I never read J.B. Phillips classic book, Your God Is Too Small, but I’ve always liked the title. Using the illustration of “putting God in a box,” Phillips says that we as humans try to limit an infinite God with our finite minds. One of the ways we “limit” God is by failing to understand that He had a rich and complex personality. God has many names including Father, Lord, I Am, God Most High, and so on, yet Bible translators have simply been content to refer to the Almighty as simply “God” or “LORD” (Yahweh/ “I Am”). Truly, we have made the Bible far too simple and God far too small.
Instead of using a handful of names for God, The Names of God Bible contains almost 50 different names of God, which add insight and color to the God I thought I knew. Perusing the Old Testament with this Bible adds so much insight to God’s relationship with Israel and His continuing relationship with us! The Names of God Bible is presented in the God’s Word Translation (GW), which I found to be very readable yet scholarly. The preface of the Bible explains the history of the GW as well as the translation process. I read from various versions of the Bible when studying, and have found GW to be among my new favorites. It’s not just a modern take on the Bible; GW also preserves its literary integrity.
The Names of God Bible contains a pronunciation guide for each name of God, as well as an alphabetical listing for each name. I can look up a an English translation like “Son of David” or Hebrew name like “Yahweh Roi” (The Lord is My Shepherd) to find a two page write-up on the specific name, what it means, and where it is referenced throughout the Bible. Each chapter of the Bible includes a well-written introduction.
Besides being a great study tool, The Names of God Bible is also visually appealing. Each page has faint hint of brown giving the Bible an ancient, antiqued feel. The font is quite small, though very clear (though this is the case with many Bibles.) One of my favorite cosmetic features of this Bible is the pages themselves—they are not tissue-paper thin, but REAL pages! I can turn a page in The Names of God Bible without accidentally tearing it! Of course, that does make the Bible heavier, but this probably isn’t a Bible you will take to church, unless you’re teaching Sunday school. (Half the people at my church read Scripture from their smart phones or on the overhead anyway.)
Usually when I first meet someone, I generally introduce myself and ask the other person his or her name. How can we know about God’s richness when we don’t even know His names? (Being as He’s God, He can have as many names as He wants.) If you want to know God, if you want to call out His name, and if you are serious about studying your Bible, then The Names of God Bible with the GW translation is just what you need.
*With thanks to Revell, a subsidiary of Baker Publishing Group for my review copy of this book.*
Does this sound like a Bible you might try? Are you familiar with the God’s Word Translation? What is your favorite name of God? How could this Bible help you with your own study of Scripture?