I am not usually a fan of Study Bibles; in fact, when I went looking for a Bible this past year to replace my worn out NASB I purposely set out to find a Bible that did not contain any study notes. It's not that there is anything wrong with having a Bible with study notes in them; there is definitely a place for them, I just think that most people use them in a way that they were never intended to be used.
Most of the people that I know who use a study Bible read their Bible from the bottom up, meaning that they spend more time looking at what Dr. so-and-so has to say than what God has to say. Like I said, I think study Bibles have their place, but I think that a study Bible should be used as one of the last steps in your study of God's Word. You should consult the notes only after you have read the text multiple times, examined the cross-references, and developed a general idea of what is being said, then (and only then) should you consult the study notes at the bottom of the page.
With that said, I have been reading a lot about the upcoming release of the ESV Study Bible that is scheduled for October of 2008 and I can hardly wait. I did replace my worn out NASB earlier this year, and I replaced it with an ESV. I love the translation; it is an accurate word-for-word translation, like the NASB, but I find it more readable (but maybe it's just because it's fresh - I had been using the NASB for ~15 years). Anyway, I first saw that Crossway was going to be releasing the ESV Study Bible a few months ago and I have been watching the web site and checking out the press releases ever since.
Look at what some of the people who have seen the pre-production version have said about the ESV Study Bible:
“The ESV is a dream come true for me. The rightful heir to a great line of historic translations, it provides the continuity and modern accuracy I longed for. Now the scope and theological faithfulness of the ESV Study Bible study notes is breathtaking. Oh how precious is the written Word of God.”
John Piper, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church
“The ESV Study Bible is the most important resource that has been given to the emerging generation of Bible students and teachers. The ESV Study Bible is the best. Period.”
Mark Driscoll, Preaching Pastor, Mars Hill Church; President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network
“Outstanding! The ESV Study Bible is a treasure—a beautiful volume, filled with a wealth of resources. It will be just as useful for the seminarian and long-time pastor as it will be accessible to the brand-new Christian.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“I can’t imagine a greater gift to the body of Christ than the ESV Study Bible. It is a potent combination indeed: the reliability and readability of the ESV translation, supplemented by the best of modern and faithful scholarship, packaged in an accessible and attractive format. A Christian could make no wiser investment for himself, a pastor could recommend no better resource for his congregation.”
C. J. Mahaney, President, Sovereign Grace Ministries
“The ESV Study Bible is a tour de force: innovative production, beautiful graphics, and notes by outstanding scholars packed with useful information.”
Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
With endorsements like that how could you go wrong?
Here is how the ESV Study Bible website describes the features of this new study bible:
The ESV Study Bible includes 20,000 notes, written specifically for the ESV Study Bible. These notes focus especially on understanding the meaning of the text, giving answers to frequently raised questions, and providing theological, historical, and archaeological background—all for the purpose of helping readers to understand the Bible in a deeper way.
The ESV Study Bible also provides a wealth of additional resources. Thus the introductions to each book include essential information about the author, date, and place of writing; an extensive chart of key themes; a summary of how the book fits in with the rest of the biblical storyline; a description of literary features; an outline of the book; and a large full-color map showing the setting of the book.
Another unique feature is the inclusion of over 50 helpful articles on topics such as the authority and truthfulness of the Bible, reading the Bible for application, the Bible in worship and prayer, the reliability of the biblical manuscripts, the relationship between archaeology and the Bible, an overview of biblical theology, and many more.
Other key resources include a system of 80,000 cross references and a concordance (which together facilitate easy location of important words, passages, and biblical themes). In addition, over 200 color charts, located throughout the Bible, provide clear, concise presentations of essential information.
If you want to see examples of what this Bible will be like they have put up pdf samples of the introductions to the Gospel of Luke and the book of Revelation on their website; you can down load them by following these links:
Introduction to Luke
Introduction to Revelation
I have been very impressed by what I have seen so far, and I will probably be picking one of these up for my library as soon as it is released. And if you happen to be in the market for a new study Bible yourself, I don't think you will go wrong with this one.Print This Post