February 18, 2014
In any translation, the Bible begins with God, the story of creation, and the intersection of heaven and earth in the Garden of Eden. In that ideal beginning, all mankind – male and female – were meant to remain in close relationship with God as caretakers of the earth or, to put it another way, to be divinely appointed Gardeners. Unfortunately, that career careened off track, but the original intention remained: to fill the earth with Gardeners for God.
Similar to the Gospel Transformation Bible, the Global Study Bible from Crossway turns our thoughts and study to the original purpose of creation, giving us insights, from Genesis to Revelation, into God’s ongoing plan for cosmic redemption and restoration. To further emphasize this purpose, the Global Study Bible includes comprehensive coverage of key Bible topics written by scholars from Cameroon, South Korea, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Zambia, the USA, and other countries.
In addition, highly informative introductions, footnotes, sidebars, profiles, maps, and charts have been interspersed throughout this edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) which contains much of the scholarly information found in the ESV Study Bible, also published by Crossway, but, perhaps, with a more reader-friendly tone that draws us into the Bible story as our story.
As explained in the introduction to Exodus, for example, “God’s main purpose in delivering the people of Israel out of Egyptian oppression was so that he ‘might dwell among’ them (Ex. 29:46).” And, in “The Global Message of Leviticus” we see that the “purpose of Leviticus is to instruct Israel concerning how to maintain holiness within the community, so that the Lord would continue to dwell among them.”
In the Book of Numbers, we learn that the original Hebrew title of the book, “In the Wilderness,” describes “the essence of the book” as the “original purpose of Numbers was to warn the second generation of Israel not to lapse into the rebellion and unbelief of their first-generation parents…. Yet its deeper purpose was to encourage them that the Lord was with them.”
Again and again, this highly recommended study edition emphasizes God’s desire to be with us as expressed, for example, in the mosaic law and then the Davidic covenant, which instituted the monarchy and the temple. Or, we see God’s calling us to prayer and praise and wisdom in the Psalms, Proverbs, and other “wisdom books,” then re-calling us to fellowship through the sages and prophets, ending with John the Baptist who prepares the way of repentance before the coming of the long-awaited Messiah.
As we await Christ’s coming again, the Gospels (Good News) and Epistles (Letters) give us strength and courage as individuals and as the church Body of Christ with the Book of Revelation reminding us that “in the cosmic war currently being waged between the forces of good and evil, the outcome is secure.” Even though “the church faces internals squabbles, difficult cases of church discipline, or afflicted consciences due to sin, we remember that we are under the Lordship of the one who shed his blood for us.”
Forgiven, we can now forgive one another and ourselves.
With spiritual life rooted and revived in the Garden of Gethsemane, this Bible shows us a cosmic landscape where we’re to cultivate our lives in Christ as we await the arrival of our Global Gardener Who’s been waiting for us and loving us since the beginning of time.
©2014, Mary Sayler, reviewer
Global Study Bible, paperback
Mobi-ESV Global Study Bible, Kindle e-book edition