We begin a whole new genre this week with our first Minor Prophet. We read Hosea, which is tied for most chapters along with Zechariah at 14. I find refreshing my memory with some brief introductions is always helpful with these books of the Bible, which brings me to why I like study Bibles.
Being a pastor it is my job to keep Christian publishers in work by buying lots of Bibles. I have a great number in my possession that have either been bought by or for me over the years. I have several translations, sizes, and even languages. When I was a student I really valued portability because I lived out of my bag and always wanted to have a Bible with me without having to carry around so many extra pounds. I mentioned earlier in the year that the Bible I’m mainly using for our Year in the Bible is one that has sizable borders for taking notes. Beyond that I’ve really enjoyed my old, trusty NIV Study Bible. If you don’t have some version of a study Bible, I highly recommend it.
These are the ones that include all sorts of notes on the text with cross references and commentary, they provide cultural and contextual notes, and they even include pictures and diagrams. And as I mentioned earlier, they give introductions to each book of the Bible.
So take this as a plug for getting your own study Bible. Here is an introduction taken from the NIV Study Bible, published on Biblica.com, to give you A) helpful information as we start Hosea and B) a preview of what you get with study Bibles: