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Monday, June 22, 2015

NIV Dad's Devotional Bible

TITLE: NIV Dad's Devotional Bible
AUTHOR: Notes by Robert Wolgemuth
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014, (1504 pages).

Dads are usually the busy guy. Expected to work hard and support the family, they are also expected to be the spiritual head of the household. One of the key spiritual disciplines is to read the Bible regularly. There is no substitute for regular reading. What if this regular reading can be supplemented by 260 daily devotions, 7 articles to help build up the children, and a easy reference for dealing with questions kids often ask? This is what this devotional Bible is aimed at. The main text of this Bible is of course, the Bible, more specifically the New International Version (2011). This devotional version was first published in 1997 after a chance encounter the author had with the publisher. Tasked to write devotional notes to accompany various selected portions of the Bible, Robert Wolgemuth, a well-connected name in publishing circles took six whole months to write out the accompanying material. Eighteen years later, Zondervan has released a second edition updated not only with the latest NIV edition but also a new foreword by Kirk Cameron.

The devotions are scattered all over the Bible, each with a Bible passage for the day followed by a verse for the day. Due to the nature of devotions, there will greater freedom of thought and application, and that invariably means the devotions may not necessarily exegete the passages as accurately as a Bible scholar. At the bottom of each devotional, there is a link to the next devotional reading, anticipating readers' needs. Unfortunately, some may think the devotionals distract the reader from actually reading the Bible itself. I think such anxiety is unnecessary. Once the devotionals are read, it will not be referred back as often. In comparison, the Bible texts are more likely to be read, re-read, and re-read, for a long time to come. Devotions in the book are temporary. The Word of God is forever. The devotional themes include:
  • Relationships like brotherhood, communications, and family
  • Behavioural traits like patience, giving, and diligence
  • Family activities like Church going, Christmas activities, 
  • Decision making for young kids, teenagers, and young adults
  • and many more.
I appreciate the section called "The Bible for Dads" which provides a short summary of every book of the Old and New Testament. The "Questions Kids Ask" section also anticipates common questions and provides a clear answer. The "Fruit of the Spirit" topical index brings together the important themes with appropriate biblical references.

Sometimes, I feel like it may be better to have the devotionals all in one section rather than to scatter them throughout. This would prevent flipping the pages back and forth to go from one devotional to another. In this way, readers can focus on devotional reading when they want to do devotional reading, and Bible reading when they want to read the Bible texts. An alternative method for this is to use an ordinary Bible with a devotional book side by side. That is not the intent of the publisher of this Bible which is to let the devotional supplement the Bible passages. Perhaps, this is a matter of personal preference. Thus, this devotional Bible format may work for some but not others.

One critique I have for this Bible is the color of the font. I would prefer the texts to be black rather than brown, for black would have provided a better contrast for the eye. The font size could have been a point larger for a hard cover edition. Dads do get old quite quickly.

Father's Day may have been over, but it is still not too late to get a devotional Bible. While theme-based bibles may not exactly reflect the real intent of the Bible itself, from the perspective of a Bible literacy promotion standpoint, anything that encourages one to read the Bible a little more regularly will tilt my recommendation to YES. Another positive feature in this Bible is the actual title. In the family home,anyone finding the Bible anywhere in the house, the kitchen table, the living room, the study, the bedroom, or in any other room, would straightaway know: "Hey, this is dad's Bible!"

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of BookLookBloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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