I was doubly delighted to see this recent publication. First, I’ve been wanting an Apologetics Study Bible for years and this version is updated. Secondly, I’ve heard great things about the new CSB translation. This publication provides the reader with both. What a treat!
The distinctiveness of the CSB Apologetics Study Bible is its notes and articles appended to the biblical text at relevant points. Included are over 50 examples of “Twisted Scripture” entries where explanations treat instances of the Bible which have been misused by various religious movements. Also included are over 140 articles treating broader apologetic matters; 12 short biographies of apologists including Anselm, Aquinas, Augustine, and Van Til, as well as a 12-page annotated bibliography in the back covering notable apologetic topics.
The most-often authored contributors within this work include Chad Owen Brand (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Ted Cabal (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Paul Copan (Palm Beach Atlantic University), Gary Habermas (Liberty University), J.P. Moreland (Talbot School of Theology), and Scott B. Rae (Talbot School of Theology).
Throughout this book I found the apologetic articles to be concise, informative and yet properly limited in scope. My impression is that these short articles are not meant to answer all the questions on the topic (that’d be impossible). Instead, these article seek to give the reader a framework for understanding the broad contours of the debates. Two examples will show what I mean.
On page 4 Ted Cabal asks, “Are the Days of Genesis to be Interpreted Literally?” In this one page entry Cabal overviews the main passages and controversies between young and old-age creationist camps. In conclusion, he states, “Even if the correct interpretation of the creation days is not readily apparent in the present generation, the Bible can be trusted in every way.” I appreciated this comment. It allows the reader to embrace the difficulties of interpretation without losing trust in the veracity of Scripture.
The same dynamic is evident in Bruce A. Ware’s article titled, “How Can the Bible Affirm Both Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom?” He admits,
“We cannot understand fully how both are true together, but that they must work together is demanded by Scripture’s clear teaching…Not every question is here answered, but we see that we must affirm both…and what Scripture has joined together, let no man separate.”
Here we see a high view of trust in Scripture while modeling at the same time a proper epistemic humility. These articles don’t give us all the answers, but they help us frame our thinking so we can be wise readers of the text.
I love this resource and will utilize it often. In fact, just a few weeks ago a congregant asked me what the differences are between the Bhagavad Gita and Scripture. I noticed there is an entry in this book by RZIM ministries titled, “How Does Christianity Relate to Hinduism?” which should be a perfect resource to get me started to put together a meaningful answer.
One small critique about the format of the “Additional Features” section: While I appreciate the listing of all the articles in this book including titles, author, and page numbers, I wish it were somehow alphabetical or categorized so specific topics could be located quicker. Apart from running into helpful articles naturally as the reader goes through the text, it is a bit cumbersome to locate articles on the outset. At over 140 entries, the reader has to scan through four pages of entries to see if there are any articles covering the specific question in mind.
*Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied*