By Allen Rea
The Vines Expository Bible is available in the New King James Version, which is my translation of choice for preaching. The text is double columned in 10.5 font. The pages are thin but they hold up fine with mechanical pencil writing and a Bible highlighter. The genuine leather edition comes with three medium quality ribbon markers. The Bible has a sewn binding with a paste-down liner, but the perimeter of the leather cover is stitched. This Bible will be able to survive plenty of wear and tear from ministry.
This is not your common study Bible, such as a Scofield or Ryrie. You would not buy this Bible for the notes. Instead, it has several features that make it worth a spot on your desk.
One of this Bible’s greatest assets is the introductions. There are a couple of paragraphs introducing each book of the Bible, addressing the authorship, date, and outline & themes. Dr. Vines is both wise and witty, and these introductions are a literal gold mine of information for the Bible student.
There are four categories of helps: “Presenting the Message,” “Living the Message,” “Applying the Message,” and “Discerning the Message.”
The “Presenting the Message” notes are detailed sermon outlines from Dr. Vines’s sermon archive. There are 205 of these, and they alone are worth the price of the Bible. There is enough here to preach from and enough worthy of a week of study. These are more than a lifesaver when a preacher gets in a “Saturday night tight.” They are powerful examples of what exposition should be. These outlines are not forced on the Biblical text but flow from the text itself.
The “Living the Message” sections are 148 articles that provide illustrations for our daily Christian life. These are usually four to five paragraphs in length, and a great help in making provisions for the truths of Scripture in everyday life.
The “Applying the Message” sections are 237 notes written for the purpose of showing the pertinence of Scripture for daily life as a Christian. These are essential for the pastor or teacher who struggles with providing application to his hearers. These sections are especially strong at putting the passage within the whole counsel of Scripture.
The “Discerning the Message” sections contain 311 studies that highlight key words in the Scripture. These are the helps that are the most numerous throughout the Bible, though they tend to be the shortest in length. Dr. Vines, who is currently pursuing another doctoral degree, is no stranger to Greek and Hebrew studies. He has an amazing gift sharing the truths gleaned from the original languages to the lay congregation. They are wonderful little nuggets of truth peppered through the text itself.
If you are looking for a traditional study Bible, you are better off sticking with Ryrie. However, if you want to grow in your organization of sermons and lessons and enjoy great golden nuggets of truth from the original languages, then Vines is right for you.
Allen Rea is Pastor of Higgston Baptist Church in Ailey, GA.