I had a difficult time deciding what Christmas gifts I wanted this year. Limited funds, a hectic schedule, and the December death of my father all contributed towards my ambivalence towards Christmas 2008. Choosing the right items to place on my Christmas gifts list was challenging.
Then I remembered that special Bible I had seen in a bookstore at a church in north Atlanta that I had visited this fall. Once remembered, I scribbled this Bible down as the first item on my list.
Now that I have received the Archaeological Study Bible, I love it! It is the best Christmas gift ever.
I am not a huge fan of all the different types of Bible that have been published during the past ten years, but this Bible is exactly what I have been looking for. This Bible, published by Zondervan with the New International Version, is an intelligent undertaking for the serious student of God’s Word.
The Archaeological Study Bible is ideal for me because it incorporates the historical context and the archaeological discoveries that substantiate the Bible as a historically accurate and sound document. Having lived and traveled in the Middle East and the Balkans and seen some of the biblical sites with my own eyes, I appreciate knowledge that informs my faith as a Christian. This is a gift that nicely incorporates hermeneutics, archaeology, history, and theology.
The Archaeological Study Bible contains over 500 in-depth articles relating to the peoples, lands, leaders, texts, and artifacts linked to the Bible. Here is a taste of the variety and interest of article titles included: Labor and Welfare in the Ancient World; Prophets in the Bible and Pagan Nations; A Pagan’s Prayer of Thanks; When Was Daniel Written?; The Route of the Exodus (southern, northern, and Arabian routes included); Wine and Alcoholic Beverages in the Ancient World; Justice and Fraud in the Hymn to Shamash; Jewish Burial Customs; Miracle Workers and Magicians in the First Century A.D.; Constantine and Queen Helena’s Role in Preserving Holy Sites; Athens; The Soldiers Guarding the Tomb; The Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus; The Historical Value of Luke-Acts; Perfumes and Anointing Oils; Non-Biblical Sources for the Historical Jesus; Alexandria; Can John’s Gospel Be Trusted?; The Geographic Expansion of the Church Under Persecution…and I could go on and on!
The articles are indexed both topically (including Scripture reference) and alphabetically by title and present history, discoveries, and theoretical perspectives. There are color maps along with a glossary and lengthy concordance. The NIV study Bible notes are also included.
These articles are the highlight of this Bible as they quote from ancient sources, present pictures of actual artifacts and ruins, provide introductions and outlines for each book, and offer summaries of academic and theological research relating to particular topics in God’s Word. There is also an online component available.
The presentation of this Bible is gorgeous! Each page looks like colored parchment. The graphics for the articles are top notch while the nearly 500 color photographs of ruins, stones, excavations, and artifacts are excellent quality.
This Bible is revolutionizing my understanding of Bible times which in turn will enhance my ability to understand, interpret, and apply God’s Word to my life and to the lives of others.
The drawbacks? It is big, very big, and heavy, as you might imagine with all that information included. You probably would not carry it to church, but keep it on your desk or reading table.
Other reviewers focus on the small print in this 2300 + page Bible. The print is small, so you should look at this Bible with your own eyes before purchasing it, to see if it is workable for you. I am not having any problem reading the small text without glasses. There is a smaller personal size version of this Bible, but I have not seen it and I cannot imagine how readable it would be.
The Zondervan Corporation hit a home run with the Archaeological Study Bible. I will remember this Christmas 2008 gift for a long time.