Book Review: “The CEB Study Bible”, Edited By Joel B. Green (Nashville: Common English Bible, 2013) -- By: Charles M. Metcalf
PP 29:2 (Spring 2015) p. 28
Book Review: “The CEB Study Bible”, Edited By Joel B. Green (Nashville: Common English Bible, 2013)
Charles M. Metcalf is a PhD student in organizational leadership at Eastern University. He holds an MA in theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary and a BA in church ministry from Warner University. He has served as the pastor of Clearview Chapel in LaGrange, Georgia, since 2005.
A wide spectrum of thoughtful Bible students could benefit from The CEB Study Bible. This text provides the reader with ample study notes, cross-references, maps, introductory essays to each biblical book, and a concordance. For those not familiar with the Common English Bible translation, the CEB was produced in 2011 utilizing the effort of over 120 translators from twenty-two faith traditions. One of the primary goals of this translation was achieving a balance between accurate renditions of the ancient original texts and clear expression to the target audience. The result is a readable version utilizing contemporary English. The translators also sought to “use gender-inclusive or neutral syntax for translating pronouns that refer to humans, unless context requires otherwise” (xxi). This translation was crafted in the church community for the church community.
When one surveys the team of contributors to this study Bible, it is apparent these scholars are from diverse faith communities representing a wide range of Christian theological tendencies. With this understanding, no one branch of Christianity or denominational belief dominates the text. Of the sixty-three contributing authors, nineteen are female (30%). Since the purpose of the CEB is to provide an everyday English translation, it is no surprise to see that the overwhelming majority of scholars who worked on The CEB Study Bible are from the United States.
Individuals familiar with study Bibles will be pleased to see some of the additional features The CEB Study Bible offers. Each book of the Bible begins with an introductory two-page essay together with a related full color picture followed by a basic outline of the book. The format includes a single column page layout for the biblical text coupled with scriptural cross-references along the outer margins. The bottom half of each page has a two column layout with copious study notes highlighting individualverses and sections. These notes read like a condensed form of leading biblical commentaries (Interpretation, Expositor’s, etc.) that provide historical background and context rather than trying to persuade the reader to take certain theological positions. Each book also includes numerous brief topical essays which provide rich insights into the relevant history and themes addressed.
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