The NIV New Spirit-Filled Life Bible may be loosely described as a study bible with devotional leanings. It contains short excerpts in devotional style (usually no more than a few sentences in length) scattered throughout that pertain to one of eight “clusters” on specific topics chosen by the editors (as a whole noted as “Kingdom Dynamics”). Most of these are written by different people; only a few authors have multiple and/or co-authored entries. Several essays of varying subject and length that tend to be more in the “study bible” vein are also included. There is a list of 550 terms (called “Word Wealth”) used in Scripture with provided definitions—these are “hit & miss” in their accuracy or clarity. The “Truth in Action” sections for each book provide “truths” found within sections of Scripture and the “action” on the part of the reader that is intended to follow. Also, as is typically included in most Bibles, are cross-references for verses.
I received an “e-book” copy of this book and cannot speak to the size, heft, and ease-of-use of a hardcopy. The layout of the e-book works well with its thorough linking and cross-referencing to other places within the text, all of which I tried functioned properly; however, any text of this size and “page hopping” does not have the same ease and flow of a hardcopy. As a systematically used text, it functions well; as a text to be simply read and browsed, as many do with the Bible, it is clunky and ill-fitting.
I chose to review this particular book because of the title and accompanied description on BookLookBloggers.com, which reads, “Find the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible. Jack Hayford, founding pastor of The Church on the Way, has led a team of anointed scholars to produce the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible. This outstanding resource offers a fresh look at the Scriptures and the work of the Holy Spirit. This Bible addresses important issues of Spirit-filled living in the context of solid biblical scholarship.” I assumed it was going to be a study bible that traced the Holy Spirit and the workings thereof through Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments. I was mistaken in my assumption. As a whole, its predominant agenda and trajectory is that of promoting a Pentecostal/Charismatic, dispensational, and premillennial eschatological perspective . It does not exclude other perspectives—they are sprinkled around—nor do the editors present information as if all other perspectives are “heretical” or any other descriptors thrown by many at those who disagree with themselves. In no way is there any tracing of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture by way of notes, essays, or other means, which leads me to think the description I read to be a bit misleading. Perhaps I should have checked out the church noted therein to get an idea of where it might be going—I still haven’t, as I see no need to do so.
In as much as I do not share the same Pentecostal, dispensational, and premillennial views as those espoused therein , I would not recommend this book to others. I did not find it very helpful, it was a little too “light” for a “study bible,” and did not have enough substance, in my opinion, to be a “devotional bible.” For those parts that I believe would be beneficial to other readers, I would simply point them to other resources to use in tandem with studying whichever translation of Scripture they choose. However, I applaud those involved in this book’s editing in that they can appreciate others’ perspectives and believe we are all sincerely trying to follow the same triune God and that we can be unified in Him even in our differing interpretations and understandings of Scripture.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”