NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Imitation Leather, Sage/Leaves IndexedCraig Keener, John WaltonZondervan / 2016 / Imitation Leather$57.99 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 29 Reviews
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Cardinal5 Stars Out Of 5Awesome!!!June 11, 2019CardinalQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This Bible is fantastic - so full of helpful information that helps bring The Word to life!!! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to study God's Word.
Bob HaytonSt. Paul, MNAge: 35-44Gender: Male4 Stars Out Of 5Helpful resource for making sense of how the Bible compares with other ancient literatureMay 9, 2019Bob HaytonSt. Paul, MNAge: 35-44Gender: MaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Zondervan has released a monumental study Bible. The "NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible" promises to bring the ancient world of Scripture to life for contemporary readers. The array of resources presented and the depth of research made accessible could almost be described as incredible.
This Bible is presented in a beautiful format and the study notes and articles are written by top-notch evangelical scholars. The editors, John H. Walton (professor of OT at Wheaton College) and Craig S. Keener (professor of NT at Asbury Theological Seminary) are experts in their fields. They have drawn from the work of other evangelical tools in creating this study Bible: most notably, the "Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament", (edited by John Walton), and the "IVP Bible Background Commentary" for Old and New Testaments, (the NT volume of which was edited by Craig Keener).
Introductions focusing on the historical setting, cultural/religious setting and literary setting are provided for each book of the Bible. Broader introductions for different genres and collections of books are also provided, and over 300 articles are furnished on a variety of cultural background topics. Nearly 400 full-color photos, illustrations and images brighten the pages of this volume. There are dozens of detailed maps and the study notes are by no means brief. I would say it rivals the ESV Study Bible for length, but the focus on the notes is largely centered on historical and cultural background information.
So many modern readers of the Bible skip past background info and dive forward into application of the text. This is a shortcut that is not usually going to produce the most wholesome and meaningful results. Understanding the ancient world of the text of Scripture can help us better see the parallels with our own day and age. New insights can open up to us new vistas of thought, and cautions can prevent us from misappropriating passages in ignorance.
The book of Lamentations was my area of focus for this review. The introduction was not overly long but appropriately set the stage. Historical detail is a must for understanding what can be quite dark verses for the uninitiated. The pictures of captives from Lachish being led into exile, or of mourning captives being led away by the Assyrians gave an appropriate frame of reference for the text itself. The parallel laments of other ancient cities help inform the reader as to the genre of the book. The many notes explained odd references and brought out a fuller depth of meaning. What does it mean for those who pass your way to "clap their hands at you" (2:15 derision)? Or why is a measuring line stretched out over a wall that then wastes away (2:8 to determine which parts are too unstable to be reused)? What could the stones being thrown at those in a "pit" possibly signify (3:53 stone covers placed over abandoned cisterns sometimes used as a gruesome end for enemies)?
The design of the Bible with its tan colored center column for cross-references, and its beautifully designed cover pages make it inviting to peruse. The extensive indexes make sure the resources you are looking for are accessible. Timelines and an excellent concordance are additional features that complement this work well. Of particular note are charts explaining Hebrew terms that have no exact English equivalent, and a helpful glossary of key Greek terms. The tables of parallel Ancient Near Eastern literature that attest to the Bible's historicity or compare with it, are informative and invite the reader to pursue further study.
One final note of caution. Many evangelicals may not be prepared for the level of comparisons to be found between the Bible and other ancient literature and stories. Rather than explaining away or ignoring such parallel literature, this study Bible prepares the reader to know how best to understand the existence of such parallels and often points out how such parallels inform and enrich our understanding of Scripture and need not threaten our belief in Scripture's status as the Word of the Living God.
I highly recommend this new study Bible and am happy to add it to my shelf as I seek to grow in my understanding of the world of the Bible.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
Steve5 Stars Out Of 5NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study BibleApril 5, 2019SteveQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I own several Bibles and several commentaries as well as a Logos subscription. This Bible has exceeded my expectations. Every page seems to have a surprise element that teaches me more about the culture in the specific book and other pages that give backgrounds to the Scriptures I'm reading or about to begin. The colorful images are excellent as well. If you don't want one, buy one as a gift. They will thank you.
Jana5 Stars Out Of 5Yup. Its worth it.February 15, 2019JanaQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Wow! If you're a serious student of the Bible, then the importance of this incredible resource cannot be understated.
Yes, it is large and heavy, so it's not for taking to and fro, but it's definitely for digging deeper about all that was going on culturally and historically during the various time frames involved in Scripture writings. This is not your typical Bible concordance and maps; it offers in-depth insights and offerings at your fingertips, as you're reading which help explain things that we simply cannot know about Scripture, unless we learn.
Yes, the pages are a little thin and as other reviews correctly recommended, I ordered the 'large print' version for my aging 48 year old eyes.
I've purchased 3 of these Bibles as gifts since Fall 2018, and persuaded at least 2 others to purchase it as well. Yup, it's that good.
Amber5 Stars Out Of 5Large BibleJanuary 10, 2019AmberQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I did not realize I ordered the large print. This is a large bible and will not fit in "regular" bible cases but other then that I am completely satisfied with it. Very informative and highly recommended for those wishing to go deeper in their study