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Whether or not it should be the case, people tend to take their faith more seriously in times of personal or national crisis. For three years, we have been in the midst of such a time, a time of uncertainty and challenge for the United States and for the world. Almost daily it seems the nation grieves the loss of another young person overseas, and the virtually constant threat of terrorism seems to hang over us like a vague but heavy burden.
Whether the efforts of publishers that produce Bible-related resources actually are more relevant now than at other times--or whether they just seem to be--is a matter of personal judgment and opinion. But it's clear people are seeking with a greater sense of urgency to understand, to be comforted by, and to apply their biblical faith in these troubled times.
From Bibles to commentaries to reference materials to books, recently released (or soon to be released) Bible resources seem to reflect a clear emphasis on making faith more relevant, more real, and more meaningful. This emphasis is implied by the subtitle of Zondervan's NIV Application Commentary series: "From biblical text ... to contemporary life."
Some of these resources focus on unpacking the meaning of specific books of the Bible while others focus on Bible personalities, including Jesus Christ. (See "Understanding Jesus More Clearly" on page 10.)
Bibles and Commentaries
As its title suggests, Tyndale's Every Man's Bible, based on the New Living Translation, was developed with men in mind. The introduction states, "God created men and women with different strengths and different roles. Our desire in presenting the Every Man's Bible is that it will help you better understand God's general plan for masculinity as well as the special and unique role God has for you." This resource highlights 94 male role models (both positive and negative) from the Bible. It also provides detailed perspectives on men's relationships with their wives and with women in general.
Abingdon Press's The New Interpreter's Study Bible (general editor, Walter J. Harrelson), is distinct partly because of its efforts to incorporate perspectives from diverse theological traditions, academic backgrounds, and life experiences. Based on the New Revised Standard Version, its combination of thorough scholarship and accessible language make it an appropriate resource for everyone--from the layperson to the serious Bible student. Abingdon has also released a 500-plus-page index to its 12-volume commentary, The New Interpreter's Bible.
Zondervan over the past few months has released three new Bibles: The Discovery Study Bible, The Prayer Devotional Bible, and The NIV Teen Study Bible, Revised. The Discovery Bible's unique system of 150 Study Centers guides readers on self-directed studies that reveal both the details and broad panorama of Scripture. This approach is designed to enable readers to explore specific details without missing the larger picture. The Prayer Devotional Bible features 260 daily devotions, 52 weekend devotions, …