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5 Stars Out Of 5
Devotionally Centered Study Bible
September 2, 2014
Each Bible book begins with a brief synopsis of the book (The Big Picture) and review of the key themes found in the book as they relate to Spiritual Renewal. As expected, these prepare the reader to read the whole book.
The bulk of the notes are not quite a Study Bible (in spite of its name); neither are they quite a Devotional Bible. This book might best be entitled a Devotionally Centered Study Bible most notes help the reader understand each section of the Bible as presented in the NIV and includes a brief devotional thought or two which will help the reader apply the text to his or her own life.
What truly gives value to this edition of the Bible are the Study Notes found at the rear of the Bible. The authors provides a comprehensive index to the text note found in the body of the book. The editors provide a series of devotional readings focusing on seven Spiritual Keys:
Key 1: Seek God and Surrender to Him
Key 2: See the Truth
Key 3: Speak the Truth
Key 4: Accept Responsibility
Key 5: Grieve, Forgive, and Let Go
Key 6: Transform Your Life
Key 7: Preserve Spiritual Gains
Each of these themes, though somewhat disquised in the notes. Provide ten to twenty devotional thoughts scattered throughout the scriptures centered on the given Spiritual Key.
Two additional back end notes contribute to the book's worth a set of character profiles integrated into the text notes and a set of readings on ten Spiritual Disciplines:
Bible Study and Meditation
Repentance and Confession
Though not strong on theology, this Bible would be a good book for anyone seeking to renew their walk with God or for a new believer seeking to find how God's word can apply to everyday life.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
This NIV Bible version contains notes written by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Arterburn hosts a Christian counseling program and Stoop is a licensed clinical psychologist and appears as a co-host on the Arterburn program from time to time. Together the publisher has compiled several helpful features for the reader follow in seeking spiritual renewal. My comments will address those items only and leave the Biblical text commentary to the experts.
The introductory section suggests starting with the Spiritual Keys Devotional Reading Plan (xv) which, to me, resembles a twelve step approach that use seven stages rather than the usual number. Each Key provides two weeks of devotionals prompted by an accompanying Bible reading. The reading that follows is noted and leads to the next. Both the Old and New Testaments are considered within each of the seven keys. A serious reader can benefit from following this track. That is not the only approach offered in this Bible. There are character profiles interspersed throughout the text which are listed in a helpful index. The index also includes an abbreviated list of readings that pertain to spiritual disciplines and a subject index with Biblical references that are related to each of the subjects. Overall, this Bible provides those seeking spiritual renewal several options to use. I found the recommended Spiritual Keys plan the most helpful. The others were more of an overview or introduction in my view. I would also recommend discussing your renewal progress with your pastor or other trusted person rather than attempting this alone.
I received a hardbound copy for this review. The dust jacket is attractive, and the book lays flat when it is opened or held. The pages are substantial enough for marking, although highlighting markers can bleed through a little, or did for me anyway.
Overall I can recommend this version to most readers. Why only most? Because some will prefer another translation. The notes in this Bible can be used with other translations though, in my opinion. So pull up your preferred version alongside this one and use this one for its notes.
Two other things need to be mentioned. This Bible has an older edition that is available as well from an online sight I will not name here. I do not know if any changes have been made to this one. There is also an ebook version available which I did not view.
This book was provided by the publisher to me in exchange for a review.