Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Transformation Study Bible NLT

I'm always excited to look at a new Bible and see if it can stand up against my tried and true King James Version. I'll admit it I'm a sucker for the thees, thous and the depths of the KJV so when I had the chance to receive The Transformation Study Bible NLT I jumped at the offer. This Bible is beautifully bound in hardcover with matching dust jacket, should you choose to remove the dust jacket the same picture matches the cover.
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is the General Editor for this version of the Bible and he is an acclaimed Pastor (although I will admit to never having heard of him). He is the former Pastor of The Moody Bible Church in Chicago, internationally known Bible teacher and has given his life to deeper examination of God's Word. He has a commentary series called "BE" which is what the commentary in this Bible is based upon.
There is an introduction to the New Living Translation of the Bible which talks about such items of interest as translation philosophy and methodology, translation process and team, text behind the NLT, translation issues (changing male oriented terms), footnotes, spelling of proper names and other items. Next up is the Translation Team given by the book of the Bible and who translated that particular book. We're then given an over view of what each book contains like the introduction, outlines, overviews, catalyst notes (Dr. Wiersbe's observations regarding Scripture), be transformed (in the introduction goes over life changing aspects of that book), cross references, full color maps, dictionary-concordance and study notes. All make for a very nice study Bible and there is much included for better understanding of Biblical text - but I would do so cautiously.
Keeping in mind that I did not and could not read this Bible version in it's entirety before completing this review, I will go over two of my major concerns. I am in no way doubting Dr. Wiersbe's insight into the Bible but during some of my reading of the "Catalyst" I was concerned especially when it came to the one regarding 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in which it's said "....Whatever the Bible says about itself, mankind, God, life, death, history, science, and every other subject is true. This does not mean that every statement in the Bible is true, because the Bible records the lies of men and of Satan. But the record is true." To me this is contradictory in nature as well as seeming to call into question the infallible nature that I believe the Bible to be.
Another issue that I had with this version of the Bible is the changing of male oriented terms. One example of this is: Genesis 1:27.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them; male and female created him thee." (KJV)
"So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (NLT)
I am not sure I understand the need to change gender terms, maybe it's our culture that wants Christianity their way or maybe because feminism has become so deeply ingrained into our churches that we need to appease ourselves. I know God loves men and women equally and He includes them both in His Word so to have to change the gender terms seem to take away from God's Word, which is forbidden in Scripture. In the Scripture above even the KJV already translates that women are included if not in the first part, in the second. Other changes are brothers to brothers and sisters, there are other changes but I won't list them all here. Again I am not a Bible translator but I don't think one has to be in order to realize that God includes men and women in His Word even if it's not specifically stated.
Overall, this Bible can be a wonderful resource to delve deeper into Biblical understanding alongside an older translation of the Bible (KJV or NKJV, etc). Weigh what you read against much prayer, reading, discussion and more prayer. If you'd like a companion study Bible then this would be useful, especially since it does contain cross references (I like to have these available without having to pull a huge concordance out when studying) to the Scripture being studied. The Transformation Study Bible is available from David C. Cook.

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