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Last year Jake and I attended the Justice Conference in Chicago for our 10 year wedding anniversary. This is where I first learned about this justice-oriented, soon-to-be released study Bible, God’s Justice: The Flourishing of Creation and the Destruction of Evil.
This NIV (2011) study Bible was written by an international team of scholars (headed up by Tim Stafford, Senior Writer for Christianity Today) that aims to help readers to recognize the theme of God’s justice woven throughout the entire Bible. Each book starts with an introduction, and study notes are provided throughout each book, adding a scholar’s commentary surrounding the various justice themes.
The contributors to this study Bible care about helping readers understand that each part of the Scriptures is written differently and hence needs to be read and studied differently. First Samuel should be read in a different way than Isaiah or Revelation. While many of us love the Scriptures and desire to read and respond to the Scriptures faithfully, most of us aren’t equipped with the necessary tools we need to read without unknowingly misunderstanding or distorting the text.
And while this Bible will not totally solve that problem (in case you’re interested, one great beginning resource for this is How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth), I appreciate the editor’s mention of this, as well as the little notes throughout that will hopefully help the reader think twice before interpreting the passage in an inaccurate way.
The goal of this study Bible isn’t just to inform, but to help convince readers of God’s heart for justice, and how justice is at the very heart of the gospel. It’s no optional secondary issue. Love God and Love Your Neighbor sums it all up… Love God and Life Justly.
In that vein, each book ends with questions for reflection and a prayer to help the reader reflect and respond to what they just read.
All that being said, I did find myself wishing for more and longer study notes throughout the Old Testament. The New Testament notes are much more robust!
And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how I SO VERY MUCH appreciate the international voices and cultures represented here, as well as the women involved. It’s great to read about a pastor from Argentina reflect on Isaiah and an executive director from Brazil dig into the gospel of Mark. By nature of being born and living most of my life in the United States, I miss some of what the Scriptures are trying to express, simply because I lack the life experience or cultural awareness. I truly believe that the Scriptures are best understood in community, and an international one? All the better.
Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for sending me this book to review! All thoughts here are 100% mine.