I have been a faithful user of a Bible app on my phone for nearly ten years now, but I’ve recently been craving a return to a physical Bible. Don’t get me wrong: I love having my phone in the palm of my hand any time, any place. I love waking up in the morning and conveniently using my phone without having to turn on lights to read my Bible.
But there’s something about being able to turn the physical pages, take notes in the margins, hold my Bible close that I simply miss when using my phone.
I am a member of the Biblegateway Blogger Grid. If you haven’t used Biblegateway.com, I encourage you to take a close look. When I write my blogs, I always use BIblegateway to copy my scriptures. I use it frequently to study different concepts, cross-reference, and do a variety of research. It is my best friend when it comes to using scripture in my writing.
Recently, Biblegateway sent an email offering members of the Blogger Grid an opportunity to receive a free Life Application Study Bible…and I jumped all over the offer! The Life Application Study Bible has always been a favorite, and it is known as one of the absolute best study Bibles on the market. To be honest, I expected to receive a cheap, paperback copy of the Bible. That’s what I usually receive when I take these opportunities to review a book.
But I received a free, leather-bound study Bible in the mail!
I was so excited!
I’ve been flipping through the pages of this beautiful Bible, and I am so incredibly impressed. Have you ever read a portion of Scripture—maybe over a number of days—and then wondered how it all fit together? For example, in the book of Job, you have these friends who come to visit Job. They give him a variety of different stories, but by the time I’ve read through all of the poetic features, I forget who said what. This study Bible gives this amazing table that summarizes what each friend said, how they helped Job, Job’s response…and how God responded to each of them! It’s a beautiful and beneficial table that puts the entire book at your fingertips with a high-level overview.
As I flipped through this Bible, I had to go to Malachi 2.
Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.
So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. Malachi 2:15-16
I have to start with pointing this out: do you notice how the New International Version now translates the phrase always attributed to God as “God hates divorce…?” There has been debate for years over whether the Hebrew actually attributes those words to God or to man. The experts appear to be moving away from attributing the words to God and focusing on the man who is unfaithful and hurts his wife. This translation is more in line with the context of the verses.
Which brings me back to the Life Application Bible. Each book has a thorough introduction that points out key themes, verses, people, places. It tells the author, the date it was written, and provides some information on the setting. Scripture cannot be separated from the context and culture in which it was written, or we will miss the true meaning behind the words. We will misinterpret and use Scripture to hurt people, to judge improperly. We will fail miserably in following God’s true plans for His word.
Honestly, the more I flip through the pages of this Bible, the more excited I get. It is rich, full of incredible information to make the words of Scripture come alive, make more sense than ever before. My only complaint might be that as I get older, the words seem to be getting smaller. I suppose turning on a bright lamp and wearing my glasses might help, but I’m a little too stubborn to admit my eyesight might be getting worse as I get older.
If, like me, you miss the feel and smell of a physical book, I must highly recommend the new Life Application Study Bible. It is rich, filled with incredible features and tables that complement the texts. It will give you a better, deeper, more complete understanding of this precious gift God has given us in the form of His word.
I hope you will join me in digging deeper into this treasure!