2008: Year of the Study Bible
I think that anything we can do to make the Bible more likely to be read, the better. For example, my oldest son has a New Testament that is designed and published like a magazine for boys. I don’t love this particular translation or edition, but if he will read it, that is what is most important. If you can imagine a niche Bible, there is likely a publisher that already produces it. I think the thing I am a little uncomfortable with is the idea that we look for a Bible that reflects our own style. We want a Bible that is about us. Sounds a little selfish, does it not? On the other hand, that does not mean we all need to use only a black, leather-bound copy of the same version.
These niche Bibles often market to the consumer to a degree that it is easy to forget that we are talking about the Word of God. These Bibles often make it difficult to understand the Bible in its original context and turn out to be little more than a fashion accessory.
On the flip-side, Bible publishers seemed to return to what they do best in 2008. They produced high-quality study Bibles. Study Bibles seem to be intended for a more general audience, the whole church. I like study Bibles. I think they do a phenomenal job of assisting the reader glean more insight from his reading. I have at least five study Bibles. They are the NIV Study Bible, the Life Application Study Bible (NIV), the Scofield Study Bible III (ESV), the ESV Study Bible, and the NLT Study Bible. The last two were just released in 2008, and are among the best. My major concern about the ESV Study Bible is that it could almost as honestly by titled the Extreme Calvinist Study Bible. My personal favorite, both as a translation and as a study Bible is the NLT Study Bible. It does a great job of taking into account the various orthodox interpretations and let the reader interpret the text rather than leading the reader to the editors’ interpretation.
Do you use a study Bible? Which one(s)? What are your preferences in a particular edition of the Bible?