Thursday, February 13, 2014

Compass Study Bible - A Review


The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life

Ecclesia Bible Society

A Review

Is this a good Study Bible? YES
Am I glad I have added it to my library? YES
Is it the one Study Bible I would want to own? NO

Over the past couple of years that I have been familiar with The Voice translation of the NT and later the OT, I have enjoyed having it available.  When I first heard of the availability of a Study Bible using this translation, I was excited.  Now, having it in my hand, I am less excited.  Though called a “Study Bible” its contents more closely parallel those of a Devotional Bible - but it does not quite reach the best of those standards either.

There is no clearly stated purpose for this new Study Bible - it is a collection of notes, but nothing of the quality or depth I would expect of a good Study Bible or Devotional Bible.  The preface and introductory remarks appear to be written for the translation, not for this edition of the Study Bible.  There are considerable more notes per page in the New Testament than in the Old Testament - perhaps echoing the interest of too many 21st century believers, but not that of a book claiming in its entirety to be the Word of God.  

Though designed by artists, this Study Bible has done a remarkably poor job of clearly distinguishing the Bible text from its notes.  Though they have used different fonts, the density of those fonts and their placement on the page (in the body of the page, rather than as footnotes, indented text, or highlighted text) made it difficult to immediately tell where I was in the text - was I reading the Bible or the notes.  This distinction is important given the informal nature of the translation.  A second look was necessary to know what I was reading at the time.

The variety of indexes included as part of this edition does add considerable value to the book:

  • Road Map To God’s Promises
  • A 40-Day Retreat With Jesus
  • 365 Days Through The Whole Bible
  • Topical Guide To The Notes
  • Topical Guide To The Scripture
  • Maps (Black and White)
  • Index To In-Text Maps

I am looking forward to weaving several of these into my personal study and ministry.

When picking up a Bible with notes, I would like to have seen more meat - either in helping to understand the Bible text or applying it to my life.  There is value here - just not as much as I would have liked to have seen in a new Study Bible or Devotional Bible.  The book is recommended for the new Christian - perhaps one with an artistic heart (either in musical, dramatic, or the visual arts).  It would also serve a long time believer looking for a way of understanding and seeing the scripture.  I would find it more difficult to recommend this Bible to the scholar or pastor looking to augment his or her study and understanding of the scriptures.

This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

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