All posts by: Anthony Stephens

I had been hearing about this Bible that was coming out in October 2017 called the Pastor’s Bible from Holman Publishers. This is a style of Bible that has been called “the Minister’s Bible” in the past with other translations. I finally got me a copy, and after a couple of months, I am ready to share my thoughts.

Translation

It is important that a person have a copy of God’s word in a translation that they can understand. This was one of the heartbeats of those involved in the Protestant Reformation. They wanted to get God’s word into the language and hands of the common people so that they could experience the life-changing power of the Bible.

While there are many good English translations on the market, I have come to really appreciate the Christian Standard translation (CSB). I believe that it was more than an update to the Holman Christian Standard (which was not the greatest). The CSB is a translation that tries to bring the original languages into today’s English. I really think that the CSB might be best English translation since the 1984 NIV in that it not only tries to be true to the original languages, but it brings the text in a way that is easy to read.

Check out more about the CSB at their website by clicking here.

Features

  • Single-column text. This was one of my favorite features of this Bible. Having the text in a single column makes it much easier to read and keep your place while preaching/teaching.
  • All black text. I know that some people like the words of Christ in red, but I think by keeping all the text the same it keeps the focus that all of the Bible is important and God’s word.
  • Very readable font. The font is a 10-point Serif that is very clear for reading.
  • Two formats. It comes in either genuine leather (brown) or deluxe leathertouch (black). I went with the deluxe leathertouch because of price (typically about $40 cheaper). The leathertouch feels nice and is holding up well so far.

   

Special Features

  • Tips and sample sermon outlines for weddings and funerals. These come in handy especially to a younger pastor who is looking for helps in these areas. The tips for what to do in these events have helped me out greatly in the past. There are samples of traditional and contemporary wedding services. There are also samples of funeral sermons for different situations.
  • Articles on various duties of the pastor’s life. These articles serve to help a minister in giving tips on preaching, leading, and other areas of the pastor’s life. Some of the contributors are Jim Henry, Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, Jared Wilson, Tony Merida, Keith Getty, Robert Smith Jr, Daniel Im, and many more.
  • Pastoral Care references. There is a two-page reference of verses to turn to when dealing with different situations in ministry.

  

Conclusion

The CSB Pastors Bible is one of my favorite bibles that I own. It has just about everything you would want in a bible as a pastor. It is not bulky, but it comes packed with many resources for today’s pastor.

With Christmas just around the corner, I would recommend that you pick up one of these as a great gift for you pastor this season. He will no doubt get much use out of this Bible.

You can find this Bible in a number of places like LifeWay, Amazon, Christianbooks.

Title: Come, Let Us Adore Him

Author: Paul David Tripp

Publisher: Crossway

 

Overview

Come Let Us Adore Him is a devotional that has been written by Paul David Tripp that is intended to take readers on a journey of preparation for the Advent season. It has a devotional thought to go along with Bible verse(s) for each day between December 1 and December 31.

Thoughts

I have been a fan of Paul David Tripp’s work for some time now. I enjoy the way that he shares the truths of the Bible in a way that is creative and straightforward. When I heard that he had written an Advent devotional, I knew that I would have to get my hands on it and check it out.

After looking over this devotional, I believe that this work will be a great help to those who are looking to have a fresh take on the season where we celebrate the coming of Christ. This devotional is laid out primarily for older youth and adults. One great addition to the devotional is that there is a “central theme” section at the end of each devotion. This is for parents to go over with their children so that the entire family can benefit from it.  This is what our family intends on doing this season.

Recommendation

I would highly recommend anyone who would like to put more focus on Christ this Christmas to pick up a copy of Come, Let Us Adore Him.  It is written in a very readable style, and it has something for the whole family.  If you are looking for a tool to use to do family devotions during this season, I believe that this book would serve that need greatly. Go pick up your copy today.

Title: Answering the Tough Questions About Suffering and Evil

Authors: Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz

Publisher: Bethany House

Overview

In light of the events that took place recently in Sutherland Springs, TX, a book that discusses the issue of God and suffering would be a good fit. Suffering and evil are a reality that plagues our world. That truth does not make it any easier to stomach, but it is the truth nonetheless.

Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz try to bring some light on the subject of God and suffering in their recent book, Answering the Tough Questions About Suffering and Evil. These two authors have written many books with the intention of “communicating the truths of God in a way that is clear, correct, and casual.”

In Answering the Tough Questions About Suffering and Evil, ten questions are addressed about the topic of suffering and evil. These questions are ones that are often asked by people who are wrestling with how God and these issues fit together. Each question has a chapter devoted to it that also has some reflection and discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Thoughts

It really seems like the stories of suffering and evil are coming more frequently and with more intensity. There have always been those that asked questions about God especially when tragedy strikes. I think that this work that Bickel and Jantz have written helps those who are genuinely looking for some good answers to these questions. This book in no way seeks to be a full answer to each and every question dealing with suffering or evil (that would a multi-volume set). Bickel and Jantz seem to put forward simple answers that point the reader to the truths of the Bible.

Recommendation

When it comes to recommending Answering the Toughest Questions About Suffering and Evil, I would gladly recommend this resource to a person that might be dealing with some of the common questions that people have with these subjects. It is not going to completely settle the issues, but it will give the reader some good answers and direction toward finding truth in the Bible.

May the Lord bless you and your family in mighty ways.

Title: How to Read the Bible Supernaturally

Author: John Piper

Published by: Crossway

Overview

How to Read the Bible Supernaturally  is a work by John Piper to help readers to read the Bible at a deeper level.  He calls it reading the Bible supernaturally.  This is not something mystical but rather a reading of the text with the intentions of getting all that the author(s) intended in writing it.  The book is laid out in three “parts” or sections.  Each section is broken down into chapters that cover points.  The work is summed up in a conclusion.

Thoughts

Reading the Bible is one of the most important works that a person can do.  The Bible tells us that faith comes into one’s life as they hear the word of God (Romans 10:17).  What that person does with that faith is on them, but without the word of God, there is no hope for that faith to be present.  I appreciate John Piper’s work on helping readers to look at the Bible in a new (yet older) way.  Piper does not share some mystical way of reading God’s word.  He simply points the reader to apply normal reading rules that will help the reader to see all that is present in the text.

I did think that the first half of the book was somewhat slow and detached from the rest of the work a little.  I get (and appreciate) the proposed goal of reading the Bible:

That God’s infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-bought bride of Christ from every people, language, tribe, and nation (p 48).

A good portion of the first two parts of the book are explaining certain things before getting to some practical points in part 3.  I think part 3 (the final fourteen chapters of the book) is the real work of the book.

Recommendation

I believe that reading the Bible is one of the most important things that a person can do.  I believe that Reading the Bible Supernaturally is a book that would help someone who is starting to read the Bible or one that has become bored with reading the Bible.  There is not anything majorly new in what Piper shares in this book, but it is some good reminders to go back to some basic tools in order to get the most out of one’s reading of the Bible.