March 5, 2013
The previous article on the Bible Reviewer discussed “Bible editions for research and accuracy,” ending with my list of personal favorites, but I forgot the study Bible I often borrow from the most scholarly and liturgically-minded person in my home – the Spirit-Filled Life Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) published in 1991 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.
In the “Introduction” of this innovative edition, the General Editor Jack W. Hayford explains: “The Spirit-Filled Life Bible is the first of its kind, in which a broadly representative team from more than twenty denominations and independent fellowships has been banded together to produce a study Bible integrating the Pentecostal-Charismatic viewpoint.”
Since that viewpoint comes from such a wide-ranging group of believers, common beliefs needed to be established first to prepare a work that would be acceptable and helpful. Interestingly, these basic points of agreement included the main convictions of most denominations, who come together as one in the Body of Christ held by these beliefs:
Belief in the virgin birth of Jesus
Belief in the sinless life of Jesus
Belief in the atoning death of Jesus
Belief in the Risen Christ
Belief in Christ’s ascension into Heaven
Belief in the divine inspiration and authority of the Word of God
Belief in the Holy Spirit, at work today, empowering Christians and the Church Body of Christ
With the above beliefs and ongoing prayer to unify the team, this study edition opens with a large section on “Kingdom Dynamics” from Bible teachers and pastors whose names you might recognize from television – men and women, who love God and continually devour Holy Scripture.
Each of these contributors presents a theme topic with a short description and list of “Kingdom Dynamic” principles keyed to relevant scripture. When you turn to those verses, you find a box inset in the text, briefly expounding on that particular passage.
Other textual inserts include “Word Wealth,” which defines words we often hear without always knowing the origin or imagery they’re meant to convey. For further options in word studies, the back of the book includes a concordance followed by pages of very clear and colorful maps.
As typically occurs in the fine quality of Bibles published by Thomas Nelson, the font used throughout this edition is clear and readable in the text but also in the footnotes. Those footnotes, in fact, drew me to investigate the above, so I could tell you about the insights and interesting info I found, but better, the notes can show you.
For example, remember the story where some believers bring a paralytic friend to be healed, but crowds prevent them from getting anywhere near Jesus? So what do they do? They lift the tiles off the flat roof of the house where He’s teaching and lower the paralyzed person down from the ceiling! As the New King James Version (NKJV) goes on to say:
“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you’,” Mark 2:5.
If you grew up hearing Bible stories, you’ve surely heard that one. I had too, but the footnote in the Spirit-Filled Life Bible came as news to me! To quote that note with my parenthesis and italicized emphasis added:
“The response of Jesus reflects the Jewish view (at that time) that forgiveness of sins must precede physical healing.” (i.e., Since the friends undoubtedly knew that, Jesus addressed the whole situation from their understanding, background, experiences, and perspective as they peered down on their paralyzed friend.) “Whether or not this particular disease was the consequence of sin, Jesus went to the heart of the matter. Sin and disease are effects of evil, and Jesus reveals God’s opposition to evil in any way it may manifest. His goal is to bring complete wholeness to people.”
Amen and amen!
©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler
P.S. Well, once again, I went to Amazon’s website to find the study Bible just described and discovered a newer edition! That would not, of course, change the genuine leather-covered copy I hold in my hand, but it might mean you can find a good price on one like it with a little searching on the Internet. (My search would start with Christianbook.com) If, however, you want the updated version, here’s a place to order a paperback copy of the newest edition: