When it comes to Bibles, I’m not a purist. I have 15 different kinds by my bedside right now, and even more shelved away. I love the poetic grandness of the King James just as much as the gritty earthiness of the Message. I use the ones with the theological annotations just as much as the ones with loose personal interpretations. I love Bibles. Period. So when I heard of Tyndale’s latest one, I was excited about getting a copy to review.
I was excited, not just because I was going to add another Bible to my collection, but because of the title–In His Image. I was anxious to get the Bible and begin a singular journey of discovering myself as one created in God’s image.
My first impression was positive. The Bible felt good in my hand. It’s a good size, the hard cover will withstand hours of reading, and the artwork is relevant and appropriate. But when I opened it, I was disappointed. It began with the paper–the print sort of bleeds into the other side and makes reading a little difficult.
This devotional Bible is more about who God is than who I am in God or who I can become through God. That is not what the title led me to expect. As a Bible that focuses on the character of God, it’s a great, but as one that helps you identify yourself as a creature in God’s image, it falls short.
Like all application Bibles, this one uses a study template to emphasize points throughout. The template is comprised of 1) a prayer; 2) a verse; and 3) two prompts, both of which are followed by rote responses–What are you saying to me, Lord . . . . and We praise you Lord, because . . . . I felt that none of these elements gave me room to ponder on God’s word and find its meaning for myself. Instead it told me what to pray, what to think and what to praise.
Maybe my disappointment stems from my comparing this Bible to one I reviewed in 1996. It was Zondervan’s Student Bible. It made me explore and question and relish the Word of God like I had never done before. Over the next four years I used none other until it was beyond use. I guess I was expecting the same kind of experience.