Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter: Newly Discovered Commentaries - J.B. Lightfoot

This is quite an eclectic collection of works by J. B. Lightfoot.  It includes two (both to some degree incomplete)commentaries , one on 2 Corinthians and the other on 1 Peter,  and five lectures/sermons/essays by Lightfoot as appendices.  You get quite a bit of content in this volume.

The Commentaries in this book are unfinished/incomplete, but you still get a good deal to work with. There is an editor's introduction at the beginning of the book that presents an interesting look at the production of this book and the discovery of the 'lost' writings of Lightfoot, as well as bit of info on Lightfoot's life, scholarship and some of his method of writing commentaries.  I particularly liked to see it pointed out that Lightfoot was a stickler for context, James D. G. Dunn is quoted in the book as saying, "time and again Lightfoot 'clearly demonstrates the importance of reading a historical text within its historical context, that the meaning of a text does not arise out of the text alone, but out of the text read in context and that the original context and intention of the author is a determinative and controlling factor in what may be read or heard from a text…'"

Next in the book comes the 2 Corinthians section, starting with a sort of historical look/critique of Paul's life and the dating of his letters.   2 Corinthians is then broken down into sections, mostly as chapters, but at times the chapters are divided.  At the beginning of some of the sections is a paraphrase of the texts to be dealt with, (apparently composed by Lightfoot himself), next comes a section dealing with textual issues for various verses in the passage and lastly commentary on the text itself(which also includes some textual criticism).  The commentary on 2 Corinthians basically ends at chapter 11 (though even that chapter only has a few notes on some textual issues for that chapter.

Then comes 1 Peter, which, though divided by chapter, it does not have textual critical commentary separate from the regular interpretative commentary, rather it is interspersed throughout the commentary. 

There is a good deal of useful commentary on 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter in this book, despite their  unfinished form.  Some verses have more notes than others, and some verses don't have any commentary at all, but I still think that the many notes that are here would be of use.  It is very scholarly, there is much quotation of the Greek and a good deal of analyzing of various texts, and specific words within verses.  I find it rather amusing that Lightfoot has no hesitation in pointing out errors in translation in the English version of the Bible (frankly stating "E.V. is wrong…or graciously conceding that, "E.V. not unaccountably wrong") , and he also critiques the views of other commentators on certain passages, again, often with no qualms about stating their wrongness very bluntly.

I've found that he has some very interesting  thoughts/insights on some of the passages, for instance part of his comments on 2 Corinthians 3: vs. 18 (Paul speaking of how we Christians contemplate the Lord's glory with unveiled faces and are transformed) read thus, "This transformation is what is called elsewhere ' putting on Christ' (Rom 13:14( what is spoken of in Gal 4:19 as Christ being formed in us (here he quotes the Greek)… But this transformation is not sudden, the change is gradual.  We advance from one grade of glory to a higher one.  The glory on Moses; face faded away each time as he left the presence of the Lord and had to be renewed again; but with us it is different.  We are constantly in His sight, and so instead of the reflected brightness which is coming and going, it is ever becoming more and more bright, i.e. more and more like the image from which it is reflected - Christ himself." 

After the 2 Peter section come the Appendixes, Appendix A being, "The Mission of Titus to the Corinthians", Appendix B "St. Paul's Preparation for the  Ministry", Appendix C, "The Letter Killeth, But the Spirit Giveth Life", Appendix D, "Lessons From the Cradle of Christianity",   Appendix E, "The Christian Ministry" and Appendix F., "J. B. Lightfoot as Biblical Commentator".  Many of these essays are very interesting, though I found the section on the Mission of Titus to the Corinthians rather boring, but that's simply because that topic does not interest me at the moment.    I especially liked sections of the "lessons of History from the Cradle of Christianity", particularly Lightfoot's Critique of Philo.  One  flaw in particular that was noted about Philo was his tendency impose allegory upon the Scriptures and even history, "The facts to him were meaningless except so far as he could extract from them a series of allegories, indeed sometimes even denying the facts themselves…"  That statement seems to fit well in describing some of today's popular methods of preaching. 

Overall, I think that this is a good and useful collection of works to own, the editors did a good job of putting it together.

Many thanks to the folks at Intervarsity Press for sending me a free review copy of this book (my review did not have to be favorable)

Here are a couple of websites where you may purchase this volume:  Amazon.com and Christianbook.com



Monday, December 12, 2016

A Syntax Guide For Readers of the New Testament - Charles Lee Irons


A Syntax Guide For Readers of the New Testament by Charles Lee Irons is a nice addition to one's NT Greek tools library.  It is not a stand-alone tool, but meant to be used with  other lexical aids.  Irons notes that, "This Syntax Guide does not duplicate the help provided by such tools.  Rather, it picks up where these other tools leave off" and "presupposes their use…"   The introduction explains that in this guide, "select cases, glosses and parsing are not the focus".  Rather, in some places it gives specific explanations of "syntactical, clause-level features".

There is a chapter for each book of the New Testament, and each book is divided into chapters and each chapter has a list of select verse references from that chapter and next to the reference there may be  a section of the Greek wording of the verse and some comments .   Some of the verses only have a brief suggested translation without any grammatical comments, I give an example below:

(Note:  I've attempted - probably not very well - to transliterate the Greek words which are actually presented in Greek font in this book)

1 Cor. 1:22, "Epeideh kai  = 'for indeed'"

And other verses are dealt with more in depth:

"4:23 [erketai hora kai nun estin = 'an hour is coming and is now here,' erketai  is ingressive-futuristic present (W 537) ]  kai gar = 'for indeed' ] ha patair toioutous zatei tous proskunountas auton = 'the father is seeking such people to worship him' (ESV), 'the Father wants people of this kind as his worshipers' (ZG)"

At first I was a bit disappointed that it is not more detailed, and still am.  But again, as the intro explains, this guide is not meant to be a stand-alone resource, but rather used along with a parsing guide or other similar tools.  Irons wants to encourage people to read the Greek NT as a whole instead of merely tiny portions of it, and created this tool with that idea in mind.  In this book Irons tries to eliminate the "need to stop and look up intermediate, advanced or unusual grammatical features of the Greek text".  Irons believes that a very good way to truly learn NT Greek is to familiarize oneself with the text by reading through large portions of it or preferably the whole NT. 

I think that that is a good idea and it makes sense, that simply reading through the Greek New Testament will  build up one's skill in a more natural way than just memorizing individual Greek words and tenses, verb forms..etc.  Even having to look things up in a parsing guide and a syntax guide almost every step of the way will build one's knowledge over time.

At the end of the book is an index of subjects where you may look up many of the verses (it's not exhaustive) by their grammatical form, for instance, under "ACCUSATIVE" you may look up verses that are "adverbial accusative",  or under "NOMINATIVE" you may look up verses under the section "qualitative predicate nominative". You may find  the adjectival genitive section, or pluperfect periphrasitic - (I'm still only a beginner in Koine Greek so at the moment many of those terms don't make any sense yet…).  There is also section in the index that lists verses that have "Septuagintisms" - which I find interesting as I have been doing some study on the Septuagint, its history and its quotation in the NT. 

It is an interesting and handy work for students of Greek who wish to start building up their ability to easily read and comprehend Koine Grk.

My rating:  4 stars (out of 5)


Many thanks to the folks at Kregel Academic for sending me a free review copy of this book!  (My review did not have to be favorable)

Among other places this book may be purchased at Amazon and at the Christian Book Distributors Website

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Martin Luther - Simonnetta Carr



Martin Luther by Simonetta Carr is a nice overview of the life of Luther for children.   It starts with Luther's birth and moves on through his life as a child in schooling and then on to his college days, where the thunderstorm happens that scares him into a monastic life where perhaps he could earn his way to Heaven.  As a Monk we learn that Luther was very meticulous and very much into examining his own thoughts and motives for sin; his ritualistic confession of his sins grew so frequent (sometimes happening just moments after he had  confessed other sins) that it irritated his superiors who then "told him to confess only big sins."

 Luther ultimately is promoted to higher positions, moving on to the city of Wittenberg to be a professor of Bible studies. Ultimately he also ends up preaching in the city church as well as "supervising ten monasteries".  Tetzel comes into Germany with his indulgences and as a consequence Luther writes his "ninety-five questions" (I like how Carr simplifies much of the language for children). He simply wanted to discuss them on a scholarly level, but they end up being translated into the common language of the people and causing a big stir in the nation and around Europe.   And then of course the famous 'Diet of Worms" happens, Luther gets taken away to a Castle…etc. Ultimately Luther ends up marrying and having several children.  We see how generous Luther and his wife are, they help many people during hard times. They also go through hard times themselves, losing some of their children in death, but they still trust God.  The book comes to a close with Luther's death followed by a quick summary of his influence. 

There are pictures scattered around the book: old and new paintings and drawings of Luther in various events God ordained that he would go through.  There are also pictures of some of his relatives and other historical people mentioned in this book.  Also included throughout the book are photographs and old drawings of the various towns and buildings Luther frequented, as well as a few photographs of objects, such as a lute and a chest used to "collect money from the sale of indulgences".

Carr writes in a way that I think children will easily understand and also manages to simplify  explanations of erroneous beliefs of the day as well as important Biblical concepts. As Examples, Carr talks about people thinking that they could earn their salvation or the salvation of others, and that many believed that Christ and God were both angry judges of sinners to be appeased by 'saints' (described as "godly people who had died") .  She also conveys Luther's struggle with what "the righteousness of God" (as discussed in the book of Romans) actually means and his final realization that in this verse (Rom 1:17), "this is not a righteousness God demands,  but a righteousness God gives in Jesus Christ."

At the end of the book there is a Did  You Know? section and after that a selection of excerpts from Luther's small catechism. I found the "did  you know" section especially interesting. I did not know (or at least I didn't remember) that Luther's last name at birth was actually Luder but he changed the spelling to Luther, "as a wordplay on the Greek eleutherius, which means "free man".  I think that kids (and adults) will both enjoy that section as a potential discussion prompting conclusion to the book. 

All in all, I really liked this book.  I really appreciated that she does not make Luther come across as a hero to be worshiped but rather as a man, saved by God's grace and not his own merit, who was used by God to bring people to a correct knowledge of the Gospel and to point them to the Word of God as the only authority.

Many thanks to the folks at Cross Focused Reviews for sending me a free review copy of this book (My review did not have to be favorable)

Two of the websites (among others) where you may buy this book are at the Christian Book Distributors site and Amazon.com 


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Greek For Everyone - A. Chadwick Thornohill

Greek for Everyone by A. Chadwick Thornhill presents a unique book on New Testament Greek.  His  stated goal is to have those reading this book learn "Greek in order to become better students of the Scripture rather than students of Greek." The aim of the book is not to "gain reading proficiency but rather are working to establish the ability to use various tools to study the text in Greek".  

And I think that Thornhill accomplishes his goals with this book, he takes you through a basic (though it still seems quite thorough) overview of the various parts of Greek so that you may then use lexicons, parsing guides, and other Greek tools in your Bible study without having to become an expert Greek scholar.

 Thornhill starts out by explaining that one of the most important things to do in acquiring a knowledge of Koine Greek that is useful to Bible study is to remember to keep looking for the 'big picture' in a text/passage.  One of the interesting points he brings out is that "words do not have meaning", they have ranges of meaning and we only find out what exact meaning an individual word has by looking at the words that surround it, and the words that surround those words…etc.  Rows of zeros are used as examples to illustrate this concept. Thornhill states, "More exegetical errors are probably made through haphazard word study than in any of the other steps in the process".  I was very pleased that great emphasis is made of the fact that context is VERY important in Bible study. 

Thornihill then moves on to quick overviews of Greek phrases, clauses, conjunctions, verbs, nominals, cases, participles, etc.  Again, this is mainly so that you will be able to use Greek tools with comprehension in your study without having to memorize the various forms and endings that indicate the word's 'makeup' and thus its meaning and relation to the surrounding words. You will learn what the breakdown that these tools give you means, but mainly so that you know what the lexical aids mean when they break it down for you, not so that you'll break it down yourself.  At the end of many of the overviews he gives you some common Biblical Greek words to memorize and then  a Greek sentence to practice on using a parsing tool or an analytical lexicon. 

All in all, I think that this is an excellent aid for Bible study, and probably more especially a good resource for pastors as well since seminary is SO expensive nowadays (My brother was not able to afford to go to any Seminary, though he had a desire to do so). 


Many thanks to the folks at Baker Books for sending me a complimentary review copy of this book! (My review did not have to be favorable)

Here are a couple of the places where you may purchase this book (other places carry it as well):

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Murderous HIstory of Bible Translations - Harry Freedman

I often sense a tendency in myself to take having an English translation of the Old and New Testaments for granted.  But, as Harry Freedman demonstrates in his book, The Murderous History of Bible Translations: Power, Conflict, and the Quest for Meaning, I shouldn't take it for granted and should appreciate all the more the effort and sacrifice that went in to getting the written Word of God into a book that ordinary people could read. 

In this book Freedman does an excellent job at writing, he grasps and keeps one's attention, and it flows nicely.  He takes you through history, beginning with the translation of the Old Testament and then goes on to include the New in the focus as well.  Translating God's Word into the common vernacular of any people was often very tumultuous and controversial, and we see this down the passage of time that the author takes us through and we also see this as we look through the viewpoint of different translators who took many risks to make the translation. 

Though I really like the book, I feel the need to mention that there were several things that I did not like, for instance, statements like:  "…even to this day, radical fundamentalism hasn't gone away.  And religious extremism relies upon a revealed, unmediated, literal reading of Scripture, one which rejects the prism of human interpretation."(pg.139)  Perhaps I am misunderstanding what the author is saying, but I think that' religious extremism' is that which focuses upon the "prism of human interpretation" without interpreting the Word of God with a literal/grammatical-historical hermeneutic. To be extreme is to not take the Bible for what it says, to not interpret it literally.  Interpreting the Bible "literally" in my view is to interpret it correctly in context: taking allegory as allegory, historical narrative as narrative, prophecy as prophecy, …etc. But again, perhaps I misunderstand what he meant by that statement.

This book seemed more or less secular look at the history of Bible translation (as one can probably deduce from the above quotation), but Freedman did a very good job at giving the perspective of the translators (whether Christian or Jewish). whose lives he recounts.  All in all, I really liked the history given, it is very, very interesting and an informative read.  Knowing this history should drive Christians more to reading this Holy Book that people in the past translated and read in secret, suffered and died for; many considered the Words it contains as much more valuable than their lives or comfort in this earth. We Americans should do the same and take advantage of our wonderful privilege of being able to simply sit down and read it without fear of punishment,  imprisonment or death for having done so.

Many Thanks to the folks at Bloomsbury Press for sending me a free review copy of this book (My review did not have to be favorable).

One of the places where this book may be purchased is at Amazon.com

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Tunnels - Greg Mitchell

The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell is a book about escape tunnels that were built under the Berlin wall during the Cold War.  Though many tunnels and tunnel escapes are looked at, the focus of the book is on one particular tunnel that was funded by NBC in exchange for filming the construction of the tunnel and any escapes that would happen by means of the tunnel.

I picked this book to review simply because I thought that it sounded rather interesting, I didn't realize how absolutely riveting it would be.  I started reading it to myself, got a little way into it and then started reading it out loud to one of my sisters. By, probably the middle of the book, several of my siblings were listening in with fixed attention. 

This book is very well written, Mitchell really seems to give one the perspective of the people involved in these escapes so that you feel along with them as they attempt their dangerous work.  We all got pretty tense with every tunnel escape attempt, and also with fears that their work would be discovered by the clever West Berlin spies.  It was very intriguing to find out how they made these tunnels, starting them from West Berlin (the good side) they would pick a building on the other side to aim for (sometimes without those who owned the building being in the 'know') where they would then break through into a cellar or even a living room.  I found it amazing that they were able to aim SO well.  They would work long periods of time, sometimes staying in the same building for a month or more without coming out just to have more secrecy while digging  the tunnel.  Then you have to wait and hope with the tunnelers that there are no Stasi agents waiting for them when they break through, and hope that all of the East Berliners who want to escape make it to the tunnel without being caught.  At times there are Stasi agents waiting and you then hope that no one comes to the tunnel to escape and get caught. 

I learned a lot about the Cold war and the Berlin Wall.  I found it fascinating that some of the government officials in the U.S. were (amazingly) actually in favor of the Berlin wall being built(to the East Berlin government's delight), thinking that it would calm things down…which of course it didn't.

 The book switches back and forth from different perspective of various characters in this history,  you will meet Harry Seidel, an East Berliner who has already escaped to the West but who wants to get his mother out of the East and therefore works on various tunnels, including the "NBC Tunnel";  Piers Anderton of NBC is another player in this history who really wants this documentary on the "NBC Tunnel" to be a success (and also for it to actually be allowed to be shown on tv);  Siegfried Uhse is an East Berlin informant who is working under cover with some of those who are organizing escapes to West Berlin for desperate East Berliners, he is attempting to get information about various tunnels so that he can pass it on to his superiors and be the means of foiling any escape attempts;  JFK is also a player in these events, he is nervous that any open U.S. support of escape attempts will be the means of provoking an invasion of West Berlin by the Russians, and so he is very wary of any American news documentaries filming and aiding any escapes.
These are only a few of the people involved in this account of this tense time in history. 

I just wish that the author would have dealt with Ronald Reagan's part in pressuring Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall, I don't remember that being mentioned at all (though I may have just for gotten it).  Also There were some topics that were rather uncomfortable to read, such as the immoral lives of some of the people discussed and some pretty bad language  and expressions that some people used.  I scribbled out a bunch of those things.  

But all in all, this was a very interesting historical account. It's amazing to think that these things actually happened,  I thought that Mitchell did a great job of impressing upon the reader the reality of these events and people. 


I received this book from the Blogging For Books book review program (My review did not have to be favorable)

One of the websites where this book may be purchased is at Amazon.com

Friday, November 18, 2016

From Heaven - A.W. Tozer

From Heaven:  A 28-day Advent Devotional with excerpts from the works of A.W. Tozer, is one of the strangest devotionals I have ever encountered (though I haven't looked at or read many).  Strange in a good way though.  When I think of devotionals, I think of generally light portions of readings per day, with a verse of Scripture that is contemplated at a high level and that is then meant to be applied to oneself in an extremely personal way.  Tozer's devotional, like any devotional, has a small reading for any given day, but the content of the reading is anything but small and goes much further than provoking one to mere introspection, it provokes one to contemplate the true awesomeness of our God and His love and grace.

There are things in this devotional that I was delightfully surprised to see in a Christmas devotional (or any devotional for that matter), like, "Put the emphasis where the Bible puts it, on the Christ at the right hand of God, not on the babe in the manger."  And, "Among the harmful abuses of the Christmas season in America is the substitution of Santa Clause for Christ as the chief object of popular interest, especially among the children.  The morality of Mother Goose stories and fairy tales has been questioned by serious -minded Christian parents, but my opinion is that these are relatively harmless because they are told as fiction and the child is fully aware that they are imaginary.    With Santa Claus it is not so.   The child is taught falsehood as sober truth and is thus grossly deceived during the most sensitive and formative period of his life."  

This devotional will get you into the true Christmas spirit (and I'm not saying this sarcastically).  You will contemplate with awe the fact that God sent Christ to come at all, "What would be the logical mission upon which God would send His Son to the world?  We know what our nature is and we know that God knows all about us and He is sending His Son to face us…..Our own hearts-sin and darkness and deception and moral disease- tell us what His mission should be.   The sin we cannot deny tells us that He might have come to judge the world!" You will dwell upon the wonder of the work of God in salvation in sending His own Son to save us, and that this Son is God Himself in the flesh, come to bring us His righteousness and come not just to dwell among His people for a short time, but Who dwells IN His people.  You will also contemplate Christ's second coming and be shocked that you do not long for it as you ought, "Another reason for the absence of real yearning for Christ's return is that Christians are so comfortable in this world that they have little desire to leave it……….We want to reserve the hope of heaven as a kind of insurance against the day of death, but as long as, we are healthy and comfortable, why change a familiar good for something about which we actually know very little?...  Again, in these times religion has become jolly good fun right here in this present world, and what's the hurry about heaven anyway?   Christianity, contrary to what some had thought is another and higher form of entertainment.   Christ has done all the suffering.   He has shed all the tears and carried all the crosses; we have but to enjoy the benefits of His heartbreak in the form of religious pleasures modeled after the world but carried on in the name of Jesus.  So say the same people who claim to believe in Christ's second coming."

All in all, though there were a few statements I did not agree with (like the parts where Tozer describes God's love for us as COMPELLING Him to do certain things rather than God being in complete control of His own love), but for the most part I really liked this devotional, and highly recommend it.  As I mentioned earlier, it will get you into the true Christmas spirit!


Many thanks to MoodyPublishers for sending me a free review copy of this book (My review did not have to be favorable)


One of the places where you may purchase this book is at the Christian Book Distributors website

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader

Discovering the Septuagint - A Guided Reader - by Karen Jobes is a very nice resource for those looking for an introduction to the Greek of the LXX (The Septuagint).  There are chapters dealing with selected passages from 9 books of the LXX, in each chapter there is an introduction telling you about that particular book and its translation techniques.   Then follows the  Rahlfs-Hanhart Greek text of an excerpt from that particular book and a brief examination of certain key words and phrases in each verse, notes on vocabulary and syntax. Then comes another excerpt of the Greek text and the notes on the various verses…etc.  After all of the selected texts are done being examined, then comes the NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint) version of the passage(s) so that one may read the whole thing in English. And then finally, if verses from the chapter are cited in the New Testament, they have a table showing where in the NT the passage is referred to and a small summary of its context in the NT.

I like this study resource pretty well, and I like having an introduction to the language of the LXX.   Again, this is just an introduction to the study of the LXX, not necessarily a study resource, Jobes gives a list of recommended reference works on the LXX at the beginning of the book, as well as selected bibliography at the end of each chapter. 

I especially like that Jobes points out that each book of the LXX "potentially gives us a 'snapshot' of what the Hebrew looked like at the time of its translation".  But she seems rather contradictory when she then goes on to say that, "In places, the Greek translators of the Hebrew Bible used forms of words and interpreted their text in ways (without being able to foresee it, of course) that were more congenial to the message of the New Testament than the corresponding Hebrew texts would have been…"  But if the LXX potentially gives us a look at what the Hebrew text looked like in the days of the Apostles, why not assume that the Hebrew text of that day actually said what the Apostles quoted from the Greek?  Why do we hold our present day Hebrew text  as being the authoritative text with which to judge an older translation of an older Hebrew text?  Why not even consider the thought that perhaps the translation that various Apostles used was actually a literal translation of their Hebrew text rather than a heavily interpretative translation?

Anyway, I do like this resource, and think that it will be quite handy for those looking to be introduced to the Greek of the LXX.  I think it would be really neat if they came out with a book doing basically the same thing with the full text of the LXX…especially if they also included the variants that are found in the various Greek OT manuscripts.  


Many thanks to the folks at Kregel Academic for sending me a free review copy of this book! - My review did not have to be favorable.

One the the websites where this book may be purchased is at Christianbook.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Reader's Bible NKJV

The Reader's Bible (this one is the NKJV) is designed as a single column, "paragraph style" Bible, with no verse or chapter numbers, just the names of the Books.  This makes it so that you read the Bible more along the lines of how it was originally put together in a codex, which did not have all of the numbered chapter divisions in the books of the Bible that we have today.

This Bible is definitely reader friendly, it is easy to read through without the potential distraction of verse numbers (though they are handy) and it is a unique experience to have the historical narrative filling the whole page as one column rather than as two, more like how a regular book of history book or biography is put together.  You can keep a general track of where you are in any given book by looking at the bottom corners of the pages which tell you which chapter is on the page you are reading.

 The only thing that I don't like is that they kept the chapter breaks (without the numbers, just a bolded letter at the beginning of the section).  Some of the breaks actually seem to break the flow of narrative or thought in the wrong place (This is the same in regularly numbered Bibles).  They stop your eye when your eye should keep going, it sort of makes one's brain think that you are starting to read a new thought rather than continuing the flow or build of thought that you are already on.  This has the potential mess up a person's understanding of a text.  I wish that they had at least placed the chapter breaks more conveniently….though I still think that in many cases they could have been done away with altogether, especially in the epistles of the NT which would then read more like regular letters.

Other than that, I really like this edition.  Also, it is a beautifully bound, elegant looking hardcover.  It is also a Holman Bible, which I have found to be pretty high quality Bibles.


Many thanks to the folks at B&H/Lifeway publishers for sending me a free review copy of this Bible!  My review did not have to be favorable.

One of the places where this Bible may be purchased is at CBD

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

The Cultural Background Study Bible is a Bible that contains a lot of information about the times in which the various sections were  written.  It has many pictures, maps and diagrams, and of course, commentary.  The Bible is pretty large and heavy, but that is to be expected with so much extra content being added to it. 

I must say that this Bible, or rather the extra content of this Bible, had a lot of unnecessary things, and even absolutely indecent things.  First, the pictures.  I don't remember if I've ever reviewed a Bible that had so many indecent pictures in it. There's the obligatory Adam and Eve (as usual, depicted before the fall of man with conveniently placed leaves), there are ancient artistic depictions of women exposing various body parts, including the lower half of the body,  there are ancient depictions of men being circumcised…and so on.  And get this, there's even a clay depiction of a woman bathing (not very detailed at all, but still…) from around, and I quote, the "eighth-sixth century  BC, a few centuries after David saw Bathsheba"! I’m sorry people (sarcastically said), but this is absolutely absurd.  Why would Christians think that looking at photographs of naked people are wrong but that it's okay to stare at a painting, statue, or etching of a naked person?????  I don't care how "ancient" the depiction is, or even how undetailed, it's still wrong.  Hasn't any one considered that some of the stuff might even be ancient pornography?  Whatever the case,  It's a denial of the fall of mankind, it's a denial of original sin, it makes it seem as though it is okay to not be ashamed to stare at other people's nakedness/shame, as long as it is ancient or artistic, and it also provides possible "stumbling blocks" to other Christians.  My understanding of the Bible is not enhanced by looking at unclothed people. 

Second, some of the commentary actually seems blasphemous. Just look at this commentary on  Isaiah 46:9:  "'I am God, and there is no other. ' The Assyrians saw their god Ashur as being the god from whom all other gods derive…In the Hymn to Aten from New Kingdom Egypt, Aten is hailed as the 'sole God beside whom there is none.'  In an environment where numerous other deities claimed power, Israel's God is not making an absolute statement of uniqueness, though he could, according to Israel's theology, rather, he is saying that the readers know his uniqueness through past experience, and this will be confirmed through future fulfillment of God's plans."  WHAT????????????? God is "not making an absolute statement of uniqueness"?  But what does God say in the VERY NEXT STATEMENT IN THAT VERY SAME VERSE ?  "I AM GOD, AND THERE IS NONE LIKE ME." This is simply shocking.  Let's look at another one:  The commentary on Proverbs 3:19:  "'By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations.'  It is not unprecedented that creation is said to be the product of a deity's wisdom, in the 'Memphite Theology,' the Egyptian god Ptuah is said to produce the world through his heart and tongue, standing for his wisdom and his speech…" Sections in the Bible like this seem to be actually making the case that there WERE/ARE actually other gods like God, without taking into consideration the CONTEXT of the rest of the Bible, and even the evidence of the archeology, that states that other so-called 'gods' are not even gods at all, but rather wood and stone.  Essentially the commentators appear to think it valid to compare God to the attributes that man in his stupidity has ascribed to elaborately carved sticks and stones, and then finding "similar", though imaginary, attributes attributed to those sticks and stones they declare that God is not a unique 'god' and that He is compatible to a rock and a piece of wood.  I hope that they do not mean to do so, but this is STRONGLY implied. 

This is very awkward to say, but I don't like this Bible.  Or rather, I don't like some of the commentary and other additions to this Bible.  I don't know if I've ever said this before, but I'm saying it now:  Don't buy this Bible.  The back of this Bible says, in bold letters: "CONTEXT CHANGES EVERYTHING".  It certainly does.


I received a free review copy of this book from The BookLook Bloggers Program (My review did not have to be favorable). 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tillie PIerce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg - by Tanya Anderson



Tillie Pierce:  Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg by Tanya Anderson gives a very interesting perspective of the battle of Gettysburg.  As the title indicates, Tillie was a teenager at the time the Confederates invaded her state (Pennsylvania) and thence ended up at her hometown of Gettysburg.  As the danger grows Tillie's parents allow her to go with a neighbor who desires to flee, with her two children to a safer spot at her own parents farm.  Ironically, their refuge ends up being a not-so-safe place with war taking place around them and nearby on the Round Tops. Tillie and her friends accept the situation in which they are placed and end up helping with the wounded and helping give water to active soldiers and in so doing she meets various soldiers participating in the battle (including General Meade) all the while worrying about her own family back in the main town. 

The book is filled with interesting facts about the Civil War and many photographs, some of which may be disturbing as they are of dead soldiers.  One of the facts that they bring out is how an account that Tillie's father gave has been confirmed by forensic evidence, about his neighbor's house being used by a Confederate soldier to fire at the Union and subsequently being killed in that room.

All in all  I thought that the book is well written and that Tillie's story was well edited and explained throughout and will probably be interesting enough to induce readers to look up her full account of her experiences. 


I received a free copy of this book as a part of the Library Thing Early Reviewers Program:  Many thanks! (My review did not have to be favorable)

One of the websites at which this book may be purchased is Amazon.com

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible

The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible has a nicely bound bible, with a very handy lay-flat design, making it easy to write or color in it.  On the inside each page has only one column of text with large margins on either side.  Some of the margins have lines for writing in, many of them have pictures that one may color in (the Illustrator part). 

I like to doodle sometimes while listening to sermons, sometimes it helps me think and stay focused, so I thought that this was an interesting concept.  But upon examination it was rather disappointing.  In a way, it is reminiscent of the illuminated manuscripts of the past, except that in the illuminated manuscripts I've noticed that the text didn't seem to have as dwarfed by the illustrations as this one appears to me to do on many of the pages (perhaps they did, I just don't remember).  If the text of the Bible itself weren't so small or if it were more…I don't know, 'fancy' I guess, it would seem more fitting and more as if the text and pictures work together rather than compete. 
 
Some of the pictures were too much like graven images (or were exactly so) as there were some pictures supposed to be depicting Christ.  Besides the graven image thing, it just seems disrespectful to have an illustration that one can color in that is depicting the Lord of the Universe!  And then some of the illustrations in the margins seem odd placed next to certain texts.  For instance, coloring in a beautiful illustration running down the margin of a page depicting flowers and ribbons right next to the text where Jeremiah is thrown into a cistern, and where he tells Zedekiah that he will be handed over to the King of Babylon if he does not surrender to that King?  That just seems rather odd and indifferent to what the text is saying.  What illustration should you use for a spot like that? I have no idea…but probably not pretty flowers.

So, I'm not thrilled with this Bible, I wish that they had done a better job at enhancing the text and that they had not added the pictures of depicting Christ.


Many thanks to the folks at B&H/Lifeway Bloggers for the free review copy of this book! (My review did not have to be favorable)  

My RATING: 1  OUT OF FIVE STARS

Friday, August 26, 2016

Punderdome

I have never reviewed a game before, but this one caught my attention as some of my brothers and sisters love to pun and I wanted to see if it would make a good Christmas present for one or all of them.  I wasn't disappointed.

The object of the game is to collect 10 pairs of pun prompt cards.  You win prompt cards by coming up with the best (or sometimes the lamest) puns.  The Prompter draws two prompt cards reading the prompts and the players have 90 seconds to write own a single pun that combines the prompt word topics and then they give the paper on which their punning creation is written to the prompter who chooses which he likes best.  The winner of the round becomes the new prompter and the game continues until someone has ten pairs of prompt cards.  There are a few other aspects of the game (like a pre-pun-prompt round and also prizes one can set up for the end of the game) that I have not described but the main fun was trying to come up with puns to write down.
 
 I had two of my sisters, who like myself are not good at punning, test it out with me and we had a blast!  We got off to a very slow start, starting off with a lot of silence (we did away with the time-limit as we weren't coming up with anything for a while) but then we picked up steam.      
We were lame, we were horrible, many of our puns weren't even puns at first.  But it was FUN, mainly because we were laughing (and crying) so hard at ourselves.  To give you an example of how lame and non-punny we were, at one point the two prompts were "facial hair" and "breathing", all I could come up with was "beard-breath", which makes no sense!  If we had so much fun when we can't even pun I imagine that the punny ones of my family will really have a great time.  My sister bought two more sets of Punderdome so we can give it to all of our punny siblings at Christmas time.                     


Many thanks to the folks at Blogging For Books for sending me a free review copy of this game to review (my review did not have to be favorable)!         

This game may be purchased from Amazon (and from other retailers)            

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Murderous History of Bible Translations - By Harry Freedman

I often sense a tendency in myself to take having an English translation of the Old and New Testaments for granted.  But, as Harry Freedman demonstrates in his book, The Murderous History of Bible Translations: Power, Conflict, and the Quest for Meaning, I shouldn't take it for granted and should appreciate all the more the effort and sacrifice that went in to getting the written Word of God into a book that ordinary people could read. 

In this book Freedman does an excellent job at writing, he grasps and keeps one's attention, and it flows nicely.  He takes you through history, beginning with the translation of the Old Testament and then including the New in the focus as well.   Translating God's Word into the common vernacular of any people was often very tumultuous and controversial, and we see this down the passage of time that the author examines, and through many different translators who often took many risks to make the translation. 

Though I really like the book, I feel the need to mention that there were several things that I did not like, for instance, statements like:  ""…even to this day, radical fundamentalism hasn't gone away.  And religious extremism relies upon a revealed, unmediated, literal reading of Scripture, one which rejects the prism of human interpretation."(pg.139)  Perhaps I am misunderstanding what the author is saying, but I think that' religious extremism' is that which focuses upon the "prism of human interpretation" without interpreting the Word of God with a literal/grammatical-historical hermeneutic. To be extreme is to not take the Bible for what it says, to not interpret it literally.  Interpreting the Bible "literally" in my view is to interpret it correctly in context: taking allegory as allegory, historical narrative as narrative, prophecy as prophecy, …etc. But again, perhaps I  misunderstand what he meant by that statement.


This book seemed more or less secular look at the history of Bible translation, but Freedman did a very good job at giving the perspective of the translators (whether Christian or Jewish) whose lives he recounts.  All in all, despite statements that I disagreed with, I really liked the history given, it is very, very interesting and an informative read.  Knowing this history should drive Christians more to reading this Holy Book that people in the past translated and read in secret, suffered and died for, many considered the Words it contains as much more valuable than their lives or comfort in this earth.  Shouldn't we do the same and do God the honor of reading it?

Many thanks to the folks at Bloomsbury Press for sending me a free advance review copy of this book! (My review did not have to be favorable)

This book is slated for release on November 15, 2016

You may preorder it at Amazon and on the Bloomsbury website  (and probably from other sites as well)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars *****

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saving the Bible From Ourselves: Learning to Live and Read the Bible Well - By Glenn R. Pauuw

Saving the Bible From Ourselves by Glenn R. Pauuw is a book about people's misuse of the Bible, how it has come to be used as a book that is a collection of isolated propositional statements that are written specifically for me and for my special encouragement.  Overall this book is argument against those views of the Bible (it critiques  other views as well) and I believe it is a rather good argument.  I mainly listed those two things because they are the things that captivated me most in this book. Then I will give my critique.

First, Pauuw does an excellent job at attacking the rather modern approach to the Bible that takes the form of hunting for individual verses that seem relevant to us, "…find the fragments you need at the moment.  If you are looking for your daily inspiration, then find a devotional fragment.  If you are arguing with the local heretic, find a doctrinal fragment.  If you are facing an ethical question, find a moral fragment.  They're all in there, already neatly numbered for you.  You just have to find the good ones." He makes a good case that part of what instigated this fragmentary approach was the addition of verse numbers and chapters to the text of the Bible. 

Second, and very much related to the first, is Pauuw's critique of our use of the Bible as though it were written directly to us personally (or at least the comforting parts and the parts that we like, the curses…not so much).  Pauuw demolishes the perspective that we can make ourselves the authority in discerning what we need from the Bible, and he demonstrates that we should trust the wisdom and sovereignty of God in His design of His own Word, and that means the WHOLE Word of God.  To use the author's own words: "How can the Bible possibly lead and direct our lives if we are the ones who predetermine which parts of it speak to us?  Fragmentary patters of reading entail a fragmented sense of authority."  Perhaps my favorite part in the whole book is where Pauuw presents the "Parallel -Universe Bible" where he demonstrates what would happen if we used verses that we do not find so applicable to ourselves in the same way that we use our favorite verses, that are often taken out of context, to apply directly to ourselves (for instance: everyone likes Jeremiah 29:11 but what about Deut. 28:29?).  I found that part absolutely hilarious (I was almost crying I was laughing so hard) but very clear in the point that is being made. 

So why did I only rate this book at 3 stars (out of 5)? Well, for one thing there were a bunch of statements and descriptions of things that were too…I don't know…"mystical" might be the right term.  Perhaps it was just me, but some of the way things were phrased seemed just plain weird to me (and I didn't necessarily understand it all).  He talked about things like "Story" or "Chaos". Another thing was that Pauuw approached (in my opinion) irreverence in how he spoke of God, in statements like: "God was willing to take a great risk with the Bible: He left it in our hands…"    and, ""To  enter history really is to give it a go in the rough-and tumble.  Even for God."  Those were just some of the things that bothered me about this book. There was a lot to be gleaned in it but was interspersed throughout the bothersome thing, and so ironically (having in mind Pauuw's excellent critique of the 'snacking Bible), if I ever read this book again I would read it in a 'snacking' sort of way.  That is why I only gave it three stars.  But on the other hand Paauw made a good (and convicting) case for reading the whole Bible rather than just fragments of it.  I'll end with quoting an excerpt that I really liked (there were several that I liked):

"Snacking (on isolated Bible fragments) hides things to be sure, but it also distorts the things it does show us.  For example, ,the Snacking Bible is not great news. It has gospel verses, but no gospel, because the gospel is the announcement of a particular turn of events within an ongoing story.  The gospel is not a sentence about justification by faith or a verse reference on the forgiveness of my sins.  The gospel is not the Romans Road.  The gospel is not John 3:16.  What the apostles Paul and John wrote - what God's Spirit enkindled in them - was something entirely different than these boiled-down reductions.  Evangelist D. L. Moody said he could write the gospel on a dime.  Well, Paul and John couldn't, and didn't."


Many thanks to the folks at InterVarsity Press for sending me a free review copy of this book to review (My review did not have to be favorable)

This book may be purchased (among other places) at Amazon and Christian Book Distributors

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Knight's Map -R. C. Sproul

The Knight's Map by R. C. Sproul is an allegory for children and is very much like the Pilgrim's Progress.  Its focus is on the tale of a Knight without loyalties to any king who receives a mysterious letter, and also a map, from a King (whose existence is doubted by people), the King invites the Knight to follow the map to find a Treasure that will not fade away.  The Knight encounters many obstacles along the way, mainly these obstacles take the form  of the Knight being misled by other people like Mr. Skeptic and Mr. Liberal who try to draw the Knight's attention away from trying to read the map correctly (and even discouraging any attempt to read it at all). 

The book has many nicely drawn (or rather, painted) pictures that I am sure would have captured my interest as a child. The story is well-written and would hold the interest of adults as well as children.  There is a question and answer section at the back that could be helpful to parents in prompting their children to think about what the story represents, though I think that the actual story has enough explanation in and of itself through the dialogue of the Grandpa (who is telling the story) and his grandkids at the beginning and ending of the book.

I think that my biggest problem with this book is that I wish it were longer.  It just seemed too short, even for a kids book, but perhaps that is because I am judging with an adult's brain.  I think that that is a sign of a good book, when it leaves you wanting more.  Perhaps someday Mr. Sproul will come up with an adult's version, one that delves into even more detail about those who want to distract us from the Bible/map that God provides us with.  I find allegories like that in this book fascinating.  But even if he doesn't come up with an edition for older people, this book is good in its own right, simple and straightforward picture of a person seeking God and God's provision of understanding and guidance along the way to discovering Him. 


Thanks to the folks at Reformation Trust Publishing for the free review copy of this book(My review did not have to be a favorable one). 

Among other sites, a couple of the places where one may purchase this book is at Amazon.com and at the Ligonier store

Monday, June 27, 2016

Jefferson's America - By Julie Fenster

Jefferson's America: The President, The Purchase and the Explorers Who Transformed A Nation by Julie M. Fenster is well written and very interesting.  I have heard of Lewis and Clark and knew a tiny bit about their exploration but I have never heard of others who were equally important at the time such as: Dunbar, Hunter, Forest or Pike.  And yet perhaps I had heard of them in school but I didn't keep any memory of them or their expeditions in my head. 

This book is a very intriguing account of how and why Jefferson initiated the exploration westward of what was then a comparatively small U.S., how he made the Louisiana Purchase (and the controversy around the purchase)and how he made it secure and justified his purchase by courting public interest in the expeditions he had sent out.  It mainly focuses on the men whom Jefferson sent out to do the exploring, and their adventures are quite intriguing. Most of the men Jefferson picked for the task of exploring and finding the sources of the Missouri River, the Mississippi and the Red River were very determined, smart and persevering men.  They were determined to keep on with the tasks they had been given despite very low water levels (to the point where they were scraping along the bottom of the rivers and had to drag the boats with ropes), dangers from frostbite, starvation, capture by various enemies and even danger from getting shot accidentally by themselves or their own men (Whenever that happened they still pressed on of course)!  It was almost exhausting just to read about the hardships they went through!  One of the men, Pike, was so determined that he would keep on marching even though  his feet were bleeding but, "Pike didn't stop.  Long into each night, the red grid marks in the snow led to the south." Fenster remarks, "Apparently Pike believed that his body would adjust to whatever his brain could handle - and not the other way around."  I very much admire that kind of determination and discipline.  

I like the style of the book, it really pulls you into the struggles and atmosphere of the time in which these explorers lived. Before I read this book I did not adequately appreciate how amazing it is that America is actually as large as it is, nor did I realize how un-united Americans were even shortly after the war for Independence.  Some of the accounts were a bit awkward, for instance someone goes to meet someone but is told that the person they want to meet with is (I'm paraphrasing with modern lingo) using the bathroom so they need to wait.  It was an actual accounting…I would never have thought that something like that would have made it in someone's diary, but it did!  There were immoral practices that are referenced in the books as well (such as prostitution), and at least one of the guys sent out to survey land wasn't very principled in morals.  So I'd suggest being careful if one is reading this with kids.  But otherwise I think that it is a very intriguing and informative account of a major part of the beginning of the formation of what is now the United States.

Before I end this I just want to mention that I found Fenster's point that the 18th century was a very quiet era compared to ours very interesting.  They didn't have a lot of very loud noises while we experience them all of the time, cars, planes and even music.  She mentions this when she gives Dunbar's account of hearing a waterfall and describing it as the sound of "horrid din of a hurricane in New Orleans in the year 1779".  I had never thought about that before, that our time-period is much louder than the ones before it.  Anyway, this is quite an intriguing history book, it includes maps and pictures in its pages as well!

Thanks to Blogging for Books for sending me a free review copy of this book(My review did not have to be favorable)

This book may be purchased at (among other places): Amazon.com

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Understanding the Congregation's Authority - by Jonathan Leeman

Understanding the Congregation's Authority by Jonathan Leeman is a short and yet quite thorough explanation and defense of what Leeman calls, "Elder-Led Congregationalism".  He does not advocate congregationalism nor Elder-Rule, rather he presents the concepts of 'congregational authority' as 'responsibilities' and the role of the pastors/Elders he presents as the God-given 'trainers/councilors' of the congregation. 

Each member of the congregation is responsible to prod one another to love and good works, building and discipling their brothers and sisters in Christ (which may involve correction) and coming to be discipled as well, to attend church regularly not making a habit of forsaking the assembling of their church family, and the congregation is also responsible to submit themselves to the elders of the church(the Elders do not make them submit), which Elders are to train up the congregation to fulfill their responsibilities by preaching/teaching the Word of God.

I thought that the author's overall premise was good and I thought that he argued most of his points very well, the things that I didn't feel comfortable with were his 'reformed' terminology, for instance referencing Christ and Christians as the 'true Israel', his referencing the observance of 'the Lord's Table' as being a time of Communion with the Lord and it also being a sign of the new Covenant.  I don't think that I agree that the church exercises the authority of the "Keys" through baptism and the Lord's Supper (a man is to examine HIMSELF as to his manner of living while taking the Lord's supper), I don't really see that in the Bible rather I see the congregation cutting off an erring member from fellowship because they are not living in a Christ-like way (not primarily cutting them off from partaking of the elements though that necessarily follows). But perhaps I didn't understand what he meant.  And lastly I didn't agree with a lot of his 'Priest-King' hermeneutic, that Adam was basically a priest-king mediating between God and creation and then applying the term to Abraham, Moses, David and then all Christians….it didn't make biblical sense to me.

Aside from the above and perhaps some other things, I really liked Leeman's argument and would recommend the book to other Christians as he does a great job at showing that if you're  a Christian, whether or not you are an Elder you  have a God-given job to do and you should take it seriously. 

I'll end with a quote from the book: "You, as a baptized Christian and ordinary member of a church, are responsible for protecting the gospel and the gospel's ministry in you church by discipline other church members.  Remember Ephesians 4:15-16.  The church builds itself up in love as each part does its work.  You have work to do to build up the church and part of that includes the ministry of words.  A few verses later, Paul says, 'speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another'(V. 25).  Speak truth to them, and help them to grow. Our words should be 'good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear' (Eph. 4:29).  Also, make yourself available to be spoken to.  Are you willing to listen?  Basic Christianity involves building up other believers.  It is a part of fulfilling the Great Commission and making disciples."


Many thanks to B&H Publishers for sending me a free review copy of this book! - My review did not have to be favorable.

You may purchase this book at websites like Amazon and Christian Book Distributors

Friday, May 20, 2016

NKJV Chronological Study Bible

This edition of the Chronological Study Bible NKJV is a nicely bound chronological Bible.  It has a simple, studious looking  'Leathersoft' cover, brown in color with a big dark blue stripe across its center.  This Bible is full of extra content, almost to the point of being distractingly cluttered.  It has charts and 'timepanels', background notes,  full color illustrations (some are very neat looking while others are not very decent), and maps throughout. 

I have some problems with it though, besides some indecent works of art,  some of the notes and commentary seem rather eisegetical.   For instance, some of the notes dealing with wives being submissive to their husbands make it more of a concession to the culture of the time rather than God ordained. They say things like,  "Paul's command 'Wives, submit to your own husbands' (Eph. 5:22) is at least partly related to concern for Christian witness within the surrounding culture, and is quite mild in comparison to the rest of his culture. What is significant is that Paul modified the culture's values, calling on all believers to submit…Wives were to submit 'as to the Lord' (Eph. 522), and husbands were to love their wives 'as Christ also loved the church"(5:25)  and, "…the structure of these traditional codes was adopted in Christian letters,".

 But the reasons given in the New Testament for wives submitting to their husbands was because of the structure that God had set up, not one man had set up.  It's not that the apostles were adopting and then modifying cultural authority structures in the family and that the headship of a husband over a wife and her submission to him were just necessary cultural evils, rather they were explaining how to correctly implement the authority structure set up by God (husbands loving their wives, wives submitting to their husbands and children obeying their parents.  Ironically, the commentators in this Bible are imposing modern cultural family-structure (equality of husbands and wives = no submission required) views on the Scriptures. 

And of course, you can presume, based upon the hermeneutical method used in interpreting the above concepts in the Bible there are other things that are probably erroneously interpreted as well.  One hint of it is in their use of dates, the numbers they use (like 26,000 years ago) hint at an 'old earth' or theistic evolutionist perspective. 

Oh, and I didn't like some of the chronological arrangement.  For instance, they have some prophecies from Isaiah being read after the fall of Jerusalem.  Part of their reasoning is that, "Other prophetic passages speak of times later than the traditional date of composition for the passage itself.  For example, parts of the Book of Isaiah refer to events that took place centuries after the prophet Isaiah lived.  Though Isaiah prophesied in Jerusalem during the 8th century B. C., the passage of Isa 44:28; 45:1 refers by name to Cyrus, a Persian king who lived in the 6th century .  For this reason , some chapters form the Book of Isaiah appear in the time of Cyrus…"  Umm… didn't God have the prophets prophecy LOTS of things that hadn't happened yet?  It would hardly be unthinkable for God to have the prophets give out a particular name of someone in the future.  Besides, right before God starts prophetically addressing Cyrus He states, "I am the Lord, the maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns  it into nonsense, who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers."

Overall, this Bible is very nice looking inside and out (excepting the indecent pictures), but several of the above mentioned aspects keep me from recommending this Bible highly, though there are several redeeming factors, like the timelines, charts, and even other study notes that aren't so biased.  I had reviewed the NIV version of this Bible a while back but seem to have forgotten about several of the problems that I had with it.

I am grateful to have received a free review copy of this book from the Book Look Blogger program(My review did not have to be favorable)