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In the interest of full disclosure my wife works for Zondervan Bibles and was the lead manager for this Bible. I am NOT being compensated for this review, other than being married to greatest gal on the planet :)
I have to admit straight away that when my wife told me that she was working on a Bible with Lee Strobel I was skeptical. While I have appreciated Lee's contribution to the Church and greater community for a while, I wondered why we needed yet another Bible product, especially one centered around a Christian celebrity. I thought, "There are Bible's for moms, teens, dads, grandmothers, environmentalists, NASCAR fans, patriots, and even for horse lovers, why on earth do we need yet another one?"
As husbands often are (so I'm learning 6 months into marriage!), I was wrong; this is a sweet, needed Bible, which is why I wanted to write this review for The Case for Christ Study Bible!
Lee has written a much needed companion for the spiritual journeyperson. This is a Bible for both Christians seeking to better understand and investigate their faith AND seekers/skeptics who are trying to better understand Christianity and searching for answers to their spiritual questions. In a manner only he can pull off, Lee consistently presents his case along side the biblical text for the reality of God, reliability of Scripture, rescue brought through Christ, and reasons for putting our hope and faith in Him alone. I can see this Bible being given by a Christian to a seeking friend as much as Christian parents to their maturing teenager; those wondering about Christianity will pick-up this Bible at their local Barnes and Noble as will the longtime Christian who needs better apologetical equipping.
Here are some of the questions this Bible seeks to help answer: How can there be a God if there is so much suffering in the world? Did Jesus claim to be the Son of God? Can we trust the New Testament? Does science point to a Creator? Why was Zerubbabel a significant ancestor of Jesus? When was Daniel written? Why did Jesus associate with the lowest people of society?Was Jesus sinless? Did Jesus intentionally fulfill the messianic prophecies? What's the truth behind the debate regarding the number of differing Greek manuscripts? Who is the rider on the white horse in Revelation? Is Jesus the only way?
He also tackles such topics as: The Creator of Earth's perfect location; Worshiping the Creator; Care for the needy; The accuracy of Ezekiel's prophecies; Messianic prophecies and the integrity of the gospels; The plausibility of a virgin birth; Problems with the Jesus Seminar; Paul and Old Testament prophecies; The Bible and the truth about God.
These and other questions and topics are addressed and answered with the precision, accuracy, and care only a journalist like Lee Strobel could provide. Using new articles and material culled from his other works, Lee gets to the heart of the inquiries from the faithful and skeptics alike using 5 insightful features: The Case for the Bible; The Case for Christ; The Case for a Creator; The Case for Faith; The Verdict. As the information from the CFC Study Bible describes these features:
1) The Case for the Bible: The Bible is an extraordinary record of human history and these articles demonstrate the accuracy of this record. They explore the character of the Bible and the extrabiblical evidence that corroborates Scripture. They also tackle many tough questions and offer explanations for apparent contradictions within the Scriptural Text.
2) The Case for Christ: These articles provide an in-depth exploration of Jesus' claims, deity, and resurrection. They also show how Christ can be found throughout the Old Testament. Included in these notes are Old Testament prophecies that point to Jesus as Messiah.
3) The Case for a Creator: If you look closely, it is easy to find evidence that the world was specifically designed. These articles highlight the many wonders of creation and provide specific examples from nature and science to illustrate how the scientific evidence points to one supreme Creator.
4) The Case for Faith: For most people faith is a complicated and personal subject. These articles attempt to address some of the most popular questions asked by skeptics and believers alike, such as "How can there be a God if there is so much suffering in the world?" and other critical questions about faith.
5) The Verdict: Through testimonies from well-known scholars and other Christians who have examined the evidence, discovered the reality of Jesus and put their faith in him, these articles provide the real and personal examples of true faith. They will challenge you to examine the evidence for yourself so that you can make your own verdict.
Here is what I like about The Case for Christ Study Bible:
* Uses the NIV text and includes all the study notes from the main NIV Study Bible.
* Each book opens with a short information sheet, including: Major themes, Author, Audience, Date of writing, and setting.
* Lee tackles serious questions about serious issues of faith.
* The responses are well researched and reasoned, skipping the typical cheap platitudes and bobbing and weaving all too often associated with other so-called Christian apologetic resources.
* For a bible studies and theology student like me, Lee tackles subjects like inerrancy, OT prophecies, the Jesus Seminar/Historical Jesus studies, and even Q. Right on!
* With pastoral sensitivity, he even addresses hard-hitting subjects, like the personal pain of loosing his own child.
* The back includes really helpful charts I have not seen in other Study Bibles, such as: The Creeds and Hymns of the early church; Divine actions of Jesus; OT prophecies fulfilled by Jesus; Jesus' claims about Himself; and Resurrection appearances of Jesus.
* Finally, the interior layout is nice and crisp, unobtrusively inserting the articles in such away that they don't get in the way of the biblical text, but rather supplement it, which to me is an important "user-interface" feature.
All in all, this is one of the only Study Bibles I would give to a spiritually seeking friend or fellow believer who is interested in strengthening their faith. While I have always appreciated Lee's writings and perspective, I am pleased with his latest efforts to see people encounter our risen Savior Jesus Christ. This Bible is a great tool for Christians and non-Christians alike who want to better understand and investigate the claims of Scripture for themselves.