Published by Tyndale House
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for this review copy!
The Life Application Bible Studies are condensed treatments of Bible books that are plentiful in information and focused on life application (thus the title!). There are two aspects of this volume on which I want to comment: the format and the content.
Concerning the format, each guide boasts several features designed to facilitate familiarity with the Bible book and aid in navigating its contents. These include notes, book introductions (which is further subdivided), outline, personality profiles, maps, charts and diagrams, cross-references, textual notes, and highlighted notes. The lessons are laid out very well and only employ certain features on each page, thus not overloading the reader. A slight drawback (as is the case with smaller-sized guides) is the small print. While easy enough to read for many, some may find the text a little too small. Read the first chapter here.
The content of this particular volume was very informative and reflected a conservative interpretation of the text (which I prefer!). Hebrews can be a tough book for many students, especially when dealing with the use of the Old Testament throughout. Part 1 of the book, which is the biblical text along with all of the notes and other features mentioned, is taken largely from the NLT Study Bible. Part 2 is comprised of study questions that are based on smaller segments of the biblical text. The authors’ goal was “to write thoughtful, practical, dependable, and application-oriented studies of God’s Word” (p. 33), and to this end they are largely successful. Applying Scripture to modern scenarios is a task that requires diligence and discernment and I believe that the authors have posed questions that rightly reflect the intent of the passages chosen. There are always minor things that one will find in such questions that perhaps could have been better worded or more targeted, but there is nothing here that should give attentive Bible students pause.
The downside that often comes with Bible studies such as this is the lack of depth concerning the exegetical process and argumentation. Again, as mentioned previously, this is purposeful in that these are not full-blown commentaries, but guides designed to facilitate a greater understanding of Bible books without the often cumbersome reading of technical exegetical treatments. Even so, there were a few places where more information concerning how the author arrived at a certain conclusion would have been helpful. Nevertheless, this guide fulfills the purpose for which it was created.
The Life Application Bible Studies are a great resource for Bible students of varying levels of knowledge and should prove to be a useful tool in studying and teaching God’s Word.