How often I have been momentarily stumped by some random sound bite tossed to me in conversation. “The Bible is full of errors.” “All religions are basically the same.” “A good God would never send people to Hell.” I know that the foundations of my Christian faith are rock solid. But sometimes I can’t immediately connect the morsel of truth I need with the objection being voiced. Holman Bible Publishers has developed a fantastic resource for us enthusiastic but inexperienced apologists.
The Apologetics Study Bible, published in 2007, is the Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation, which I had never seen before. I like it. It is plain spoken, in contemporary English, and is an ‘Optimal Equivalence’ translation. By this the authors mean they have gone beyond the word-for-word and thought-for-thought ideas, and used the best tools available to “convey as much of the information and intention of the original text with as much clarity and readability as possible.” The phrasing is comfortable, but fresh enough to make the meaning of familiar passages pop out with renewed vibrancy.
The book is over 2000 pages long. It includes all the normal textual notes and additional commentary analyzing uncertainties, controversies, solutions to problems, and explanations of difficult passages. In addition to a standard concordance and a great index, Holman includes “Bullet Notes," a selection of frequently used terms and their definitions. A list of recommended apologetics books and journals lists over 150 resources that will keep you reading and learning for a lifetime. The maps and charts section features a timeline of apologists from Paul to C.S. Lewis and beyond, a table of archaeological finds, a “Manuscript Authority of the New Testament Compared to Other Classical Works” chart, a page on Naturalism vs. Theism, comparisons of new religious movements, a very helpful chronology of Hebrew kings, and your standard maps of Israel, Jerusalem, and Paul’s missionary journeys.
Now for my favorite feature: 132 articles on every conceivable apologetics topic. Written by Ravi Zacharias, J.P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Charles Colson, Gary Habermas, Norman Geisler, Douglas Groothius, William Dembski, Lee Strobel, D. James Kennedy and many others, the articles address common objections to Christianity, and answer difficult questions. Sample titles include: Has the Bible Been Accurately Copied Down Through the Centuries?; Evolution Fact or Fantasy?; Are Miracles Believable?; Does Science Support the Bible?; Is God a Male?; and Can Something Be True for You and Not for Me? The one to two page articles are placed throughout the text, next to passages dealing with the topic they address. But there is a list of all the articles and their location, in the front matter. Thus, it’s easy to find an article on whatever subject you’re studying.
If you’re serious about defending your faith, and want to learn to be an effective ambassador for Christ, I recommend the Apologetics Study Bible. I will be using mine for many years to come.
Note: I purchased this book with my own funds.