The Spirit Filled Life Bible: a bible review

I first had my eye on the Spirit-Filled Life Bible a decade ago. At the time I attended an expressively Charismatic church and was hungry for a study Bible  rooted in good scholarship but open to the winds of the Spirit. I liked the look of the Spirit-Filled Life Bible and almost purchased it several times, but didn’t because I wasn’t a big fan of the New King James Version (NKJV) version of the Bible (I already had several Bible’s in that translation and found it wanting in several respects).  However the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible piqued my interest when I saw that it was available in the New Living Translation (NLT). The NLT can be justly criticized for occasionally allowing a smooth translation obscure the meaning of the text, but it is one of the translations I have read through the whole Bible a few times so I have developed a fondness for it.  I hope that with Thomas Nelson Books and Zondervan being a part of Harper-Christian there is a future possibility of a NIV version of this Bible coming out.

The  New Spirit-Filled Life Bible combines the  detailed comments of a study Bible with a charismatic friendliness which strives to be open to where the Spirit is moving in the text.  So in addition to the standard notes at the bottom of the page and the center column chain-references, there is 41 themed articles on “Kingdom Dynamics,” sections entitled “World Wealth” which points to important Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible, and “Truth-In-Action” sections which offer practical applications from every book of the Bible.

Having delved deeper into what this Bible has to offer, my excitement for it is somewhat subdued. Generally I like the notes (they are not perfect but the notes are not inspired, the Bible is) and the “World Wealth” sections.  I respect Jack Hayford (executive editor of this Bible) as a Charismatic-Pentecostal leader without personal scandal.  However some of the contributors to the articles in this book, are unfortunately influenced by the prosperity gospel. For example, Paul Crouch writes a “Kingdom Dynamic article on how to ‘get your miracle. (1207)’ This emphasis seems wrongheaded to me.

Also, I felt that the “Truth-in-Action” tables at the end of each book occasionally miss the point.  The table at the end of the book of Amos , encourages readers to see how Amos calls us to godliness and personal holiness (1101-2). However the theme of justice and how we treat the poor is not discussed (cf. Amos 5:10,11). Thus the focus seems to be more on personal experience than social implications. This is unfortunate as it seems to miss the whole tenor of the prophetic literature that Amos is a part of. I see this same dynamic with other books as well.

I think charismatic Christian will benefit from reading and using this Bible and happily commend it. However, there are limitations in the notes here and this marginal notes should not be treated as sacred writ. There is more to the Bible than this Bible tells you so.  I give this book 3.5 stars. I do however  find it valuable enough to keep using it for personal devotional use.

This hard cover edition is a quality product and I am very happy with the value of this Bible.

I received this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.