Sunday, July 13, 2014

Review: Celebrate Recovery Bible

Okay, I shouldn't feel so angry. After all, the HarperCollins folks didn't exactly say the Celebrate Recovery Bible was a Study Bible. bad for assuming it was...because the Celebrate Recovery Bible is kind of. . .lacking.

It might be me. I've been reading and reviewing a lot of Bibles lately. And when I see the amount of work put into Bibles such as the NIVintegrated Bible or the Spirit Filled Bible or the Modern Life Study just makes the Celebrate Recovery Bible look pale in comparison.

First of all: what it has:

There are some great testimonies from Christians who have had addiction, abuse issues. Those testimonies are pretty brave because we allknow how judgemental some Christians can be. OR how self-reliant. So kudos for these folks who put their stories out there for readers to identify with.

The Celebrate Recovery Bible also has Bible character studies. For instance. I am Eve. And you can imagine what insights can be drawn from the whole Eve, temptation, and forbidden fruit thing. There are also other characters such as Moses, the Demoniac, the Syro-Phonician woman (whose daughter was oppressed by demons...or as some would say addictions. The mother is shown as the archetypal suffering parent of a child who should be in recovery.)

Like all Bibles, it has Book Introductions, Lesson Studies, Recovery-Related Scripture Ties, Topical Index, Daily Devotionals, Subject Index, the Eight Principles and Twelve Christ-Centered Steps of the Celebrate Recovery Program.

The Celebrate Recovery Bible has a foreward by Rick Warren and is a "purpose-driven recovery resource with devotions and articles by John Baker." It is designed for Christians in Recovery. The Twelve Step groups such as AA, Alanon, OA, NA, etc began as Christian organizations. However now they have become places where figuratively one's Higher Power could be a chair or a rock. This book seeks to return the twelve steps to its moorings and to show the Bible verses that are behind those "Christ-centered steps."

A good goal, I think. So I really can't fault the Bible. Except I was kinda expecting more.  The way the Bible uses the Scripture "ties" seems a bit facile and the commentary about some of the Bible characters seems a bit old hat and sometimes forced into the recovery motif. For instance, Martha of Mary/Martha/Lazarus fame is depicted in a way in which the Bible never depicted her. In the Bible we get a snapshot of her reaction on a particular day, a particularly busy day. Jesus says nothing about her recovery "issues" and Martha is shown in the Bible as being very spiritual but somewhat harried about having new guests suddenly show up at her house: cultural hospitality issues and requirements of women etc. But in this the character study says Martha is "spiritually-barren," "a people-pleaser," someone who wanted to "impress people"  whose "self-identity revolved around identity." Really????? Jesus is depicted as "confronting Martha's non-productive habits and emotions." Seriously?

I'm all for folks getting insights that suit and touch their lives but sometimes I had to roll my eyes because of the over-reaching. But there is also a part of me that thinks they could have been more involved in all the Bible verses than they are. They really don't comment on the Bible chapters, books, stories, etc as much as they c ould have. And they hit all the typical Biblical stories, which gives me the feeling that these folks don't read their Bibles themselves. They just work with Bible stories they know.

So a part of me thinks they should've really been more in-depth with the Bible study...and another part of me feels "heck, I'm glad they didn't do to other Biblical passages what they did to the Martha section."

I guess I can recommend this Bible. It will no doubt bless many people. And it does tie-in the Scriptures to the twelve steps. But it wasn't particularly impressive as a study Bible.  

I got this book as part of the Harper Collins booklookblogger review program
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