Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Modern Life Study Bible {a Booksneeze Review}

While I sometimes feel guilty for having multiple Bibles in my home, I still jump at the chance to check out another one.  The Modern Life Study Bible from Thomas Nelson is an interesting addition to my Bible resources.  

This Bible is in the NKJV translation, which is a version I don't happen to own in a nice edition.  Now I do.

From the publisher:
As members of the modern age, we sometimes feel disconnected from the world of the Bible. But if we look closely, we can see that although cultures change, our basic challenges stay the same. We still struggle with issues like community, justice, economic stress, political tensions, and cultural and ethnic differences. We still wonder who God is, how to discern His will, and how we fit into His plan.

Using historical context and fresh insights backed by biblical scholars, The Modern Life Study Bible explores the timeless truths that connect the people and stories of the Bible to the opportunities and demands we face today. God is at work in our world, inviting us to experience His presence.

With innovative, full-color illustrations, maps, and diagrams, along with special information on occupations of the Bible, profiles of people and places, theme indexes, and inspirational biographies of believers who put their faith to work, The Modern Life Study Bible will draw you in, helping you to know and embrace what it means to follow Christ in today’s world.
When I received this, I read through the introductory materials that explained how this Bible is set up.  I then flipped through to check out some of the features, and I read the book of Ruth, thoroughly checking out features.

Let me tell you a bit about them, using my experience with Ruth.
  • The introduction to the book, which gives a basic overview, talks about who wrote it (in this case, tradition says Samuel) and focuses on the people involved.  Other introductions also focus on key events.
  • The first thing special feature within the book of Ruth are a couple of profiles of people (Naomi and Ruth on the first page, then later there is a profile of Boaz).  These are great, quickly summing up what is known about the person, or sometimes some things that can be inferred. 
  •  On that first page of Ruth, there is also a Focus Article.  This one is called "Good Out of Bad" and it talks about the history of Moab.  Fascinating.
  • Most of the rest of the book's special features are "Insight" articles, which aim to give you a bit of cultural context -- background into the verses, phrases, etc.  The longest one in Ruth is a over a full page about the customs and legal technicalities involved in the relationship between Ruth and Boaz.  There is background information on gleaning, redeeming relatives, inheritance, Levirate marriage, elders at the gate, betrothal, and sojourners.  Other Insight articles in Ruth show family tree information, and a map.
  • There is also a Life Study included in Ruth.  There are a total of sixty-six of these biographies of various people from lots of places and time periods.  This one is about Jane Edna Hunter, who founded the Phillis Wheatley Association in Cleveland.  Fascinating biography.
  • The only type of feature not included in Ruth is Place Profiles.  These explain important geographical information, and are really interesting as well.
So what do I think?  First off, I do enjoy reading the NKJV.  It is nice and poetic, yet I can actually understand the words.  As for the Study Bible portions, what I really appreciate is that the "Study" portion of The Modern Life Study Bible doesn't overwhelm the text.  There is a time and a place for a Study Bible where every page is more "study" than Bible. Believe me, I love some of those.

But I appreciate that with this one, I can learn some really interesting, insightful things and make progress reading through the Bible too.  It is a great ratio of study helps to Bible text.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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