As most of you know, I love to review Bibles, so when I received the opportunity to review the NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible, I jumped at the opportunity to review another Bible because I love seeing the differences that different study note authors have left in their Bibles for us to find.
This Bible is from Christianity Today, a leading, nonprofit, media ministry for the evangelical church. They have a goal to be a trustworthy and unifying voice for all Christians, so this is a Bible of neutral and unifying perspectives that is broadly evangelical in nature.
Some of the special features that it includes are:
- Book Introductions: These are short, approximately 1/2 page introductions to each book of the Bible summarizing author, purpose, historical background and literary themes.
- Doctrine 101: These are theology articles to help highlight and explain the doctrines that are bedrock of Christian belief. They give you the Biblical basis of each doctrine along with the relevance for you today.
- Everyday Faith: There are over 100 of these devotions, linked to Biblical passages. They help explain how a corresponding doctrine finds its basis in scripture.
- Culture Connections: These are little articles that highlight customs, holidays, proverbs, stories (even mythical) and sayings that illustrate Christian doctrines. Some are linked to specific Biblical passages, providing a commentary on the message of the passage.
- Living Parables: This is an article that showcases historical Christians from various cultures and traditions. Each article focuses on one historical figure and one major contribution they made to Christian thought.
- Up For Debate: These articles provide differing viewpoints on topics about which believers disagree. These are some of the longer articles as they give multiple perspectives so that you can ascertain why the issue is up for debate and how other Christians have handled these issues.
- There are also several charts, a nice sized concordance, a glossary of theological terms, and a subject index.
I really love the colors and layout of this Bible. I really love the culture connections and living parables. This is the first Bible I’ve owned that has something like that contained in the Bible, so I think it’s great, and I think having those will help me as a teacher.
I’m not sure that this would be the first Bible I’d hand to a new believer though. I think in trying to include multiple perspectives, this could be confusing to a young person or someone trying to find their way in the swimming tides of doctrine. I’m all for the gentle inclusiveness of perspectives, but I could see some of the women that I disciple being confused by the discussions that I read in this book.
The other thing that I was not as fond of in this Bible was that there were no study notes along the bottom. When I hear the words study Bible, I just automatically assume that there’s going to be some running explanations of individual verses along the bottom of the text throughout the Bible. This was not the case with this Bible.
However, despite those two concerns for me, this was a delightful Bible to go through and read out of one, and I look forward to going through and learning more as I continue to use this Bible.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review.