Now, I’m not partial to devotional Bibles, nor Bibles that are “topical”. However, being a father is something I would like to be better at. Thomas Nelson offered the Dad’s Bible – The Father’s Plan (DB), and I thought I might check it out. I should have gone with my better judgment.
New Century Version
DB, first and foremost, is in the New Century Version (NCV). I have never read another Bible in this translation, so it was interesting reading it. My overall impression is the translation is jumpy – choppy, even staccato. I did not enjoy reading it.
An example in Luke will probably help:
Jesus went with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them. But his mother kept in her mind all that had happened. Jesus became wiser and grew physically. People liked him, and he pleased God.
While it is rather subjective, I just find there to be a lack of “beauty” in this rendering. There is no sense of narrative, the text reduced to a series of sequential statements. But this is even more noticeable in Psalms, where there is little sense of poetry, in my opinion.
Part of this may be due to the use of a stilted English. Where most English translations are completely comfortable using “favor” (and stressing God before men) for χαριτι “grace” or “favor”, the NCV reduces this important word to “like”, and even explodes the one Greek word into two different verbs in relation to “God” and “men”. This, though probably in best intentions, distorts rather than clarifying the passage.
This tendency to use a modified base of English becomes even more apparent in Luke 3, where the NCV seems unwilling to use the word “repentance”, a perfectly reasonable word, replacing it with “changed hearts”. This is likely done to make the Scripture approachable to those of a lower reading level, but it makes the whole passage seem contorted.
The text is double column to a page, with some devotional notes taking the bottom (or the entirety) of a page, and others taking half to a full column. While the majority of the text is in black, section headings, titles and devotionals are printed in a brown ink. many devotionals are even offset with a lighter brown background. I didn’t mind the brown so much, as it was a visual indicator that when reading the Biblical text, the brown material should be skipped (at least while reading Scripture itself).
Overall it is easy on the eyes. The devotional thoughts would most likely be hard to read in soft light, but I found the font to be manageable.
There is a lot of devotional content. Most of it is inspirational, some even being very thought-provoking, such as the contrast between Babel and Bethel (pg 13 – Genesis 11). However, many were stretches of the surrounding Biblical passages to make them fit the “Dad” motif.
There were a number of other cases, however, where I gasped aloud at the devotional thought, such as the introductory notes to 1 Thessalonians:
As a dad, you’re crazy about your family. And even though everyone in your house is substantially imperfect – including yourself – you wouldn’t trade them in for anything. Well, did you know that this isn’t your only family? And I’m not talking about your extended family. I’m talking about your “weekend family”…the family whom you “adopted” when you joined your church. (p. 1269, bold mine)
I’ve tried to look for ways to make the introduction not say what it seems to say. I haven’t come up with anything. Even describing the church as a “weekend family” is distasteful at best, but I could think of worse ways to describe it. Maybe this is their way of comfortably reaching out to dads “where they are”. What a disgraceful thing that would say! But no, it doesn’t seem like there is any subtle correction going on. This is acceptance and even agreement with the tendency to treat church as a once-a-week lifestyle.
One might also mention the insinuation that it is your church, the one you adopted. Who ever heard of a child adopting its parents? No, the appropriate use of adoption language is that of parents to children, and in this case, of the Father to us – showing his “favor” by adopting us into his family, not as some weekly obligation, but a feature of our lives that uproots everything we once were.
No wonder dads need a bible of devotional thoughts. We are teaching them that they choose church, that they are in charge, that their lives and families come first. Something has to be done to change that.
In any case, I give this book ★★☆☆☆. There are some decent devotional thoughts and helps, but I really wouldn’t want this to be the Bible I read on a regular basis.
The Father’s Plan
Author: Robert Wolgemuth (Notes)
Hard Cover, 1416 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson