Mission of God Study Bible Review

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Several months ago, our team undertook the task of comparing and reviewing a growing number of Study Bibles appearing on the book market recently in what we called a 21st century Revival of Study Bibles. This article is part of our Study Bibles review series as outlined here: http://cupandcross.com/bible-revival/

The Mission of God Study Bible is edited by Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation containing essays and commentaries by over 50 contributors among whom Billy Graham and Jack Hayford. Significant place is given to quotes from Francis Dubose’s 1983 book, God Who Sends. The primary purpose is to introduce a Missional Manifesto to the church of the 21st century. Beside book introductions, essays and cross-reference annotations, it promotes ideas from the Bible as QR Codes, Text Messages and Notes from God using the Holman Christian Standard Bible text as a foundation.

The initial commentary introduces God’s mission in creating the world and the divine plan to reconnect with His creation into a promise of an eternal land. The passages of our usual consideration (Numbers ch.6 and Jeremiah ch.18) are not particularly commented; however, the introduction to Numbers begins with a beautiful analogy of how serious God takes His mission leading the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness. The notes on Jeremiah also contain Glenn Barth’s Dwelling and Working for God in the City.

Although not written by primarily Pentecostal authors, the commentary on Acts includes a very charismatic key to revival through making disciples using: (1) empowerment, (2) education and (3) evolving. This process is described as inclusive and hospitable to all in two articles on the Gentile conversion in Acts 10. The mission of the Christian ministry is enriched by the Gifts of the Spirit annotated personally by Ed Stetzer in 1 Corinthians 14 through the source, search and sovereignty of spirituality. But it is also inseparable from the marketplace as described in connection with the Corinthian church Acts ch.18.

The Pneumatological and ministry related commentaries connect well with the urgency of musicological eschatology starting with the phrase “In the Spirit” (Revelation 4:2). The notes conclude with another article with an urban theme on the Heavenly City. The eschatological mission in Revelation is explained as “Refocusing and Renewing the Church.” An article about missionary to China, Hudson Taylor is placed next to the story of the two witnesses, expressing the eschatological urgency to reach the whole world with the Gospel. This coincides with two commentaries on the Great Commission in Matthew 28, “The Mission of God and the Mission in the Church” and “Go Therefore.”

Overall a great missional tool with over 150 commentary notes and articles begins with the Missional Manifesto and concluding with the “Letters to the Church” from elder statesmen like Billy Graham, Jack Hayford, R. T. Kendall, Erwin Lutzer, Calvin Miller, and R.C. Sproul.

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