For the last few years, I've been a big proponent of study Bibles because it brings a wealth of biblical knowledge within the grasp of any educated layperson. Small group leaders, Sunday School teacher, and other Christian leaders ought to own three or four good study Bibles. Here are a few I particularly like:

NIV Study Bible -- The most popular study Bible. Excellent notes that reflect a broad evangelical consensus of Bible interpretation.

MacArthur Study Bible -- John MacArthur, with the help of the Master's Seminary faculty, produced a masterful compendium of Bible truth.

Nelson Study Bible -- Similar to the MacArthur Study Bible in many ways, but produced by a large team of evangelical scholars. Fun to compare the MacArthur and Nelson notes on certain passages where they come to differing conclusions about the meaning of the text.

Life Application Bible -- As the name suggests, this study Bible focuses heavily on personal application. Teachers and preachers will find it helpful after they have done detailed study of the text.

Ryrie Study Bible -- Dr. Ryrie's study Bible started the modern trend of detailed study Bibles. The updated version in the 1990s added many more notes plus lots of charts and drawings.

Quest Study Bible -- Unique Q&A format features over 7000 questions and answers on the side columns of the biblical text. Not as extensive as the other study Bibles, but the editors did a very good job on the questions they chose.

Net Bible -- See the comments in yesterday's weblog entry.

A quick check of the Bible section at the CBD website shows that they carry over 3100 products in this one section, including a bewildering variety of "specialty" Bible for children, teens, singles, young couples, the divorced, men, women, senior adults, and for those with particular interests such as leadership, recovery programs, and so on. I cannot imagine how any person could review (much less own) even a tiny fraction of the Bibles available today.

I personally prefer Bibles with plenty of charts, outlines, drawings, timelines and maps. I also prefer copious notes at the bottom of the page. If we're going to have notes, let's have a lot of them. And not just in the New Testament either. Let's have extensive notes that cover books like Ezra and Zephaniah. Owning the six study Bibles mentioned above (plus the NET Bible available over the Internet)  is like having a seminary education at your fingertips. And by comparing the notes, you can come to your own conclusions about what a particular passage actually means.


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