It’s no secret that August is the busiest time of year for campus ministry. This week, thousands of new freshman and returning students flooded the dorms of the campus Jake and I have the privilege of doing ministry on. The past few days have been filled with meeting hundreds of new students, connecting with student leaders about their ministry and spiritual growth this year, and a whole lot of coffee.
And balloons. I love balloons.
I also LOVE that the campus ministry we work for uses “spiritual questionnaires” at the beginning of every school year to gather contact information for students who may be interested in joining a Bible study or hearing more about who Jesus is and why He is such a big deal. College students of all ages fill out a questionnaire with questions that have them indicate, on a scale from 0 to 10, where they feel their current relationship with God is, and how interested they are in learning more about who God is. Below that, they can circle if they are interested in learning more about how to have a personal relationship with Christ, and where Bible studies in their dorms will be meeting this semester.
After we’ve collected thousands of surveys (over 2,000 this year!), we come alongside our student leaders to begin following up with those who filled out the questionnaires. The next few weeks for us will be filled with dozens of meetings with these spiritually interested students. Some will have grown up going to church and are looking to continue their spiritual growth in college. Others will hear the Gospel for potentially the first time and may (prayerfully!) decide to place their faith in Jesus. Wherever on the spectrum they may lie, these college students always have questions about Christianity, faith, and the character of God. I’ve been asked questions ranging from “why did Jesus have to die” to “what is the Holy Spirit” and “can you explain the book of Revelation to me” (that last one was intimidating!). I am always amazed with the complexity of the questions students ask me, and I love engaging with them in conversation to discover more about Jesus!
So I am excited this year to have the Apologetics Study Bible as a resource for my students as we dig into tough questions! I was impressed by the size of the Bible…for the amount of resources it contains, it is relatively thin (unlike a large study Bible). The size of the font is easy on the eyes, and the CSB font style is incredibly easy to read. The articles inside are well placed and offer great insight into interesting questions. But my favorite feature of this Bible is the “Twisted Scripture” boxes scattered throughout the text at parts of Scripture that are often misunderstood or used to argue against Christianity. These boxes give a snippet of insight into ways the passage is often used incorrectly, and offers cross-references to explain the Biblical truth of the text. Texts include verses used by other religions to twist the truth of who Christ is or to distort fundamental, conviction-level beliefs.
I think this Bible is a great resource! Personally, however, I think a little bit of color or attention to formatting could have really enhanced the visual elements of it. It also would have been nice to see more apologetic resources around Scriptures commonly used to argue that Christianity is bad for women (especially Scripture about submission and women’s roles…both commonly misunderstood) and more diversity in the authors whose articles were featured (a variety of ethnicity as well as more women would have been really great!).
My rating? 4/5
I love the difficult questions, the well-written articles, and the Twisted Scripture features placed throughout this Bible! It seems like it will be a great resource as I reach out to students who have challenging questions.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, unbiased review!*