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Sean McDowell leads the Bible department at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools in California. The awarded teacher is also a popular national youth speaker and has authored several books including Understanding Intelligent Design (with William Dembski). Sean and his wife have two children.
I purchased the HCSB Aplogetics Study Bible for Students primarily because of the text (the 2nd edition of the Holman Christan Standard Bible translation). The HCSB is a fairly literal translation that is written in natural English. The NIV is translated in approximately the same manner as the HCSB, but the HCSB is more literal and includes many more tranlsation notes (adding a level of insight and transparency that the NIV lacks). The HCSB combines accuracy and readability better than any other translation, in my opinion. The 1st edition of the HCSB was my translation of choice for general study and the 2nd edition is an improvement over the 1st.
The study features of the Bible are very good. The articles, quotes, "Twisted Scripture" notes and study notes all serve to strengthen the reader's faith and provide a solid footing for the accuracy and reliability of God's Word. The only criticisms I have of this fine Bible are: 1) The font size of the study notes is a bit small 2) The Bible lacks a concordance (a necessity in a study Bible). Nevertheless, I would highly recommend this study Bible to students of God's Word, regardless of their age.
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As a young believer I developed a sudden intense hunger for apologetics after a cultist knocked on my door challenged my faith. Then with an atheist at my work site I had to find a way to get intellectually armed, consequently I purchased dozens of books on apologetics. Oh how I wish this Bible or Strobel's apologetic bible had been available. Accordingly, Sean McDowell's (author: "Apologetics for a New Generation: A Biblical and Culturally Relevant Approach to Talking About God"; son of Josh McDowell) "HCSB Apologetics Study Bible for Students" is an outstanding apologetic resource for young people and students.
Within this reader-friendly tool one will discover:
- How to identify scripture twisting - Simple and powerful evidential proofs - Easy to understand archaeology facts - Outstanding quotes - Ways to defend the Christian worldview - Easy to implement tactics that will help intellectually equip students - Potent testimonies from important Christian figures.
Bought it for grandson, he loves it!!! he grabbed it right away and began scouring topics etc. It has 'twisted Scriptures" where verses that are twisted by cults etc are explained as to what is really meant in the context It has study notes it has topics of debate and answers from both well known Bible authorities and the Scriptures themselves I began using one statement after reading just 1 debatable issues' answer , I put it on my Facebook....what a response!!! Amazing how Christian adults had never thought of this answer before. hint; it was on 'judge not' I really really like this Bible I think it is a great investment and honestly, i want one !!
OK, call me biased and opinionated, as I provide the disclosure that I worked on this Bible as an associate editor and wrote five of the articles as well as the 60 "Twisted Scripture" notes. Yes, I am. But I want to say that, even if I hadn't worked on this Bible, I would have still given it the highest rating possible. The Bible is filled with resources such as personal stories, archaeological facts, and apologetic articles that will be valuable for any student. There is only one problem with the Bible and it's that it could end up being too distracting in the youth group. Let me explain. I was sitting in Sunday School last week and had this Bible with me. Well, one thing turned into another, and then I realized I was having more fun looking at the articles and notes than I was listening to the sermon. Ooops. But hey, what a great problem to have, a Bible that you just want to keep reading and looking at.
In addition, the articles were written so that a young teen could understand but that it is still valuable for those who have already graduated. So many of my high school students have told me how sold they are on the Bible. I even had one adult get one from me, whispering that the Bible was for him and NOT his child. He told me in a whispered tone lest anyone think less of him because he was getting a Bible meant for "students". No, I think it's great that this Bible is even valuable for parents. Finally, not everyone may agree completely with the articles that were written--you have to admit, though, some pretty big issues are being discussed in just a page--but if you can remain open minded about some opinions on controversial issues, I would do what I did and get each of your kids a copy for their personal use. Unless our kids learn to own their own faith, they are destined to fall after they leave the friendly confines of our homes and the professors get a hold of them. Get this Bible for all of the young people in your life before it's too late.