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Review: NKJV Study Bible, Full Color Edition

NKJV study Bible

A Bible is, well, a Bible, right?  Even though there may be differences in translation, these rarely have a significant effect on how we understand it.

However, when it comes to study Bibles, there are major differences that can seriously impact our understanding of God’s Word.

The New King James Version Study Bible, Full Color Edition, is the latest one I’ve seen, and its color makes it different from all the rest.  The vibrant maps, photographs, tables, and more are a great help to understanding the Bible, its culture, and its times.

In other respects, the NKJV Study Bible, Full Color Edition is similar to most study Bibles, with many standard Bible study aids such as cross-references, word studies, book introductions (including outlines and timelines), notes and articles, and a concordance.

However, the contents of some of this material suggests more modern thought than, for example, the NKJV Reformation Study Bible does.  This approach to debated Bible passages could be a problem for Christians who hold to traditional interpretations of the Bible, but would appeal to others.

There are also the physical aspects:

  • The NKJV Study Bible, Full Color Edition is physically heavy, perhaps too heavy for a frail person to carry around to church and Bible Study, although most healthy people will not find that an issue. But then, most study Bibles are heavy.
  • This study Bible has reasonably sized font, both for the text of the Bible itself and for the study material, and is easy to read. This is an important consideration for the very young, those above middle age, and those with vision problems.

Would the NKJV Study Bible, Full Color Edition, be a good investment for you?  Its colorful maps, photographs, and more are very appealing, and it is full of quality study material.  On the other hand, traditional Christians might prefer different emphases in the discussions of a few controversial points.

This post is linked to Saturday Reviews, Works for Me Wednesdays, Booknificent Thursdays, Raising Homemakers, Finishing Strong, Mom to Mom Monday, and R&R Wednesdays.

Disclosure: I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in order to review it.  I have expressed my own honest opinions.

Handel’s Messiah with the Choir of King’s College

Friends and family members–including 3 of our 5 kids!–are attending various local performances of Handel’s Messiah this year.

I was a wee bit envious but then my husband sent me this link to a performance by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

May you, too, be uplifted by the joyous strains and words of this ultimate celebration of Christmas!

Review: Burning Questions Apologetics DVDs

Burning Questions

What is life all about?  Why are we here, and do we matter?  How should we live?  Such questions are all around us, asked by people of all ages and backgrounds.  Obviously, they provide an ideal starting point for evangelism, but most of us are not equipped to help either seekers or skeptics.

Ravi Zacharias Ministries International has put together a compelling DVD series to address the questions of seekers and to equip those Christians reaching out to them.

Burning Questions…Exploring Where the Evidence Leads takes a rational look at some of the deepest and most important questions facing mankind:

  • Is there a God?
  • God and Science
  • The Problem of Evil
  • Which Religion is True?
  • Can We Trust the Bible?
  • Who Was Jesus?

The answers have profound implications and deal with questions of meaning, purpose, hope, and daily life.  However, these important questions are often not discussed clearly or respectfully; usually noisy rhetoric is employed by all parties.  In contrast, Dr. Andy Bannister has tried to set up a courteous discussion by interviewing expert representatives of many beliefs, including atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and more.  In Burning Questions, he gives them space to present their points of view, engaging honestly with their ideas by presenting related ideas from different interviewees together.

Beginning with the biggest question of all, “Is there a God?” Burning Questions addresses both intellectual and emotional concerns from many points of view.  The different experts are given the space to define their beliefs and to answer questions about them, and all these different interviews are woven together into a careful narrative. Each section is briefly introduced and summed up by Andy who also conducts the interviews.   Andy does an excellent job of treating all his interviewees respectfully.  He listens carefully to what they say and, though he is clearly confident in what he himself believes, he takes their points of view seriously.

Thus these DVDs address the six Burning Questions in a broad manner, giving a voice to many different beliefs while at the same time heading steadily toward the inescapable conclusion that Jesus is the answer.

I learned a lot from these DVDs about how people of different beliefs approach the big questions in life.  I also ‘met’ some wonderful Christians.  Dr. Anna Robbins of Nova Scotia expressed her Christian faith so simply yet with such wisdom.  Dr. Ard Louis of Oxford passionately promoted the idea that science is not all there is and cannot answer the really important questions.  Furthermore, I have developed new compassion for atheists like Dr. Peter Atkins of Oxford although, as a scientist, I am incredulous that he actually believes that what he says is based on rational thought. (I will discuss this in more detail when I review God’s Undertaker by Lennox.)

The accompanying study guide, available free from the Burning Questions website, can help shape a discussion and contains some excellent book and video recommendations for each of the six questions.  I was pleased to find a few science titles I had never heard of.

In our home we are in the process of using Burning Questions as a component of grade 12 Bible and Apologetics course.  Miss 17 has watched the DVDs with me and has made many insightful comments and objections.  She is a logical thinker, an expert in ferreting out fallacies, and it was good for her to see this intelligent and reasoned approach to different religions and to Explore Where the Evidence Leads.  The study guide will be helpful for seekers but I have not yet determined how we will adapt it to our homeschool.  With or without the study guide, Burning Questions is a wonderful addition to our high school Bible course and will help prepare Miss 17 to stand firm and even be a light in the world of a secular university.

Quality cinematography, fascinating locations (including C.S. Lewis’s home), passionate expert interviewees, and Andy’s skillful summaries combine with the six questions to make this a valuable tool for anyone involved in the search for truth.  Although Burning Questions should, hopefully, appeal to seekers themselves, it will be especially helpful to those Christians who are interacting with seekers, skeptics, and doubters of all backgrounds. They will be able to use it to gain an understanding of different opinions and to watch skilled and compassionate people engage these opinions and point to the Truth.  This video series could also be shown directly to anyone interested these issues, no matter what they currently believe, and the study guide would be a helpful discussion resource.

To see trailers for each of the episodes, to purchase the DVDs, or to download the free study guide, please visit the Burning Questions website.

Note: The discussion of science assumes that theistic evolution and Big Bang theory, both of which are problematic for both scientific and theological reasons, represent the Christian point of view.

This post is linked to Trivium Tuesdays, Works for Me Wednesdays, Raising Homemakers, Finishing Strong, Mom to Mom Monday, and R&R Wednesdays.

Disclosure: I received these DVDs from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Canada and Graf-Martin Communications for the purpose of this review and have expressed my own honest opinions.

Our Little Vacation

My dear husband decided that I needed a break, so the Little Misses and I accompanied him to a conference.  What a lovely little vacation it was!

We visited Ripley’s Aquarium:

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium

 

These swam right above us!

These swam right above us!

 

We watched the sting rays for a long time.

We watched the sting rays for a long time.

We ate very, very well, and I had no gluten problems:

Roasted root vegetables, including Jerusalem artichokes.

Roasted root vegetables, including Jerusalem artichokes.

 

My husband's pumpkin cheesecake

My husband’s pumpkin cheesecake

And it was so pleasant to sit peacefully above the stop-and-go traffic, watching Toronto’s lights come on at night, knowing that there was nothing I had to do…except eat supper, maybe take the girls for a swim, read a little bit, and sleep.

Toronto at night

Toronto at night

A crowning joy:  When we got to the parkade, Mr. 19’s dream car, a Tesla Model S, was parked right beside us.

My son's dream car

My son’s dream car

I am very grateful for this wonderful little vacation, and even more for my husband who noticed I needed a break (even though I had no idea!) and made sure it happened.

I pray you, too, will notice and find joy in all the big and little treats God sends your way, remembering them with gratitude and delight.

Review: Growing Up Social by Chapman and Pellicane

growing up social

All parents sometimes wonder about the amount of time their children spend interacting with screens.   Most of us question, at least occasionally, if it is a good thing.  But, since we are the first generation of parents to deal with these issues, we often do not even know exactly what the issues are, let alone how to address them.

Gary Chapman (of The 5 Love Languages) and Arlene Pellicane have waded through all these questions in their book Growing Up Social:  Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World.  In a chatty style with plenty of anecdotes they discuss the basics of raising children who can relate well to others, not only to screens. They also highlight scientifically proven negative effects of excessive screen time.

Their main question is:  Is it possible for children to learn about relationships and responsibilities when the vast majority of their time is spent absorbed in a screen?

One of their responses is that many children have too much screen time too early in life.  They are missing out on time with their parents, play, down time, reading, exercise, and learning.  Parents must dare to do what is best for their children despite the children’s protests.  It takes time to teach and learn the basic relational skills of showing affection and appreciation, managing anger, apologizing, and paying attention, and much of this valuable learning time has been swallowed up by screen time.

What’s more, too much screen time reinforces tendencies toward shyness, changes brain structure, squeezes out time to show your child love, reduces security, and undermines your parental authority.  And, it’s not only your child’s screen time that matters; many of the same negative effects result when parents are too busy online.

The book encourages a simple 2 hour a day limit on screen time for children, and reminds parents that they need to take charge of raising their children and need to learn how to show them love.  This book is meant to empower parents to take charge of their family’s—and their own—time.

I recommend Growing Up Social to anyone who wants Christian guidance about raising children in our high tech world.

Growing Up Social contains a list of group discussion questions as well as links to help you determine your family members’ love languages and to help you teach them relational skills.  For more information see The Five Love Languages website.

This is yet another book in the in the 2014 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Works for Me Wednesdays, Booknificent Thursdays, Raising Homemakers, Finishing Strong, Mom to Mom Monday, and R&R Wednesdays.

Disclosure: I received this book from Side Door Communications and Moody Publishers in order to review it.  I have expressed my own honest opinions.

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