January 13, 2017
Unlike most study Bibles with small fonts and footnotes, the Standard Lesson Study Bible has a pleasant-to-the-eyes 10-point font in a two-column format with the NIV (New International Version of the Bible) alongside the best of Standard Publishing’s best-selling Bible study lessons. As soon as I heard about it, I immediately requested a review copy, which David C. Cook Publishing kindly sent.
To give you an idea of the type of study helps this edition has, I turned to Genesis 1, which appears in the left-hand column of the page and, to the right, notes such as ”The Bible does not attempt to prove God’s existence. God simply is…” and “The earth was… formless, or unfinished,”and:
“1:3-5 On the first day of creation, God spoke: Let there be light. Light is essential for life. God separated light from darkness, which has no real existence but is simply an absence of light, a ‘without.’ Thus darkness serves as an apt metaphor for the chaos of moral evil and sin – living ‘without God,’ our moral light…”
At the bottom of the right-hand commentary, this edition provides questions for discussion:
“WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Why are the aspects of creation important in understanding both God and our world?
Talking Points for Your Discussion
. Creative power of God
. A world created to be good”
With that same format running consistently throughout, the lessons alongside the “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13 have this to say:
“13:4-7 Paul defined love by what it was and was not. Obviously thinking of the pride the Corinthians were taking in their spiritual gifts, Paul warned that love doesn’t boast about what one has or envy what someone else has received. Furthermore, love does not lead us to desire, to do, to celebrate, or even to think about anything that dishonor(s) others. Instead love is centered in truth, protecting everything one values, trusts in, and hopes for while awaiting a brighter future.”
In addition to the information and insights in commentary immediately adjacent to the scripture readings, this edition include book introductions to review before beginning the study of a book. For example, part of the introduction to Revelation reads:
“Although separated by 15 centuries, Moses and John faced similar situations. Both dealt with rulers who demanded worship. The plagues of Egypt are best understood not as plagues against people, but against the gods worshipped by them. The Pharaoh saw himself as the chief of these. When we recall stories of Pharaoh’s hardened heart, we gain insight to the similar personality of Domitian Caesar.”
Other unique study aids include a pronunciation guide in the front pages to help Bible teachers pronounce unfamiliar names easily.
In the back matter, I particularly enjoyed “Everyday Expressions That Come from the Bible” such as “apple of my eye,” “drop in a bucket,” “a little bird told me,” and “let justice roll down like water.”
Other articles in the back pages help to teach teachers how to teach more effectively and students at all levels to learn more about God’s Word.
If you love a good laugh, as the Creator of Wit does, you’ll also enjoy the collage of stories expressing “Humor in the Bible.”
Throughout the commentary alongside the scriptures, the question “What do you think?” evokes discussion and reflection, reminding me now to say, I think very highly of this unique study Bible.
Review by poet-writer Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017
Standard Lesson Study Bible, NIV, hardcover
Standard Lesson Study Bible, NIV, imitation leath, duotone