Wednesday, April 22, 2020

36. When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent

When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent: Finding Hope in the Psalms. J. Ligon Duncan. Foreword by Mark Dever. 2020. Crossway. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy] [christian nonfiction; christian living]

First sentence: In 1895 Andrew Murray was staying as a guest in a home while traveling for preaching. One morning, he lay in bed because his back, injured a few years prior, was causing him severe pain. When his hostess brought him breakfast, she told him that a troubled woman had come to the house asking for his counsel. Murray handed her a piece of paper and said, “Just give her this advice I’m writing down for myself; it may be that she’ll find it helpful.” This is what was written: In time of trouble say, “First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.” Next, “He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.” Then say, “He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.” And last, say, “In His good time He can bring me out again. How, and when, He knows.” Therefore say, “I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”

When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent is a LOVELY, LOVELY gem of a book. Just the right length for those who actually actually feel that pain is REAL and God is SILENT. It is a collection of two expository sermons on Psalms 88 and 89. Psalm 88 is about individual suffering. Psalm 89 is about corporate suffering.

The book guides you through each verse of each of the two psalms. It's sprinkled with a few quotes from theologians as well. But at the front and center of this one is Scripture itself. What can we learn about God, about ourselves, about our experiences from reading Scripture. The book is packed with insight.

I loved reading this one. I read it in one sitting.


Friend, your life may be filled with far more suffering than my own, but Scripture teaches that your troubles don’t belong to you alone. God placed psalms of lament, like this one, in Scripture so that we could all learn how to cry to the Lord in our sadness and grief together. Psalms like this one teach us to share in one another’s suffering and to bear one another’s burdens.
Many times in the Christian life, God answers our cries “Why, O Lord?” not by explaining his providence but by giving us a deeper understanding of his person. In other words, when we cry, “Lord, why are you doing this?” he often answers by saying, “Let me show you who I am.” And if you see him, he will be enough.
Take comfort from the fact that the sufferings of this life are the worst you will ever endure. If you know Christ and have come to him in faith and repentance, then your suffering has an end. The trials of this life are the worst things you will ever endure. But friend, if you don’t know Christ, then you are alone in your suffering. You are in a far, far worse place than this psalmist. The hopelessness experienced by this psalmist was only apparent and temporary. But those who die without repenting of their sin will know true hopelessness, that which is real and eternal. Hell has no light at the end of the tunnel. If you do not know Christ, then let your sufferings show you your need for a Savior. If you are already a Christian, then let your own suffering remind you that you are an undeserving, hell-bound sinner saved by God’s mercy. Let that thought drive you to share the gospel with those around you so that they, too, might be saved from never-ending hopelessness.
God’s people know profound pain, but no circumstance can make God one bit less worthy of our praise. God is worthy of our worship simply because of who he is. Our worship is ultimately rooted in his character, not our circumstances.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

35. Unyielding Hope

Unyielding Hope. (When Hope Calls #1) Janette Oke and Laura Oke Logan. 2020. May 2020. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy] [historical fiction; romance; Christian fiction]

First sentence: “Mama.” The word came quietly at first, then grew in intensity. “Mama! Mama!” Lillian’s small body wrestled in the dark bedroom until her thick quilt became tangled, constricting around her tiny shoulders. Still the nightmare persisted. Droplets of sweat formed beneath her hair and began to slide in lines down her neck, soaking into her flannel nightgown. She fought with frail arms against the bondage that her blankets had become.

Premise/plot: Lillian, our heroine, has grown up in a loving adopted home. Her birth parents and sister all died. Now her adoptive mom has died too, and her father wants to go on an extended vacation in Wales. Lillian does NOT want to leave her home, it feels too soon, too fast. So when a lawyer shows up revealing that Lillian's sister did NOT die, it's a perfect excuse to stay put. Lillian goes on a search for her sister...but may find much more as the months unfold.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I read that it is supposed to be a companion to the television show When Calls the Heart. Hope Valley does get a couple of mentions and some names are dropped. I don't think I've watched since season three, so I'm not sure if I caught each and every name drop. There might be some characters in this book that are also in the show that I just didn't catch. That's good news in my opinion. I don't think your engaging with this book depends on your familiarity with the show.

It is told with multiple narrators. Perhaps this will continue in further books and other characters will get a chance for their happily ever afters.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, April 20, 2020

34. At Love's Command

At Love's Command. (Hanger's Horsemen #1) Karen Witemeyer. 2020. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy] [historical romance]

First sentence: They’ve got us pinned down, Captain.

At Love's Command is the first in a new book series by Karen Witemeyer. It is set in Texas in the 1890s. The hero is Matthew Hanger. He along with three other Horsemen help ensure justice is done. It is sometimes a risky affair. Soon after the novel opens, one of the men--Mark Wallace--is shot. Luckily there is a doctor in the nearby town of Purgatory Springs, a Dr. Burkett.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is our heroine. She is pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the four Horsemen. She's heard plenty about them: they're famous or infamous. As she tends to Mark, she finds herself drawn more and more and more to their leader, Matthew. But she's never considered courting or marriage as anything for her--doctoring, helping, healing that's her life's call. Is there room for both in her life?

Perhaps when her BROTHER is kidnapped or "kidnapped" she'll get the chance to work out for herself how she feels about Matthew. If she can convince him and the others to take the case...

I really enjoyed this one. That isn't a surprise. I love her works. LOVE. I've yet to be disappointed by any of her series.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bible Review #3 CSB Day by Day Chronological Bible

CSB Day by Day Chronological Bible. George H. Guthrie, ed. Holman. 2018. 1664 pages. [Source: Bought] [Bible; Chronological Bible]

First sentence: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I started this one on March 24, 2020. I finished it April 15, 2020. It was my goal to read through this one at a fast big-picture pace. I thought it would be a great use of time in this disordered new world--aka COVID 19 pandemic "quarantine."

This chronological Bible orders events into three acts. Act one covers: Creation, the Fall, the Flood. Act two covers everything--yes, EVERYTHING--from Abraham through Malachi. (But this scene--as all acts are broken into scenes as well.) Act three covers the New Testament.

The readings are divided into weeks and days. But they are not assigned a calendar date (January 1, March 15, December 30, etc.) Instead they are simply numbered. (Week One, Day Five, for example). For those readers who aren't always always on task and great at keeping up with devotional reading plans, this one would add the benefit of no guilt.

Day Seven of each week is a reflection and prayer.

I read this one in e-book format. I loved it in that format. I have the HCSB version of this--it is called Reading God's Story or something similar. The print in that is super-teeny-tiny and absolutely impossible. The e-book is super-easy on the eyes. And I could have made the font even larger if necessary.

I would definitely recommend this one. It is, I believe, still on sale.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

33. Coronavirus and Christ

Coronavirus and Christ. John Piper. 2020. [April] 112 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Christian nonfiction; Christian living; current events]

First sentence: THE OCCASION: CORONAVIRUS I am writing this little book in the last days of March 2020, on the front end of the global pandemic known as the coronavirus, or technically, “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated COVID-19). The virus affects the lungs, and in the worst cases kills by suffocation.

John Piper's newest book addresses the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the occasion is specific, the book covers a wide range of spiritual topics: fear, anxiety, worry, suffering, sickness, death. How does the hope believers have in Christ work itself out during this unprecedented time?! What is a Christian to make of these strange days?

Hope is front and center in this book. Where is YOUR hope placed? Is your hope in staying informed and being prepared? Is your hope in medical experts? Is your hope in a politician? Or is your hope in the Lord Jesus Christ? (Not that Piper is advocating his readers to tune out science and medicine and fearlessly break all executive orders. Far from it.)

The book is timely and balanced. In some ways it's a foundational, get-back-to-basics refresher course on the gospel. People's faith is being tested and challenged. What are your core beliefs? What do you know about the God you proclaim or profess? There is something very basic and foundational about this one. Which is good.

The first part, as I mentioned, focuses on the basics of who God is and how God is in control.

The second part turns a bit and focuses on what God is doing--or might be doing--through the Coronavirus. Some points readers may say AMEN. Other points might be slightly more controversial.

For example, I don't think many (actual) Christians would disagree with disease, sickness, and death being the result of the fall--Eve et the apple after all. Sin issued into the world MANY MANY things that still plague the human race. They'd be no death if it wasn't for sin--original sin and ongoing sin. They'd be no war either for that matter. No cancer. No heart disease. No strokes. It's hard to imagine a world with no death, no sickness, no disease, etc. But death isn't natural--we were designed to live forever in the presence of a holy God and worship him forever. Christ has conquered death; believers can rest assured in that they too can overcome even this great enemy. But Piper follows this up with the idea that the coronavirus may be judgement for specific sins and specific sinners. That is a bit more tricky theologically. He doesn't name specifics--specific sins that would warrant God's judgment on the world let alone call out sinners by name. But still the implication is there. If you are infected--it may be God's judgment on you.

He gives six possible ways God might indeed be moving during this pandemic. As I mentioned some answers I strongly agree with...others less so.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

32. Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy

Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy. John Piper. 2016. Desiring God. 122 pages. [Source: Free Download] [Devotional]

PREFACE In one sense, there’s nothing special about “Holy Week.” Just another sequence of eight days each spring—nothing is intrinsically holy about this Sunday to Sunday that moves around the calendar each year. We have no mandate from Jesus or his apostles to mark these days for particular observance. Marking Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity. It is a chance to walk with the church, throughout time and through the world, as she walks with her Bridegroom through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the most important and timeless realities.

Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy is a devotional book. There are morning devotions and evening devotions for each of the days of Holy Week. The book isn't written solely by John Piper. It includes devotions written by a handful of authors and theologians.

Authors include John Piper, Jonathan Parnell, Andreas Köstenberger, Justin Taylor, Marshall Segal, David Mathis, Johnathan Bowers, Jon Bloom, Donald Macleod, Joe Rigney, and Tony Reinke.

I don't typically use devotionals. But I did enjoy this one. Perhaps I find it easier to commit to reading a devotional a day for a one week span than an entire year!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, April 6, 2020

31. Welcome To Your Bible

Welcome To Your Bible: Reading and Study Helps, Whatever Your Experience Level. George W. Knight. 2020. Barbour Books. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Christian nonfiction]

First sentence: Welcome to your Bible—whether you’re brand-new to the faith or you just know you need to dig deeper. Christian growth is based on a clear understanding of God’s Word, so Welcome to Your Bible is designed to help you read and understand scripture. This book combines a variety of features that will guide you systematically through the Bible, providing helpful background information on people, places, and things, as well as explanations of confusing words, ideas, or practices.

The premise of this one is super-simple:
"Welcome to Your Bible is based on a one-year reading plan that divides the Bible into 365 segments, each taking approximately 15 to 20 minutes to read. These Bible portions are then summarized to enhance your memory of the passages, and dictionary-style entries elaborate on the important characters and other details of the passage you read. When the Bible passage includes an unusual concept or practice, a brief article provides the necessary historical context for understanding."
I would recommend this one to anyone who genuinely wants to read through the Bible cover to cover, perhaps in a year--perhaps a little longer. It is organized around a Bible-In-A-Year reading plan. But if you don't stick to the schedule, well, who is really going to know?!

There is a summary for every single chapter of the Bible--sometimes broken down into passage summaries of chapters.

There are introductions to the sections and genres of Scripture.

After the daily summaries, additional helps are included to help readers understand the context of what they've just read. The helps might focus on key people, key places, key words, key concepts or themes. Occasionally these helps are more expansive and become more of an article than a definition.

I would definitely recommend this one. I enjoyed reading it!

Example of chapter summaries:

  • Genesis 22:1–14 God tests Abraham’s faithfulness, but Abraham is prevented from sacrificing his son Isaac. 
  • Genesis 22:15–19 God renews His promise to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation (Gen. 12:1–2). 
  • Genesis 22:20–24 Abraham’s relatives are listed. 
  • Psalm 1 Blessed is the person who walks in accordance with the Word of God (Prov. 4:14). 
  • Psalm 2 A messianic psalm that declares that God’s ultimate rule over the world will be established by His Son. 
  • Psalm 3 God is a shield who protects the believer in troublesome times. This psalm was written by David when he fled from the rebellion of his son Absalom (2 Sam. 15–16). 
  • Psalm 4 God hears the prayers of believers and grants peace and rest in the dark experiences of life. Psalm 5 The Lord will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. 
  • Psalm 6 A prayer for God to show mercy to thepsalmist and to punish his enemies. 
  • Psalm 7 This psalm focuses on righteousness. David wants God to know that he has lived a righteous life. He asks God to deliver him from wicked enemies. 
  • Psalm 8 As he meditates on the wonders of God’s physical creation, the psalmist realizes that man is weak and insignificant. But God has placed him in a position of honor and glory. 
  • Psalm 9 A psalm of praise for the mercy and graceshown by theLord to the nation of Israel. The psalmist also declares that God will punish the pagan nations. 
  • Psalm 10 The wicked are persecuting and cheating the poor. The psalmist calls on the Lord to rise to their defense.

Examples of additional helps:

Creation The actions of God through which He brought man and the physical world into existence. God existed before the world, and He produced the universe from nothing (Gen. 1:1–2). As the sovereign, self-existing God, He also rules over His creation (Ps. 47:7–9).
Adam The first man. Created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26–27), Adam was an upright and intelligent being (Gen. 2:19–20)—the first worker (Gen. 2:8, 15) and the first husband (Gen. 2:18–25). He received God’s law (Gen. 2:16–17) and knowingly sinned, along with Eve (Gen. 3:6). Their sin resulted in broken fellowship with the Creator (Gen. 3:8) and brought God’s curse (Gen. 3:14–19) and eviction from Eden (Gen. 3:22–24). Adam fathered Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:1–2), Seth (Gen. 4:25), and other children (Gen. 5:3–4). He died at age 930 (Gen. 5:5). As head of the human race, Adam introduced sin into the world. He represents the lost and dying condition of all unrepentant sinners (Rom. 5:12–19; 1 Cor. 15:22). But Christ, referred to in the NT as the “second Adam,” offers deliverance from the curse of sin and death (Rom. 5:14–19; 1 Cor. 15:22).
Eve The name given by Adam to his wife as the mother of the human race (Gen. 3:20). Fashioned from one of Adam’s ribs, she was created to serve as his helpmate and companion (Gen. 2:18–23). Because of her sin and rebellion, Eve was to experience pain and sorrow, especially in connection with the birth of children (Gen. 3:16).
Fall of Man A phrase that refers to Adam and Eve’s state of sorrow and misery that followed their sin and rebellion against God (Gen. 2–3). Their original sin has afflicted the human race ever since (Rom. 3:23)—a condition cured only by the atoning death of Christ (Rom. 5:6).
Covenant An agreement between two people or groups, particularly the agreement between God and His people that promised His blessings in return for their obedience and devotion (Gen. 15). Through His sacrificial death, Jesus became the mediator of a new covenant, bringing salvation and eternal life to all who trust in Him (Heb. 10:12–17).
Tabernacle A tent or portable sanctuary built in the wilderness at God’s command as a place of worship for the Israelites (Exod. 40:1–8). It was also called the Tent of Meeting because it was considered a placeof encounter between God and His people. The tabernacle foreshadowed Christ’s incarnation when “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
Holy of Holies The sacred innermost sanctuary of the temple and tabernacle, containing the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat, which only the high priest could enter. Even he could go in only one day a year on the Day of Atonement, when he made a special sacrifice for the sins of the people (Heb. 9:2–3, 7). Holy Place: nrsv.
Altar A platform, table, or elevated structure on which sacrifices were placed as offerings. Altars were originally made of earth or rocks (Exod. 20:24–25), but they evolved into more sophisticated structures after the construction of the tabernacle (Lev. 9:24). Pagan Canaanite altars were often called “high places” because they were built on hills or high platforms (Num. 33:52).
Sabbath The Jewish day of worship and rest, established when God rested after the six days of creation (Gen. 2:1–3). The fourth of the Ten Commandments calls for the Sabbath to be observed and “kept holy” (Exod. 20:8). The Pharisees placed restrictions on Sabbath observance that prohibited acts of mercy or necessity (Mark 2:23–24). But Jesus declared that “the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). The OT Sabbath fell on the seventh day of the week, or our Saturday. Most Christian groups observe Sunday as the day of worship because of Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2).
Transgression A violation of God’s law that may be personal (1 Tim. 2:14), public (Rom. 5:14), or premeditated (Josh. 7:19–25). Transgression produces death (1 Chron. 10:13) and destruction (Ps. 37:38), but it may be forgiven by confession (Ps. 32:1, 5) through the atoning death of Christ (Isa. 53:5–6).
Omnipotence The unlimited and infinite power that belongs to God. This characteristic of God’s nature is expressed by His names almighty (Gen. 17:1) and omnipotent (Rev. 19:6). God controls nature (Amos 4:13) and the destiny of nations (Amos 1–2). God’s omnipotence is also expressed by the Holy Spirit’s power to convict and save (Rom. 15:19).
Omniscience The infinite knowledge of God. The all-wise and all-knowing God requires no counselor (Isa. 40:13–14). Christ is the key who opens all the hidden treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2–3). God’s Spirit reveals the “deep things of God” to those who are spiritually receptive (1 Cor. 2:10–14).
Imputation To transfer something to another person. Adam’s sin was imputed to all persons (Rom. 5:12). Our iniquity was laid on Jesus (Isa. 53:5–6),and He bore our sins (John 1:29). Jesus, the “second Adam,” imputed grace and righteousness to all who put their trust in Him (Rom. 5:17–19).
Messiah The title given by the Jewish people to a future leader whom they expected to restore their honor and glory after delivering them from their oppressors (Dan. 9:25–26). Jesus fulfilled their longing but in an unexpected way by becoming a spiritual Savior who delivered believers from sin (Rom. 6:1–9). Messias: Greek form (John 1:41; 4:25). Anointed one: niv.
Immutability An attribute of God’s nature that refers to His unchangeableness (Mal. 3:6). The unchangeable nature of Christ assures us that God’s mercy is constant (Heb. 13:8). God, who cannot lie, offers an anchor of hope for all believers, who are the “heirs of promise” (Heb. 6:17–19). God’s Book of Remembrance A book of remembrance was written before him [God] for them that feared the Lord (Mal. 3:16).
Kingdom of God The spiritual reign of God in the hearts of believers (Luke 17:20–21). Partially attained in this life for those who seek God’s will, God’s kingdom will be fully established in the world to come (John 18:36). Jesus preached the “gospel of the kingdom” (Mark 1:14) and taught His disciples to seek His kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and to pray for its arrival on earth (Matt. 6:10). Unrepentant sinners cannot inherit this kingdom (Eph. 5:5). It is reserved for those who repent (Matt. 3:2) and experience spiritual rebirth (John 3:3–5). Other phrases for this kingdom are “kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 4:17) and “kingdom of Christ” (Col. 1:13).
Justification The act or event when God both declares and makes a person just or right with Him (Rom. 4:25; 5:9). Justification is not accomplished by personal merit or good works (Gal. 2:16) but by God’s grace through personal faith in Christ (Rom. 5:18; Eph. 2:8–9). To be justified is to have peace with God and hope for eternity (Titus 3:5–7).

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

30. Open and Unafraid

Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life. W. David O. Taylor. 2020. Thomas Nelson. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy] [Theology; Christian Living; Christian Nonfiction; Bible Study]

First sentence: In the Psalms we join our voices in lament and praise with other voices who weep and laugh.

Love the book of Psalms? Want to know the book of Psalms better? I'd definitely recommend Taylor's new book, Open and Unafraid.

 The timing of this book is just perfect. Both the publishing--March 2020--and my reading of it. As the world changes drastically in response to COVID 19, Taylor's book offers much food for thought. The truth, wisdom, comfort, and hope of Scriptures--particularly the Psalms--shines forth. Psalms is both our song book and our prayer book. Or it perhaps should be.

The Psalms truly cover EVERY and ALL aspects of our emotional lives.

Chapter One: Honesty
Chapter Two: Community
Chapter Three: History
Chapter Four: Prayers
Chapter Five: Poetry
Chapter Six: Sadness
Chapter Seven: Anger
Chapter Eight: Joy
Chapter Nine: Enemies
Chapter Ten: Justice
Chapter Eleven: Death
Chapter Twelve: Life
Chapter Thirteen: Nations
Chapter Fourteen: Creation

The book is written to ENGAGE readers, inviting them deeper and further. Each chapter includes questions for reflections, exercises, and a prayer.


  • "If we have any wish to mature in our humanity and to glorify God with our entire heart, mind, soul, and strength, the Psalms are necessary. We cannot bypass the Psalms. They are God’s gift to train us in prayer that is comprehensive and honest."
  • "To be open and unafraid with God is to counter the devastating effects of our primordial sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, their first impulse was to hide. In making clothes for themselves, they hid their bodies. When they heard the sound of their Maker’s voice, they hid from God. In their telltale lies, they hid from the truth, and in their mutual accusations, they hid from each other. All the ways in which Adam and Eve hid resulted in one thing: their dehumanization. Like Adam and Eve, when we hide from God, we become alienated from God, and thus spend our strength trying to transcend life’s limits: death, dependence, moral laws, God-given boundaries. When we hide from others, we cut ourselves off from the life-giving gift of community. When we hide from creation, we deny our God-ordained creaturely nature and often seek to exploit rather than to care for creation. And when we hide from ourselves, we become strangers to ourselves through selfish, self-indulgent behavior that ultimately does violence to our nature as humans made in God’s image."
  • "We become whole by praying our honest joys and our honest sorrows. We pray our honest praise of God and our honest anger at God; we pray also for honest speech in our words to God. With the psalmist we pray that God will protect our tongues from deceit (Ps. 34:13). We pray that we not sin with our words (Ps. 39:1). We pray that we resist the urge to gossip and flatter (Ps. 12:3), and that we choose to live with integrity (Ps. 41:12), rejecting words that both inflate and deflate us before God (Ps. 32). To pray in this way is to keep ourselves open to others and to God."
  • "It is easy to be honest before God with our hallelujahs; it is somewhat more difficult to be honest in our hurts; it is nearly impossible to be honest before God in the dark emotions of our hate. So we commonly suppress our negative emotions (unless, neurotically, we advertise them). Or, when we do express them, we do it far from the presence, or what we think is the presence, of God, ashamed or embarrassed to be seen in these curse-stained bib overalls. But when we pray the psalms, these classic prayers of God’s people, we find that will not do. We must pray who we actually are, not who we think we should be."
  • "We can be honest to God about the best and worst parts of our human condition, because we know that the grace of God precedes our honest confessions, the grace of God undergirds our honest thanksgivings, and the grace of God follows our honest laments."
  • "Whatever else they are, the psalms are prayers. They’re prayers for people who already know how to pray as well as for those who don’t know how to pray at all. They’re prayers for those who wish to pray to God with all their heart."
  • "To sing a new song is not to sing a “new thing” or the “next thing.” It is to sing in light of the reality of God’s good future, made present to Christ’s people by his Spirit. This is the same life-giving Spirit who makes us partakers of Christ’s ever-renewing resurrected life (Rom. 8): a life that belongs to the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), where humanity is not simply alive (a nephesh hayah) but “hyperalive, excessively alive,” as Jeremy Begbie describes it."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bible Review #2 ESV Creeds

ESV Bible with Creeds and Confessions. Crossway. 2020. 1424 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

How do I feel about the newly published ESV Bible with Creeds and Confessions?! I absolutely love, love, love, love, love, crazy love and adore this one.

I read the TruTone edition of the ESV Creeds Bible. It was without a doubt the best FEELING Tru-Tone I've ever held in my hands. It is LOVELY. I typically make covers for my Bibles--this one won't be getting one. I love the feel of it too much.

It is the text of the ESV translation. I do love the ESV. It is in my top three definitely. I love, love, love the ESV, the NASB, and the KJV. Those are my top three--have been for the past decade--and they take turns being the top. A little friendly competition between translations, I suppose!

Font size vs. Weight. I thought this was PERFECTLY BALANCED. The weight of the overall bible is just about perfect. The font size is 10.5. That is so much larger than the average Bible being printed nowadays. (The ESV Prayer Bible is 9.25; the ESV Study Bible is 9 point; ESV Student Study Bible is 8 point; The ESV Reformation Study Bible is 9 point.) It's light enough that you can hold the Bible and read--as opposed to a Bible you HAVE to read at a table because it's too heavy for the lap to sustain. Because it's light weight, the font size was very manageable even though my vision is poor.

Double column. The ESV Creeds Bible is double column. The bleed-through was on the minimal side. I didn't need to use black construction paper. I think the text was blocked in such a way that it helped prevent bleed-through.

Black letter. The ESV Creeds Bible is a black letter Bible. The words of Christ are not printed in red. I am thankful for this!

The Creeds and Confessions were found in the back of the Bible. They include the Apostles Creed (ca. 200-400), the Nicene Creed (325), the Athanasian Creed (381), the Chalcedonian Definition (451), the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Articles of Religion (1563), the Canons of Dort (1618-19), the Westminster Confession (1646), the London Baptist Confession (1689), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647).

I loved the variety of what they included. Some were familiar to me; others were new-to-me. They didn't include every single creed, confession, or catechism. One they did leave out was the Scots Confession (1560). Another was the Second Helvetic Confession (1566). 

It does include more creeds than the ESV Reformation Study Bible which only includes the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession, the Westminster Larger Catechism, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and the 1689 London Baptist Confession. 

It also has more creeds than the KJV Reformation Heritage Bible which only includes the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort, Westminster Confession, Westminster Shorter Confession, Westminster Larger Catechism.

I think the ESV Creeds Bible would make a great Bible to carry to church. It would be a great only Bible as well.

I think ESV should publish a Bible perhaps with families in mind and include the full text of the NEW CITY CATECHISM.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible