God's Justice Bible - A Review
NIV God's Justice Bible: The Flourishing of Creation & the Destruction of Evil (Zondervan) $39.99 There have been a handful of niche market Bibles that have come out in recent years -- The Green Bible in the NRSV has, rather than certain verses in red letters, texts in green, all the passages about creation and creation-care. There is the Poverty and Justice Bible which is designed with craft paper and has sidebars about poverty, naturally. There are men's and women's and leadership and Holy Spirit Bibles. We don't really like most of them very much (although the "green letter" is a pretty neat idea.) We are not so sure that shoe-horning texts into a pre-determined theme or offering sidebars and devotionals that may be fine content, but linked to texts with dubious interpretation, well, it's just not the best way to read the Bible.
This God's Justice Bible, though, looks just tremendous. It is made by an international team of 56 global Biblical scholars, which gives it a true study Bible quality -- not just super-imposing devotional content here and there. That the "flourishing of creation and the destruction of evil" is a major and appropriate interpretive lens is doubtless, so, again, this could be a major assist in helping people really understand God's Word.
Even the back cover copy is good. It says, "God's justice -- his plan for 'setting things right' -- is a foundational principle in the Bible. His plan for justice to triumph is traced from Genesis to Revelation, and as a theme, it forms the backbone of Scripture. God['s plan is to restore the flourishing of creation and to see the end of evil, and every book of the Bible is infused with hints of this powerful and redemptive process.
The book introductions are quite good, the study notes look excellent and speak to many contemporary problems (from sexual trafficking to governmental oppression to financial inequality and more.) There are prayers (a nice touch), there are questions for reflection, and there is a full color interior design that has wood-carving images of trees from around the world. (That's very, very cool.)
We know some of the scholars who offered input in this, and know of others. Our good friend, and former co-director of ESA, Al Tizon (of Filipino descent) did the book of Revelation! Christopher Wright from the UK did Deuteronomy, and many women and men who are scholars who I do not know - from Kenya, Mexico, Taiwan, Argentina, Singapore, India -- are represented. Andy Crouch did the notes for Philemon, Ron Sider did Amos, and C. Rene Padilla did 2 Corinthians. Bethany Hanke Hoang, who we just saw at Jubilee? She did the notes for Zechariah. (I wonder if she saw the display we had of this at the Jubilee book display?) What a joy to peruse the insights and Biblical wisdom of these international sisters and brothers!
(Editor's note: Please check out this and many other titles at www.heartsandmindsbooks.com--more than a bookstore)