Thanks to Laura Bartlett of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me this hardcover edition of this wonderful study bible.
The Discover God Study Bible was released a while back but it doesn’t seem to have a big readership because when I checked the local Christian bookstore, I noticed only a few copies on the shelf. It doesn’t seem to be as nearly as popular as the NLT Life Application Study Bible or NLT Study Bible, which are great bibles; but I think this study bible deserves more recognition because of its helpfulness within its pages of study notes.
This bible is a devotional study bible and is unlike many other study bibles out there because it is full of good advice and wisdom for living a holy and devoted Christian life. It is unlike the NLT Study Bible, the NIV Study Bible or most any other study bibles I’ve seen. If I had to compare this, it might be a little like the NLT Life Application Study Bible because it gives the reader advice practical ways to live a pious Christian life. I have also seen other study bibles like the NRSV Renovare Bible and NRSV Discipleship Study Bible but this one seems to go deeper in its appreciation of Christian piety and is like “highly-caffeinated” training in godly living and deepening our knowledge in the living God (…I’m sitting here at Starbucks writing this).
In my devotional reading this morning, I read gospel-oriented study notes from Jeremiah 29: 11 that came under the topic of God:
29:11 Hope for the future….The Bible’s version is a hope that’s grounded in what God has promised to do in the future. Our great expectations of God and his promises will always fall short of His grand plans (Romans 5:5) because He loves us—and just like us, God never wants to disappoint those He loves. Put your hope in God and be prepared for Him to go beyond everything you can hope and pray for (Ephesians 1:19-23). (See God> Salvation> Holy Spirit> Comforts, TopicGuide page A15.)
There are over 9,000 wonderful study notes like this. They are drawn from the well of wisdom and deep devotional life of Dr. Bill Bright. The notes were organized by a team of bible scholars and teachers into the ten core topics in the TopicGuide found in the beginning of the bible.
The topic guide gives us some ideas on what is covered:
Holiness: living for God
The Bible: trusting God’s word and its authority in your life
God’s Purpose: embracing God’s will and master plan
Worship: giving God the praise and glory He is due
Spiritual warfare: resisting temptation and Satan’s schemes
God: cultivating your relationship with God
God’s Salvation: appreciating redemption from sin and death
Adoption: finding your identity in Christ
Church: joining with God’s people
Ministry: becoming an agent of change
These topics are then subdivided into two more levels of subtopics so this natural organization and division makes it easier to find what you are looking for.
People struggle to know God in a more personal way and understand him. We know that this is best achieved by attending church, reading our bible regularly and prayer; however, the purpose of this study bible is to give us a tool to help us along in this journey.
I like the theology of worship written as an introduction to the Discover Worship TopicGuide:
“We don’t come to God offering up our obedience, as if He needed our help with anything. True worship, and this outline, begins with awestruck reverence for who God is and what He has done for us….He could have left us in the dark, groping around for the right things to be, say, and do to please Him. But He gave clear instructions in the Bible for how He did (and didn’t) want to be worshiped. This section of the outline lays out God’s preferences for how He wants us to show our love for Him.” (p. A25).
In the topical section of Holiness, there is a subtopic called Law and Grace, which I found contained a theologically sound understanding of law and gospel:
The graciousness of the Law: How do grace and law work in the Christian life?
Law: We do not reject the law….
Grace: We do not reject grace….
I also like the study notes approach to the sacraments of Holy Communion:
…Make sure you know when your church will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper and examine your heat beforehand—do not simply show up as if it is an ordinary day. Prepare by reflecting on the meaning of the sacrament, your repentance from sin, your love for God and others, and your desire for new obedience to Christ. (See Worship> NT> Our Role> Mind and Heart> Lord’s Supper to be taken in a worthy manner, TopicGuide page A32).
This is good teaching because we don’t seem to hear this kind of teaching in our churches anymore. Furthermore, I noticed there were two sections in the TopicGuide recognizing Baptism and Holy Communion as Sacraments and labelled it as such (p. A34).
I don’t think I overstated this bible as a “highly-caffeinated” study bible because I can feel a very strong sense of encouragement toward godly living in almost every single study note. If you want to grow in your faith and knowledge of God, the Discover God Study Bible will be an invaluable resource for you in your daily devotional reading of the bible. I will use this as a devotional resource.