Tuesday, May 22, 2018

NKJV Deluxe Reader's Bible, Cloth over Board - A Review





NKJV,
Deluxe Reader's Bible,
Cloth over Board

A Review



Thomas Nelson Publishers has made available a nicely formatted Bible designed for reading. Beginning with a cardboard slipcase to hold the Bible when not being read, the Bible itself is bound with a handsome gold and tan cloth over board cover. The text is printed in small margin single column text. My only concern is that the small margins include little room for the reader to add personal notes - though the text can be highlighted easily (NOTE: I prefer to use Crayola Twistable Crayons, rather than liquid highlighters).

This is truly a reader’s Bible. The beginning of each chapter is noted with a small number red number in the margin. Verse numbers are only given for major breaks in the text (i.e. most verses are not marked). There are no book introductions (save for a single sentence quote from a well-known author such as C. S. Lewis or John Piper), no textual notes, no maps - it is a reader’s Bible.

Some may not enjoy the minimalist approach taken by this edition; but for the person who is ready to READ the Bible, rather than studying it, it may be an appropriate tool for the task. There are plenty of Study Bibles out there, having an edition which focuses on the reading of the text may help some to better understand what the authors are saying.  
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.




Conan Doyle For The Defense - A Review











A Review



Most readers know of Sherlock Holmes and the author who made him famous — Arthur Conan Doyle. But Doyle was far more than an author — he was a trained Physician with a practice of ophthalmology and he was a consulting detective (ala Holmes) in his own right.

This book describes the work Doyle completed for Oscar Slator over nearly 20 years in order that justice would be done. But the book is far more –
  • it is a biographical snippet of both Doyle’s and Slater’s lives
  • a glance at the Scottish system of jurisprudence at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century
  • it is also a survey of criminology as practiced at the end of the 19th century
  • and it gives us a glimpse at the English penal systems during that same time
Margalit Fox has woven these various stories into a very readable tale that will enthrall both Sherlock’s fans, the reader of more traditional legal dramas, and the historian’s desire for more.

The book is fully documented (the last 30% of the book consists of references and notes). Though missing from my electronic ARC, the final book is said to be accompanied by maps helping the reader follow the character’s and the murderer’s path through Scotland and England. It is these added features, along with easy access to the Internet, which bring the book to life.

Though non-fiction, the book reads like a modern-day thriller. And that is what will make the book an inviting read to many 21st century readers.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

NKJV Minister's Bible - A Review






NKJV
Minister's Bible
Imitation Leather




Published By
Thomas Nelson


A Review


Not a study Bible; not a devotional Bible - but a working Bible designed for the new (or experienced) pastor seeking to improve his/her public ministry.


The binding is a quality imitation leather with a nice feel, alas no leather smell. The Bible text is the NKJV (1982) text.  For those preferring the traditional KJV the same Bible is available with that translation. The font is readable and comfortable to use. The text includes the translator’s notes but is devoid of other footnotes or cross-references, though chapters and verse markings are present.


What gives this Bible value is the 180 pages of helps provided in one place for the pastor’s public ministry: weddings, funerals, dedications, the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, worship helps, pastoral care, and a variety of pulpit invitations. Some of this information will be used once, some multiple times, and others will serve as templates for future use. Much of this information can be found in a typical “Pastor’s Manual”, but having additional information present with the Bible is helpful. Also, not having to carry two texts (Bible and manual) into the pulpit is of additional help.


A couple of things I would like to see in the future:
  1. Publish the helps with additional translations. Neither the KJV nor the NKJV are my favored translations. I would hope that the Thomas Nelson might work with other publishers to make these tools available with a greater variety of translations.
  2. The other improvement would be to make the helps available as an e-book, thus allowing the pastor to manipulate the various service helps to fit their individual needs without retyping the material. As best I can tell, this edition is not available in Kindle, Nook, LOGOS, or WORDSearch - having it available in any of these formats would be helpful.
Most pastors would find either of the two available editions helpful - hopefully other editions will become available in the future.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.





Friday, May 11, 2018

KJV Minister's Bible - A Review













A Review



Not a study Bible; not a devotional Bible - but a working Bible designed for the new (or experienced) pastor seeking to improve his/her public ministry.


The binding is a quality imitation leather with a nice feel, alas no leather smell. The Bible text is the traditional KJV text - not being a big fan of the KJV, this is truly the weakest part of this Bible - those who have a greater appreciation of the KJV will not see this as a weakness. That weakness is overcome by the availability of the same Bible helps with the NKJV translation. The font is readable and comfortable to use. The text is devoid of footnotes or cross-references, though chapters and verse markings are present.


What gives this Bible value is the 180 pages of helps provided in one place for the pastor’s public ministry: weddings, funerals, dedications, the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, worship helps, pastoral care, and a variety of pulpit invitations. Some of this information will be used once, some multiple times, and others will serve as templates for future use. Much of this information can be found in a typical “Pastor’s Manual”, but having additional information is helpful. Also, not having to carry two texts (Bible and manual) into the pulpit is of additional help.


A couple of things I would like to see in the future:
  1. Publish the helps with additional translations. Neither the KJV nor the NKJV are my favored translations. I would hope that Thomas Nelson might work with other publishers to make these tools available with a greater variety of translations.
  2. The other improvement would be to make the helps available as an e-book, thus allowing the pastor to manipulate the various service helps to fit their particular needs without retyping the material. As best I can tell, this edition is not available in Kindle, Nook, LOGOS, or WORDSearch - having it available in any of these formats would be helpful.
Most pastors would find either of the two available editions helpful - hopefully, other editions will become available in the future. 
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.






Monday, May 7, 2018

Superman Vol. 5: Hopes and Fears - A Review









A Review

A series of three stories — the first of which is a bit different from most Superman stories in that it is written more as a patriotic travelogue than a traditional Superman adventure. If I was to read only this first story, I probably would not read any additional Superman comics. Other than a slight twist at the end, it seems more like a (true) history book than the adventures of a well-known superhero.

The remaining two stories are more typical of the Superman vs Supervillains.  We see Superman at his best against two very different kinds of evil — as expected Superman wins the day - except …

Six single issues of Superman magazine have been joined together to create this book. Together they make a fun read for this sexagenarian who is in the midst of reliving his childhood. For the Superman fan, this 4-star book is worth a read.  
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Vines Expository Bible - A Review










A Review


Dr. Vines has compiled a set of readings, helps, sermon outlines, and insights, to create something between a Devotional Bible and a Study Bible. Beyond being a collection of writings, there seems to be little that holds the various comments and articles together. And that left me disappointed.

When I see the title “Expository Bible”, I expect the focus to be on exposition. There is some of this — but this is not the focus of the various helps.  The back cover list the following contents:

205  "Presenting the Message” - detailed outlines from Jerry Vines' sermon archive
148  “Living the Message” - articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
237  "Applying the Message” - notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures for your walk with Christ
311  "Discerning the Meaning" - word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
66     Book Introductions

But, with exception of the Book Introductions, there seems to be no consistency about which of these entries have been included. It feels like the author was allowed to license the New King James Version of the Bible and add notes as he saw fit.  The entries do hold some interest and may be of some help if they could be searched and located using an electronic text. But as a bound book with inaccessible content, the result is less than satisfying to this reader.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Man He Never Was - A Review










A Review

Two hymns crossed my path this week that reminded me of what this book is about:
In the United Methodist Hymnal, these two hymns are set opposite of each other when one opens the hymnal (UMH 377 and UMH 378). As we sang these two hymns in church last week, at the beginning of our worship service, I could not but think of the lessons Toren Daniels was learning on his spiritual journey as recorded by James Rubart in this wonderful novel. The lessons were ones I learned some 25+ years ago and, like Toren, they were accompanied by a great many tears. Every so often I need to be reminded of those lessons — this book helped me do that these last two weeks.


Much of the story revolves around the more famous story written by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, first published in 1886. I have never read that book, so no attempt will be made here to compare characters, plots, or themes. Though the lessons of the current book are many, the one that struck home for me this week was:


God loves even me
     The good me and the bad me
God loves all of me


Related to that was the reality that I cannot love another until I know that I am also loved — and I am loved by an everlasting, all-powerful, Father. Many of us may know that in heads, but somehow, somewhere, this truth must also be known in hearts. This is where life gets tricky — we can sing, “God loves me, this I know …” from our heads, but until it is a part of our very being, it will difficult for us to offer that love to others.


Rubart’s writing reminded me of the work of C. S. Lewis and Max Lucado — mixing a bit of myth and a bit of truth to present a story that will reach into the head and the heart of the reader. For this reader, the author has successfully done just this.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.