Sunday, December 13, 2015

Book Review: NLT Illustrated Study Bible - Great for new Christian or for easy to read translation.

Review: NLT Illustrated Study Bible

When I received this Bible in the mail, I was excited about looking it over.  Translation wise my view of the New Living Translation is that it is a good thought for thought translation; meaning it is not word by word to the original Hebrew (OT) or original Greek (NT), as would be the case with KJV, NASB, ESV (and some other translations). It does a good job with its thought for thought at bringing the original meaning into each verse in a much easier reading style.  This Bible is my choice for a new Christian. When I came to faith in Christ in 1975, I wish a Bible like this existed, as when I became a Christian it was all so new to me and my first two Bibles were not study Bibles.  A study Bible like this would have been so helpful to me

As to the name "Illustrated" in the title, I was really interested in how "illustrated" this Bible would be, as I have many good Bibles with pictures, charts and illustrations.  Would this Bible be different?  This Bible has a good amount of illustrations.  As far as color pictures, this Bible may be the most beautiful Bible I own. Also, some of the photos taken at actual Bible sites are amazing and give you a little more feel for the environment of that time period. 

One of my favorite features of this Bible is the detailed information "Features Index" provided on every main person in the Bible, as well as detailed information on every key event, situation or term that needs explaining. These are inserted throughout the Bible (usually when the subject first comes up in the Bible), and this is even before you get to all the Bible Study notes that take up approximately the bottom half of most pages.  The Bible notes are good to cover most things, but also fairly general in their explanations.  Definitely sufficient and helpful - not my favorite Bible in study notes - though still very good.

This Bible has great reference material in the back starting at page 2378 and going through 2557 including (but not limited to): Hebrew & Greek Word Studies (over 200), Features Index, Notes Index, Dictionary/Concordance, and in the very back colored maps.

From cover to cover this Bible has over 2600 pages and weighs 4.7 pounds (so it's pretty big and heavy).

I own other NLT Bibles, but this is my first Study Bible of the NLT.  I'm excited to have it.  I hope this review was helpful to you in your endeavor for the right Bible for you as you read God's Holy Word, the BIBLE.

I only gave it 4 stars overall, but for a new Christian or someone who needs an easy to read study Bible, I would give it 5 stars.

Best price I found was at:  $26.99 (Retail $49.99)

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this Bible in exchange for my honest review.  I was in no way required to write anything positive, and the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: "If God is Good - Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil"

I was very excited about getting my copy of "If God is Good" by Randy Alcorn. I even the loved the cover (rose and thorns). I find Randy Alcorn to be an excellent author who is very scripturally sound. He does a pretty thorough job covering a very hard subject, evil and suffering, in this 500+ page book. This subject is a hard one for anyone to totally understand, but I feel Randy Alcorn, the author, did a great job covering the many angles of hand questions that surround this very question,  "if God is good, why all this suffering and evil?"  
Randy Alcorn (Author) takes 2 1/2 minutes to share on his book.

This book is divided into 11 sections and covers practically every aspect of evil and suffering from its origins to various views on the subject. I believe Randy did as good a job on covering the subject as anybody could ever attempt to do. To understand it more thoroughly than this, I believe we'll have to wait until the day we stand before the presence of God, and then that which is now dim and cloudy on suffering and evil, will become totally clear. But until then, I believe this book will help you better understand and deal with the suffering and evil that surrounds all of us. Not one of us is exempt from suffering and the consequences of evil in our world.  

I do believe this book will help you to see that you don't need to be getting mad at God over this subject.  It is so wonderful to know that through it all our God is in control and that God is good!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.  I was in no way required to write anything positive, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are complete my own.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My review of "Bonhoeffer Abridged - Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy"

This is the second book I've read on Dietrich Bonhoeffer in recent months.The last one was "Strange Glory," a very long book with a lot of detail, and for some people a little too much detail. My wife loves history and is from a German heritage, so I thought she would love "Strange Glory" - she didn't. She found herself getting bored with the details.  I have asked her to read "Bonhoeffer Abridged" and I think she'll really like it. One of the things I really like about this book is that it gives you a fast-moving account of Dietrich Bonnhoefer's life, yet being careful to cover most of the highlights of his life and ministry without dragging through little details. It is broken down into 12 chapters covering the years of his life from birth to death.  It's entire length is only 256 pages, but those pages  covers his life quite thoroughly. I never once found myself bored while reading this book - it is an excellent book. I believe it gave me good insight into the life and ministry of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I found it very easy to read and enjoyed it very much. If you want more details on his life and ministry, I would suggest getting the unabridged copy of this book "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" (624 pages) by the same author (Eric Metaxas).  I easily give this book 5 stars.

256 pages abridged 
or 624 unabridged.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and BookLook bloggers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review; all opinions are my own.  I was not required to give a positive review.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review: "Exploring Christian Theology - Revelation, Scripture and The Triune God" (Volume 1)

When I first received this book I was a little concerned that it was going to be some really dry, purely intellectual reading, but I was wrong. This book is really good on sharing the importance of theology. This volume isn't too long with 272 pages, and covers two subjects (nice length); the way in which it's designed is really like having two books in one. The first subject is Scripture and all that entails including the inspiration of the Scriptures. This subject really has to be covered first as it is foundational.  If you don't come to the conclusion that the Bible is 100% inspired by God (Holy Spirit), then you will have no basis upon which to build any of your beliefs. Along those lines let me quote from page 109 of this book, "The proper conception of inspiration holds that the Holy Spirit acted on the writers of the Bible in an organic way, in harmony with the laws of their own inner being, using them just as they were, with their character and temperament, their gifts and talents, their education and culture, their vocabulary and style. The Holy Spirit illumined their minds, aided their memory, prompted them to write, repressed the influence of sin on their writings, and guided them in the expression of their thoughts even to the choice of their words." (Quote by Louis Berkhof).  

The first section also includes 10 memory Scriptures as they relate directly to the subject of the inspiration of the Scriptures. There are also little blocks of information through out the pages for quick reference on the subject at hand, and are also very well-written.

The second subject or book in this volume is on the Triune God, the Trinity. The Trinity is one of those doctrines that is foundational to Christians worldwide, and it will be hard to understand unless you accept as fact that God's Word (BIBLE), as stated in section one, is truly 100% the inspired Word of God.  This section will cover and explain how God exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, yet there is one God (not three as erroneously taught by some). While this may be one of the hardest doctrines to wrap our finite minds around, it is taught throughout the Bible (Old and New Testaments) as you will see in this section. I feel this book did a good job of explaining the Trinity and showing many passages that teach this foundational truth of Christianity.  

This second section includes 14 memory Scriptures, again, related to the subject. There are also other handy tools such as a glossary of terms. This is helpful as many of the terms in this book are words you've never heard from a modern day pulpit. There is also a section at the end of each part of the book called "shelf space," which refers you to other books on the same subject for further study (and in most cases more in-depth), which I found helpful. The book suggestions are broken down into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  By their own rating system, I would say they would likely consider this book intermediate. So, if you did find this book a little too detailed, look at their book suggestions and look for a book rated beginner; if this book was too simplistic for you, then look at their book suggestions and pick a book that is rated advanced.

I would give this book four and a half stars. it's a good book on theology, not too terribly long and pretty easy to read. That being said, if you pay retail price 1 volume is just $16.99, but it only covers two subjects, inspiration of the scripture and the Trinity, so to get a more fuller study of theology you need to buy the other 2 volumes (soon to be released), which means putting out about $50 ($40 if you look around) to cover basic theology.  Volume 2 covers creation, fall, and salvation; and volume 3 covers the church, spiritual growth, and end times. While that doesn't cover absolutely everything in theology, with those three volumes, you should have a pretty good handle on biblical theology when you're done.

I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review of "What the Bible Says About Prayer"

I am a minister of the Gospel and believe prayer is of utmost importance in a Christian's life. Your Christian life will always be lacking if you are not in prayer on a regular basis. As with all Rose Publishing products, their products are always easy to read and and I love the visual layout of their materials. I also like the durability of their laminated/gloss pamphlets, and it's flat enough that you can keep it your Bible.

This pamphlet "What the Bible Says About Prayer" is only 14 pages (panels),  but it has over 100 scriptures, so while it is a quick read, it has a lot of scriptures to review.  You get all the basics on prayer that you'll need to get your prayer life going. This is a great tool for a new believer to understand the basics of prayer and its layout makes it very easy to understand. If someone understands this pamphlet they'll be on their way to a fruitful prayer life. This would be great for a Sunday School class or a "New Believers" Bible Study.  You want to check it out.  I believe you'll be very pleased and it is only $3.99 (or less with or - you just can't beat it! I give this 4.0 out of 5 stars as it is very good for a new believer, but very basic for anyone who has been a Christian for any length of time.  

Rose Publishing has provided me with a reader copy for my honest review. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bible Review: New King James Version Study Bible - Second Edition - Full Color

 I grew up with the King James Version (KJV) and therefore memorized most of my scriptures in KJV.  My first KJV Bible was used for many, many years to where I could visibly tell you where on the page most verses were located.

Over the years I changed over to the New King James Version.  I like its similarity to the KJV, yet it is clearer to read and understand, as KJV was written in 1611 in Elizabethan English so many of the words and their meanings in KJV are different now in 21st century. 

The KJV was translated to English from the Textus Receptus Greek for the New Testament and Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament. If that matters to you, then you should like the NKJV as it too was translated from the same above mentioned manuscripts. If that last sentence doesn't matter to you, don't worry about it.  Let's move on :-)

Now, about this specific version. 

First, a quick summary of some of the features of the updated version on the New King James Study Bible are:
NEW attractive full-color page design
NEW stunning Bible-land photos and graphics
NEW in-text maps and charts 
Full cross-references with textual notes
Book introductions, outlines, and timelines
Bible Times and Culture Notes
Word studies and indexes
Reader-friendly notes and articles ideal for extended study
Deluxe NKJV Concordance including proper names


The above mentioned features are "some" of the main features, but this Bible is full of other great features and information that would make this review much longer. Let's go over some of these features. As stated above, this full color edition is very colorful and has many stunning photos and graphics.  Also, this Bible is full of helpful maps and charts. As is standard in most Bibles, it has a center column of cross-references and some textual notes, but one thing unique about this is the center-column is shaded a light gray (I personally like that).  The book introductions, outlines, and timelines are excellent. As you read through you will see olive call blocks of information on "Bible Times & Culture Notes" you will find this quite helpful and informative. One of my favorite features is the gray block at the bottom of some pages with "Word Studies" that has great information and also references "Strongs" corresponding number for further study. And one final notes on the features - it has a larger and better concordance than I have seen in most Bible (starting at page 2145-2339). 
 Introduction, Outline and Timeline

Large Concordance
Closing thoughts: As colorful as this Bible is, it does NOT have the words of Christ in red.  While this doesn't matter to me, I thought it was worth mentioning.  

This bible has a total of 2400 pages (that's big), but with all the valuable information it needs to be that many pages. As to be expected, it is also quite a heavy Bible weighing in at 3.8 pounds (but I have heavier, so it's no big deal to me).

My final analysis is this Bible deserves more than four stars so I'm going to give it five stars.  If you're looking for a NKJV Bible you should consider this Bible!

TO order the ISBN: 0529114380 (Hardcover, also available in bonded leather and imitation leather).  NOTE: When you order make sure it is the new 2014 edition. Check or (as well as many other book retailers to order)

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and BookLook bloggers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review; all opinions are my own. I was not required to give a positive review.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My brief story to health and Book Review of "Go Fresh: A Heart-Healthy Cookbook"

Before I start this review, I want to share why even reviewing a cookbook can help you.  Our society pushes fast food and junk (wrongly named food) at us ALL the time.   

Back in August 2011 I watched a video on "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" that got me really thinking then I read some some good material on food health and then video, "Forks Over Knives"). I saw that I needed to make some major changes in what I ate. 
Then in the coming months I also watched some other food documentaries including,  Food, Inc, Food Matters, Hungry for Change as well as others).
In 3 years I haven't returned to my junk food (but a little once in awhile, but for the most part I don't want it.  Some people look at me like a health nut or like I'm deprived BUT I love being 30-35 lbs. lighter, I love being able to cycle an avg. of 26 miles on one bike ride (2-4 times a week), I love not having GERD, I love not having RLS. I love having more energy (less fatigue), I love not getting a cold or flu (and no flu shots), I love having less issues with my blood sugar, and the list goes on. And most importantly God tells us in I Cor. 10:31 states "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." and also in I Cor. 6:19-20 states "do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." Can it really be any more clear that we should take care of our bodies!  So this book isn't the finally answer in my opinion but a GREAT on.


I've reviewed a lot of books, but this was my first cookbook.  I have tried a few recipes (very good) and have gone through the entire book.  I consider myself a very healthy eater, so I thought this would be a good book for me to review.  This is put out by the "American Heart Association," and while I don't agree with all their advice or ingredients used in some of their recipes, but I can easily substitute those items, so even with that I am very glad this book is out.  This book will help the average American to eat much healthier than they do now.  I believe if all people ate based on this cookbook we would be a healthier America

The cookbook starts with its first section of:
"Fresh, Fast, and Healthy" with some really good tips.  On page 18 I especially like their "Good Nutrition in a Nutshell" that alone would change the majority of Americans' eating habits.

The second section is "Recipes" starting on page 22 to page 299 (250 in all).  
The recipes are broken down into sections as follows: Recipes, soups, salads and salad dressings, seafood, poultry, meats, vegetarian entrees, vegetables and side dishes, sauces and condiments, breads and breakfasts, and desserts.  Also, in the recipes it is easy to follow and clearly gives all ingredients needed, servings, prep time, and cooking time. It also breaks down calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein per serving.  Then, they have a really neat feature for each recipe called the "dietary exchanges." This tells you by number how many starches, vegetables, fruits, fat-free milk, fats, lean meats, other carbohydrates are in each meal so you can keep track and make sure your meals are balanced.

Then, there is the Appendix, again, some really helpful information broken down into 3 sections. 
A. At-a-Glance Food Storage Guide 
B. At-a-Glance Vegetable Cooking Times
C. Ingredient Equivalents

In the book last few pages is a helpful Index.

I give this book a strong 4 stars. 
I like it and look forward to making some meals from this cookbook.

I received a free copy of this cookbook from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.  I was in no way required to write anything positive, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.