Tuesday, February 8, 2011

‘In His Image Devotional Bible: New Living Translation’ – Book Review

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I am always interested in seeing different Bible translations and versions. The latest I’ve had the opportunity to read and review is Tyndale House’s ‘In His Image Devotional Bible: New Living Translation.’

Here is a synopsis of this version:

Are you becoming the person God made you to be? Is God’s presence in your daily life as real as you’d like it to be? Do you find the busyness of your life crowding out your relationship with God?
The In His Image Devotional Bible guides you through daily, life-changing interaction with God. The features in this Bible focus on passages that highlight His attributes and names so you can develop a deeper, richer, life-changing understanding of who God is. As you do, you’ll find yourself being renewed, energized, and transformed.

Inside this Bible you’ll find…

·         270 Prayerful Readings invite you to quiet your heart and listen to what God is saying to you through His Word and by the power of His Spirit.
·         Response to God Articles turn the focus from God’s attributes to what they mean for your life.
·         God’s Names and Titles feature clarifies the meaning of the origin language and offers a related application.
·         Knowing God Articles explain God’s attributes, helping you understand the big picture of his character and what a biblical relationship with him should look like.
·         Book Introductions provide insight into how God’s attributes and character are revealed in each book of the Bible adding a new depth of understanding to your study.
·         Reading guides and indexes help you get the most out of In His Image.

Get to know God at a deeper level. Let him change you from the inside out.

And here’s the description of the New Living Translation:

An authoritative Bible translation, rendered faithfully into today’s English from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars. The NLT’s scholarship and clarity breathe life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages – but even more powerful are stories of how people’s lives are changed as the words speak directly to their hearts. That’s why we call it “The Truth Made Clear.”

This edition includes an ‘In His Image User’s Guide,’ which explains its purpose:

The features in this Bible focus on the attributes and names of God. Our hope is that you and your relationship with God will be transformed as you reflect on God and his character, setting apart time with him – praying and reading Scripture. The features in this Bible guide you to reflect on God’s character as Scripture reveals it. Then they call you to prayerfully think about what that means for you. The purpose is to become holy even as our God is holy, to love even as our God loves.

The pastor at our church just concluded a series on prayer; one of his points was that the Key to Prayer is to know the character of God. Consequently, this is a perfect time for me to start using this version of the Bible.

Another valuable part of this version is the ‘In His Image Reading Guide.’ This guide shows us which Scripture verses point us to be various attributes of God. For instance, His characteristic of Love can be found in, among many other places, Exodus 20:6; Psalm 136:1; and, of course, John 3:16.

I was particularly interested in seeing how this Bible handled the Book Introduction to the Book of Esther, the only book in the Bible that does not explicitly mention God. How will they handle the attributes and characters of God for a book in which he is not mentioned? Here is how it is handled:

The Book of Esther contains no explicit references to God, yet God is still prominent throughout the book. The reason the author chose not to mention God explicitly may be that he intended his book to become part of the royal archive of the Persian kings, and references to the God of the monotheistic Jews would have hindered such a goal in the polytheistic Persian culture. (p. 485)

That is a theory that I found fascinating and had not heard before.

I also wanted to check into how the introduction to one of my favorite books, Philippians, is handled:

Finding joy in Jesus isn’t just a cliché – at least not to Paul. This mature apostle finds himself in less than enviable circumstances – he is in prison – and sends a letter off to a group of Christians he loves and who love him. He has received gifts from the Philippians, and he wants to thank them (4:18). They had heard that one of their own was ministering to Paul was sick, and he wants to reassure them that he received their gift and is still safe (2:26-28). But, beyond that, he wants to share with them his own deep joy. This letter gives us a glimpse into that heart – and the joyous passions that fill the soul of a mature believer. (p. 1219)

This particular edition is a hardcover with a beautiful and sturdy cover. I think this would be a wonderful Bible to give to anyone at any age level. The TuTone imitation leather edition would be great as a gift for a special occasion (i.e., birthday, graduation, Christmas). The New Living Translation is a superior translation, in my opinion – one of my favorites. I plan on using this Bible for my personal reading effectively immediately.

You can order this book here. The TuTone imitation leather edition is available for order here.

This book was published by Tyndale House Publishers and provided by them for review purposes.

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