Yesterday I received a most beautiful Christmas gift. You see, I post a regular weekly blog at bible.org under the impact section. One of the folks there, Michael Garrett, graciously offered me this wonderful opportunity to provide a weekly post there. I’m currently running my Creative Science series there.
Bible.org has many interesting features, but the core of the site is the online NET (New English Translation) online study bible resource. They do offer a print version of the bible, but most folks just use the online version. I will confess first that for at least five years now I’ve had a strong affection for the ESV translation. In the last couple of years two good study bibles have been published for the ESV translation including the official ESVSB and the Reformation Study Bible (ESVRSB). I have both and I’ve been generally pleased with them. In my research, whenever I get deep enough to do serious word studies, I’ve found the ESV easily rivals KJV and NASB and is easier to read for pleasure or in public than either of the others.
I only learned of the existence of the NET translation a year or two ago. A couple of months ago I started a study of Zechariah using NET as my core translation. I did this for two reasons. First, as a courtesy to my bible.org benefactor I wanted to give the NET a fair chance. Second, their approach to the copyright issue makes them attractive for potential future publication of my studies – if I manage to do that again.
This all brings me to the matter of the gift. This afternoon when I got up (I’m presently working 3rd shift) I went out to get the mail. When I opened the door I discovered a box wedged between the doors. I opened the box to discover an absolutely beautiful first edition NET bible. It has gorgeous soft leather cover and binding. It is fully annotated. The notes are very easy to read. Working with the print version can be much easier to absorb than the online version, at least for me. I think that’s in part because I’m old enough to still like “real” books. The notes are arranged differently than any of my other study bibles and I find I really like the arrangement. My only criticism out of the gate is that for a bible with more than 62,000 notes, it doesn’t have any sort of introduction to the individual books. My ESVSB has the best book intros I’ve found with the ESVRSB a close second. I’ve got an old Scoffield KJV study bible that’s good for that too, as well as a NJPS Tanakh that’s great. One of the most impressive additions to this NET bible, however, is the collection of photos at the back. There are several very high quality enhanced satellite and aerial photos that are astounding. The satellite photos have been enhanced to provide a better 3D effect. The preface explains how they did it and it is truly impressive. Yet another enhancement to the text is its treatment of OT quotations in the NT. Anywhere the OT is quoted in the NT the text is printed in italics (bold italic if a direct quote and plain italic if a paraphrased quote). I hoped the words of Jesus would be in red, but they are not. As to the translation itself, the jury is still out. So far I haven’t been at it long enough to give a fair assessment, however from what I’ve seen so far I would have to say it is competitive with the ESV and NASB.
I would like to publicly thank Michael Garrett and Bible.org for this wonderful bound leather NET Bible. I will cherish it for many years to come. Merry Christmas and God bless you all.