The 2008 Preaching Survey of Bibles and Bible References
- Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The past year has seen a number of outstanding publications that will be of interest to those who preach and teach:
This has truly been the year of the study Bible with the release of a number of significant new study Bibles, the updating of several standard ones and the reprinting of some key historical Bibles.
The two most significant new study Bibles released this year are the ESV Study Bible (Crossway) and the NLT Study Bible (Tyndale). Both of these are impressive with in depth study notes which explain the text and other helpful materials such as charts and maps. I wrote some of the notes for the ESV Study Bible so I am not a disinterested third party. I am impressed though by the work of the other contributors as I have seen them. In addition to providing background and explanation, the study notes aim to comment on key points of doctrine and how certain verses speak to the claims of other religions. The NLT Study Bible also has in depth notes and well done introductions. The "master timeline" at the front of the Bible is a helpful tool. Both study Bibles have contributions from some of the most respected evangelical scholars. These will be very helpful study tools and are the most significant study Bibles published this year.
Some of the most popular study Bibles of previous years have also been updated. The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan) has been released in a "2008 Update" edition with updated of notes, new maps and charts, and a major new Topical Index. The Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) has also been released in an updated edition with additional notes and charts. The NKJV Study Bible: Second Edition (Nelson), has been released with a CD-Rom from Libronix with the NKJV text. I have also read about the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible (3rd Augmented Edition; NRSV: Oxford) though I have not seen it. The Discipleship Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version Including Apocrypha (WJK) has also been released. This study Bible admirably seeks to combine content notes and application notes, but the strongly critical position of the notes makes them less useful in my opinion.
The most interesting niche study Bible this year is The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World (Nelson). It is the first full-length Orthodox study Bible in English including a new translation of the Old Testament from the Septuagint (since that is the version of the OT used by the Orthodox) and study notes written by leading theologians of the Orthodox Church. I found the OT section the most stimulating since you have here a translation of the Septuagint (Greek) text instead of the Hebrew Masoretic text as found in our standard Bibles. The differences are intriguing and the notes commonly point out such differences. The notes often provide quotes from early church fathers. I think this will be a useful tool for pastors because the notes are theologically focused, thus aiming at the overall meaning of the text, and the historical quotes are helpful. While there are things I disagree with, I found this study Bible stimulating.
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