The “NIV Faith and Work Bible” (FWB) seeks to help us integrate our daily work life with our faith in Christ. The extra biblical material in this study Bible, is edited by David Kim of the Center for Faith and Work (NYC) with a foreword by Tim Keller, the well-known author, teacher and previously Senior Pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. The FWB combines the well- known New International Version (NIV) translation of the Old and New Testaments with additional material “to help users deepen their understanding and experience of the gospel and to make them excited to engage their work in a new way.” There are thoughtful essays and introductions for each of the 66 books of the Bible. The additional material is organized around three main “features:”
1.) A 31-Day focused “journey” or readings with the lofty goal of taking one through the entire story of the Bible;
2.) 45 “Core Doctrines” of the evangelical (and reformed) faith and;
3. “Deeper at Work “ articles of real life situations and applications.
The FWB comes at a time when there is a great proliferation of faith at work ministries, websites and materials. It seems the Christian world has finally discovered the marketplace and the many believers in it everyday. This is a good thing and long overdue.
My key impression is that the FWB contains some very thoughtful material on work and faith. It has an interesting approach to theological and doctrinal issues and how they relate to Christian living and work. This is done through the “Core Doctrines” section which is then followed by a “Deeper at Work” story. These personal stories are quite valuable. But a big question remains: Is doctrinal application what we are really after in business and professional people? Are we not looking for something simpler: like helping Christ-followers be “salt” and “light” and “ambassadors” in the business world. I have always thought that the value of doctrine is to help us understand and give us solid grounding for the core of the gospel. This is my fundamental problem with the FWB.
However I have other issues:
1. The FWB seems difficult to use. The 31 Day journey feature is buried in the Bible and one wonders immediately if it would not be more useful as a separate faith and work devotional. The material is good but it is hard to figure out. I began using it as a devotional and the material was impactful.
2. The FWB lacks a word index and concordance so one cannot even do simple word studies. For example what does the Bible say about work? About greed? About leadership? This seems like a fundamental problem. One would expect a Bible geared to faith and work to be a reference for workplace related issues.
3. From a practical use point of view FWB is a large desktop size Bible. It is just too big to carry for use at work or outside of work. One is certainly not going to go on business trips with this tome! We checked and could not find a smaller size.
Overall, I applaud the attempt to create a faith and work Bible. My experience tells me that the typical Christian business and professional will not find this edition easy and applicable to everyday workplace issues.