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Review: NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

The NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Zondervan, 2017) is a fantastic resource to peek behind the pages of Scripture and discover the context behind the text. This hardcover Bible is, first and foremost, bulky. It is thick and filled with information on the background of seemingly mundane Bible stories. Introductions to each book place it within its historical context and frame it in a way that prepares readers to enter its setting. There are maps, diagrams, charts, and pictures of archaeological finds that attest to the historicity of the biblical narrative.

This is an excellent Bible that should be on the shelves of all scholars, pastors, and laypeople who want to explore the Bible deeper. I used Luke 15, the familiar parable of the prodigal son, as a test case, and found that its cultural background notes indeed went beyond the surface level interpretations. Most readers will find these notes interesting and will want you to dig deeper into the world of the Bible. The goal of this study Bible is to make you more fascinated with Scripture—and it indeed succeeds at this task.

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