Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Understand the Faith Study Bible from Christianity Today

Understand the Faith Study Bible from Christianity Today is an NIV translation of the Bible that seeks to include theology, history and devotional lessons throughout scripture.  There are several things I look for when reviewing Bibles and this particular Bible is hit or miss across the board.

First, the NIV is one of my preferred Bible translations for general use.  There are other translations that suit other needs better, but for general use, the NIV proves more than adequate.

Next, I look at the usability of the Bible.  Bibles are big books and little things can make the difference between awesome and annoying.  The paper book cover isn't going to last long, but thankfully, the publisher has made the hard back cover underneath aesthetically suitable.  The print is a nice size between easily readable and small enough to not make a ginormous book.  I like how the color red is used as an accent in the inserts and chapter titles.  The pages are of a nice thickness, not too stiff, but also thick enough that you can highlight on them without making the other side of the page illegible.

Lastly, I look at the extras included in the bible.  There is a nice concordance at the end of the Bible.  I like the subject index and glossary of theological terms at the end.  Unfortunately, the insets are what miss repeatedly for me.  In something called a "study Bible", I want a lot of facts and explanations.  The historical people profiles do this well, but the theology insets were more like reading a devotional or a blog post than a useful teaching on theological topics.  Many of them were utterly useless in that they stuck to very superficial understandings about things.  There also seems to be an aversion to talking about the Holy Spirit.  Even in topics such as The Trinity and The Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is only mentioned as an aside.  The comparison tables between different theological stances sometimes seemed objective and sometimes seemed skewed.  Also, there were many times that I felt the stances picked to look at weren't always the main stances people disagree on.  Many of the stances chosen are obviously not scriptural.  They often left me feeling cheated.

This would be a good study Bible for someone just starting out in studying the Bible.  If you have an intermediate understanding or higher, I think this Bible will leave you wanting.

I was provided this book free of charge from the publisher in return for my honest opinion.

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