Tyndale have sent along this volume for review. So thanks to them.
In sum- it will appeal to conservatives. I’m not sure it will appeal to anyone else. Here’s why.
First, while it is nicely arranged and organized, the print is rather small- so older folks and vision impaired folks will have a hard time using it.
Second, while it has a good range of expert exegetes (who provide the extensive notes filling the volume); as happens whenever there’s such a collaboration, some of the work is better than other. For instance, Hugh G.M. Williamson and his co-workers’ observations on Ezra/Nehemiah/Esther/Ruth are very well done and exceedingly accurate (as one would expect of Williamson), while Scot McKnight’s on Luke are – to be charitable- weak and condescending. See for example at 8:43-44 where McKnight (or one of his cohorts/collaborators) writes `Luke, with his background in medicine…’ Of course this is nothing but rank speculation which merely reinforces unsubstantiated legend.
Third, the book introductions are very conservative in nature. Again, taking Luke as an example, we’re told `Author: Luke, a doctor who was a traveling companion of the apostle Paul.’ This is of course not what the Gospel itself claims- since it, like the others, is intentionally anonymous. Similarly, 2 Thessalonians is attributed to Paul, as are the Pastorals. When it comes to the Song of Solomon the editor responsible for it notes that the author is identified in the first line as Solomon. `When did it happen?’ And the editor’s answer? `In the 900s BC’. There seems, then, to be no awareness at all of the problems such attribution raises. Indeed, `Isaiah’ is `the author’ of the book bearing his name, readers are told. These examples could of course be multiplied and each one would show the very conservative bent of the editors.
Fourth, the `Someone You Should Know’ sidebars likewise are very conservative in their stance. That notwithstanding, they are, by and large, very well done and quite informative for the general reader.
Fifth, the translation which the version makes use of is the `New Living Translation’. This translation is neither a `formal equivalence’ nor a `dynamic equivalence’ rendition but instead a `thought-for-thought equivalence’. There are obviously problems with such an approach. The primary being, of course, that such a translation often violates the principle of distance that must guide translators. The Bible wasn’t written in English. When readers forget that, they tend to disregard all the cultural baggage that comes with an ancient text. Translations should, to some extent, keep readers at arms length if only to remind them that they are in fact translations and nothing more. Reall access to the thought world of the author can only come with familiarity with the language in which that author wrote.
Sixth, and finally, though I have reservations about the version (spelled out above) all in all I think it will serve its audience, and its purpose, quite nicely. Conservative minded Christians will enjoy it, and learn from it.