****I scheduled this to post originally on October 20th, however, I chose the wrong year so it would have come out in 2017 if someone had not reminded me to double check****
Let me get two things off of my chest right from the start.
1) The thought of a "Women's Bible" makes me a bit queasy. I remember getting several pink bibles over the years geared toward young girls or "young ladies" and while I loved the illustrations in my Precious moments Bible for girls, I always wondered why I needed a different Bible than my brother.
2)I am a NRSV bible reader, preacher, studier. The NRSV is the Bible we used in Seminary and it is by far the one I use most often. Out of the 50 or so Bibles in my office currently most as NRSV, followed by NIV, then a mix of The Message and The New Living Translation.
With those biases out of the way, let me tell you my thoughts and feelings on this CEB Women's Bible.
- It is NOT pink. To some color choice may not be much of an issue, but for me carring around a pink Bible doesn't work. Perhaps its a Young CLergy Woman thing, but I always feel like I'm seen as more juvenile if I bring in a bright pink or multi colored BIble to lead a BIble Study.
- The Summary at the beginning of each chapter. THis may have more to do with being CEB, but I like the introduction to each chapter. There is an element of historical and cultural relevance revealed in many of these that your average reader might not know, or notice.
- The Scholarship. Perhaps I should have made this number one because honestly, for me, this is the biggest pro. This Bible is filled with information from wonderful scholars who just happen to be women. I enjoy their input, introductions to the books, and synopsis of women named and unnamed in the scriptures. I would feel safe placing these comments in any church member or attendees hands.
- The full Color Maps. I really like the maps in this BIble. They are detailed, high quiality, and useful. I appreciate that there are some in the text itself and also several in color in the back of the Bible. This allows for ease of finding when you need to know how close Joppa and Jerusalem were. (Not that you really need that info handy, but its there, just in case)
- It is Mauve. Okay, so I know I said it wasn't pink, and the outside cover is really more of a rose wine than mauve, but the overall color scheme is still in the pinkish family. Hear me, I am not ANTI-pink, I am however anti- use-a-color-to-denote-gender. I didn't dress my babies in only "boy" or "girl" colors. In fact I struggle daily to remind my 4 yr old son that colors don't have a gender. I really would have prefered a more neutral color.
- The Women of Scripture. I really appreciate that there is so much time given to the named and unnamed women of scripture and that there are boxes with commentary about them frequently in this version. However, I wish that EVERY named and unnamed woman had her story highlighted. THere are some left out, perhaps because we know so little about them, but even a note of "Hey, we don't know much about her, but she's here and she's worth Jesus' notice, so we should notice her too." would be nice.
- The Font. I'm not crazy about the font and had a hard time reading some of it, especially the names of books in the corners of each page written in light grey.
All in all I think this is a great option for women, and men, to use to study. I am thrilled to add it to my Bible arsonal.