Jan 4, 2012

A Review of the Life Application Study Bible Devotional

Life Application Study Bible Devotional: Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2011).

Tyndale House provided me a complimentary copy of the Life Application Study Bible Devotional to review sometime back. It has taken me awhile, but I thought that this review might be timely at the first of the year since some of you might be committing yourselves to work through the Scriptures in a deeper or different way in 2012.

I will start off with basic facts about the book. This book is limited to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. So if you decide to work through this book in 2012 then you will only be covering the Gospels. This is fine of course but just so that you will know. There are 52 chapters in the book. Each chapter is divided into six parts, a part for each day of the week with Saturday and Sunday combined together. For each day/weekend there are four separate components: (1) “Setting the Scene” in which the passage is described briefly, (2) “Reading the Word” which provides the passage for the day in the NLT, (3) Getting Personal” which most often takes the form of interactive questions, and (4) “Talking to God” which provides suggestions for how to pray in light of the passage.

This book contains a number of strengths. It is convenient. If you want to undertake a year-long devotional study of the Gospels then they have done most of the logistical work for you (deciding what passages to study, etc.). This book is easy to read. Theological jargon is kept to a minimum. This will make it easier for those unfamiliar with theological terms to make use of the book. This devotional is also easy to use. The days are clearly identified and the content is clearly defined by bold headings. Since the 52 chapters are not tied to months, you can actually start this book on any week of the year and then go one full calendar year from that date. There are also two helpful indices: topical and scriptural. A final strength is that this devotional is very much text centered. This work does not contain many illustrations, stories, humor, and the like that characterize some other devotional works.

As with any devotional, preferences will often be the final arbiter of one’s appreciation (or not) of this book. Those who prefer devotionals that use a Scripture text as an entrée into pastoral or spiritual insights (e.g., Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest) might prefer to use something else. One might also quibble here and there with the commentary in the “Setting the Scene” sections. Occasionally, the teacher in me would have emphasized, stated, concluded, etc. different points in some of the chapters. But that is par for the course with a work like this.Overall, I think that the
Life Application Study Bible Devotional could be a helpful resource for readers interested in growing spiritually by getting to know God, the Gospels, and themselves better. To get a feel for the content go here and check it out.

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