As to the book itself, quality is good...single column text is very nice...overall appearance is fine.
Unfortunately though, I cannot give this study bible my endorsement.
When we read the notes at Mark 15:38, that the rending of the curtain from top to bottom signifies that "God is loose in the World," we're reading comments that clearly miss the point of God's revelation. First, what does "God is loose in the world" mean? He's always been "loose in the world." He's omnipresent. The curtain was a symbol of our separation from Him, only allowing the High Priest to approach. The real purpose of His rending it, of course, was to show the Law had come to completion by the atoning work of Christ ("It is finished") and to demonstrate that the way was now open to ALL, to enter the Holiest of Holies. (In Him, we are all priests and kings.)
When we read comments in John that the baptism of Jesus "bridges the gap between earth and heaven", we're again reading what misses the mark. Messiah Himself said it's purpose was "to fulfill all righteousness", which was essential to His fulfillment of the Covenant of Works, perfectly obedient to all God's will, as well as prepare Himself as the Atoning Sacrifice satisfying the requirements of the Covenant of Grace.
When we read in the Corinthian letters watered down study notes intimating that Paul's interpretation of God's revelation regarding the homosexual issue may be because he was Hebrew and so "influenced by the FORMER scriptures" with reference to Leviticus, we're reading subtle hints both that apparently God may have "changed His mind" regarding His stand toward the issue (though we know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever), and that the "former" scriptures may no longer bear on the present. That is, revelation changes with time. (Or possibly with societal change.)
The more I reviewed the study notes in this bible, the more I saw a great deal of work poured into subtle uses of the English language in presenting the material, intended to speak "toward" the Truth, but fall just short of the mark, leaving more questions than answers, and a wide range of liberality able to be read into the text.
However, beloved... God is sovereign over ALL events and circumstances, and this study bible is no different. "All things work together for good to those who love God..." &c.
The great value of this Study bible is to bring it along other study bibles available... (almost any other one)... to see just how hard we can work, and still manage to leave the veil over people's eyes, and Truth unrevealed.
I strongly recommend every follower of Jesus Christ to at least review this bible so they know what it is and are prepared. Our God will be creating opportunities for us as a result of its release.
As to young seekers after the truth...I can only recommend this bible after you are well grounded from other sources...or that if you buy this one, be sure you have 3-4 others at hand to help straighten things out.
God's kingdom come, beloved.
His grace and peace be with you as you do the works He planned for you before the foundation of the world.
I had originally decided to not write a review of this book. After requesting a review copy, I only received a copy of the book of Mark and one essay extracted from the book. Though I understood the cost restrictions of sending an entire Bible to every reviewer, it was not enough to prepare a fair and complete review. It was enough, however, to encourage this reviewer to order a copy of the complete Bible for his own use. The complete copy warrants a good review.
This massive (2222+ pages) work is one of the best Study Bibles I have seen. The editor is on the faculty of Fuller Seminary and has a long history of publishing in Biblical circles. The CEB Study Bible comes in two basic versions, with and without notes on the Apocrypha. I chose to purchase and review the edition without the Apocrypha.
As might be expected in a good Study Bible, the notes are well written. Though leaning more toward a scholarly tone, the notes also include a bit of devotional tone as well. Along with the notes are several sidebar articles which address specific topics in more depth. These sidebar articles are indexed both in Biblical Order and in Alphabetical Order.
Color images are included throughout the book, but the thinness of the pages reduces the quality of the images compared to what might be expected in a reference work of this length. Pages of the Introductory material and the Old Testament are numbered separately from the New Testament and Concluding material. The 21 typical Bible maps found in the last few pages of the book are numbered separately - but not with page numbers. There is a map index. The maps do not seem to be as well prepared or as unique as the other tools found in the text.
The introductory material consists of typical Bible helps: Abbreviations, Table of Measures, the Hebrew Calendar, a list of the Canons of Scripture from various traditions. This material also includes the aforementioned "Index of Sidebar Articles". Following the New Testament are five essays on authority and use of Scripture by the believer. The concluding material also contains a fairly complete (for a Bible) concordance and the set of maps mentioned earlier.
The editor states that the book is designed to assist an individual or group in the understanding of the cultural and historical background. His choice of authors from a variety of backgrounds (conservative and liberal) provide a somewhat mixed bag in terms of notes. However, the editor's own essay, found near the end of the book declares his own commitment to the validity of the Scriptures, as he writes (page 530):
1. Scripture is One
2. Scripture is Holy
3. Scripture is Catholic
4. Scripture is Apostolic
I probably would not recommend The CEB Study Bible as a believer's first Study Bible (this honor would probably fall to the ESV Study Bible or the HCSB Study Bible); I would recommend that a pastor or adult Bible Study leader obtain a copy for regular reference and use.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.