The Apologetics Study Bible {A Review}

I LOVE God’s Word. I love opening a new Bible, bringing it to my face, thrusting my nose into the center and breathing in deeply. It always emits a sigh from my deepest heart.

Not simply because I’m enamored with a new book, and a new book smell. I get giddy with the heady scent of an old favorite book too. Currently the Bible that I use daily smells of all things coffee. There are coffee rings on some of the pages.

The sigh comes from a place of knowing how loved I am. The God who created a billion galaxies thought of and noticed little me. He wrote His life story through the pen of many men many, many years ago. He wrote this so I could, so you could know Him.

It’s what we were created for. We were created to know and love God. What better way to communicate that than through a love letter telling His story? I can’t think of one.

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I recently had the honor of reviewing The Apologetics Study Bible. It is published by LifeWay/BH Publishing and uses the Holman Christian Standard translation.  I received a hardback copy, on the grey and white cover there is a watermark of The Thinker with the words “Faithful and True” along the edge of the spine. If you take off the dust cover you lose none of the design. I love that.

The pages are thin, but not super thin. The font though. Oh my word the font! I can almost read it without my glasses on. I love that. I can set it on my desk and not have to lean over very close to it just to read. That is huge.

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Okay. Let me explain that. The font isn’t huge. But it is a big enough size I can see it clearly. This makes me happy.

Sprinkled throughout the Bible are little boxes labeled “Twisted Scripture”. It’s not what you think! In these boxes, Alan Street offers explanation for commonly misconstrued passages of Scripture.

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In that picture you can see the great size of the font!! I love it!

Also you’ll find sprinkled throughout various articles on a wide range of topics. These are great to direct your thoughts deeper and would be excellent to use as a devotional.

Each book also has, as is typical for study Bibles, an introduction to each book, and study notes at the bottom of the page.

The one thing I do not like, and to me this is not a minor dislike, but is big. In the introduction to the books, it lists the man the Spirit of God breathed through as the author. The Author of the Bible is God. Men were merely the penmen, if you will.

You can order through Lifeway or your favorite Christian bookstore.

I give it 4 out of 5 turning pages.

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A Nickel’s Worth

DSC_0155 (1)I’ve been noticing a trend lately amongst my friends. They’re all looking for something. But not just any old something, something in particular. Every time they find what they are looking for they eagerly take a picture and share it across social media lines.

Just what is this thing they are looking for so almost frantically?

Hearts. A simple heart shape in the world around them. Some of them call the hearts they find glimpses of God’s love for them.

Now I’m a non-conformist to the core. If everyone else is doing something, that’s a good enough reason to me to not do it. I just don’t want to do or be like everyone else.

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I’m also if nothing else a study in contrast. You see I think it’s neat and great that these ladies are finding God smiles in their day. Neat. And if I were to speak the truth, which I am, I’m a bit jealous. I want something from God, something that He gives to just me as a reminder that He, as it says in Psalm 32:8, has His eye on me. That as He promises in Job 23:10 He knows the way I take.  So I want the same thing He is giving to these ladies, but I don’t want a heart shape.

So I’ve taken the past few weeks to as I think about it, pray for Him to give me something special, unique to let me know He’s watching, He knows, He cares and He loves me. I haven’t wanted a heart shaped anything because that would be too conformist for me. I want my own shape.

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A couple of weeks ago I was having an especially hard week when I glanced down in a parking lot and saw a nickel. I’ve always been one to pick up loose change I see lying around and this day was no different. I picked up that nickel and immediately I had the most godly thought ever. Yeah, or not as the case really was.

My first thought was exactly what zany thing I was going to post on social media about finding a nickel.

“If the saying goes, ‘Find a penny, pick it up, and all day you’ll have good luck’, what happens if you find a nickel.”

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I thought nothing more about that found nickel.

Until today.

This morning I walked to get coffee and to spend some time reading and talking with Jesus. I took Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, and read while I walked. I did stop on occasion to underline an especially meaningful part, or to just write down some thoughts Jesus was giving me.

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The wind was blowing  cold bitter air over my bare fingers but His words warmed my heart.  We talked of such things as where I was a year ago. How much has changed in this past year. 365 days of walking with Him. A year ago today I was in a hard place. Today I’m in a harder place, but the difference is while last year I knew intellectually He was with me, today in this hard-hard place I know experientially that He really is with me.

It was easy to stop and underline on the way to the coffee, but once I purchased my coffee and had headed for home it was a bit more difficult.

A few blocks from the shop I stopped to underline a sentence, I moved off the sidewalk, and squatted down on a small piece of concrete just off the beaten path. I set my coffee down, unzipped my pocket, reached in to grab my pen, and I froze.

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There in the grass was another nickel. Of course I picked it up.

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And I heard God laugh. Not a “haha, jokes on you” laugh. But a genuine chuckle. Like He knew something I didn’t, but He knew it would bless my socks off.

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And then He spoke.

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He spoke to me. He spoke to me clean through my frozen fingers as they caressed that found nickel. He spoke clean down the marrow my very soul.

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“That’s your gift. That’s your sign. That’s your shape. That is your way of knowing I’m watching you. I’ve got my eye on you. I see you. Even when you think I’m hiding. Even when everything in you is speaking lies that I don’t care. I’m watching you.”