Book Notice: Catholic Holy Bible Reader’s Edition from @TyndaleHouse

As long time readers of the blog may recall, I am a huge fan of the New Living Translation. It is a faithful dynamic translation providing the reader with a depth with a solid choice. Initially, Tyndale had a Catholic edition, but it was not approved by the Vatican and thus… well… #Jesuits.

Now, my inside sources tell me of a second edition, a Reader’s edition, coming out with the Vatican approval. From the Tyndale site.

Tyndale is pleased to announce the NLT Catholic Readers Edition, approved by the Catholic Church for reading and study and including the official Imprimatur. The Bible includes the New Living Translation text with deuterocanonical books. It also features book introductions to aid your personal study. The Holy Bible, New Living Translation communicates God’s Word powerfully to all who read it.

The New Living Translation is 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 changing as the words speak directly to their hearts.

I am looking forward to this updated text

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Wrestling with the Two Headed Monster of John 3.16


My name is Jeremy Shank.
I am pastor at Thornville UMC in the Foothills District.
I am currently blogging about and hoping to form ideas for a new book I’m working on.

“Inclusion/Exclusion – a look at how salvation works in the Bible” is the topic I am working with and I could use your thoughts on some things.  I was hoping you might weigh in on a couple of issues I am wrestling with right now.

I am looking at John 3.16, probably the most well known verse concerning our salvation. I am weighing how much inclusion we see in this verse as well as the wording here that would suggest there is some exclusion to deal with, also. Some translations would put the entire conversation with Nicodemus as the words of Jesus (in red) all the way down to verse 21. (NKJV, CEB, NLT) Most notably, the NIV stops Jesus speaking (words in red) at verse 15. Which leaves the rest of the section looking like a re-capping of the conversation with Nicodemus by the author of the Gospel.

My wonderings….
1) a penny for your thoughts on John 3.16 and whether you feel more inclusive about the verse or exclusive as you read it.
2) does putting the actual words of John 3.16 into the hands of Jesus shape your feelings about how salvation works itself out in our lives.
3) any material you might suggest that I research that would help support your viewpoint and help me shape mine.

Blessings on your day

Thank you for your help

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Review, “@TyndaleHouse Select NLT: Select Reference Edition”

For the bibliophile, there is barely anything more joyful than a finely pieced book. Yes, it is about the interior, but so too the exterior. In fact, bibliophiles know you can judge a book by its cover. There is also a select group of bibliophiles who do more than collect books, but so too collect bibles. I myself have numerous hard copies of the Scriptures, in different translations, with different covers, in different editions. There are two holding top-tier in my collection. The first is the Cambridge KJV with Apocrypha. It is black calfskin leather. The second is a hardback copy of the REB. It has a book cover, but nothing else. These two versions, materially, strike me as being beautiful and thus are the two I cherish.

But now I have a third. The Tyndale Select NLT: Select Reference Edition. Immediately, I am struck the simplistic majesty of this edition. The smell. The feel. The size. The weight. Everything about this version makes me want to admire it for its quality, but I know that I will be able to pass this one along.

Long time readers of this blog know that I have a special place in my heart for the New Living Translation — I’m a NLTphile, I guess. I find that it is more than suitable for any reader of the bible, regardless of age or denominational affiliation. It is readable, both in church and as an individual, providing a modern rendering of Scripture while being faithful to our tradition of English translations. It deserves to be read daily. But, with each reading, a traditional bible will lose its consistency — at least in material.

With the Tyndale Select NLT, NTLphiles and bibliophiles meet in their desire to have a beautiful, generational heirloom bible. It is made of black goatskin (although brown is available), which provides for a lifetime durability — and I’m guessing, not just my lifetime either. The feel of this bible, because of the goatskin, is supple. It is Smyth-sewn, allowing the bible to lay flat. It includes two ribbons. The edges to this hand-bound bible (by Jongbloed (Netherlands)) are art-gilded. The text is the single column NLT, with cross references and other notes familiar to NLT readers.

It is a single-column, printed in such a way as to avoid bleed through. The references are to the side, while the translators’ notes are at the bottom. The print is not as small as you might think, given that the single column requires a larger font. Finally, one of the highlights of this bible — in my opinion — is that it is in black letter, throughout.

I’ll include some pictures below — but I’m afraid they won’t do it justice. Rather, let me tell those wondering about the price: You will not regret this. This is not a “gift bible” (those $10 bibles you pick up for a special occasion that last for a few months) but it truly is a gift. It is one of those things you give to someone when you care for them and want them to use it daily, for years, and maybe a generation or two. The material quality compliments the eternal quality of this Book, and should give the benefactor the hope that when the memory of the presentation has long past, this book will endure, perhaps passed on to another’s hands, giving light in a dark world.

For years, Cambridge was the premier manufacturer of high quality bibles; however, the Tyndale Select NLT: Select Reference Edition rivals them in every detail, even providing a better quality leather, in my opinion — not to mention the readability of the single-column.

There is a calfskin version, which costs a little less. You can read more about the Tyndale NLT Select here.

For another review, check out famed Methodist and Wesleyan Scholar, Kevin Watson’s review.

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@tyndalehouse Review: Chronological Life Application Study Bible NLT

chronological life applicaiton study bible
Click to Order

In anything except for relationships, it is always grand to return to your first love. As a young and nubile prince of reviewers, I first began to review for Tyndale with their ]] series and then, the ]]. Even though the time for reviews had long since passed and I had been turned down once; yet the kind folks, sensing the my need for the NLT relented and sent me my first one… the one that changed devotional reading. This edition of the New Living Translation promises to drive reading in much the same way a new translation does — by mixing it up.

First, let us discuss the question that is pressing: Why do we need a bible set in a chronological line? Canonical theists may argue for a reading as it is set in canon. I would prefer a reading of the time of composition. The Chronological method straddles the fence between both of these in a good way. It sees Scripture as a grand narrative not of a set of authors and audience, but one of Author and one audience. Is this new? Maybe, or maybe it is presented with a foot in the past and a hand on the door of the future. Why then do we need to have such an edition? Are we not destroying sacred canon? No. After all, the canon is only recently settled, with different orders appearing in the Reformation. Reading the bible in such a way is beneficial because it helps those who struggle with viewing Scripture as a great whole (even the noted the literary theorist, Northrop Frye who struggled with religion and Christianity could see the completeness of Scripture) while maintaining their place in the grander narrative. Further, on a slightly different level, reading the bible with its self-proclaimed chronology helps to examine how different authors write of different events — thus it becomes both a scholarly and a theologically method.

The method here is to take the books along the calendar which they portend to, or tradition tells us, they follow. Therefore, you begin with Genesis even though scholars may argue it comes after other books if we were to date it by composition event because it begins the story. Added to this concept is the infusion of different parts of the story. For instance, Kings and Chronicles are placed inside one another so that a history is given that does not bare the marks of ideological driven drivel discovered if we were to separate them out. Paul’s letters are interspersed among Acts to provide a certain amount of theological detail to Acts and historical detail to the Pauline corpus. Likewise, there is here no synoptic problem. The Editors would make Tatian proud as they have made a modern day Diatessaron allowing the reader to read the story of Jesus from four angles, at once.

Coupled with this method of reading are the notes from the Life Application Study Bible acting to give the bible an applicable feel to the believer. This bible is also filled with lots of color — timelines, charts, and pictures that help to amplify the passages and even books (a personal favorite is the picture of the act of Creation at the beginning of Genesis 1). Various articles, such as “A Chronological Survey of the Bible” supplement the Life Application Study Bible notes, to allow for a deeper, investigative, study of the schema of the volume. On the top of each page is a progressing timeline so that the reader can know where she is at while reading that page. Of a particular note are the colors in Psalms. The title, theme, and author are noted in a shade of blue-green, like the eyes of the ocean. This, in my opinion, helps to separate what we have done from what the Psalmist has written. Of course the color of these headings and the headings for the rest of the volume match the color on the progressing time line. And, thank God, with all of this color, the editors have refused to use red for the words of Jesus. This, my friends, is a rather important point for me when selecting a bible.

So, now comes the inevitable question: Would I recommend the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible? I would, but not because of some forlorn loyalty to the translation who kept me reading Scripture. Nor would I because I was provided this as a review copy. There is nothing to actually make me recommended a bible except for the fact that it is a good one. Yes, it is geared to more conservative Christians, including a Christian Worker’s Resource Guide that is, in fact, not about labor unions. Yes, it is deeply evangelical. But it is a solid translation for reading. The Life Application Study Bible notes are found in many churches across the denominational  spectrum. Here, these notes that have served for years to guide believers into applying biblical precepts are coupled with an artistic take on telling the bible story as if it is a grand story of many interconnected parts, rather than a library sixty-six books. This is a great resource for renewing one’s appreciation of our place in the story of God. So yes, I would recommend it.


Below are a few pictures:

This is how it is laid out
The Timeline they Follow – Notice the Undated
Nice Color Shot
This, my friends, is a beautiful introduction to Genesis

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What will the U.S. Department of State do with the #NLT?

Thought this was fun…

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 1.57.19 PM


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In the Mail: Chronological Life Application Study Bible NLT

chronological life applicaiton study bible
Click to Order

Thanks to the kind folks at Tyndale House for sending this review copy:

The Bible is the story of God’s interaction with his creation. It is a story that occurs over time, in many places, and through many events. It includes the lives and lessons learned by many people from many cultures. It’s often easy to lose sight of the way in which God’s story fits together when our primary way of looking at the Bible is a bit here and a bit there.

The new four-color Chronological Life Application Study Bible combines the proven resources of the Life Application Study Bible with a chronological format and several brand-new resources. The Bible is arranged in 10 chronological sections that help the reader to see how the various pieces of the Bible fit together. New section intros and timelines set the stage for the passages in each section. New archaeological notes and photographs help to bring God’s story to life in a whole new way. And of course, the Life Application resources answer the all-important question—“so what?”

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The Study Bible Wars: NLT 1, ESV 0

ESV Study Bible Hardcover Cover
Image via Wikipedia

I wanted to highlight just a few things about the NLT Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible as a point of comparison. This post is not meant to be all incluvise or even a review.

In Genesis 1.26, the NLT Study Bible reads,

Let us make is more personal than the remote “Let there be” (e.g., 1.36). The plural us has inspired several explanations:

  1. the Trinity;
  2. the plural to denote majesty;
  3. a plural to show deliberation with the self; and
  4. God speaking with his heavenly court of angels

The editors answer these objections, and I’ll skip most of what they say. No doubt the editors, translators and others who worked on the NLT Study Bible, the scholars anyway, are devout ‘orthodox’ Christians believing in the Trinity. Yet here, they allow for a more scholastic approach which keeps the integrity of the passage free from later dogmatization. They note, “The concept of the Trinity – one true God who exists eternally in three distinct persons – was revealed at a later stage in redemptive history, making it unlikely that the human author intended that here.” They conclude the note by stating that option 4 is the the most likely answer. And indeed, it is. This is the position of ancient Jewish interpreters as well, as demonstrated in the Jewish Study Bible.

The ESV Study Bible notes that the “text does not specify the identify of the “us” mentioned here.” Ahh… the false notion of Scripture interpreting Scripture. A starting point for the interpretation of Scripture cannot be Scripture, as it allows for circular logical to act as the foundation of the loudest voice being right. The ESV Study Bible Editors goes on to note what the NLT Study Bible does, that the ‘us’ (as it is in other places in the OT) is the heavenly court. Yet, they end by stating,  “Many Christians and some Jews have taken “us” to be God speaking to himself, since God alone does the making in Genesis. 1.27 (cf 5.1); this would be the first hint of the Trinity in the Bible (cf. 1.2).”

But it’s not. It is actually the heavenly court which was the understanding of the people who first read this passage. While it is easy for us to sit here today and reread the original works, the Scriptures were not created in a vacuum. The writers used the lexicons and encyclopedias of the day so that those who heard them then would understand the meaning of the text. How arrogant of us to think that the people for whom it was written didn’t understand it, and yet, we do.

Overall, I like the ESV Study Bible notes, but in several areas, the NLT Study Bible remains intellectually honest.

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A Sample Review: NLT Parallel Study Bible Sampler

Click to Pre-Order

Thanks to Adam for this Sampler. The entire bible is due on August 1.

As a fan of the NLT and more, the NLT Study Bible, I was interested to note that Tyndale will now produce the NLT Study Bible’s notes along side the notes of the Life Application series. I find that while the NLT Study Bible’s notes are more conservative than something like the New Oxford Annotated Bible, they are still filled with integrity. For example look at the notes for Genesis 1.26 and Isaiah 7.14. When you can be honest about these verses, I find that the rest of the study notes are to be respected as well. The Life Application series has been around for a little while and is attached to various translations. This system of notes is meant for a more broadly based daily use with the goal of helping the Christian to apply Scriptural teachings to their own lives.

So what’s the reason you should but this bible and there by replace both your already purchased Study Bible and Life Application Bible? For starters, there is the parallel feature. The translation is single column, at the top of the page. Below the ‘fold’, in parallel columns, the editors have placed the notes attached to each bible. Instead of taking two bibles, or rather, having to chose between the two, you can now enjoy both of them at the same time. You can fill up your scholastic need as well as your devotional need!

The sampler only includes Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, so the features may change.

One of these features are short studies on the book of Romans. Seven, actually. They cover a variety of theological topics which are meant for small groups or individuals. There are not overly in depth, but these studies will get you more than familiar with the particular book and some of the current theological thinking regarding them.

The problem with bibles like these is the question, “Do I really need another one?” I think that some of us live in a false dichotomy that critical studies (even of the evangelical variety) must be separated from devotional or theological living. A bible like this helps to show that the separation isn’t that wide and can be somewhat welded together. For those who like their devotional readings mixed with conservative critical studies, I think that the answer to the above question is “Yes, you do need this bible.” Plus, it gives you a reason to remark your bible up (shivers) and cross reference between study and life.

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