I have bought two of these Bibles, one for each of my teens. I really do like the commentary because it is written in a very understandable way. They outgrew their Kid's Quest Bibles and had some questions about things and needed answers. It was time for them to read and get answers for themselves and really learn to dig deeper. This Bible has been a big help.
Nothing new , the bible is all about Christ and his wonderful gospel (john 5:39, luke 24:24-27, I would ather say as Christ O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have written!! Besides this translation ESV brings nothing new either than better and more beautiful ones ... I'll let each one discover the ancient paths ()
While I may get a leather-bound, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, the hardback is just as good. Great notes, the print and readability is wonderful. I will say though, if you take off the paper cover, be aware that the cover will scratch very easy. Overall, I am highly satisfied!!!
I have to admit that those were the thoughts that went through my head when I saw that Crossway was publishing a new Study Bible entitled "The Gospel Transformation Bible."
See, I'm one of those who is skeptical about a lot of Christian industry. I've seen how very helpful tools - like the general study Bibles of years gone by - have turned into profit making ventures based upon market segmentation. Who hasn't seen the "Busy Mom's Study Bible?" or perhaps the "Teens With Acne Study Bible?" or maybe even the "Dad's Working on Their Golf Game Study Bible?" Ok, so maybe those are a bit of a stretch, but nevertheless it seems as if Bible publishing itself has - in the eyes of many companies - moved from a ministry to a profit center. And so when I saw this latest release from Crossway, I was concerned. After all, they have a number of excellent Bibles already in print, why introduce yet another?
And you know what? I also have to (joyfully) admit that my skepticism was unfounded. Once I got my hands on a copy, I began to read the notes alongside my daily devotional readings (currently 1 Samuel) and my skepticism turned to joy. "This is amazing!" I muttered to myself more than once. Here's why:
1) One of my biggest goals as a pastor is that those who are under my care would begin to see the Bible not just as a collection of stories from different eras, but rather as one big story of who God is and what He has done, is doing, and will bring to completion. Biblical theology is the tool that enables us to trace these themes all throughout the Scriptures; and yet I've struggled for years to find a good resource that shows these themes and connections which isn't extremely academic in nature. This Study Bible gets very close - its theme is the Gospel and tracing out the contours of that Good News all throughout the Scriptures. To use Crossway's language, this Bible intents to "identify how God's Word predicts, prepares for, reflects, or results from the person and/or work of Christ" (p. ix).
2) The notes here are actually helpful. Don't get me wrong, I love Study Bibles that have tons of notes about every little random detail, but if I'm honest with myself, I get too easily distracted by the various explanations and become sidetracked from what the actual message of the author is. Said another way, I think that the notes in many Study Bibles are more akin to filler and local color than they are to something that actually helps us to comprehend what is being said. Not so here. These notes are given not usually on specific verses, but rather on a "thought by thought" basis that varies from addressing a few paragraphs of the Scriptures to an entire chapter. Thus the notes serve to help you understand an entire segment of Scripture and how that chunk of the text relates to the entire message of the Gospel rather than just showing one tiny facet of truth disconnected from the wider picture.
3) While not a Biblical theology per se, a number of the notes are thematic and communicate in a way that covers a lot of ground in just a paragraph or two. For example, regarding 1 Samuel 4:1-11:
"In the aftermath of Israel's first defeat by the Philistines, the elders ask the right question, recognizing that the outcome of the battle is in the Lord's hands. But they don't wait for an answer. Instead, they try to force the Lord's hand by bringing â€˜the ark of the covenant' into battle with them (v. 3). How easy it is to know that our security is in God's hands and yet to try to secure our own safety by taking matters into our own hands. Israel's manipulative efforts are entirely unsuccessful (v. 10), and the ark of the covenant falls into Philistine hands (v. 11). Soon enough, the Philistines themselves will feel the â€˜weight' of the Lord's hand (5:6, 11)" [p. 347].
In that simple note we find some of the best of what I think this Bible has to offer. First, the immediate issue: the Israelites are trying to force God to do their bidding. Then, the issue for all time (which we still struggle with today): just as the Israelites continue to sinfully take matters into their own hands, so do we (which is the opposite of the Gospel). And third, a note connecting what we are reading now with what will come: the link to God's "hands" which becomes a major plot point in chapter 5 as well as the continuing play off the Hebrew word for "weight" all throughout the book.
All in all, this is a very helpful Study Bible and one that I would recommend not because it will help you understand every cultural nuance or practice (there are plenty of other Study Bibles, commentaries, or Bible handbooks for that), but rather because these notes serve to help us better understand the Bible as one continuous story of who God is, who we are, and how we are to respond to what the Lord has done and is doing. As a pastor, I have become more and more convinced that these sorts of big picture questions and answers are lacking in our churches and we are all the poorer spiritually because of it. The Gospel Transformation Study Bible is a very helpful step in the right direction.
(I wish to note that the publisher of this book, Crossway, provided it to me at no cost as a review sample. My review is in no way influenced or controlled by them, nor was it required to be positive, thus I write my review of this book with honesty and integrity.)