Have you ever gotten a gift for somebody else and then really wanted to keep it for yourself? This happens to me all the time. In fact, in high school I even got a pull-up bar for my Dad primarily because I wanted one myself. And it’s happened again. I got a copy of the CSB Apologetics Study Bible with my fiancé in mind. He’s a newer convert to Christianity, and a very enthusiastic learner. I thought that this edition of the Bible, with it’s numerous articles and notes in addition to the sacred text itself, would be perfect for him. But alas, I’m now having a hard time parting with it, because I like it so much.
This particular edition of the Bible is particularly great for 20-somethings and students like myself and my fiancé, because we’re in an environment and phase of life characterized by intellectual and spiritual seeking, and a point in history where we’re no longer expected to believe about what our parents always did. While many, especially amongst the older generations, are lamenting the fact that Christianity has lost it’s place as the default religion in the Western world, I relish the opportunity for authentic, robust debate with my friends and colleagues and classmates, and this book is a fantastic tool to have along with you.
While the Bible wasn’t specifically designed with college students in mind, I think it’s absolutely perfect for students for students because it provides answers to modern questions that we’re asked and asking ourselves every day. More than our parents or grandparents, we’re facing a culture that challenges the underlying assumptions of our faith. Ultimately I think that will have a positive effect on us as it requires us to honestly and thoroughly examine our beliefs and determine if what we believe is intellectually defensible. A faith that hasn’t been scrutinized can’t be very strong, and this is one of the best tools I’ve seen for considering a broad range of topics.
And we, as college students, are commanded to be ready to give an answer for why we have the hopes and the beliefs that we do. As 1 Peter 3:15 says, we have to be “ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
Articles and commentary help you understand Biblical teaching
This Bible isn’t just a traditional study Bible like you or a family member probably already have. In addition to the introduction and commentary on each book of the Bible that you would expect, the CSB Apologetics Study Bible includes literally dozens of articles written by notable theologians and apologists (think big names like Lee Strobel and Chuck Colson) on all kinds of topics. Some of them are obviously related to Christians evidences and intelligent design theory, others are age old questions like “How could an all-powerful, all-loving God allow violence and war?” and “Where did God come from?” The book also addresses a bunch of current social issues like gay marriage, euthanasia, and pacifism.
Each article ranges from a handful of paragraphs to a couple pages, and is designed to give you an outline of the Bible’s teaching on the subject. Obviously, the additional material is written by fallible human beings, and can’t be treated as authoritative in the way that Scripture is, but it’s still handy to have food for thought right with you in a study Bible, and many of the articles cite outside facts and statistics that aren’t present in the text of the Bible that can add to your knowledge on a subject.
Commonly mis-used Scriptures are explained
There’s also a feature called “Twisted Scriptures” that appears throughout the text. A number of Bible verses that are frequently pulled out of context or mis-translated to support an un-Biblical viewpoint or to defend a heresy or incorrect theory are highlighted and explained. Once again, these are just a human’s interpretation and can’t be considered 100 percent reliable, but they offer insight into the original language and explain discrepancies that may appear to exist in the text or why certain fringe Christian sects, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe some of the things they do.
The bottom line: A must for students
I can’t say enough how much I think this book would come in handy for any student, particularly a newer Christian or one who hasn’t done much studying of the Word. While I don’t think that every article in the book is guaranteed to be 100 percent correct, they’re all written by credible, dedicated theologians or apologists or evangelists, and good food for thought. None of them are intended to be comprehensive, but rather an introduction to a subject and a springboard for further study.
And it’s not too pricy for a student budget even if you can’t talk your folks into getting it for you for Christmas. As of this writing, it’s a mere $27.99 from Lifeway.
**Disclaimer: I am a member of the B&H Publishing Bloggers Group. I receive books to review for free, but I’m not paid to endorse products, and all opinions shared on this blog are entirely my own.**