Sunday, October 31, 2010

Needed: An Islamic Challenge Study Bible

What is the connection between Islam and study Bibles?
First, I love study Bibles.  They make it easy and inviting to understand the Bible in a number of ways.  They typically provide explanations of Bible text via copious footnotes on the same page as the text.  They have substantial introductions to books of the Bible and often significant introductions or discusson about individual chapters or themes of one or more chapters.  They not only explain the text in the context of time, place, people, culture, and issue involved, but often include personality and word studies and key lessons or application to current moral, cultural, religious, and political challenges.
Most study Bibles are written by and for conservative/orthodox protestants meaning that they focus on interpretations of traditional Christianity, although there are nuances of more liberal or conservative interpretations noted by the really well-informed.  In other words, study Bibles are written by and for Christians who take their faith seriously – who take the Bible seriously.  So seriously, in fact, that they really want to understand with as much accuracy as possible what it says, what it means, and how it should affect their lives and the culture around them.  They take it as truly the Word of God.  
My first study Bible was acquired about 26 years ago, the NIV Study Bible.  Since that time I have acquired and used:
  • The MacArthur Study Bible
  • ESV Study Bible (on Kindle)
  • NET Bible (on Kindle)
  • The King James Study Bible
  • The Life Application Study Bible
  • The NLT Study Bible
  • The Apologetics Study Bible
  • The Holman Study Bible
Why so many, you might ask?  They each have slightly different features, strengths, and weakness.  Take for example the rider on the White Horse in Revelation Chapter Six.  Does the rider symbolize Jesus or the Anti-Christ?  If one or the other, why?  Any one study Bible gives a partial answer.  All explanations taken together provide a more thorough explanation and understanding.  By the way, check out MacArthur's explanation which makes the most sense to me.  But the others help provide a fuller picture.
The Patriot’s Bible (that I don’t own but have skimmed through) is not actually a study Bible.  It is more of a traditional Bible with numerous articles about American patriots and founding ideas and documents interspersed that undeniably demonstrate America’s Christian heritage.
The Life Application Study Bible makes the best connection between Scripture and the application to today’s life issues.  However, such application is centered on moral, personal behavioral, and attitudinal issues.  For the most part it avoids discussion of conflicting interpretations, conflicting cults and religions or governmental/political issues.
The Apologetics Study Bible on the other hand does get into distinctions between orthodox Christianity and the unorthodoxy of various Christian sects, Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well Eastern religions and Islam.  However there are fewer than 60 explicit examples of differences with these other belief systems sprinkled throughout the 66 books of the Bible.  We know that there could be dozens if not hundreds of differences from conservative, orthodox Christianity pointed out for each of these belief systems. 
Especially lacking are Christian refutations of the legion of distortions and contradictions of the Bible and Christianity promoted by Islam.  All of the Christian sects combined do not pose the challenge to Christianity and our Bible-based liberties to the degree posed by Islam.  And most Christians remain ignorant of these distortions.
The Bible is for all time.  However, appropriate application of Bible truths and principles to the changing human condition and cultures vary virtually decade by decade, or certainly century by century.  In this decade and through the next several, resurgent Islam will be a growing challenge to Christianity.  Study Bibles are well-suited to address such challenges by focusing on passages and doctrine designed to overcome contradictory, un-Biblical, and potentially Satanic cultural and belief systems.
Muslims and the majority of secularists as promoted by the main stream media provide a continuing flow of disinformation about the relationship of Islam to Christianity.  Their obsfucationist, taqiyya-infected propaganda mills lead the ill-informed to believe that Islam is peaceful, that Christianity is corrupted, and that Islam is merely an extension of Christianity – indeed that Christ was Muslim!
There are hundreds of specific instances of Islamic corruption of Bible passages and Biblical themes that need to be made easily available and digestible to Christians.  An Islamic Challenge Study Bible is needed.  It might even be more inclusive, becoming an Islamist/Secularist Challenge Study Bible since Islamists and Secularists are in bed together in opposition to Christianity.
The most obvious areas for footnotes, special articles, introductions, timelines, and “You gotta be kidding” inserts in such a Bible are these:
  • Rewriting history:  Islamic revisionists attempts to transform 3,000 years of Judeo-Christian history.
  • So you think Ishmael, not Isaac, was Abrahams sacrifice?
  • No, Muhammad, Jesus was not a Muslim
  • One hundred differences between the nature and character of Allah of Islam and the God of the Bible.
  • Abrogation in the Bible and the Qur’an: Peace to war in the Qur’an; war to peace in the Bible
  • Literalism vs. spiritualizing in the Bible and the Qur’an
  • Distinctions between a fundamentalist Christian and a fundamentalist Muslim
  • Love in the Bible; hate in the Qur’an
  • Grace in the Bible; retribution in the Qur’an
  • Distinctions between Bible writers and the Qur’an writer
  • End times:  The anti-Christ and the Islamic Mahdi; Christ’s second coming and the anti-Mahdi.
  • The attitude toward lying and deceit in Christianity and Islam
  • How Bible principles and Qur’anic principles are typically played out in the lives of believers.  Include the lives of famous, devout Christians contrasted against the lives of infamous devout Muslims through the centuries, and highlighting those in the present day.
  • Worldly alliances with evil forces: the alliance of secularists and Islamists
  • The influence and dangers of Pagans in the Bible contrasted with pagans (unbelievers) in today’s culture.
These topics alone could generate a thousand informative distinctions between Christianity and Islam sprinkled throughout a dedicated study Bible.  And you can probably think of many more topics that should be revealed and contrasted.
The ICSB project would not likely have a comment on most verses in the Bible as the best good study Bibles contain.  However, I would anticipate three levels of commentary:
Level one:  1,000 or more footnote comments sprinkled throughout the 66 books noting and defending against Islamic and secular distortions.
Level two:  Several dozen short articles, one half to a full page each, going into more depth on topics such as Islam’s Jesus, Isa, or the concept of abrogation, taqiyya, grace-intolerance, love/forgiveness-hate/retribution, debunking moral equivalency, talking to a Muslim, confronting superior attitudes toward Islam or hostility toward the Bible; some basic apologetics principles.
Level three:  Several more lengthy articles; e.g. the life of Muhammad contrasted with the life of Jesus.  The character of Allah compared with God the Father.  Short history of Islamic conquests and methods.  Current events of Islamic inspired intolerance, supremacism, and terrorism. Ten or 15 others.
Effective integration of these comments in appropriate context of Bible text is critically important.  It should not appear that articles are placed randomly.  The American Patriot’s Bible appears to suffer from this. 
Include a number of timelines of Judeo-Christian and Islamic history.
Include maps of lands occupied or controlled by Jewish, Christian, and Islamic populations over the millennia.
Include Islamic word studies sprinkled about the text, plus a multi-page Islamic Glossary of Terms.
An integrated topical index would be extremely helpful; essential.
So, how about it Crossway, Zondervan, Nelson, Holman.  Can you put together a team of Bible and Islamic scholars such as Joel Richardson, David Jeremiah, Joel Rosenberg, Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, the experts at The Center for the Study of Political Islam, Dr. Steven Masood, Dr. James F. Gauss, and a number of others qualified to become a noteworthy team to build such a study Bible?

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