PUBLISHER: Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2012, (2220 pages).
This is an impressive study Bible arranged in chronological order. Based on the New Living Translation of the Bible, it helps us address the following questions:
- What does the passage really mean?
- How does it apply to my life?
- Why does some part of the Bible seem irrelevant today?
- What do these ancient cultures go to do with now?
- I love God; but why can't I understand what God is saying to me through the Word?
- What's going on in the life of these Bible people?
In terms of "application," the Bible is showing us the following.
- It is not mere knowledge but practical pointers to life's relevance
- It is something we can put into practice
- It shows us that what is true in ancient times is also true in contemporary times
- It comes with an explanation about the texts
- There is a bridge between the past and the present
- There is an example of application
- BEGINNINGS: undated to 2100 BC
- GOD's CHOSEN FAMILY: 2100 - 1800 BC
- BIRTH OF ISRAEL: 1800 - 1406 BC
- POSSESSING THE LAND: 1406 - 1050 BC
- UNITED MONARCHY: 1050 - 930 BC
- SPLINTERED NATION: 930 - 586 BC
- EXILE: 586 - 538 BC
- RETURN & DIASPORA: 538 - 6 BC
- JESUS CHRIST: 6 BC - AD 30
- THE CHURCH: AD 30 - Present
As we open up the pages, there is a color marking to show us where we are in the biblical time frame. This is extremely helpful to enable us to locate the dates when we read a particular passage. Often, especially when reading the Old Testament, it is easy to get lost in the details.
The footnotes are very detailed, with key verses being chosen for additional exposition. Informational plates fill the Bible with lots of interesting stuff that really brings the relevance of biblical knowledge to life. There are clearly marked out maps and tables to show us the details of kingdoms, ruling empires, and comparisons. Other highlights include:
- A Christian Worker's Resource
- The Bible Book-By-Book (my favourite); that shows us the blueprint, the megathemes, and a brief overview of the book
- Dictionary and Concordance
- Personality Profiles
- Section Introductions
- Three types of timelines: 1) Master timeline; 2) Detailed era timelines; 3) Specific dates
There is a lot of information in this study bible to the point that I fear they may become distractions in itself. Thus, let me offer some tips when using this study bible.
First, use it as a supplement with an actual Bible. This ensures that we stay focused on the text first before anything else. Second, after reading the text, use this Bible to establish some contexts such as date, author, and the location of the passage within the big story. Third, let the applications prompt us toward other applications.