Written by a lay student of the Bible. Articles focus on apologetics and key elements such as the Deity of Christ and salvation through faith in Christ alone. With many thanks to Drs Brown, White, Sade, Wood, Qureshi, Dalcour and Zacharias, and Bros Shamoun and Rogers for their excellent teaching and inspiration. All glory goes to God for any truth I am able to communicate. Any errors are mine. All Scripture text is from the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) unless otherwise stated
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
A Second Look at the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible
Now that I've had time to use the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) Apologetics Study Bible for a few weeks, I figured it was time for an update.
But first let's talk about why anyone should consider getting a hard copy of any book, especially since we are very well into the digital age where so much is now available for your phone or other mobile device.
My main reason for looking at getting a new hard copy Bible was because I have found that I don't quite remember things as well reading off a computer screen as compared to the printed page. Maybe I'm just old school, but my thinking is that a hard copy will make remembering my Bible word for word easier for me the same way I memorized important verses from my first Bible from a quarter of a century ago.
Apart from that, with a hard copy Bible, there is no power source required. You can take it anywhere in the world and you will always be able to read it. There are no batteries to charge, no downloading wait times, no hardware freezes or any of those other technical issues. But what is likely to be the most important fact would be that there are no added reasons to be distracted from actually reading and studying the Word of God. Your hard copy Bible won't notify you of new email or text messages and take you away from making a discovery about the verse or passage you're studying.
That said, let's get back to the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible. One of the reasons this version caught my eye was that, since I teach the Bible online through my articles, I wanted a text that is relatively easy to read and comprehend for as many as possible without sacrificing the accuracy of the translation. And I believe the HCSB meets both of these requirements.
The next definite plus I noticed as I used the online version (thanks, BibleGateway.com!) was that the HCSB uses the name Yahweh for God, which was also particularly useful for me. The HCSB also capitalizes the names and titles of God, which meant less work for me as I copied and pasted all the many verses I use daily. I can't imagine how many hours that capitalization saved me. While not having the capitals is great for scholars who want to make sure their interpretation isn't influenced by others, it isn't helpful for those of us who are trying to make Scripture as accessible to many who are unfamiliar with the Bible and its contents.
Another thing I was looking for in a new Bible was a version that was up to date with modern scholarship, one that factored in what we have learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other recent manuscript finds. That is also present in the HCSB.
And now for the "distractions."
All Study Bibles contain tons of notes and practical helps for understanding Scripture. And the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible certainly has that in spades. The "problem," if it can be called that, is the possibility of getting lost in all of that wonderful information.
Apart from the usual textual footnotes, the HCSB ASB has apologetics-focused material, such as the Timeline seen below:
I haven't yet had the chance to explore all of these features, but I can tackle those in a future installment of this review.
I started reading the notes for the Gospel of Matthew and they are great. They cover the theory of the Hebrew/Aramaic original and authorship issues but deal with it using modern scholarship. Excellent stuff. The Study Notes are also perfect for apologists. As expected, this Bible is going to set me back from my 90 Day Bible Reading Plan because I will want to read all the notes, too!
Is the claim correct that Paul wrote most of the New Testament? Critics make this claim to try and support their assertion that Paul somehow hijacked Christianity away from the Mosaic Law and into his own "grace theology." But the answer about who wrote most of the NT is easy enough to come to. All we have to do is the math.
The information used below comes from the oldest sources we have: the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. As you may know, the authors of the NT wrote in Koine Greek, which was the lingua franca of their day. The word numbers may vary slightly from source to source, but these are not going to change our final results.
So who are our Top Three writers?
The New Testament has a total of 138,020 Greek words in the Analytical Greek New Testament (AGNT).
Of those 138,020 words, the most prolific writers of the New Testament were:
In his excellent and thought-provoking presentation titled "An Historical Critique of Islam's Beginnings," Jay Smith points out an intriguing fact...
By 624 AD, all mosques were supposed to be facing Mecca. And yet, it took 200 years for Islam to finally get their "unity of direction of prayer" right and point all their mosques towards Mecca.
Something is obviously wrong here. The historical facts are not tying up with the Islamic sources. That is the reason scholars are now investigating why that is.
The Qibla literally means "direction," and in Islam refers to the direction in which a Muslim must pray. Classic Islamic history tells us that Muhammad first taught Muslims to pray towards Jerusalem, but then supposedly received a revelation from Allah changing the direction of prayer to Mecca instead. This change was made in 624 AD.
All slides and maps in this article are screenshots which were taken from a video of Jay Smi…
It has been pointed out in previous posts that Muslims seem enamored with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke Aramaic, primarily because they believe it proves that He worshiped their god, Allah. But the similarities between Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic are only proof that they have the same Semitic roots and not much more.
But Muslims have not stopped claiming that Jesus never said He was God in the Bible, a fact which has been proven on this blog a (growing) number of times, and so this post is being written. In it we will combine Jesus' pronouncements of His deity with the Muslim love of Aramaic, albeit translated into easily comprehensible English.
We will do this simply by quoting the verses in which Jesus unabashedly proclaims that He is God using the translation known as the Aramaic Bible in Plain English.
Let's begin with the Gospel of Matthew:
But Yeshua immediately spoke with them and he said, “Take heart; I AM THE LIVING GOD. Do not be afraid.” Matthew …