Over the last few weeks we’ve talked a lot about study Bibles. We reviewed the Key Word Study Bible and then looked at how to pick the right study Bible. So, what’s one more, right?! Today I want to introduce you to the Worldview Study Bible from Holman Bibles.
Instead of approaching this as a typical review, let’s use our criteria for picking the right study Bible to see how the Worldview Study Bible measures up.
Some groundwork first needs to be laid before we dive into this make up of this study Bible. To start, we need to define worldview. At its most basic level, a worldview is the lens through which we view the world around us.
Even if we don’t acknowledge it, we all have a worldview shaping how we view and interact with the world around us. As a matter of fact, we can hold multiple worldviews, such as: philosophical, sociological, economic, and so on. Each has a direct impact on how we interpret the world.
Understanding worldview is important and Christians cannot be blind to it. Someone else’s worldview directly impacts how we share the gospel and live with them in general. We can’t just read our Bibles and be ignorant of the world around us. Instead, we must read our Bibles so we can interpret and rightly respond to it. This informs Christians so they can have a consistent biblical worldview.
So, why do we need a Worldview Study Bible? Here are a few reasons. First, Christians need to understand the world around them if they are going to be faithful witnesses. Second, Christian beliefs are constantly under attack, so a biblical foundation is needed to explain their beliefs. Finally, understanding worldview from a biblical perspective enables believers to think holistically about the world.
Allow me to illustrate with the hot button topics of gender and same-sex marriage. How should a Christian respond to someone in the world? Most Christians know the Bible teaches that God created us male and female and that homosexuality is sinful. But, most cannot engage the issue much further. Therefore, the world sees the Christian view as bigoted and dated.
So, how do we respond with an intelligent argument?
To respond with a holistic answer, there are several components at play. First you must have a high view of Scripture, believing it to be the infallible Word of God. God’s truth has to be the basis from which all our arguments are made. With a high view of Scripture, we can then see what it says on a given topic, holding that as our view. But we cannot stop there. We must also know the implications of competing worldviews and know how to respond accordingly. It’s not just knowing why we believe what we do, but also understanding why others hold their views. With these two components in hand you are better equipped to engage intelligently in a discussion on the issues.
The Worldview Study Bible is a great tool for Christians who need help in this area. It looks at several aspects of worldview and defenses them from a biblical point of view so you can engage the world.
Now let’s look inside the Worldview Study Bible and see what we’re working with. Is this just a Bible with articles throughout, or will it also help you understand Scripture?
Book introductions are one of the first things to look at when weighing a study Bible’s worth. The Worldview Study Bible’s introductions do not disappoint. It has what you need to understand each book before starting a study. Within each introduction you will find: the author, the book’s background & circumstance of writing, its contribution to the Bible as a whole, as well as its structure. Timelines are also provided, placing biblical events inline with other events throughout world history.
The introduction’s standout feature is the “Christian Worldview Elements” section. With the study Bible’s worldview aim, each introduction contains a brief overview of how God, humanity, and salvation are found in each book of the Bible. These elements have a direct impact on how our worldview is shaped.
Since this is a study Bible, the study notes should not be overlooked. For what they are, the notes are adequate, but leave you wanting if your goal is an in-depth study of the Scriptures. Most of the notes are brief and summarize the text in as few words as possible, and do so with an aim toward worldview. It’s not until you reach the epistles that the notes contain more substance and do a better job of explaining the text.
The most helpful item in the study notes is when they refer you to the many worldview articles contained throughout the study Bible. This helps you connect the Bible text to the various issues of worldview, which you can use in your defense.
By far, the standout feature of the Worldview Study Bible is its more than 130 articles. These articles are key to the study Bible’s focus of defending a biblical worldview. The articles cover everything from hot buttons issues like gender and same-sex marriage to less obvious issues like retirement and leadership. Each article helps you understand what the Bible teaches on the issue and then aides your critical thinking about how it impacts your life.
These articles are worth their weight in gold and are the reason to purchase this study Bible.
With everything the Worldview Study Bible has going for it, there are items missing that I would expect to see in a study Bible. Those would be outlines, inline maps, and charts.
With study Bibles you almost take outlines for granted until they’re not there. This is a vital piece of information missing from the Bible that I wish was there. Without an outline, you have no singular view of a book’s structure and how you might study it. Instead, you’re forced to dive in blind and create your own outline as you go, or consult another resource. The need to consult another resource defeats the purpose in owning a study Bible.
Yes, there are full-color maps at the back of the Worldview Study Bible. But, there are no inline maps or charts throughout the text. So, when you’re studying Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land, you have no visual aids to help you visualize his military campaign. Nor do you have any charts putting the Ten Commandments or Jesus’ parables in an easy-to-view format.
While a minor omission in the grand scheme of things, together they are noticed when compared to other study Bibles and when using it for in-depth study.
Now we get down to the bottom line. Should you buy this study Bible or not? Here are my thoughts.
The Worldview Study Bible is a very niche product. It might have been better served if all the articles were a collection in a book instead of a study Bible. You’re left wanting when it comes to most of the things you should look for in a solid study Bible. The study notes are okay, but they could be better. The same could be said of the introductions. The omission of outlines and charts also don’t help its case.
This study Bible is only a good buy if you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s hard to believe it will ever be your primary study Bible, but it is perfect as a supplemental resource. Most people will be better off purchasing a different study Bible and then buying a book or two on worldview than using this study Bible. But, if you already have a good study Bible, the Worldview Study Bible is a good buy for the articles.
Is the Worldview Study Bible right for you? That’s for you to decide. Nevertheless, understanding worldview is vital and something we must take seriously if we’re going to be effective in sharing our faith. This study Bible is an excellent resource to that end.
So, will you be adding the Worldview Study Bible to your library?
This week, meditate and journal on the following passages: