New Bible adds pictures to the words of Scripture
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then The Holman Illustrated Study Bible must be worth millions.
This new hardcover Bible from the Broadman & Holman Publishing Group is a complete package for anyone who wants not only to read the Scriptures but also to visualize the locations, the architecture, the tools, and the contexts of when and where the 66 biblical books were written.
This new edition of the Bible contains more than a thousand photos, graphics, maps, charts, and illustrations that are linked to specific chapters and verses.
In John 9, for example, when Jesus heals the blind man and tells him to wash at Siloam, there is a small color photograph of the traditional site of the Pool of Siloam.
In Jeremiah 38, in which the prophet Jeremiah is thrown into a cistern, there is a photograph of a large water cistern at Masada, King Herod's mountain fortress.
In addition to the photos and illustrations, this book contains many of the common and popular extra features found in Bibles, such as Jesus' words printed in red, extensive footnotes, a concordance, appendices and indexes, and, appropriate for the New Year, a 365-day reading plan.
And each chapter opens with a convenient summary, a list of key points, and information on the author and the time and place of his writing.
The text is a new translation from Holman called the Christian Standard Bible, which uses contemporary language while remaining faithful to the ancient texts.
It is an easy-to-read version and, with all the extras, The Holman Illustrated Study Bible, which sells for $39.99, is a unique tool that will appeal to everyone from casual readers to those looking for in-depth scriptural studies.
TIME CHANGES THINGS: Sorting through a stack of books I had hoped to read in 2006, I found one titled Foolish No More! Seizing a Life Beyond Belief.
Published by WaterBrook Press, the book sure looks different now than it did when it arrived at my desk last summer. It's not just because of the goofy-looking guy on the cover wearing an 1800s-era bathing suit as he jumps off a diving board holding a beach umbrella. It's because the author is none other than Ted Haggard.
In July, when the book was published, Mr. Haggard was a powerful figure in American Christianity: president of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing 30 million members, and founding pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, with 14,000 members.
Today, the 50-year-old Mr. Haggard is a disgraced ex-pastor and ex-president of the NAE, having resigned both of those positions in November after Mike Jones, a male prostitute, accused him of paying for gay sex and buying crystal meth.
In retrospect, it seems ridiculous - maybe the word is "foolish!" - for Mr. Haggard to have written a book such as Foolish No More! in which he offers advice on everything from parenting to marital relations to avoiding temptation.
"The number-one measure of our character is how we learn to manage ourselves - our thought lives, our physical being, our affections, and the issues we have with acceptance and rejection," he writes.
He also states: "And what about our own muck? We are all dealing with sin constantly. The execution of our old sin natures cannot be fully accomplished just by ourselves. Sometimes we need an entire firing squad with plenty of ammunition."
Mr. Haggard was in no position to be offering advice on managing his "thought life" or dealing with his own "muck." Maybe he should have just quoted Apostle Paul's words in Romans, Chapter 7, which show that the struggles of human beings in the 21st century are no different than they were 2,000 years ago: "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing" (New International Version).
BOXING FOR JESUS? Actor-director Sylvester Stallone has been recruiting ministers and church leaders to support his new Rocky Balboa film, saying it reflects spiritual themes and messages.
Those who are interested can find sermon topics and Bible studies linked to the boxing drama online at www.RockyResources.com.
GET DELIRIOUS? One music group that deserves wider recognition, at least in the United States, is Delirious?, the veteran British Christian rockers (yes, with a question mark at the end of its name).
This group is immensely popular in England but Americans have not really caught on the his skilled, innovative, and spiritually profound band.
With Martin Smith on vocals and guitar (and bullhorn), Tim Jupp on keyboards, Stew Smith on drums, Stu G on guitars, and Jon Thatcher on bass, Delirious? played a concert last summer at Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago last summer that has been preserved for posterity in a new live recording.
"Now Is the Time," released by Sparrow Records as a two-disc CD/DVD package, alternates between guitar-charged Christian rock and soothing worship music. A highlight is the band's powerhouse remake of an old hymn, "Solid Rock," on which Smith uses the aforementioned bullhorn.
David Yonke is The Blade's religion editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6154.