I confess to being leery of Bible’s that have the word “I” in them. The Bible is a book that contains the story of God’s redemptive work. It spells out everything from how to live a life that glorifies God to core doctrines of the Christian faith such as the Trinity and salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, because of Christ alone. These are huge, life altering, ideas. When you hold God and his Word in high regard you quickly realize that the Bible and life are about far more than yourself.
That’s where the problems with the iShine Bible start to arise. The parts of this Bible that just about everyone will turn to first are the three sections in the Bible printed on thick, colorful paper that discuss value, identity, and purpose (Yep, you’re a V.I.P.!). These are the portions of the this Bible that really set it apart from a regular Bible of the same translation (New Living Translation). These are the sections that are meant to appeal to the “tween” audience and guide them to a deeper understanding of God and his Word. While there is some worthy material contained on these colorful pages, every one of them is “me centered.” What I mean is that they are all about warm fuzzy feelings and making you feel good about yourself. It’s like this Bible was tailor-made to boost the self-esteem of a generation of kids who’ve been coddled by parents and society and now need a Bible to coddle them too.
I suppose this comes down to my view that I think tweens are old enough and mature enough to be told that they are vile sinners whose only hope for salvation lies in Jesus. It’s probably also because I think tweens should be taught the finer points of doctrine rather than fed a steady diet of “You’re Special” soup. This Bible could have used its colorful pages to discuss atonement, grace, faith, the resurrection, the Trinity, God’s creation of the world, or the eternal hope of Christians (and much more). One of the biggest problems with the church is that parents (the primary culprits), pastors, and other leaders are raising a generation of theological illiterates. The extra content contained in a Bible like this does not help solve that problem but only contributes to it.
I will say this for the iShine Bible. In the very beginning of the Bible there is a section of questions and answers with multiple Scripture references related to the answers. That is the most useful part of the extra content in this particular Bible. Unfortunately, most people will jump straight to the “me centered,” theologically light, sections of this Bible since that’s immediately where your eyes and fingers are drawn when you open it. I also really liked the Bible memory verses and references to important Bible stories at the back of the Bible. That’s good stuff for kids to know.
Give our kids some credit and get them a Bible that contains extra content that will give them far more benefit than this one. The Bible is not about “me” or “I.” It’s all about Jesus.
I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.