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Special Bible reviews section: Today's NIV, John Maxwell's leadership study Bible, latest edition of The Message, a history of the charismatic movement, Detailed large-scale Bible atlas

NIV Update Released Amid Controversy

Today's New International Version
448 pages, New Testament only
hardcover, $16.99; paperback, $12.99
Reviewed by Tom Gill

Following in the tradition of the well-loved New International Version (NIV), Zondervan has provided another entry in the host of modern translations of the Bible--Today's New International Version (TNIV). Available in New Testament form only, the TNIV closely follows the original NIV with 93 percent of the text remaining unchanged.

The changes incorporated in the TNIV reflect developments of language and scholarship that have taken place in the 35 years since the NIV was completed. TNIV editors say the changes are due to new translation treatments used to better clarify passages or update the text, as in the case of colloquial or spoken dialogue.

The masculine references to God or references specifically to a man or woman remain unchanged. But in cases where the original text indicates both male and female inclusion, the TNIV uses "anyone" for "any man," and "children" instead of "sons." For example, in Matthew 5:9 the NIV says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God." However, the TNIV reads, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God."

Yet 100 prominent Christian leaders--including Jack Hayford, J.I. Packer and John Walvoord of Dallas Theological Seminary--issued a statement of concern about the TNIV. They cite several examples of translation decisions that they say alter the meaning. For example, in Hebrews 12:7, the NIV reads, "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?" Yet the TNIV translates that passage: "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their parents?" Critics argue that the use of "their parents" obscures the reference to God as Father.

Given the popularity of the NIV, the TNIV is certainly an important translation to consider. Yet pastors are advised to examine the text carefully to uncover any alarming revisions.

The Maxwell Leadership Bible
Notes and articles by John C. Maxwell
Thomas Nelson
1,664 pages; hardcover with jacket, $34.99; black bonded leather,
$59.99;burgundy genuine leather, $79.99
Reviewed by Chris Maxwell

Best-selling author John C. Maxwell motivates leaders to inspire others as they lead. His books marry practical application with professional insight and biblical principles. Usually, he tosses verses or statistics in with his written material But his latest release shifts gears while succeeding in taking his plan to a new level.

Using the New King James Version, John C. Maxwell intersperses notes and articles about leadership throughout God's Word to educate today's leaders about living out a scriptural leadership lifestyle. Maxwell says he took on the project because he believes there is a great void in leadership development. Maxwell remembers learning much about church function and ministry, but very little about leading. Churches, like all organizations and businesses, need more leaders and workers.

Each book in The Maxwell Leadership Bible is introduced with a focus on leadership, and throughout he intersperses thoughts for leaders that help interpret key passages, along with biographical profiles and teachings on the 21 laws of leadership and the 21 qualities of a leader.

Maxwell often takes his principles to corporations and secular industries. Because Scripture is the greatest source for leadership values, Maxwell hopes his non-Christian listeners will learn them by studying God's Word. His 21 Laws of Leadership and 21 Qualities of a Leader roll through an assortment of truths, aligning properly with God's strategy.

Maxwell says this Bible resource will accomplish more than any of his other works toward fulfilling the Great Commission. Business leaders, pastors, parents, teachers and all other Christians seeking to grow in modeling their faith will benefit from this mix of Scripture and leadership principles. Together, the two will carry people to a new level.

The Freedom in Christ Bible
By Neil T. Anderson
Zondervan, hardcover, $32.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

Neil T. Anderson, best-selling author of Victory Over the Darkness and The Bondage Breaker, has released a study Bible in the New International Version that follows the same theme. The Freedom in Christ Bible takes users on a one-year journey to help believers live victorious lives in Christ. Beginning with the creation story, the Bible takes readers through 52 weeks of concentrated study discussing such topics as conforming to the image of God, living under authority, and overcoming anxiety, depression and anger.

Throughout the text are two teachings each week and several "freedom points" highlighting various aspects of living in victory over bondage. For example, for Genesis 3:15, Anderson writes: "In this passage, the first prophecy recorded in the Bible, we are assured that Satan's activity will result in a bruise to the Lord's heel, but God's activity will crush Satan's head. Victory in the battle is assured to the one who trusts in God and lives according to His truth. One of the most frequent commands in the Bible is 'Don't be afraid.' We are not to be afraid of Satan. He is a defeated enemy. Only God is to be feared."

Also included are three appendices: giving steps to freedom by Anderson; an overview of how to understand the Bible by Dr. Robert Saucy; and a teaching on developing a biblical worldview by Dr. Timothy Warner, who also wrote the introductions to each book of the Bible.

This Bible is a helpful tool for those looking to better understand the truth that sets all captives free.

The Zondervan KJV Study Bible
By Dr. Kenneth Barker,
general editor, and Dr. Ed Hindson, consulting editor
Zondervan, 2,080 pages,
hardcover, $32.99;
bonded leather, $49.99;
top grain leather, $59.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

In an adaptation of its NASB Study Bible, Zondervan has produced a similar volume in the King James Version. The Zondervan KJV Study Bible is complete with nearly 20,000 study notes explaining significant words and concepts, interpreting complicated passages and describing the historical and textual contexts of various passages. The edition also includes chapter introductions, marginal notes and a cross-reference system.

Scattered throughout the work are 59 maps that cover nearly 4,000 years of history; 40 charts highlighting significant dates and giving information about sacrifices and feast days, Jewish sects and major archaeological finds; and five essays on the wisdom literature, minor prophets, synoptic gospels, pastoral letters and general letters. A sixth essay discusses ethical questions about war, and a seventh outlines the cultural developments in the 400 years between the Old and New testaments.

Bringing clarity to the most classic Bible translation, The Zondervan KJV Study Bible gives thorough conservative theological commentary that will prove useful to many ministers.

The Message
By Eugene Peterson
2,200 pages, hardback, $39.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

It's the Bible thousands of believers have been waiting for. With the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs, the Old Testament wisdom books, the Old Testament prophets and the books of Moses already available in his popular paraphrase The Message, Eugene Peterson is releasing the entire Bible paraphrased from the original texts in an effort to present the Bible to modern readers as it originally sounded.

Peterson holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Seattle Pacific University, a bachelor's degree in sacred theology from New York Theological Seminary, a master's degree in Semitic languages from Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in Hebrew letters from Seattle Pacific University. Born out of his effort to bring the book of Galatians alive to his Presbyterian congregation, Peterson's The Message has created what has been described as a publishing phenomenon with its previous releases.

Peterson captures the poetry hidden within the creation story, the intensity of Isaiah and vividly brings the New Testament to life. For example, he translates Romans 8:28-20 this way: "That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son."

In what pastor Jack Hayford, founder of The King's Seminary, says is "certainly destined to become a devotional classic--not to mention a powerful pastoral tool," The Message is a much-anticipated addition to pastors' libraries that is well worth the wait.

The English Standard Version
By James I. Packer, general editor
Crossway Bibles
1,336 pages, hardcover, $24.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

A team of 50 translation scholars collaborated on a contemporary translation that would follow in the tradition of William Tyndale's New Testament of 1526, the King James Version of 1611, the American Standard Version of 1901 and the Revised Standard Version of 1952 and 1971. The result is the English Standard Version, which has been described as "crisp" and "accurate" by a plethora of pastors and theologians.

Translated word-for-word instead of thought-for-thought, the English Standard Version retains classical terms such as grace, justification, sanctification and redemption.

When it comes to matters of gender, it uses "anyone" instead of "any man" in references that refer to both sexes, but retains "man" and "men" in passages where the text denotes a male meaning.

Though the text communicates the Scriptures with great clarity, it is not a "contemporary" rendition in the spirit of The Living Bible or The Message. The translators sought to be "transparent to the original" text, while maintaining the "dignity and beauty" of the Greek and Hebrew languages. The product is a solid translation that the editors endeavored to make meticulously accurate.


A History of Charismatic Renewal
2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity
By Eddie L. Hyatt
Charisma House
225 pages, paperback, $13.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

Was the Holy Spirit absent from 1,800 years of church history? A survey of resources on Christian history may suggest so, given that the historic move of the Holy Spirit is virtually absent from most volumes. But author Eddie L. Hyatt is helping to change that with his recent release 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity.

Hyatt, who holds a doctorate in ministry from Regent University and masters' degrees in divinity and arts from Oral Roberts University, begins with the first-century church and documents the presence of charismatic phenomena, including speaking in tongues, healings and miracles. The book takes readers on a journey through history, exploring the decline of spiritual gifts in the early 300s during Constantine's era; the presence of miracles, prophecy and healing within monasticism; and the subsequent renewal movements--from Martin Luther's Reformation to the Great Awakening to the Azusa Street revival and the emergence of the charismatic movement in the 1960s.

Hyatt also documents historic Christian leaders' position on charismatic teachings. For example, though Augustine is credited with introducing the concept of cessationism through his writings, Hyatt writes that later in his life he wrote that "even now, miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by prayer or the relics of the saints." Then he went on to describe some of the miracles he had seen: "healings from blindness, cancer, gout, hemorrhoids, demon possession and even the raising of the dead."

In his forward, Regent University divinity school dean Vinson Synan describes Hyatt's work as "well researched" and "convincingly presented," and applauds the sections on Charles Parham, who helped formulate Pentecostal theology, and the crucial role played by followers of Alexander Dowie, who left Zion City to found Pentecostal movements worldwide.

Hyatt's book tells the story behind the charismatic movement that isn't being told, documenting and bringing greater legitimacy to its history. Pastors will likely find it a very helpful resource.

The Tübinger Bible Atlas
By Siegfried Mittmann and Götz Schmitt, editors
American Bible Society
29 maps, hardcover, $150
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

In what pastors and Bible scholars will likely find a helpful, well-researched resource, the Tübinger Bible Atlas is a thorough collection of 29 detailed maps that document the historical geography of biblical countries from Egyptian-Hittite rule to Palestine in 1920.

Drawn from the Tübinger Atlas of the Near East, the Bible atlas includes large maps that unfold to 28-1Ž4-by-19-1Ž2-inch pages. Though the maps are clear and color-coded, the entire book is written in both English and German, making the maps somewhat difficult to read. English headlines and phrases appear beneath German names and are sometimes difficult to find. The map key can be efficiently read, but the regions are written in German when they appear on the map, making them hard to identify.

However, the language will not be a barrier to the determined scholar. Included are maps of biblical regions during the reigns of historic leaders such as Alexander the Great, Pompey, Augustus and Herod. Though large, scholarly and a challenging read for the layman, the Tübinger Bible Atlas is a great find and well worth the price.

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