Bestselling novels are often printed in a variety of formats throughout their lives in print. Hardcovers, paperbacks, first editions, 10th anniversary editions, deluxe editions etc. can all be expected for blockbuster classics. Is it any wonder then, that the world’s all-time #1 bestselling non-fiction title – the Bible – is available in such a plethora of translations, formats, editions, and so on?
The newly released Transformation Study Bible from David C. Cook combines the fourth best-selling Bible translation (2008/2009) – the New Living Translation or NLT – with Bible teacher Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s highly respected commentary. The NLT is a modern English translation of the Bible, featuring easy-to-read language, and is based upon a translation method that relies both upon formal equivalence techniques (word-for-word), and dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought).
This being my first encounter with an NLT Bible, I was quite pleased with the easy-to-read, yet accurate text. After reading several important passages, I’ve found that this version supports a literal seven-day creation period, and in no way detracts from God’s absolute sovereignty and authority over the earth and all that is within it. Though this is certainly a given for long-time NLT readers, the modern equivalencies of weights, measurements, time, etc. are a huge blessing. Easy to read without a Bible dictionary at hand for looking up formulas for translating these antiquated measurements into ones I’m familiar with, this is incredibly convenient (original measurements and such are provided in the footnotes.)
After satisfying myself with the content and theological basis of the translation itself, I turned my attention to Wiersbe’s commentary. Drawn from his vast collection of popular “Be” series titles – 50 expositional Bible studies which focus upon the application of God’s word to the lives of believers – this commentary is the result of over 30 years of work. I found Wiersbe’s commentary to be both helpful, and accurate; whether dealing with Paul’s theological writings in Romans, or narrative stretches of scripture, Wierbe’s explanations are clear and balanced.
Bible ‘extras’ include cross-references in the center column (I love these), words of Christ in red, a small, standard selection of full-colour Bible maps, preaching outlines by book, and a very respectable dictionary/concordance – the most comprehensive built-in concordance I’ve seen. Formally structured book outlines provide an overview of the pain points and occurrences within each portion of scripture. A conversational introduction to the book, and “Be Transformed” section help readers to discern the meaning of the book, and its potential to apply directly to their lives. The “Catalyst” sections spread throughout the text do an excellent job of focusing in on the “big picture”, the overarching themes of God’s plan, illumining the personal relevance of important events and sections of scripture.
Incredibly accessible, I highly recommend the Transformation Study Bible for anyone who may have read through certain portions of the Bible and wondered how what they were reading fit into God’s larger plan, or how the text applied to their spiritual growth. I’ve only just skimmed the surface of this large volume (2300+ pages), but I’m looking forward to reading through the Bible with an increased sense of meaning, depth, and personal relevance as I continue to explore its pages.