Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts

December 12, 2017

FIREBIBLE from Hendrickson Bibles in large print

When Hendrickson Bibles kindly sent me a review copy of the Fire Bible, my first impression was, “Huge!”

At 9” wide, over 11” long, and over 2” deep, this large print hardback study edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) should work exceptionally well on a pulpit or a study desk. Despite the unlikelihood of our carrying it to our Bible study groups or sit around reading it on our laps, it’s what I’ve been looking for – a large print Bible with large print footnotes, which require ample space.

Originally known as the Full Life Study Bible, this expanded edition includes study notes from the late Donald C. Stamps, a pastor and prolific writer who had a vision of a study Bible that would especially appeal to Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians. Although he did not live to see his work in print, the Fire Bible accomplishes his goal with study notes and articles of interest to most students of the Bible.

Those study helps include “Contents: Articles,” “God’s Plan of Salvation,” a cross-reference system, book introductions, theme finders, subject index, concordance, and more.

To give you an example of the articles, the one on “The Fear of the Lord” says, “By fearing God, we can avoid being trapped by the natural pull toward going our own way, defying God and giving in to the inviting ways of immoral behavior.”

But what does that fear mean? The article goes on to explain that the fear of the Lord “involves understanding several things about a believer’s relationship with God.” For instance, “we must recognize that God is loving, merciful and forgiving; but he also is holy, just and righteous.” Therefore, we’re “to be in awe of his holiness, to give him complete reverence and to honor him as the God of great glory, majesty, purity and power.”

Such high regard shows we can trust God to be wholly free of pettiness, mean-spiritedness, or any kind of evil. Nevertheless, “It is a sobering and absolute truth that God is constantly aware of our actions and motives, both good and bad, and that we will be held accountable for those actions….”

Thankfully, the Bible gives us the guidance needed to keep our actions in line with God’s will. Consider, for instance, Psalm 1:2, which tells us the “blessed” person meditates on God’s law days and night. As the footnote for that verse explains, “Those who desire to live with God’s blessing and favor meditate on God’s law (i.e., his Word) in order to shape their thinking, attitudes and actions in a positive way.” Yes!

As we read the Bible, again and again, God’s Word corrects and perfects our way of looking at things, freeing us from misconceptions and the darkened thoughts most of us receive from bad experiences. Although we can do nothing to change the past, we can ask for God’s healing over our memories and hurts, and we can re-form our skewed thinking by meditating on God’s Word.

How? The footnote on Psalm 1:2 goes on to suggest we consider the following questions:

“How might God’s Spirit be applying this verse to my present situation?
What is this passage teaching me about God’s character?
Is there a promise here for me to recognize and claim?
Is this passage revealing a particular sin I must try to avoid?
Is God giving a command I must obey?
How should this truth affect my relationship with other people?
Is my spirit in hamony with what the Holy Spirit is saying?
Is the passage expressing a truth about God, salvation, sin, the word or my personal behavior that I need to understand better with the Holy Spirit’s help?
Is there something in this passage I can thank or praise God for?
How can I grow closer to God in light of what he is showing me through his Word?


In the New Testament, the first words in the Gospel of John let us know that God’s Word comes to us, fully embodied in Christ Jesus. “Also, the Word describes Jesus as the perfect revelation and representation of the Father’s nature and character…. That is to say, he is God in human form.”

By living among us and being part of our everyday lives, Jesus showed us The Way to the Father and The Way to live on earth. And, amazingly, Jesus showed His trust – God’s trust in us! In Matthew 5:13, for example, we are called “the salt of the earth.” Those words aren’t calling us to become the salt of the earth, but to accept the fact as Jesus sees it: “You are the salt of the earth.”

As we meditate on that verse and what it means in our lives, the footnotes provide these insights:

“Salt seasons and flavors food, just as Christians should enhance and favorably influence the people and society around them. Salt is a preservative, just as Christians and the church should resist moral corruption and decay, preserving a godly influence on the culture. In addition, salt has healing properties, just as Christ’s followers must help bring healing to people who are hurting physically, emotionally and spiritually. Salt also creates thirst, just as Christians – through their good example – should create spiritual thirst or desire in others to know more about God.”

May we, too, know more about God as we let God’s Word reshape our thoughts and lives.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, poet-writer and lifelong student of God’s Word

Fire Bible, large print, hardcover






November 19, 2016

The Complete Jewish Study Bible

The Complete Jewish Study Bible comes to us with the theme of “Insights for Jews & Christians” and the goal of “Illuminating the Jewishness of God’s Word.” What a treasure this provides in one volume – something I’ve been hoping for since my husband bought me The Complete Jewish Bible and separate commentary, which I reviewed a few years ago.

This hardback edition published by Hendrickson Bibles, who kindly sent me a copy to review, offers “Features Unique to The Complete Jewish Study Bible” (CJSB) such as “New Bible Book Introductions” from a Jewish perspective and “Study Notes” in the bottom margins “to help readers understand the deeper meanings behind the Jewish text.”

Additionally, over 100 color-coded articles in sidebars throughout the text focus on these twelve significant themes:

Anti-Jewish Scriptural Interpretations
Covenant
Jewish Customs
Jewish-Gentile Relatons
Messianic Prophecy
The Name of God
The Sabbath (Shabbat)
Salvation and Atonement
The Holy Days of Israel
The Land of Israel
Torah
The Tabernacle (Mishkan)


In his introduction, translator and scholar David H. Stern, who provided us with this biblical text in English, begins by asking “Why is this Bible different from all other Bibles?” bringing to mind a traditional question, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” asked by the youngest person at the Passover Seder.

And why is this Bible different? The CJSB “restores the Jewish unity of the Bible,” giving Messianic Jews the opportunity to see Jesus’ Jewishness in the New Covenant and Christians a fuller view of Jesus in the Torah.

For example, a footnote to Genesis 2:15 comments on the phrase “To cultivate and care for it” as coming from “The Hebrew word for ‘work,’ avodah,” which “is the same for ‘manual labor’ and ‘worshipping God.’ The picture we see here of the human’s work is that it was also a form of worship.”

To give you an example of the importance of Jewish insight into the New Testament, Nicodemus was more confused by Jesus statement “You must be born again” in John 3:3 than most of us Christians ever realized. According to Pharisaic Judaism, a person had six ways to be born again:

Converting to Judaism
Becoming bar mitzvah
Marrying
Being ordained as a rabbi
Heading a rabbinical school
Being crowned king


Since (Nicodemus) “Nakdimon had gone through every process available in Judaism to being ‘born again’….” Jesus (Yeshua) had “the opportunity to explain some spiritual truths to this already ‘born again’ teacher of Is’rael, primarily that he still needed to be spiritually ‘born again’.”

I would be delighted to give you more and more examples of how the CJSB blesses readers who love God’s Word, but I pray you’ll see for yourself. Since I'm posting this review on the last day of National Bible Week, it's a great time to find out!

Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-writer, reviewer

The Complete Jewish Study Bible, hardcover