Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bible Review: Following Jesus Bible (2015)

ESV Following Jesus Bible. March 2015. Crossway. 1424 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Following Jesus is one of three new children's Bibles published by Crossway in 2015*. The other two Bibles are the ESV Children's Bible and the ESV Big Picture Bible.

What you need to know:

1) The Following Jesus Bible is available in the ESV Translation. This is a translation that will grow-with-your child. It is not a just-for-kids translation. The vocabulary is tougher, I admit. But there is a glossary at the back of the Bible.

I personally LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the ESV translation. I believe it is a translation families could read together. An adult Bible that seeks to show how the Bible is all about Jesus is the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.

Romans 3:21:26 in the ESV
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 
Romans 3:21-26 in the NIrV (New International Reader's Version)
But now God has shown us his saving power without the help of the law. But the Law and the Prophets tell us about this. We are made right with God by putting our faith in Jesus Christ. This happens to all who believe. It is no different for the Jews than for the Gentiles. Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory. The free gift of God’s grace makes us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy. So he did not punish for their sins the people who lived before Jesus lived. God did all this to prove in our own time that he does what is right. He also makes right with himself those who believe in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26 in the ICB (International Children's Bible)
But God has a way to make people right with him without the law. And God has now shown us that way which the law and the prophets told us about. God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ. This is true for all who believe in Christ, because all are the same. All people have sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory. People are made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. God sent him to die in our place to take away our sins. We receive forgiveness through faith. And all of this is because of the blood of Jesus’ death. This showed that God always does what is right and fair. God was right in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. And God gave Jesus to show today that God does what is right. God did this so that he could judge rightly and also make right any person who has faith in Jesus.
Glossary Terms:

  • propitiation: the turning away of wrath. Christ's death was the propitiation of God's wrath because of sin (1 John 2:2)
  • justification: a declaration of right standing before God, received through faith in Christ's death and resurrection on our behalf (Romans 3:24; Romans 5:18)
  • the law: God's instructions concerning proper behavior (Psalm 19:7-9). Because of human sin, no one is able to keep God's law perfectly (Romans 3:19-20). But Jesus did that for us, and we can find salvation through faith in him (Galatians 4:4-7)
  • witness: to proclaim the truth abut Jesus and the gospel (Acts 1:8)
  • redemption: the act of buying someone back from captivity (Exodus 21:30). God redeemed us from sin and death by offering his Son, Jesus, as a ransom or payment for us (Ephesians 1:7-10)
  • sin: any thought or action that violates God's moral law (Romans 3:23-24)
  • faith: belief in Jesus Christ, resulting in salvation from sin and eternal life (John 3:16)
  • grace: The unmerited favor of God (2 Corinthians 12:9) it is only by God's grace through Jesus Christ that we can be saved from our sins and can have eternal life. (Ephesians 2:7-9)
2) The Following Jesus Bible has special features throughout designed to help children ages 8 through 12 understand the Bible.

Articles such as "About the Bible," "About the Old Testament", "The Books of Moses," "The Books of History," "The Books of Wisdom and Poetry," "The Books of the Prophets," "The Time Between the Testaments," "About the New Testament Books," "The Gospels and Acts," "The Epistles," "Seeing Jesus," "The Ten Commandments," "What is the Law?" "What is the Gospel?" "God's Word in the Lord's Prayer," etc.

Book Introductions. These book introductions may be just one page, but, they are informative.

Charts such as "Days of Creation," "Categories of Psalms," "Who are the Fools in Proverbs," "Words of the Prophets," "The Miracles of Jesus," "The Parables of Jesus," "Our Savior's Last Words," "Where Did We Get the Apostle's Creed?" "Timeline of the Old Testament," "Timeline of the New Testament," etc.

Maps such as "Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus," "The Land of the Patriarchs," "The Exodus from Egypt," "The Lands Assigned to the Tribes of Israel," "The Kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon," "The Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah," "The City of Jerusalem," "The Land of Israel During the New Testament," and "Places Paul Visited."

450+ "W Questions" found throughout the Bible answering the who, what, where, when, or why of a text.
70+ "Following Jesus" sections found throughout the Bible explaining a text and how to apply it
30 + "Seeing Jesus" sections found throughout the Bible helping readers see how the whole Bible is all about Jesus.

Zephaniah 3:14-17, Singing with God
Ever sung in a choir? It's fun! Singing is fun anyway, but singing in a choir is even better, because you get to do it with other people. You put your voices together, and it comes out sounding great!
Read Zephaniah 3:14-17. Who does it say is singing in verse 14? God's people--Israel, Jerusalem. What are they singing about? They're singing about how God has taken away their sins ("the judgments against you") and all their enemies. That's what Jesus did for them when he died on the cross. But Jesus' death on the cross has taken away our sins and saved us from our enemies too. So we can sing with Israel and Jerusalem as well. Quite a choir!
Wait! There's more! Look who's singing in verse 17. The Lord God himself is singing (loudly!) about how he's loving and blessing us! This is what Jesus' death on the cross does! By taking away our sins, it brings us into perfect harmony with God. (990)
Galatians 2:11-16, A Reminder for Everyone
Nobody gets to heaven by doing good things or by not doing bad things. The one and only way to heaven is to trust that Jesus has done everything for us already.
That's still the most important thing for us to hear every day, because everyone gets confused now and then. Read Galatians 2:11-16. Even Peter needed a reminder. Great to hear it again, isn't it? (1261)
Examples of "W Questions"
WHAT is "propitiation"? Propitiation means the turning away of wrath. In the Old Testament, the place of propitiation was the cover of the ark of the covenant, where the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice. Just as the blood covered the ark of the covenant, Christ's blood covers the sinner. He is the sacrifice for our sins. Hebrews 2:17 (1315)
WHAT does it mean to be "justified by faith?" To justify is a legal term meaning "to declare not guilty" or "to declare righteous." Jesus kept the law perfectly for us and paid the penalty for our sin through his death and resurrection. Because of Christ, God declares us righteous. that means that we are now in a positive relationship with God. We have access to the Father and his blessings through faith in Christ. Romans 3:27-31. (1215)
WHY is the church called the body of the Christ? Like the human body with its many parts, the body of Christ has many members. Each believer is a member of Christ's body and has his or her own functions. The Lord equips each Christian with different gifts and abilities. Together, believers accomplish the Lord's mission of spreading the gospel throughout the world. Romans 12:5. (1221)
3) Other details about the text and design:
  • 9 point type
  • double column
  • paragraph format
  • black letter (words of Christ appear in black, not red)
  • chapter numbers are in blue, headings are in orange

The Following Jesus Bible is a redesign of the ESV Grow Bible.

My thoughts:

I definitely recommend the ESV Following Jesus Bible. Especially to families who do not already own the ESV Grow Bible. (If you have the ESV Grow Bible, and it's in good condition, then you should know that the ESV Following Jesus Bible has many of the same notes and book introductions. So you may already have most of what it contains.)

I think it is an excellent children's Bible. The design is appealing and very readable.

For parents, I'd recommend Starr Meade's excellent book GIVE THEM TRUTH. I think this book and this Bible would pair quite well together!!!

*Also newly available are various compact and thinline Bibles.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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