The TEXT Bible: A Review and a Chance to Receive a Giveaway Copy

The front cover of Thomas Nelson’s just released The TEXT Bible.

Thomas Nelson just put a new Bible on the shelves: The TEXT Bible [Amazon Affiliate Link]. I received a copy for review. I’ll share what The TEXT is, some key features, and a few images from my copy highlighting what you can find inside. Keep reading. If you like what you see, leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway. One winner will be selected to receive a copy of The TEXT Bible on Friday, January 20, 2023.

The TEXT Bible was created by Michael and Haley DiMarco (Own It, God Guy, God Girl) and provides every reader with a method for Bible study consisting of four steps:

  • Talk to God, praying and thanking him for his Word and that it’s true; ask the Holy Spirit to help us see the truth.
  • Encounter God and humanity as you read and reflect on two simple questions: 1) What do these verses say about God, and 2) What do they say about humanity?
  • eXamine your heart. As we reflect on the text, we ask what needs to be confessed, added, taken away, or maintained as a follower of Jesus.
  • Talk to others. We thank God for revealing these life changing truths and ask who needs to hear them too.

Simple, straightforward, and helpful for those who have never read the Bible with a method to aid in reading for understanding.

Questions for reflection are found in the margins.

The TEXT method is paired with the New English Translation (NET) version of the Bible. This is an accessible, readable translation. The “TEXT THE TEXT” box seen above shows you how a passage of Scripture is explored by using one step in the TEXT method, inviting further reflection.

The introduction to Ephesians.

Each book of the Bible is introduced with an overview, background information, and identification of key themes. Above, you see that Paul is identified as the author of Ephesians, a dating of the letter, a key verse, and a summation of this book’s purpose, or why it was written.

TEXT Threads are key ideas you can trace through a letter.

Each introduction also includes TEXT Threads, which are key ideas you can trace through a book. These threads are reminiscent of what you find in the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, a Bible designed to assist the reader in making broader connections as they move through the Scriptures.

The TEXT Bible has other features as well. There are about 100 short devotionals throughout which follow the TEXT method and answer, “Who is God?” These devotionals often teach a core Christian doctrinal idea (i. e., “There is Only One God” in the exploration of Deuteronomy 6:4). There is instruction on how to pray the Scriptures. There is short commentary on people and places in the Bible. There are descriptions of the different literary genres found in the Bible and definitions of key terms.

The TEXT Bible also features wide margins that are dot lined, which is great! It’s my favorite thing about the layout.

Lastly, this Bible includes a list of prophecies fulfilled at the cross, a catalog of spiritual gifts (with corresponding references), an index of passages for “Praying the TEXT,” Bible reading plans, a concordance, maps, and two ribbon bookmarks.

While this Bible could be used by anyone, it is designed for an emerging generation of readers. It plays on idioms and concepts commonly encountered while using digital media or digital devices, particularly social media and the cell phone. It is not an academic or scholarly Bible, filled with commentary or extensive background notes. Rather, it is suited to those who are new to the Bible and learning the Christian story of salvation. I can see this Bible on the lap of a teenager, reading, thinking, and jotting an occasional note.

I’ve handled countless Bibles. I’ve come to see that every Bible translation has shortcomings, some far more than others. And every “version” of the Bible has strengths and weaknesses. Scholarly, academic Bibles can be impenetrable for some lay readers; popular paraphrase translations can seem too flippant or too lacking in detail for serious readers. Bibles with commentary always represent one theological vantage point or stream over another, and word counts limit what goes in and what stay out in the introductory material, backgrounds, or notes.

This Bible has an intended audience. And I think it can connect with that intended audience. I think The TEXT is a timely presentation of God’s Word for an emerging generation. It could help a young reader get their feet under them as they explore and consider the Christian message.

If you’re interested in receiving a copy of The TEXT Bible, comment with your name and a valid email address and share the Bible translation/edition you most often read or study. One winner among the commenters will be chosen at random at the end of the week and I will contact you via email to receive your address. Your copy will be sent from the publisher.

Thanks for reading, and for those entering the giveaway good luck!

Review: The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

The Hardcover, Black Bonded Leather, and Brown Leathersoft Copies of the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible was first published in 1908. Zondervan is now issuing new editions in multiple translations. Check it out here. I received a copy of this Bible (Hardcover Edition) for free as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. I have a few thoughts.

About This Bible

The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible has been around a while. I’ve had a copy for years. My mom sent a Thompson Chain-Reference Bible with me when I went off to college, and briefly showed me how to use the reference system to trace themes and topics through the sacred text.

Not until now have I learned how the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible came to be. It was put together by Dr. Frank Charles Thompson, who began his ministry among Methodist people in the 1800s. He received his PhD from Boston University, was a scholar of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and took notes in the margins of his King James Version of the Bible. Congregants saw these notes, inquired as to their purpose, and encouraged Dr. Thompson to make these notes widely available. Thompson eventually partnered with a gentleman named B. B. Kirkbridge, who acquired the rights to sell and distribute the Bible–which was first sold door to door. Zondervan released an NIV version in 1983.

Translations and Tools

The latest issue from Zondervan has been printed in a few translations: the King James Version (KJV), English Standard Version (ESV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB).

There are several ways to use the Thompson Chain-Reference, most famously using its topical system. More than 7,000 topical listings are found in the alphabetical index at the rear of the Bible and more than 4,000 of these topics are arranged into “chains,” threads which one can follow through the Scriptures. As a disciple of John Wesley, Thompson surely understood what it means to “search” the Scriptures, and highlighted pathways others could tread.

Find a sample here. You will be able to see the topic numbers, themes, and references in the margins.

The Thompson Chain-Reference also includes book introductions and outlines for each book. You can study chapters, passages, or verses, and follow the references listed in the margins to deepen your understanding and broaden the context of your study. This Bible also includes character studies that you can trace, a list of Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament and how they were fulfilled in the New Testament, maps that correspond to different portions of the biblical narrative, aids to memorization and recommendations for taking notes in your Bible, and a concordance.

This Bible also has a built in ribbon that can be used as a bookmark.

How I’ll Use This Bible

I take on writing projects occasionally that prefer use of the NASB translation, so this Bible will come in handy. I can use the Thompson Chain-Reference system to further my understanding of a given text. I’ll use for ease of reference and to further my study, to help me make connections across the whole of Scripture.

I’m always on the look out for editions of the Bible that could serve as one-stop tools for comprehensive Bible study. This is one of those tools. I generally recommend that a person own a good Bible translation, a good one-volume commentary, a good Bible dictionary, and an accurate Bible atlas. This Bible could serve all those purposes.

A nice new issue from Zondervan.

The Magnificent Journey is Magnificent

One of my favorite books of this past year was The Magnificent Journey: Living Deep in the Kingdom by James Bryan Smith. Journey is the second in Smith’s latest trilogy of books, preceded by The Magnificent Story (2017) and to be followed by The Magnificent Mission, releasing in fall of 2019.

The Magnificent Journey addresses a lack found often in Christian history, but particularly in our moment: among those professing faith in Jesus, too few embrace discipleship to Jesus, which is learning the way of life with Jesus. Smith uses the metaphor of journey to remind us that in the kingdom of God there is always a sense that we are on the move, keeping in step with Jesus as he calls to us, “Follow me!”

If Jesus is leading, then we are following. We are not “in charge.” Obedience is part of this way of life, and one of Jesus’ commands is to take up a cross. The Christian life, paradoxically, involves death to self in order to find life that lasts, a life fully alive to God. We must “surrender,” but not only once. Smith explains that surrender is not only an action taking place at conversion, but that surrender is also a way, a daily decision to yield oneself to God, to trust, and to follow.

Smith expands this idea to show that it is through surrender that we learn “to grow in the grace and knowledge of God.” In other words, by surrendering our faith grows. We learn, through experience, that God is good and can be trusted. This is not always easy.

Life involves suffering. Sometimes we experience tragedy. Smith is no stranger to this truth, and he tells of how God has used his own heartaches and heartbreaks in life for good. Smith does not minimize the magnitude of pain, nor deny the depth of our wounds, but instead points to Jesus and reminds us of the comfort found in worshiping a God who is well acquainted with grief, suffering, and death, yet who overcame those realities in the resurrection, and who promises us everlasting life.

The remainder of the book expands on this idea: that through surrender to Jesus we are led to experience life as God intended it for us. The way of surrender calls us to live our lives “from above,” or from the perspective and power of God and the everlasting kingdom. As we do so we learn to listen to God first (and, consequently, to others more carefully), to develop a deep, abiding trust by walking in faith, to live with hope, to demonstrate love, and to experience deep joy. Smith contends that this is the life God has for us. It is the life Jesus came to demonstrate for us, and to deliver to us. It is a life we receive through faith, by grace, so that God can use us for good.

Smith’s greatest authorial virtue is found in his gentle, pastoral style, with which he effectively conveys historical, biblical, and theological insight. Professor Smith has clearly spent time listening, observing, and tending to those around him, beginning with his family, church community, students, and those who share his cultural moment. He has identified many of the ideas that keep people from embracing God, from responding to the love of God extended to us through Jesus Christ. I have long admired this quality in Smith’s writing, speaking, and teaching ministry. Smith displays this virtue in this book.

Of all Smith’s books, this is my favorite thus far. I recommend it.