Publisher: Lexham Press

Faithlife Study Bible

Why Do We Recommend This Book?

The Faithlife Study Bible is claimed to be the world’s largest study Bible. It is designed for digital usage and includes thousands of notes, high resolution, full color infographics, videos, tables, timelines and over a hundred articles written by scholars and pastors across the world. Three layers of notes allow you to dig deeper in the text as you find answers to your biblical questions. Based on the original languages of the Bible, it is translation independent, with seven supported English translations in the notes.

The paper version costs more than $50, but the original Logos edition is available for free, which makes purchasing the book an absolute no-brainer.

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Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

Why again publish another commentary, as there are thousands of them already? Sometimes that is a valid question, as many commentaries do not really add new insights. However, this is not the case with the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels, which fills an interesting gap with its focus on the geographical details of the biblical texts. The Gospels are full of references to real places in Palestine, and since most modern readers are not familiar with the geography of the Holy Land, this commentary shares a welcome perspective. Insightful, for example, is the chapter on the location and the function of Gehenna or the Valley of Hinnom. In other cases, geographical observations can help us better understand certain details in the text. For example, John (4:4) tells us that Jesus ‘had to go through Samaria’. From a geographical standpoint, though, this is not the case as there were two major roads to travel from the south to the north and vice versa. This fact supports the view that the necessity of Jesus’ travel through Samaria had to do with his plan to meet this Samaritan woman in Sychar.

The commentary is chronologically organized, following the life and events of Jesus. The Logos edition marks the chapters with the Bible references so that it can be used as a real commentary. The book is full of maps, (full color) images and (in the Logos edition) even videos as well as references to other tools in Logos (such as Atlas, Factbook, Topic Guide, etc.). Each chapter is presented as a journal article and has a decent bibliography for further studies.

While its focus is on the geographical context of the Gospel narratives, it also dives into historical, cultural, archaeological, and social matters. And as such the Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels gives us a full immersion into the cultural setting of the Gospels. It is as if you are in a virtual reality walking the ancient paths alongside Jesus’ disciples.

See also other volumes in the Lexham Geographic Commentary Series.

I Dare You Not to Bore Me with The Bible

Why Do We Recommend This Book? 

I Dare You Not to Bore Me with The Bible is one of the best books I recently read. Do you also sometimes come across passages in the Bible that you think are just too obscure, too odd, too perplexing, maybe even too frightening? What would you do about those passages? Ignore them, skip them? Michael S. Heiser describes his experience as a teacher at a Bible college, where his students were all grown up in church and all came to class with that outlook on their faces that scream: ‘I dare you not to bore me with the Bible.’ For people that have grown up with God’s Word, the Bible can simply be too familiar. You have heard all those stories so many times since childhood, can they really spark anything in you anymore? The answer is an absolute: ‘Yes!’ and this book gives evidence of it.

The book is divided into two main sections: the first section deals with the Old Testament. Each chapter offers a short discussion of a curious detail from the Scriptures. And the author does not shy away from the difficult bits and pieces. You will read about the bloody event in which God wanted to kill Moses because his son was not circumcised. You will learn why the word ‘scapegoat’ is not the best translation in the context of the Day of Atonement ritual as described in Leviticus 16:8-10. The author discusses a range of topics, from the love potion from Numbers 5, through the relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to the most horrific story in the Bible (Judges 19-20).

The second part of the book contains chapters on the New Testament. Have you ever considered that the rock in Matthew 16:18 is not Peter, nor his confession, but the foot of Mount Hermon which is the demonic headquarters of the Old Testament and the Greek world? They were standing right besides the ‘gates of hell’ and hell will be buried under the church. I bet this does not sound boring, does it? Does the New Testament authors make mistakes when they quote from the Old Testament? When did Satan fall like lightning? Why does Paul tell the Corinthians to deliver one of their people to Satan? These and similar questions as well as the author’s answers to them guarantee that you will not be bored a moment while reading this book about the Bible.

Heiser is very familiar with the ancient cultural background of the Bible and this knowledge often helps him better understand difficult passages that we often find just too obscure to be relevant.