Category Archives: Bible Review

The Evidence Bible edited by Ray Comfort

The Evidence BibleThe Evidence Bible (NKJV). Edited by Ray Comfort.  Alachua: Bridge-Logos 1,960 pp. $59.99. Purchase at Amazon for less. Also, there are different bindings and covers that are even less expensive than the one pictured.

Introduction

Readers of this review site will be very familiar with Ray Comfort as I have reviewed a number of his books and documentaries and even had the pleasure of interviewing him. You can find all of those articles here.

Summary

Ray has used the New King James Version translation as the basis for this particular “study Bible.” What sets this particular Bible apart from others is the (almost) countless helps for evangelism, open-air preaching, and apologetics found on nearly every page throughout the Bible.

You can watch this promotional video for more information:

Review

Though I am not as much of an open-air preacher as I am one-on-one, this resource is an excellent starting point for the new Christian with questions that he or she is unable to answer. Furthermore, this resource is a one-stop shop so to speak for those who do like to discuss their faith but are unable to answer specific questions from unbelieving family and friends.

The table of contents page is listed topically and alphabetically for quick reference. The contents are further divided into apologetics  and common questions and objections. The apologetics section includes such as evolution/creation, training children, religion (think world religions) and evangelism aids all of which are concise and powerful suggestions for getting beyond the debate quickly.

The common questions and objections are divided into doctrinal and practical categories.From God and Jesus to Sin, the Bible and Excuses. This section has specific Bible references for the student to be able to study and become familiar with in order to keep the conversation centered on Scripture.

Recommendation

In the end, this is a well-written and well-organized resource that I wish I had when I first became a Christian. Now, years later, I have found that I would have saved a ton of time and money by having this one resource! The Evidence Bible is a must own study Bible for high school and college students and any Christian who intends to be vocal about their faith (which should be every Christian!).  I highly commend it to you.

The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible

duck commander bibleThe Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible. Phil & Al Robertson, editors. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2014. 1,216 pp. $29.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction/Summary

NOTE: I have personally, at the time of writing this review, have never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty.

The stars of the hit TV show Duck Dynasty are committed to upholding five core values both on and off the screen: faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom.

The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible features new stories and testimonials by Phil, the Robertson family patriarch, and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience. Together they offer fresh wisdom on biblical values and how everyday people can apply them to their lives.

Powered by relentless dedication to sharing the gospel and celebrating Christ’s kingdom, the Robertson family has become influential to contemporary evangelism and discipleship. The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible unleashes the power of their practical insight into critical faith issues, founded on God’s Word.

Features include:

  • Full text of the New King James Version Bible
  • A personal welcome note from Phil and Al Robertson
  • 125 articles on the top 24 most-searched topics on BibleGateway
  • Life application and scripture references supplement each article
  • 30 days of life-changing testimonials
  • Topical index and reading plans

Review

Before the text of the Bible, there is a “52 Days with Phil and Al” designed to be a devotional. Why 52 days? I can only think it has to do with Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall in 52 days.  The other, more common-sensical thought is that you read one of these “days” each week for a year.  There are after all 52 weeks in a year. At any rate, these stories are “living examples of God’s willingness and power to express His life-altering grace.”

These are certainly penned by Phil and Al and offer theological truths from what one could say a lay-man’s perspective.  As can be seen from the above example, the theologian has a tendency to make things a bit more difficult than the obvious. 😉

In addition to the aforementioned 52 day devotional, there are 104 articles interspersed throughout the pages of the NKJV Bible centered on the Five Core Values of the Robertson Family: Faith, Family, Fellowship, Forgiveness, and Freedom. Of these 104 articles exactly half are written by Phil and half by Al.  Again, they are extremely down to earth and practical.

That is all to this particular Bible. It is not a study Bible. It is not necessarily a devotional Bible. It is, however, the Word of God, that has the thoughts of respected men in our culture today interspersed throughout. It is as though the reader is in Sunday School with Phil and Al Robertson.

Too be honest, I first saw no value in the gimmicky aspect of this Bible until I was able to give a copy to a man who would not have otherwise taken a Bible from my hand let alone opened it with some sense of excitement.  Is that wrong? I am sure some will argue that this is a bastardization of the Word of God whereas I can honestly see it as a contextualization to reach other men and women in a culture that places value on celebrity.

For sure, the message has not been watered down as the entire Bible, NKJV, is here. The articles take a back seat to the Word of God though the major selling point is indeed the celebrity status of the Robertson family.  In this regard, I must echo Paul in Philippians 1:18, ” What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

Recommendation

This Bible will not be for everyone. If, however, you know someone who loves Duck Dynasty and is not a believer (or is) then this is a perfect gift to give. Not only are you giving them something they want (felt needs), but you are also giving them the life-changing Word of God (the real need!).

The Maxwell Leadership Bible

Maxwell Leadership BibleThe Maxwell Leadership Bible – New International Version. Lessons in Leadership From the Word of God by John Maxwell. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2014. 1586 pp. $44.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

The NIV Bible is one of the more popular translations of the Bible in use today. This translation does use the gender neutral language. (Note: this review is not concerned with that discussion. For a deeper discussion, please read here and here.)

This review is concerned with the notes found in this particular study Bible. These notes are compiled and edited by noted leadership author John C. Maxwell and Tim Elmore, the founder and president of Growing Leaders.

Summary

Obviously, this Bible contains the NIV translated text of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. On most every page, there is a note about leadership whether it looks to a particular person in the Bible or a principle found within a story.

Each book of the Bible has an introduction. This introduction does not offer date of writing or theological themes as other study Bibles do. Rather, these introductions offer a glimpse of the leadership lessons found in the book. The reader is offered a list of other people of influence and God’s role in that particular book.

Throughout the book, the reader will find a number of articles set apart from the text. These tend to offer guidelines for mentoring and influencing others in your own life. There are more than 100 biographical profiles that draw out the truths and principles of leadership according to God’s Word.

At the end of the book is found an index detailing the leadership laws, qualities, issues, and profiles found throughout the text for easy reference. Also, there are articles are articles that offer other challenges, rooted in the Bible, for the leader to best lead those under his (or her) influence.

Review

It is important to note that this is not a study Bible. Rather, it is a Bible designed to deal with one topic found in Scripture: leadership. In other words, the editors seek to draw out as many leadership principles as possible from the text of the Bible. To that end, they do an excellent job.

While I am not a huge fan of the NIV personally, I found the leadership notes to be extremely helpful and encouraging. The strength of this work is found in these notes. They are all placed in the text in such a manner that one will wind up with a biblical theology of leadership if read from cover to cover.

Second, the index at the end helps the reader to quickly find a particular person or leadership principle written in this Bible. Further, the introductions to each book are helpful to the one who is studying the Bible will want to see what can be culled there.
Sure, there are some psychological connotations found throughout which leads to a plethora of questions (for example, do we concern ourselves with the Bible or with psychologists?) but, to the discerning reader, these are also found to be beneficial and can apply in a number of contexts.

Perhaps the strength of this resource is that it focuses on the inner qualities of the reader as it pertains to his relationship with God through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. In other words, Maxwell makes it clear that the best leader is a Christian leader in submission to God through the Holy Spirit because of Christ’s death.

Recommendation

Again, while I do not personally care for the NIV translation, I found this Bible to be helpful in my personal quest to better understand leadership. As a husband, a father, a pastor, and a Christian, I am a leader whether I want to be or not. The Maxwell Leadership Bible is a valuable resource for all who aspire to be better leaders.

ESV Reader’s Bible by Crossway Books

ESV Reader's BibleESV Reader’s Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2014.  1840 pp.  $29.99.  Purchase at Amazon for $20.00, or Westminster books for $14.99.

Introduction

I have reviewed a number of ESV Bibles and have found each one extremely beneficial given its particular study notes or edition.  I also am one who reads the ESV regularly and preaches from it every Sunday.

Summary

This particular edition features  hardly any verse references (see review below) and is meant to be read as a narrative uninterrupted by artificial subheadings, verse interruptions, and large chapter subdivisions.

You can watch this video to gain a better understanding of what they are striving for in this particular edition.

 Review

To begin with, I was impressed with the packaging of the cloth over board edition.  It certainly is made to look like the classic that the Bible is and looks sharp sitting on any book shelf.

The two ribbons help in terms of reading plans especially since the verse numbers are not prevalent.  For example, I place one ribbon where I need to start and a second where I want to end for a given week.  Otherwise, you can have a ribbon for the OT and one for the NT.  Either way, the two ribbons prove to be beneficial.

My one criticism is even in the attempt to draw the reader into the narrative, they still use the verse numbers at the top of the page.  I understand this is for orientation purposes, but it is a bit distracting when they are not present in the main body.  Also, they are in red which draws your eye to the top of the page almost immediately.  Perhaps they could have been a bit smaller and set more like a page number rather than a page header.

The font size is perfect and the lack of footnotes is interestingly relieving to the reader.  The goal of “getting lost in the narrative” has been met and exceeded. One who reads this particular Bible will more than likely find that their reading time in the Word of God will increase substantially.

This edition will make a great family devotional Bible and one that can be handed down as an inheritance through the years.

Recommendation

If you are one who reads the Bible cover to cover each year, I recommend this edition to you heartily.  If you are one who studies for lessons and sermons, I would recommend this edition to you as well.  I have found that it helps to just simply read the Bible rather than try to study it.  Yes, studying is important, but so is simple Bible intake for the sake of familiarity.

The Word for Word Bible Comic

Introduction

Before you jump all over with negativity of this concept, please watch the video below.  You can read more about this project at their website.

Review

I was extremely skeptical of The Word for Word Bible Comic when I was first asked to take a look at it.  There are so many horrendous Bible comic books available that the last thing we needed was another ill-attempted work to pander to children to hopefully get them to read some watered down version of Scripture.  What I ended up looking at was nothing less than a visually stimulating, faithful depiction of what is legitimately happening in the text of the Bible.

I have talked with the creator and he has assured me that this will be an unabridged comic book and that every word of the selected translation will be used.  In other words, as each book is published, the reader will not only have access to the whole Bible, but will have faithful drawings to coincide with the text.  Furthermore, the historical research taking place for this project is nothing short of seminary-level biblical scholarship.  Check out the gallery to better understand the quality being poured into this project.

It is important to note that due to the graphic nature of Scripture, and therefore the graphic nature of the art, this work is rated as being for young adults 15+.  If you search around the website, you will understand why.  Truthfully, if the Bible was ever made into a movie that was an actually faithful retelling of the text, it would be rated R.

The creator is currently working on a kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to publish the Book of Judges in its entirety.

Recommendation

Very rarely will I endorse a comic book Bible for they are typically bad paraphrases and extremely sanitized of what the Bible really says (when was the last time a children’s Bible dealt with David and Bathsheba?). Not so with the Word for Word Bible Comic.  I highly recommend this resource if for no other reason than you will be able to hand it to a teenager or 20-something at a place like Comic-Con and be taken seriously.  Ultimately, this work promises to be faithful to the inerrant Word of God. If that were not the case, I would not endorse it.  Check it out, support the cause, and purchase copies for yourself to give away.

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible

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Introduction/Summary

Note: I am basing this review off a sampler edition sent to me by Reformation Heritage Books.  The study Bible is due to be released in November 2014.  

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible seeks to incorporate the rich history and tradition found in the Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries.  This study Bible will not only emphasize the deep theological truths rediscovered and promoted during the Reformation, but will also exhort the reader to the personal standard of holiness the Bible calls for and was lived out by the Reformers and later the Puritans.

They have used the King James Version for this study Bible to keep with what was basically used by the Reformers and Puritans.  Furthermore, they have added a dictionary to explain the antiquated words to a new generation.

The contributors include Joel R. Beeke (I have reviewed a number of his works here), world-renowned Puritanical scholar who is serving as the general editor.  The  Old Testament Editor is Michael Barrett – Aca­d­e­mic Dean and Pro­fes­sor of Old Tes­ta­ment at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He also serves as a min­is­ter in the Free Pres­by­ter­ian Church of North Amer­ica.  The New Testament Editor is Gerald Bilkes – Pro­fes­sor of New Tes­ta­ment and Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary.  Other contributors include Michael Haykin, Geoff Banister, Charles Barrett,  Brian DeVries, Ian Goligher, John Greer, Jerald Lewis, Alan MacGregor, Andy McIntosh, Pooyan Mehrshahi, Colin Mercer, Gerald Procee, Maurice Roberts, David Silversides, John Thackway, and Malcolm Watts.

Some of the features included are typical of study Bibles.  Below are a couple images of what the pages will look like:

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You can view a pdf sampler here which includes the books of Hosea, Jonah, Ephesians, and the Letters of John. Also, you will be able to read articles on God’s Mercy, Spiritual Warfare, and World Missions.

Review

From all I can tell, this promises to be a rich resource for anyone interested in studying Scripture more deeply.  Personally, what sets this study Bible apart from all others are the “Thoughts for Personal/Family Worship” for each chapter of the Bible.  One cannot underestimate the power of this feature to equip the families to engage in meaningful family worship.

The notes are a bit different in that they read more like sermon notes than explanatory notes giving reasons for interpretation and exegesis.  Many of the notes, however, are explanations of the words used in the KJV to help the modern reader understand more accurately what is being said. The articles also offer little sermons rather than theological treatises (though they could be!).  For example, the article entitled “God’s Mercy” is adapted from Richard Sibbes’ exposition of 2 Corinthians 1 but is placed before the book of Jonah (in the sample edition).

Recommendation

Personally, I am not a fan of the KJV for no other reason than how I was raised (long story).  While I understand many of the criticisms of the translation, one can never underestimate the importance of this particular translation on the English speaking world.  That being said, the particular translation should not stand in your way of acquiring this beautiful study Bible.  You can learn more about this Bible at KJVStudyBible.org.  Though not completed yet, you will also be able to find more at HolyBible.com.

Given the rich traditions and heritage all Protestants have benefited from that are rooted in the Reformation and consequent Puritanical time frame, The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible promises to be one of the greatest additions to the choice of Study Bibles.  Very few study Bibles have exceeded, or will exceed. the usefulness of this one.  I heartily recommend it.

 

The Henry Morris Study Bible

The Henry Morris Study Bible, King James Version.  Green Forest: Master Books, 2012.  2,215 pp.  $39.99.  Purchase at Amazon for much less.

Introduction

The good men and women at Master Books are at it again. This time, they have  published a study Bible that deals expressly with the importance of a literal 7-day creation understanding of Genesis 1.

For those who are not aware of who Henry Morris (1918-2006) was, he was the author of classic Creationist works such as The Genesis Flood, Evolution and the Modern Christian, and Scientific Creationism among many others. He is perhaps best known for founding The Institute of Creation Research in 1970

The translation used for this particular study Bible is the King James Version.  The goal is to defend the scientific accuracy of a “recent special creation” and seeks to resolve supposed contradictions between history and biblical doctrine.

Summary

Obviously, the importance of this study Bible is that it is a Bible – the inerrant Word of God.  Second, this study Bible seeks to defend a literal seven day Creation account through study notes compiled through extensive study.  At over 2,200 pages, it is clear that there are many notes (10,000+) throughout the entire Bible that points the reader and student back to Genesis 1 as the foundation of our faith.

Each testament and book of the Bible is introduced with cross references found at the end of each verse instead of below in a footer or in the center of the text.  Included are 22 appendices that are extremely beneficial to the student.  For example, the chronology of the Patriarchs in Genesis and the internal designs found in the Bible top the list.

An interesting twist on the appendices, however, is the look outside the Bible.  There is one appendix that lists the many Bible-believing scientists in history and a look at the Creationist faith of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

Review

I was impressed with the study notes found in this Creation-apologetic study Bible.  Many of the notes delved into the original language (tense, mood and person).  This is important as it aids the student to better understand authorial intent and meaning.  While not every study note deals directly with Creation, they all increase one’s understanding that the Word of God has been faithfully transmitted down to us today.

What I found most interesting were the additional appendices that led the reader to move outside the Bible.  The various lists are helpful, especially for the science student looking to defend the Bible in class, even if unique.  For example, appendix five looks at the various global processes that indicate a recent creation.  There are 68.

That being said, arguably the most beneficial appendix in this work is number 11.  Here we have a list of the quotations or allusions to Genesis found in the New Testament.  They list 200.

Recommendation

It is extremely easy to get a study Bible and forget that you are purchasing a Bible – the Word of God. I say that because The Henry Morris Study Bible is an excellent resource because of the plethora of study notes.  This resource is excellent for anyone who is in school (home or not).  If you are a believer in a literal 7-day Creation, you will want to own this book.  If you are taking a science class at the high school or, more importantly, the college level, I believe this particular study Bible would be a most important addition to your apologetic repertoire.

 

ESV Grow! Bible by Crossway Books

The Holy Spirit. ESV Grow! Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011. 1600 pp. $27.99. Purchase at Westminster for less.

Introduction

The ESV Bible does not need any introduction. I have reviewed numerous Bibles here.

You can check out this video to get a better idea of what is included in the ESV Grow! Bible.

Summary

Aside from having the complete ESV translation text of the Bible, there are many other features meant to help a young Christian (primarily in age but also perhaps in time as a believer) understand this book. For example, they have what I call an investigative box that seeks to answer one of the investigative questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how.

The 4U box offers helps on how a particular passage has meaning for the believer today. These are especially helpful in the Old Testament. The Cross Connections box points the reader from one passage found in the Bible to the cross of Christ and how it is important in our understanding of our salvation.

They also have included, though with a bit more pizazz, the articles and charts, the book introductions, the glossary, and the timelines and maps common in most every study Bible.

Review

Once again, Crossway’s team of graphic designers has hit it huge. Their eye-catching artistry really helps the boxes to pop out. Though this is a dangerous practice, the reader can just flip through and see something that they will want to stop and check out because of the artistry.

Perhaps what I appreciated the most is the collaboration that took place between two publishing houses independent of one another (to my knowledge). Many of the supplemental materials came from Concordia Publishing House (this information is found at the bottom of the title page). I make mention of this because all too often we lose sight of what is at eternal stake in the Christian publishing realm. This collaboration shows that these two publishing companies are at least willing to work together for a greater cause. This should be a lesson to all.

The notes are full of nuggets that will help the child or new believer to better understand his or her faith as he reads through the Bible. Often times, a new believer will want to begin in Genesis and lose interest in Leviticus. Children are perhaps more prone to this than adults. With the Grow! Bible the books of Leviticus and First and Second Chronicles actually become very interesting.

Recommendation

While there are many Children’s Bibles available, and I will honestly continue to buy my children the Children’s ESV Bible (I like uniformity!), I do believe the Grow! Bible warrants serious consideration for your child. There is much to like about this Bible and little to dislike. Unless you are a purist, you will thoroughly enjoy reading and studying with your child as he unpacks the many layers of our infinite God found in His word. Who knows, you may learn a thing or two along the way.

The Word of Promise Dramatized Audio Bible

The Word of Promise–NKJV New Testament audio Bible (unabridged). Thomas Nelson, 2007. $149.00. Purchase at Amazon for less than $95.00.  Purchase the MP3 for less than $55.

Introduction/Summary

One of the most viewed reviews on this website is my review of The Word of Promise – New Testament.  I have been asked if I have heard the Old Testament and until now, I have not.  Thomas Nelson was nice enough to send the entire dramatized audio Bible so as to be reviewed.  I will leave the original review published though this review will certainly stand alone and, I think, replace the review of the New Testament.

As for a Summary of this work, suffice it to say that this is an account of God’s creation of the world and man, man’s decision to turn from God in sin, and God’s showing His mercy and grace in sending His Son to live a sinless life so that we may be made right with God once again through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Review

Aesthetic Appeal

First, the box that the entire Bible comes in is very attractive.  It has a glossy finish giving it a pleasing look to the eye as it sits on your mantle, near your stereo, or on a book shelf.  The lid opens at the top allowing the front panel to fold out revealing the five CD-books.  Each CD holder offers a quick index of what is on each audio CD.  The only issue I found is that pulling out cases 2-5 can be a bit difficult as there is nothing separating the five books.  While it may have raised the price some, having individual shelves within the case would have made this a non-issue.

Audio Quality

As I stated in my earlier review, the actors/actresses narrating the some of the men and women in the Bible leave me somewhat distracted.  That is, however, able to be overcome as you listen to the content and allow the different voices and sounds to take you to the land of the Bible.  You can play a game at the website that has you guessing the actor reading the Bible.  That does seem to be a bit too commercialized for me, though.

The most endearing effect of this audio book is that it takes you back to a simpler time when families would gather around the radio in the evenings to hear dramas like Lassie and The Lone Ranger which were all later made into television shows.  The Word of Promise Audio Bible offers the family to once again gather around the radio and to be flooded with audio that will engage the visual mind and nurture the soul.

Children will remain engaged and parents will find that they want to listen to more with their children.  The numerous actors and actresses offer unique voices to each character in the Bible so that every character has an identity all their own.  This is significant as it helps to bring to life the stories of the Bible.

Use in Family Devotions/Worship

The Word of Promise is an excellent resource to bring life to your family devotions.  Sadly, we live in a world where everyone needs (wants) to be entertained.  This makes family worship a bit more difficult as the children often find themselves disengaged because of boredom.  Fortunately, there is now a way to bridge that gap and do so in a way that does not mar the message of Scripture.  As stated above, your children will want to listen more and remain engaged longer.  Suddenly, family worship will be something that the whole family will look forward to.  You will even find that your children may begin asking to listen to The Word of Promise throughout the day!

Recommendation

There is so much more that can be said, but suffice it to say that you will not regret the purchase of this audio bible.  I HIGHLY recommend this resource to every Christian.  I absolutely love this resource and tell everyone looking for an audio Bible that this is the only one they need.  I have a copy for my home and my family car.  You can get the Old Testament or the New Testament though I recommend purchasing both.  Ultimately, if you are searching for an audio Bible, your search is over!

 

 

John MacArthur ESV Study Bible

Note:  This is not a review per se.  Rather, it is more of a “y’all need to check this out” alert!

  • Complete ESV Bible text
  • Nearly 25,000 explanatory notes from Dr. John MacArthur
  • Bible text in 8.7 point type, 7.6 point study notes
  • More than 140 two-color maps, charts, timelines, and illustrations
  • Complete introductions to each Bible book
  • 80,000 cross-references
  • An extensive concordance
  • A section of full-color maps
  • Bible reading plans
  • Concise articles on “How We Got the Bible” and “Introduction to the Bible”
  • Crossway’s lifetime quality guarantee on all leather and TruTone® editions

MacArthur ESV Study Bible from Crossway on Vimeo.

Sample pictures from the John MacArthur ESV Study Bible.

You can download the entire book of Romans to see what the inside of this Bible really looks like.

My Take

If you already own a John MacArthur Study Bible in the NKJV or the NASB, then you have everything that the ESV has to offer.  There are some minor differences (inclusion of maps in one translation or not in another, study notes are slightly modified to represent the choice of words in each translation, etc.) but overall, if you have one, you have them all.  I have given away my NKJV and still use my NASB.  If it weren’t for the fact that I had the NASB MacArthur Study Bible, I would be all over this. Nonetheless, if you do have another MacArthur Study Bible, then you really do not need to go out and purchase the ESV translation.

If, however, you are looking for an excellent study Bible that is not the ESV Study Bible, then I think you have found the perfect study Bible.  With the crisp font setting and the striking blue colors throughout, the John MacArthur ESV Study Bible is very appealing to the eye.  You know the quality of the notes already and the quality translation that comprises the text of the ESV Bible makes this bible climb right to the top of your wish list.