Saturday, October 29, 2016

Review of the new CEB Women's Bible

One day there was a blurb online about a new Bible for women. This was on RevGalBlogPals (RGBP) is comprised of a diverse group of women in ministry. I've followed the blog off and on for years, and belong to the Facebook group. When I saw the story about a new women's Bible, I admit my first reaction was "ho hum". However, when I read the website promo, I was enthused! Every editor and commentator is a woman. They are from a variety of backgrounds and denominations, and many are ordained clergy. This Bible is the CEB Women's Bible, published by Abingdon Press.

Among the features of this study Bible are: introductions to every book of the Bible, maps, profiles of women, & sidebars within the chapters to add clarity and food for thought. There's an index to every woman in the Bible, named or unnamed. There are questions for reflection and discussion, which I find useful for small group study or for stimulating thought when preparing to write a devotion or sermon. (or blog post!)

There are also suggested bible reading plans. There is a 30 day “overview plan”; 90 days through the New Testament; and one year through the Bible plan.

One of my favorite stories is in John chapter 4, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. In small groups over the years, we've discussed this story, and struggled with the traditional interpretations, which seemed so derogatory of the woman. In our study, we've remarked on her openness with Jesus about her lifestyle and how quickly she asks about the proper way to worship. The sidebar “portrait” in the CEB Women's Bible compares her with Nicodemus, who comes to Jesus in the darkness of nighttime. This woman encounters Jesus in broad daylight, showing she has nothing to hide. The sidebar portrait also points out the depth of their theological conversation. We are asked to consider what might be our “water jar” that we can leave behind so as to better testify what Jesus has done in our lives.

The Common English Bible translation (or paraphrase) is a newer version. It uses “ordinary” language to be accessible to most readers. For my personal Bible reading, I use the NRSV and the newer English Standard Version. But I do encourage the use of different translations and paraphrases in our small group studies to enhance comprehension and discussion. The accessibility of this version will be an asset in these groups.

I enthusiastically endorse this Bible for personal reading, study, and use in discussion groups. I look forward to many years of using my copy for all these purposes! This Bible would also make a nice gift.

I received a free copy of the CEB Women's Bible in exchange for a fair review.

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