Sunday, February 08, 2009
Book Review: Chronological Study Bible NKJV
Last fall I agreed with Thomas Nelson's new book review program to accept a copy of their beautiful new Chronological Bible to use for study and Bible reading. Normally, when I agree to do this for a book, I can read said tome in several days. The Bible is somewhat different.
I have seen other publisher's chronological Bibles and expected to receive pretty much more of the same. I never expected to receive such a beautiful book in such a readable format.
The volume is loaded with colorful maps, study notes, and other tools such as a feature called "Time Capsule." These little charts place in sequential order highlighted events of the part of the book where they appear. Another handy feature is the Transition sections that serve to tie together other parts of the Word with what the reader is reading. For example, in the gospels where Matthew 11:2-19 appears, a transition sidebar compares a similar account of that section as it appears in Luke.
One of the great features I enjoyed, particularly in the Old Testament, was the sidebar expository sections. World history scholars and affectionados will appreciate how the notes tie in events in world history to what was recorded in Bible at that particular time. For example, Isaiah 22:11 says:
You also made a reservoir between the two walls
For the water of the old pool.
But you did not look to its Maker,
Nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.
On the next page a full explanation called "Hezekiah's Tunnel" outlines how in order to stave off attack from the Assyrians, King Hezekiah had a tunnel carved into the hillside on which Jerusalem sits. That way water could be provided to the city and its people wouldn't have to go outside its walls to get their water from the springs. Reading the detailed explanation gave me a greater understanding of the correlating scripture.
The biggest negative I noted in this Bible is that at times the explanations can come across very secularized. For example, in explaining Job 1: 6-12, the writer discussed the Adversary as being modeled after the courts of the ancient Near East, likening the Adversary in Job, who is Satan, to someone with a particular job to do for God. In another section while discussing Abraham, one of the Patriarchs of the Old Testament, the writer of a referance note refers to Abraham's God. Although he uses capital G on God, I still had a level of discomfort. Perhaps this feeling comes from the cliched statements that make me cringe such as when someone says something like, "I passed the test. There is a God." Or a nonbeliever will say something to the effect, "You have your God, and I have mine."
Even with these detractors I would recommend this Bible for anyone who loves digging into the depth of God's word, loves history, and loves research. Being able to tie it all together in this wonderful format makes scripture come alive in a new and fresh way. I know I'll be referring to this Bible in many ways for many years to come.
You can learn more about it by going to an especially designed web site for the book by clicking here.