The Infographic Guide to the Bible: The Old Testament

Thank you Simon and Schuster for sending us this book to review!

Unless you’re reading a children’s edition, there are not many pictures or visual materials in the Bible. The Old Testament has many great events recorded and seeing them come to life in this infographic book is pretty cool. The breakdown of Noah’s Ark and Goliath’s measurements are truly breathtaking. In total, the ark was 1,518,750 cubic feet! Another neat tidbit in this book is that Goliath’s armor was 155lbs and his spearhead was nearly 19lbs. I recently watched Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and was pleased to see the specs of the Ark of the Covenant detailed in this book as well.

As neat as this information is, I was shocked to find some inaccuracies. The infographic on page 31 regarding Rachel's and Leah's children is incorrect. The diagram shows Leah with four sons when she had six plus a daughter (Dinah) and Rachel with four sons when she only had two, Joseph and Benjamin. The book also claims that Rachel bore Jacob's only daughter when it was indeed Leah according to Genesis. If you want to get technical, Genesis 46:7 implies that Jacob had multiple daughters. Last but not least, Zilpah's name is also misspelled (Zilphah).

Here's a breakdown of the children:

Gen 29
Reuben - Leah
Simeon - Leah
Levi - Leah
Judah - Leah

Gen 30
Dan - Bilhah
Naphtali - Bilhah
Gad - Zilpah
Asher - Zilpah
Issachar - Leah
Zebulun - Leah
Dinah - Leah
Joseph - Rachel

Genesis 35
Benjamin – Rachel

Because of these errors, I can’t rely on and trust the information throughout the rest of the book. This critique is based off an advanced review copy of the book. Perhaps it has been or will be revised to correct the errors. Until that happens, I would recommend skipping it or taking it with a pillar of salt.


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NIV Inspiring Words Holy Bible

NIV Inspiring Words Holy Bible
Published by: Zondervan
Price: $24.99

Thank you Zondervan for sending us this Bible to color and review!

Kids and coloring books have gone hand in hand for as long as I can remember. Recently adult coloring books have taken off and not long ago we reviewed Inkspirations: Fruit of the Spirit which has thirty-two Bible verse themed pages to color. The NIV Inspiring Words Holy Bible is attractive to both adults and kids who like to color and provides fifty-two verses to color.

My daughter took an interest in this Bible right away and I promised it to her if she colored in one of the verses. She agreed to these terms and has been taking this Bible to church with her since. The coloring pages are noticeably thicker than the Bible pages and this is a good thing. The Bible pages are thin (like most Bibles) and prone to tearing if too much pressure is applied while coloring.

One of the first coloring pages has the verse Joshua 1:9 which says: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.” That inspiring verse was the one that my daughter colored. The items to color really don’t match the verses too well in my opinion. This one in particular has a sunrise/sunset and flowers all around. The coloring page for Luke 6:27’s “Love your enemies” is filled with donuts and popsicles. I guess you can show love to your rivals by raising their cholesterol and weight. Despite the odd themes, these pages are pretty well detailed and bound to entertain artists for some time.

NIV Inspiring Words Holy Bible

As a Bible, this one is easy to read and I like how the words that Jesus spoke are highlighted in red. Another cool feature is the table of weights and measures in the back that translates Biblical terms with modern day equivalents. For example, a cubit is equal to 18 inches.

There is a lot to like about this Bible. The only problem I have with it is the translation used. There has been some controversy regarding the 2011 NIV translation and this Bible does use the gender neutral verses. So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .

If you enjoy reading the NIV translation and like coloring, then you’ll want to check out the NIV Inspiring Words Holy Bible. The hard cover sells for less than $25 on Amazon and that’s a pretty reasonable price. If you’re in need of coloring pencils, we have a review of those too!

(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

Thank you Patterns of Evidence for sending us this book to review!

In 2015 my husband and I were blown away by Timothy Mahoney’s documentary searching for archaeological evidence of the Biblical Exodus.  Many Egyptologists disregard the Biblical account of the exodus due to lack of evidence in the New Era Kingdom of Ramesses II.   In this 392-page book, Timothy describes his twelve-year long journey to figure out if the events in Exodus really happened or not.  His methodology is logical, scientific, controversial, and the results very convincing.  I highly recommend reading this book and/or at the very least watching or renting the film!

Timothy focuses on six events that took place in the Exodus.  The arrival of the Israelites, their multiplication, slavery, judgement of the Egyptians, their leaving (Exodus), and their conquest of Canaan.  While there is plenty of evidence of these events all taking place in the Middle Kingdom time period, archaeologists disregard it all because it’s not in the New Era Kingdom.

The origin of the New Era Kingdom is explained and picked apart for its many inconsistencies.   Throughout this book you’ll read several interviews between Timothy and renowned Egyptologists and archaeologists.  David Rohl, who agrees with this new timeline, isn’t even a Christian.  Many of the other interviewees are not onboard with altering the current Egyptian timeline.  It’s easier to throw the Biblical evidence under the bus than to change and re-write history books.

There is plenty of evidence of Joseph residing in Egypt.  He has a canal, Bahr Yusef (waterway of Joseph), named after him!  Many assume that the seven-year famine that Joseph interpreted from Pharaoh’s dream was a drought.  Planting crops is equally difficult if areas are flooded and that could have been the source of food shortages as well.  An archaeological dig site has uncovered a city named Avaris and there is evidence that a high ranking Semitic ruler lived there.  On this property with twelve columns resides an empty tomb has a statue of a man with a Semitic hair style, skin color, and a colorful robe.  Since the bones are missing as the Bible declares, there is a good chance that this could have been Joseph’s residence. 

This is just one fascinating finding out of many.  Accompanying all of them are full colored pictures, graphs, and proposed timelines.  In addition to the twelve chapters are additional interviews and other arguments for the number of Israelites, how long they were enslaved and details about their conquest.  There are several pages of end notes that state the Biblical and other book sources referenced throughout the book.

If you’re interested in reading more about archaeological evidence for the Biblical Exodus, this book can be purchased on Amazon for $30 in hard cover format or $15 digitally.  (Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Dynamic Studies in Hebrews

Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us this book to review!

The book of Hebrews is not one of the easier books in the Bible to read.  Fred A. Schreeren, who wrote Dynamic Studies in Hebrews, goes over each and every verse in this thirteen-chapter epistle.  The Bible study is broken down into twenty sessions that are designed for weekly Bible studies.  Even though snacks are usually a given at a Bible study, I thought it was amusing that this study says to “assign refreshments for next week.”  

Most of the sessions are around ten pages in length and involve referencing and comparing verses from both the New and Old Testament to those in Hebrews.  Some of the sessions recommend assigning someone to read and summarize other books (God’s Appointed Times, Christ in the Passover) for the next session.

I like how each study gives you a warm up question that will set the tone for the current study.  I have to admit that I changed my point of view from the start to the end of the study on at least one occasion.  One question that I changed my mind on was: How do you normally respond to someone who gets in trouble?  While my initial answer was “Not much pity if they deserved it”, after reading and studying on how much Christ suffered on our account, I was convicted about how I’m lacking in the compassion department.  

There are some great Old Testament comparisons to Jesus being the high priest of the New Testament to the Old Testament’s Melchizedeck.  This Bible Study also goes over the necessity of the new covenant.  The author also makes the case that Paul is the author of Hebrews since he was longing to see Timothy, references believers in Italy, and last but not least, it has his signature ending: “Grace be with you all. Amen.”

For anyone who is looking for an in depth look into Hebrews that is easy to understand, I highly recommend checking out Dynamic Studies in Hebrews which sells for $23.95 on paperback or $3.99 digitally.

(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Patterns of Evidence

Thank you Rogers and Cowan for sending us this DVD to review!

Skepticism is on the rise and Christianity has been under attack from scientists, scholars, and archaeologists.  Many consider the Bible to be nothing more than a history book or just a bunch of fairy tales.  For more than fifty years, many prominent archaeologists believe that there is no solid evidence for the events in Exodus taking place as the Bible claims.  This view is so widespread that prominent rabbis like David Wolpe consider the book of Exodus to be "historical fiction."

If the book of Exodus is myth then the rest of the Bible loses its credibility and purpose.  Director Timothy Mahoney sets out to validate or disprove the Bible's account of Exodus in a twelve year archaeological journey to Egypt and around the world. Throughout this documentary (narrated by Kevin Sorbo) there are interviews with prominent Egyptologists, historians, archaeologists, authors, and even the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Shimon Peres, the president of Israel.

What Tim discovers is that many people assume the Biblical Exodus took place during the New Kingdom era of Rameses II.  There is no evidence of a famine, infanticide, or vacating and destruction of Biblical cites in that time period.  However, if you examine the previous era, the Middle Kingdom, there is evidence that matches up perfectly with the Bible time frame and historical accounts.  The problem with these findings is that it would mean that all of the dating to this point would be inaccurate and this is a tough pill to swallow for  Egyptologists, historians, and archaeologists.  

The evidence is pretty compelling and this DVD is extremely well thought out and goes about this process from a scientific approach.  The arguments made are logical and validated by the Bible and archaeological evidence taken from the Middle kingdom era.  I highly recommend watching this $20 DVD/$25 Blu-Ray and seeing this journey unfold for yourself.   


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NIV First-Century Study Bible

Book Info:

NIV First-Century Study Bible
Notes by: Kent Dobson
Published by: Zondervan
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Price: $36 hard cover or $7.99 on kindle
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Zondervan Publishing for sending us a copy of this Bible to review! 

It's been a while since I've carried around a physical Bible.  I've gone digital and have used the ESV bible on both my phone and tablet.  Even my 3DS has a digital Bile on it!   Finding the verses digitally is easy and usually faster than people flipping pages getting to a particular verse.    

What my electronic versions are lacking is commentary, maps, timelines, and Greek translations and explanations.  The NIV First-Century Study Bible has all that plus lots of pretty colorful pictures of ancient art and artifacts dug up by archaeologists.

At the beginning of each book there is commentary about the book's title (Hebrew text and definition), author, date it was written, historical setting, structure,  and purpose in the Bible. The verses are explained on the bottom of the page. Even tricky books like the beginning of Ezekiel is explained in a manner that makes sense.   Scattered throughout  the text are word studies that explain and show the Greek origins of many words.  One of my favorite examples was the cubit which is a source of measurement often referenced in the Bible.  


Strong Points: Excellent commentary and cross references
Weak Points: Big Bible with 1850 pages, New NIV Translation
Moral Warnings: Descriptive violent acts 

Many of my paper bound Bibles have maps thrown in the back for reference.  I like how the NIV First-Century Study Bible has maps everywhere!  It shows Abram's travels, Jacob's journeys, Solomon's divided kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar's campaigns, places mentioned in Isaiah, Alexander's Empire, and Jesus' pit stops in Judea and Samaria.  The verses really come alive as you can literally see where they took place and how much distance was covered by these men.   

I love the timeline in 1 Kings that shows the scripture and reigning periods of Israel's kings.   The cross reference of Old and New Testament versus in Isaiah 53 is extremely helpful.   There is also a time of Jesus' life that covers and indexes his various events with the scripture references behind them.    

There is a lot to like about this Bible.  The only problem I have with it is the translation used. There has been some controversy regarding the most recent NIV translation and this First-Century Study Bible does use the gender neutral verses.    So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...”  The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .  

If you don't mind the latest NIV translation, this is a solid Bible to consider adding to your library.  The price for the hard cover is under $40 while the Kindle version is less than $10.  My ten year old daughter took a liking to this Bible so I guess it's hers now since I'm done reviewing it.  I'm sure she'll learn a lot from it and will benefit from the easy to read translation.


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Rethinking Christmas

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That was a good video, thanks for sharing.
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 20:33
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NIV Live - A Bible Experience

Thank you NIV 2011 Bible Properties LLC for sending us a review sample!

NIV Live - A Bible Experience is a cinematic performance of the Bible that brings Genesis through Revelation to life.  It's more than someone reading the text here; the Bible is being acted out and even sung in some cases.  This rendition features Oscar winning actors, background music and sound effects to make it an immersive experience.   My kids, who normally ask to play music instead of talk radio while driving, did not mind listening to the book of Acts.  They enjoyed hearing the story of Paul being shipwrecked while trying to seek an audience with Caesar.  There was the sound of ocean waves, seagulls in the air,  the ship's crew in the background along with the narrator and Paul, Felix, and Agrippa being voiced by different voice actors.    The audio quality is really good and has 3D theatrical sound. It includes deep bass that you can hear through a subwoofer.

The gospels are all extremely well done and the voices for the apostles, God, Jesus, Roman soldiers, and Pharisees are all top notch.   I enjoyed listening to Isaiah, Proverbs, and Psalms as well.  Some of the Old Testament sections like Jesus' lineage and the temple specifications are still a little yawn worthy, but are well voice acted regardless.  :)  

There are three ways to enjoy this audio Bible experience.  For $19.99 you can gain access to the app on a single (Apple, Android, or Amazon) device.  This includes both text and audio versions.  You can create custom playlists and synchronize them.  The app is really easy to use and sounded great on my Samsung Galaxy S4.  

For $49.99 you can have up to six devices using the mobile app.  You'll also have access to the online web Bible and mp3 downloads.  Make sure you download and backup the mp3's right away since you only gain access to them for thirty days after registration.  

The ultimate package is $124.99 and includes everything from the $49.99 tier and adds seventy-nine CD's and a bonus DVD.  The CD's and DVD are enclosed in a high quality carrying case.  The DVD shows behind the scenes footage and has some trailers and samples.  The CD's are not in chronological order, but are labeled clearly and numbered accordingly.

There has been some controversy regarding the most recent NIV translation and this audio Bible does use the gender neutral verses.    So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...”  The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .  

If you don't like the scriptural changes, there are other audio bibles out there.  Faith Comes by Hearing offers multiple translations for free.  If these kind of changes don't bother you, then I recommend checking out the NIV Live - A Bible Experience.  Their prices are comparable to other Audio Bibles available  and the six device limit is pretty generous.  Just make sure you download and back up the mp3's since the access is limited to only thirty days.  If you want to check out an audio sample, go here.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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