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Thursday, December 15, 2016

NIV Faith & Work Bible

TITLE: NIV, Faith and Work Bible, Hardcover
AUTHOR: Various Contributors
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (1632 pages).

One of the most common concerns among Christians is the lack of understanding how faith plays out in the world of work and in the jobs we have. Some have called it a Sunday-Monday divide while others have simply wondered how relevant is Sunday faith with regard to the other six days. While there are many books already written on the integration of faith and work, and many seminaries offering workplace ministries and marketplace theologies, this new study and application Bible offers a biblical look and varied applications about how the Bible speaks into the world of faith and work. With a foreword from renowned preacher and teacher Tim Keller, four thought-provoking essays from David Kim, Richard Mouw, Nancy Ortberg, and Jon Tyson, this study Bible presents a combination of doctrine, application, and ways to cultivate community. Keller begins by describing Christians in terms of the "gathered church" and the "scattered church." The people of God are Church together on Sunday and also a Church going out into the world on the other six days. He is convinced that the Bible speaks a lot about faith and work. David Kim adds by pondering what it means to see the gospel changing everything. He sees it as three redemptions: 1) Our motivations; 2) Our Relationships; and 3) Our world. Through redemption of our motivations, we are given a fresh vision of why we work. Through redemption of our relationships, we appreciate how the gospel transforms relationships. Through redemption of our world, knowing that God cares for our world will give us added impetus to do whatever we can to bless and to make this world a better place for all. Some features of this application Bible includes:

  • Doctrinal framework of motivations, relationships, and world
  • Centrality of the gospel
  • Definitions of calling and work
  • Introductions to every book of the Bible
  • A 31-Day journey through the Bible narrative
  • Seventy-Five Deeper at Work articles
  • Connecting doctrine and application
  • Forty-Five core doctrines with teachings from Christian leaders through the ages
  • Full text of the NIV 2011 edition

Jon Tyson writes on "The Gospel and Work" and like Kim, sees from the eyes of redemption. Richard Mouw in "Our Need for Theology" makes a passionate plea on the importance of doctrines not only for faith and work, but also for our daily living. Nancy Ortberg in "Finding Our Story in God's Story" sees the hand of God throughout the 66 books of the Bible but also in personal experiences. The doctrines are cleverly introduced as sermons based on a particular portion of Scripture. Each of these messages have a clear framework of integrating the truths of work, relationships, and the world at large. Apart from the 31 storylines inserted at various parts of the Bible, the study Bible is essentially non-intrusive and doubles up as a Bible for readers to simply read and study. I like the size of the fonts used which is larger than the regular Bible print. The publisher has also removed any red-lettering commonly used when describing the words of Jesus. There is a consistent green colour used in the headings, chapter titles and pericopes. All the indexes are conveniently placed at the end of the Bible for ease of reference.

For those who are used to multiple tables, reference charts, and maps, this Bible may come as a disappointment because there are hardly any of these included in this Bible. Instead, there is an intentional focus on work-related passages and how the integration of faith into the workplace can be done. This is one of the least intrusive (in terms of reading experience) study Bibles I have encountered. Having owned many study Bibles, I can attest to the struggle between reading the Bible and referring to the many study helps and references throughout the Bible. Some publishers in trying to make the study Bible helpful have gone to the extreme of adding colour, plates, maps, diagrams, and all kinds of resources which can become distracting. This Bible is minimalist when compared to those. I think the way the resources has been included is a fair balance although at times I do wish to see more study helps along the way, especially among the passages that are less explicit about work per se. Of course, when we deal with the Word of God, we need to avoid trying to squeeze the Bible through the lens of work. The Bible is more than that. This is the challenge set before all study bibles, not just this. In general, this study Bible is a nice addition to the resources of faith and work.

David Kim is pastor of Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of BookLook Bloggers Program and Zondervan without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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