Casual readers of the Bible may think that Jesus Christ is only relevant to four out of the 66 books. The truth, of course, is that the presence of Jesus Christ can be seen throughout every book of the Bible. And not just in a passive, symbolic sense, but in a real, active way. Recall at the end of the book of Luke how Jesus explained to the men all that was written about him in all the Scripture, starting from Moses and all the Prophets.
Most of us would have given anything to have been a fly on the wall on that Road to Emmaus. But in many ways, The Jesus Bible is in many ways an attempt to recreate what would have been in conversation. It’s a full text NIV Bible that’s annotate throughout with notes and commentary about how each particular book relates to Jesus.
Each Bible book is given a nickname that summarizes what the book says about Jesus. The book of Judges is subtitled “Jesus: Our Righteous Ruler”. 1 Chronicles is subtitled “Jesus: Our Perfect Restorer”. Jeremiah is called “Jesus: Our New Covenant”. And so on. Starting out each book is a page or two of introduction that provides the historical background of the book, but also further explains how Jesus fits into the book. Throughout the pages of each book you’ll find short commentary about certain passages that explain more about them, and how they too relate to the truth of Jesus Christ.
Familiar names such as Max Lucado and Ravi Zacharias contributed to the articles. At first when I heard this I rolled my eyes, thinking that this was yet another one of those hastily thrown-together Bibles that took things that had been written separately by various authors, repurposed or copied them, and called it “Bible Commentary”. But to the editors’ credit, it looks like all these authors’ contributions were written specifically for this Bible. The authors’ bylines aren’t even very obvious which says to me that they made a deliberate effort to make this a unique, cohesive, unified title.
The book itself, not surprisingly given that Zondervan is its publisher, is a beautiful, solid edition. The hard cover has a sturdy, canvas feel and the pages are thin but not so thin that they’ll rip after every turn. The text is small, but readable, and the words don’t bleed over to the other side.
Coincidentally, just this morning I was listening to a YouTube video from Rear Admiral Barry Black, the current Senate Chaplain since 2003. He have this sermon at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast.
The sermon is worth a listen. What struck me the most is that in this world of political correctness, he didn’t hesitate to proclaim the name of Jesus, even with decidedly non-Christian dignitaries in the audience. It’s around the 23:10 minute mark that he starts to talk about his own journey in seeking out the Jesus mentioned throughout the scriptures.
Overall, I give this Bible a thumbs-up. Unlike other specialty Bibles which seem like they’re just thrown together from random sources to try to make another buck, this one seems well thought-out and assembled, and is surely something that’ll help in bringing you closer to understanding Jesus.