Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The Writer's Bible

The Writer's (Journaling) Bible features full size journal pages. High quality journals fold and lay completely flat making them easy to hold and write in.  The Bible text is large for easy reading with heavier paper so that ink does not show through.  The Writers Bible makes a great spiritual journal and personal/small group study tool.  

Convenient 6″ x 9″ size
Lays Flat – easy to write in
Folds Back – easy to hold in one hand
Easy to read classic Garamond font, black
12 point type and larger
Full page of journaling space for each page of scripture
Additional journaling pages provided in the back
Journaling area is on the right hand side – freedom of writing hand movement
Left Hand Versions available too!
Bible book introductions
Section headings
Perfect for personal study, small groups and pastor notes
Multiple translations and languages
Lightweight (<1 lb), easily held with one hand
Extra large font and custom configurations are available

Wide margin and interleaved Bibles are my absolute favorite study tool, and I rejoice every time I see one on the market, which makes The Writer's Bible a special treat. The pragmatic design and focus on customization should make it an attractive option for those who love journaling, note-taking and exploring the text of the Bible through personal commentary. Because of the lack of interleaved Bibles on the market, The Writer's Bible should shoot to the top of the list for those who want a modern translation interleaved text but don't want a three ring binder or don't have the gumption to create their own.

These editions are designed to be available in a large number of formats from a single book to collections. This edition is Paul's Letters - Volume 1 in NASB, which includes Romans and First and Second Corinthians with brief book introductions. Each page of Bible text includes about twenty verses paired with a  ruled page on the opposite side, ready to be filled with notes and commentary.The publisher has future plans for non-ruled pages as an option, which would be far preferable. I would rather have crooked lines of notes with more space for graphs than cramping my copious notes, charts, lists etc. into a ruled page.

The fact that these editions are portions rather than the whole text may turn some people away, as will the fact that they are spiral bound. The focus of this project is practicality. Few will be carrying a backpack full of these editions to and from church and Bible study. These are editions for use and study, not for show. Their usability will be the main concern, and they are highly usable.

The flexibility of the spiral bound format is a huge plus. It allows a full wraparound for reading or writing without the clumsiness of a binder or the chance of tearing pages out.

Dividing the books into portions was wise, though a full Bible or New Testament option would be interesting. The fact that these are in portions allow people to buy editions as they move on in their study and keep them more portable and affordable.

The editions are streamlined, with few extra features apart from book introductions (which could really be done away with) and extra note pages at the back with boxes for custom numbering, which means you could key them to pages where you ran out of notes and need to continue on the back.

The single column format partnered with a 12pt font and a generous margin makes the text readable and far from cramped, a surprising luxury in a wide margin or interleaved Bible. My only caveat with these editions is the price. At one point it was around $15.00 which some will feel squeamish about spending on what seems like a fairly simple product. For those who will really use these editions, the price is worth it, but it means that the whole Bible will cost quite a bit of money. I hope the editions gain traction and production becomes more economical.

The design may seem simplistic and leave some wondering, "Why can't I do this on my own?" And you can. But it probably won't turn out this well. There is an elegance and wisdom to the design which will only improve as the publisher expands customization and options. These editions are far more impressive once you enjoy using them.

The Writer's Bible is currently unavailable as the publisher is working on "process improvements for producing these which will allow further flexibility for flowing text correctly at all font sizes, custom page insertions, left or right handed versions, and your new great suggestion for blank journal pages." Hopefully we will see more options and editions at the end of June, at which point I hope to revisit these editions with a new portion for review. In the meantime you can contact the publisher at www.journalbible.com.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Giveaway Winner May 2012

Congratulations to Tiffany Accuff who won  a copy of The NRSV Notetaker's Bible . Please send your address to Biblereadingproject[at]gmail[dot]com. Didn't win? Stick around for future giveaways.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 2012 Giveaway: NRSV Notetaker's Bible

This week I am giving away a copy of The NRSV Notetaker's Bible . You can view my review of the edition here.

Enter by commenting on this post with your full nameIf you post the giveaway on a blog, post a second comment with the link accompanied again with your full name for an extra entry. I will randomly select a winner on Monday May 14th and announce their name on the blog. If they do not contact me at biblereadingproject[at]gmail[dot com] within 5 days with their U.S. mailing address, I will post a second winner. Be sure to Subscribe or Follow to check back to see if you won. Tell all your friends.

Why give away books? It attracts new readers. It helps spread the messages and works that the Lord has used to inspire me in life and ministry. It helps spread passion and zeal for the work.  Many of the books will be ones I've received for free or extra copies that I have on hand, or simply books that I feel are important enough that they need to be disseminated to the body of Christ at large.

289220: The NRSV Notetaker"s Bible The NRSV Notetaker's Bible
By Oxford University Press

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to Do Proper Word Studies - Part 2

Now, I could simply say, "I have studied the original Hebrew and Greek and I know what the Scriptures really say," but where would that leave you? What if you don't have the ability to check the accuracy of my study? How can you be sure for yourself? Let me help you. The fact is, anyone can do a good word study even if her or she doesn't know the original languages. In fact, you can make your study into a little game called "Fill in the Blank" or "Substitution."
I'll give you an example of how it works, using the English word "hard." This adjective can have several meanings, including "difficult" and "solid," but the context determines which meaning is correct. If we take the sentence, "The rock is hard," we can find out what "hard" means by filling in the blank with the appropriate synonym: "The rock is ____." What is the meaning of "hard" here? Obviously, the rock is not "difficult," the rock is "solid." But in the sentence, "The test is ____" (where the blank represents "hard") it is clear that the correct synonym works as a substitute. Simple, right? The same kind of study can be done with biblical words. List the verses in which certain Hebrew or Greek words occur in your English translation, and you can see the different ways the words are used in different contexts. Then, you begin to see the bigger picture, often enabling you to trace the ways that a word developed its different meanings.
Some years ago, when I did a serious study of the concept of grace in the Bible, I opened up my Hebrew and Greek concordances and examined every reference where the key words for "grace" occurred. Then, I arranged them in different categories and prayerfully analyzed their usage. I was amazed by what I found, especially in the New Testament!
You see, grace is more than "unmerited favor" (although unmerited favor is nothing to snivel at). It is more than God's Riches At Christ's Expense, although that acronym sums up everything we will ever have or experience in God. God's grace is more than a noun or a concept, more than the manner in which God deals with us (as in, "I'm saved by grace, and everything I do is by grace"). It's more than that.
Grace is His merciful, enabling help, His ongoing empowerment, His continued working on our behalf. It speaks of the Lord's past, present, and future action, expressing what Jesus does for us and not just what He did for us. As expressed by A.M. Hunter, "Grace means primarily free, forgiving love of God in Christ to sinners and the operation of that love in the lives of Christians."
[. . . .]
[H]ere is the surprising news: the New Testament word "grace" does not fundamentally mean "unmerited favor." its basic meaning does include favor (of any kind) along with kindness, but it also includes enablement and gifting, important concepts we often miss.
You see, God's grace not only did something amazing for us--forgiving us all our sins--but His grace continues to do something amazing for us: empowering us to live for Him. In fact, there was nothing revolutionary in the New Testament concept of grace meaning "favor" or "gift." What was revolutionary was the degree of favor shown to us through the Cross and the ongoing effectiveness of that favor in our lives. Grace finishes what it starts.

-Dr. Michael Brown, Go and Sin No More pp. 214-216

Recommended by Dr. Brown:

32079: Englishman"s Greek Concordance Englishman's Greek Concordance
By George V. Wigram / Hendrickson Publishers

32087: The Englishman&quot;s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament The Englishman's Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament
By George V. Wigram / Hendrickson Publishers