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Review: Discover God Study Bible

Thanks to Laura Bartlett and the blogger review program at Tyndale House Publishers, I have a copy of Discover God Study Bible: New Living Translation that I've been looking at for the past couple of weeks. I like this Bible and anticipate using it regularly as part of my devotional reading and personal study.

Like many study Bibles, this is a fairly thick book. It's a hardcover, with close to 2500 pages. It's dimensions are similar to textbooks I had in college -- it's big enough that you'll think twice before toting it to church, but not so big that it keeps you from opening it and diving in. The text is the New Living Translation (NLT), which I am liking more and more, the more I use my NLT Study Bible in conjunction with this year's Bible Study at church. The text is laid out in single columns, with cross-references in the gutters, and study notes in double columns in a slightly smaller font. This is by far my favorite way to present the text of the Bible. There are full-color maps in the back and additional study aids in the front (more on this later). The only aspect of the physical layout of this Bible that I don't like is that the words of Christ are in red. When I was a kid, I loved red letter Bibles, but not so much anymore. All in all, though, that's a fairly minor complaint.

So what sets this Bible apart from other study Bibles? Why turn to yet another study Bible when there are so many choices already out there? For me, I like having lots and lots of choices. Editors bring different biases to each edition, and I think that having more choices helps keep everyone honest. I like to use different versions so as not to become too dependent on any one particular interpretation. Here's what Tyndale says sets the Discover God Study Bible apart from other choices:

Every problem in life is based on an incorrect view of God. The Discover God Study Bible is the first study Bible specifically designed to address this problem. Every note and feature draws the reader to a deeper understanding of who God is and how He can transform their life. it features an easy-to-use TopicGuide to every major topic and teaching of the Bible.

This study Bible does a good job of fulfilling the goal of relating the study notes to a deeper understanding of who God is. I think this focus in the notes is one of the primary things that makes this a good Bible for devotional reading and personal study. I've skimmed through most of the notes and read all of the notes for 1 John. They remind me of the notes in a "life application" study Bible, but with a little more scholarly feel. These are not the notes you'll be going to in order to debate finer points of theology or original language studies, but they are the notes you'll be going to if you want to be challenged to seriously think about what the Bible text says about God, and how you relate to him.

The introductions before each book are well done. They're usually two or three pages long and give a good overview of the book: the author, main themes, date of writing, etc. They also include a "Discover God in..." and a "Growing Through..." section that are very good at guiding you how to read through the book with an eye to deepening your understanding of God and encouraging spiritual growth.

I'm a sucker for special features in Bibles, and the Discover God Study Bible has a great one: the Topic Guide and Topic Link System. At the beginning of the Bible are about 50 pages listing important scripture passages, categorized in 10 topics: Bible, Holiness, God, Warfare, Salvation, Church, Worship, Purpose, Adoption, and Ministry. Each topic is further subdivided into more granular subtopics and passages related to the subtopic are listed. For example, under "God -> God's Attributes -> All-powerful," we see that God has power to deliver (Exod. 13:3; Judg. 7:2; Ps. 7:1). No, it's not a comprehensive list, but it's a good representative sampling. In the notes for the text itself, there are frequent references to the Topic Guide, so when you're studying a given passage, it's easy to find other passages related to the same topic.

All in all, if you're looking for a Bible to use for devotional reading and personal study, the Discover God Study Bible is a great choice. For more information, check out Tyndale's promo site (which includes a "how to use" video) and amazon.com.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
asqmh
Mar. 1st, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
How did you get started with the Blogger Review Program?
drmellow
Mar. 1st, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
After I won the NLT Study Bible and wrote a review a few months ago, the folks at Tyndale contacted me to about being part of the program.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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