Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Evangelism Study Bible Evangelism Study Bible is intended to help with Evangelism.  It has a lot of footnotes, commenting on the relevance of many verses to evangelism.  It also contains various charts explaining/expounding on certain topics, like the fruit of the spirit, the whole armor of God…etc.  There are many 'commentary' boxes, discussing various evangelism related topics, that are inserted throughout the Bible as well.  One in particular I appreciated dealt with the question, "Do You Have to Know the Date You Were Saved?", and it deals with the source of our assurance of our salvation being Christ, "…when Scripture speaks of salvation, it goes back to a fact, not a date.  If you are trusting in Christ alone, you are saved, regardless of when the divine transaction took place…..The one who saved us gives us security, not the 'when' of our salvation." I also appreciate that many of the footnotes remind us that, though we are privileged to serve God by giving out the Gospel, we are not responsible for anyone's conversion, salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit, He can convince/change people's hearts, and we cannot do that. 

I haven't read/looked at many topical Bibles, and I don't really like the concept of a topical Bible.  I think that they have the tendency to distract from what the various texts of the Bible are actually saying, and rather than exegesis, I think they probably promote more eisegesis  .  I have found my misgivings justified by this Evangelism Bible.  Here are some examples:  in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul writes:  "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also:  On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside…"  The footnote for theses verses reads, "We are to give financially to promote God's work.  Some of those finances should be specifically designated for evangelism.  Jesus taught a basic principle in Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 - our hearts follow our treasure.  Investing in non-Christians encourages a heart that cares for unbelievers."  Paul said nothing about evangelism in these verses, rather, he is talking about caring for the needs of fellow believers.  The emphasis of the Scriptures is on loving our fellow believers in  Christ, and cultivating that love, and this is emphasized so much that it appears that it ought to be our priority, rather than our love for unbelievers.  We love unbelievers of course, but our priority is to love our family in Christ, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another. (Joh 13:35)

And a second example, in their comments on Phil. 1:6 which says, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;"  They write, "'You' is plural.  Paul was not referring to their individual spiritual growth, but rather to their work together in spreading the gospel.  We should keep this perspective in mind in our own evangelistic efforts - working together produces greater results than working alone."  Huh?  That sounds to me like a ridiculous conclusion.  Of course 'you' was plural! He was writing to the Philippian church which consisted of several people, not just one person.  That does not mean that Paul was not speaking about their spiritual growth/sanctification/work of salvation.    The editors of the notes in this Bible may be a bit too biased on the 'theme' of this Bible, or, to put it in an odd way, too focused on Evangelism, which makes me wary of their ability to truly exegete the Scriptures. And I'm sure that this would be the case for me in in regards to any topical Bible. 

All in all, I've not seen anything about this Bible that changes my opinion on topical Bibles.  It's okay, but I wouldn't particularly recommend it. 

Many thanks to Kregel Academic and Ministry for sending me a free copy of this Bible for me to review (My review did not have to be favorable.)

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