Matthew Robbins's Reviews > Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT

Holy Bible by Anonymous
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Jan 27, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction

The Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT, recently released by the folks at Tyndale, is unlike any other Bible I’ve seen. It’s not a study bible. There are no notes in the text of the scriptures (aside from footnotes and cross-references to accompany the New Living Translation text – more on that in a minute). In fact, they went so far as to completely separate the scriptures out from the “Meditations” material, even using different types of paper to distinguish them further. I really appreciate this approach, as what you basically end up with is a nice copy of the NLT with the convenience of some great devotional material housed in the same book.

The meditations are weekly, and they follow the church calendar (Advent through Pentecost, with a calendar available at holybiblemosiac.com to help you follow along). If you’re like me, you likely haven’t had much exposure to the church calendar other than with Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas. As I’ve interacted with the different meditations, I’ve come to really appreciate the decision to link the devotional content with the flow of remembering God’s work in the world. These will likely increase the power of each Christian holiday for readers.

Each weekly meditation includes a piece of artwork reflecting that week’s theme, recommended scripture readings, quotes from historical or modern Christians from across the globe, space to record your own thoughts, as well as a slightly longer meditation from a contemporary Christian. You can see some samples of these meditation online. I’ve read most of the meditations and a large sampling of the quotes. If you’re the type of person who only reads one publisher or author’s books and carry only the flag of your theological camp, you might find yourself frustrated about what was included.

It truly is a “mosaic,” as it includes many different “pieces” of Christianity in an attempt to create a more diverse, beautiful whole. Some will appreciate this approach. Others will not. That’s inevitable when you have a work that includes quotes from John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Pope Paul VI, Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, Mark Driscoll, and Brian McLaren under the same umbrella. Also, the editors don’t really include reasoning for why such different theological views could be included.

Personally, I enjoy the approach. I clearly don’t agree with everything included, but I don’t agree with everything Spurgeon said, either, and he’s one of my favorites. I’m challenged by those things I disagree with, and spurred on to dig deeper into the scriptures to crystallize my views on things. Additionally, I’m reminded that we’re all imperfect in our understandings, and sometimes, it’s good to recognize that while many of our Christian brothers and sisters would disagree about things, we are united in Christ. I would just note that the meditations should clearly be read with discernment.

Another potentially divisive move was using the New Living Translation, which is a dynamic equivalence translation. I won’t attempt a review of it here, as many who know much more have done so far better than I could. I’ll just say this: I’ve been utilizing the NLT much more over the past 6 months or so, and I’m growing to appreciate it more and more. It’s not perfect, clearly, and I still prefer the more literal ESV Study Bible for deep study of the word, but for devotional reading, the NLT is quite good in its clarity and readability. Mosaic is clearly designed for devotional-type reading to bring the reader closer to God, and I think the NLT works well for this purpose.

Overall, I really like what Tyndale has done with Mosaic. I hope it will increase believers’ appreciation for the ebb and flow of the Church calendar focused on God. I hope people will be sharpened and challenged by ideas they may not have encountered otherwise and appreciate some of the diversity allowed by our faith while practicing discernment at the same time. I hope the inclusion of the artwork will spark those within the church to express the creativity gifted to man by God. Most of all, I hope it will help people encounter God and drive them to the scriptures he inspired.
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