles on African and Asian Christian Theology as well as Arab and Japanese Christian Thought. Given the ever shrinking world thanks to the Internet and air travel, this resource can be used to help prepare a missionary or even a pastor wanting to focus on a particular area of missions work.

New articles include a look at gender, post liberalism, analytic theology, and other issues that were not even on the theological radar in 1988. Again, this will help the Christian thinker to wade through countless articles, books, and blog posts by solid biblical thinkers and guide you to the most important documents and people through the bibliography after every article.

Further, by having so many contributors, the editors were able to pick and choose who wrote on which topic. This is key as you now have noted scholars writing on their specific areas of expertise. For example, noted church historian writes on the entry simply marked “history” while Mark Noll writes on B.B. Warfield.

I have mentioned already the bibliography at the end of each entry, but I would like to express how helpful this is for the reader. If you are beginning to build a theological library or you need to write a paper for Bible School or seminary level training, this can easily be your one-stop shop for figuring out what resources you need to aid in the writing of your paper.

Furthermore, the editors saw fit to include three tremendously helpful indices at the end. The first index is a list of the names mentioned in the encyclopedia. The second index is simply the various subjects covered. The third index is for the articles. These three indices combined will help you to find whatever it is you are looking for in this resource. If you cannot find it here, it is just not going to be found in the encyclopedia.

Recommendation

At $60, this is obviously a pricey resource. Given the quality of the contributors and the time-tested usability of the first edition, however, I do not see how any serious student, scholar, pastor, or Christian wanting to study theology more in depth can do without it. For many, they will prefer a digital option as the book does weigh 4 ½ pounds! Regardless, this will be $60 well spent as it continues the quality of reference works for which IVP Academic is most noted. If you have the first edition, give it to someone just beginning to build a theological library and purchase this second edition as it is truthfully that much better than the first.

ESV Family Devotional Bible

ESV Family Devotional Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2016. 1,408 pp. $29.99. Purchase at:
Westminster Books for $19.49.
Amazon for $21.97.
*Prices are subject to change.

Introduction

ESV continues its growing tradition of quality niche Bibles. While I understand some argue against this concept, I have found that they are extremely helpful for various seasons in life. I have reviewed a number of ESV Bibles. You can read those reviews here.

Summary

In addition to the full text of the ESV Bible (2011 text edition), The ESV Family Devotional Bible also features 130 retellings of particular Bible stories that are not only illustrated with full-color pictures, they are gospel-centered in such a way that the one leading the devotional need only read the story and the questions. Also, the maps were formatted in such a way that they are extremely child-friendly.

Review

While the text of the Bible is of the utmost importance, children do not always understand what is being said. Even though parents may read the text and strive to explain the story to their children, the kids still give you that deer in the headlights look. This is where the retelling of key Bible stories comes into play. I have included an example below to show you what I am talking about.

esv fdb back coverAs you can readily see, the retelling is faithful to the Biblical account and is done in such a way that the parent or leader need only read it. Next, you simply follow up with the questions provided. If you want to be more prepared, you can read the story a few times before and then provide different voices for the characters or even possibly act out some of the more familiar stories form Scripture.

If you only use the questions provided, you will do well. Typically, however, what will happen is the child will have more questions. Next thing you know, 30 minutes have passed and your family just talked about the things of God.

Finally, the “Key Verse” feature can be used in any number of ways. Some families may want to memorize these. Other families may want to make a list for future study. Still others may find them as an invaluable cross-reference (the Bible itself does not have any cross-references) to answering some of the children’s questions.

Quite frankly that is all there is to this particular niche Bible except for the kid-friendly maps of which I could not find a decent available image.

Recommendation

I am often asked if we need another niche Bible. In all honesty, I have waffled on this particular question. As my children have grown, we have taken turns reading the Bible out loud. We have used many resources to aid in family worship through the years. Unfortunately, our schedule is so crazy right now that we honestly struggle to carve out time for nightly family worship. We do say prayers together but we are not always in the Word together. As their father, this is my fault. Fortunately, the ESV Family Devotional Bible makes family worship extremely easy. With over 130 faithful retellings of familiar (and no so familiar) Bible stories, there is enough to kick-start a family in the direction of family worship.

If you are looking for a solid resource centered on Scripture for family worship, then I highly recommend the ESV Family Devotional Bible. The importance of having the full text of the Bible right there in your hands as you seek to raise your children in the Lord cannot be overstated.