Favorite study bibles

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Priscilla Ann, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Priscilla Ann

    Priscilla Ann
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    I am considering the purchase of a new study bible. I'm curious to know what your favorite study bibles might be and the reasons why. Which features are crucial and which are not?

    Can you provide any input?
     
  2. annsni

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    Hands down, the ESV Study Bible. Unfortunately, it's a Bible you need wheels on but the notes are excellent and plentiful. :)
     
  3. Priscilla Ann

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    I've looked at the ESV Study Bible, but you're right -- it's huge!

    Do you have a second choice?
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    Best basic study Bible would be the MacArthur Study Bible

    Older and with some issues but lots of good would be Scofield Reference System

    For some of the best notes (with a weaker translation technique) would be choice #3, the NIV Study Bible
     
  5. Priscilla Ann

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    I have looked at the MacArthur Study Bible and am pretty impressed with it. Looks like it has extensive notes.
     
  6. JTornado1

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    I love the NIV Study Bible. Another good choice is the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible. Both have a lot of great notes, references, and articles.
     
  7. Priscilla Ann

    Priscilla Ann
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    The NIV Study Bible is another one that I have looked at online. The NIV is the translation that I'm most familiar with; however, I'm thinking of selecting a more literal translation like the NKJV.

    Is anyone familiar with Nelson's NKJV Study Bible? Do you have any opinions on that one?
     
  8. grace4grace

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    I have a NKJV Thompson Chain Reference Bible that I like very well...has a ton of resources and extras. I also have the KJV Thompson Chain and I like them both equally well.
     
  9. annsni

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    Right now if you give any amount of a donation to Ligonier, you can get the Reformation Study Bible for free. I did this once when they offered this and gave them $10. It's a good Bible! Check on their website to see if it's listed there but I got a letter from them this week with the offer.
     
  10. Priscilla Ann

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    Thanks -- that's one I haven't looked at. I will check the Ligonier website.
     
  11. jbh28

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    #11 jbh28, Jan 29, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2011
  12. Amy.G

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    My favorite translation is the NKJV. I have used the NKJV Study Bible and really, really like it. It's a very good study bible.
     
  13. Priscilla Ann

    Priscilla Ann
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    Thanks for the input, Amy!

    The NKJV has become my favorite translation next to the NIV. After using the NIV almost exclusively for the last 15 years, I feel that a more literal translation is needed for study. I'm strongly leaning toward the NKJV, so am taking a serious look at the NKJV Study Bible.

    What is the font like in the NKJV Study Bible? I'm now at that age where font size is becoming an issue. Is the font clear and readable, or would you recommend the large print?
     
  14. Amy.G

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    The print is good but you might prefer the large print.

    Here it is at Christian Book.com
     
  15. Priscilla Ann

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  16. BobinKy

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    Priscilla Ann...

    First, let me say, I am just a retired businessman--I am not a pastor, Sunday School teacher, nor have I have taken a class in in a Bible college or seminary. What's more, I find it difficult to recommend a study bible to someone. A study bible, in my opinion, contains the theology of the publisher, general editor(s), and contributors who write the study notes and insets. Thus, I think someone should be open--either in agreement with the interpretation (theology) presented in the notes and insets, or wanting to study a different interpretation (theology) for balance. My personal theology is Arminian, therefore, some of the study bibles listed below do not reflect a Reformed view of theology. I will try to label those with notes and insets presenting Arminian theology, in case you are Reformed and wish to avoid them.

    Second, I think some study bibles are more inclined toward interpretation, while others present notes and insets to help the reader apply scripture in their daily life. Personally, I use both interpretation and application study bibles. I also use literary study bibles that present the bible as literature; the notes in literary study bibles often reflect critical interpretation of scripture. I will try to label the study bibles as to their format: interpretation, application, or literary.

    Furthermore, I think study bibles are for home study use more than taking to church. My church bibles are scripture-only in leather bindings, no study notes since I go to church to hear the interpretation of the teacher or preacher. I also think study bibles should have hardcover bindings and large print, if possible. Hardcover bindings stand up in a bookshelf, while leather bindings seem to do better if stored laying down.

    Finally, I think the reader should only use study bibles containing the translations they read. Therefore, I think you should first select the translations you want to read and then select study bibles containing only those translations.

    I use three translations: NIV 1984, NRSV, and KJV. I have other translations in my personal library, and, of course, I can access most translations online at Bible Gateway. However, after several decades of personal Bible study, these are the three that help me climb the dynamic-literal stepladder.

    I use the NIV 1984 because so many of my Bible study references use this edition of the NIV.

    Some people on this board object to the use of the NRSV. I am not sure why--perhaps the objection is because this translation is also used in mainline churches. Personally, I think the NRSV is a good literal translation written for the general reader preferring gender inclusive language. Please skip the NRSV study bibles if you object to the NRSV translation.

    And I would be remiss if I did not say I prefer the KJV because I like to read scripture aloud--and no translation sounds as well when read aloud as the KJV. I also think the KJV takes the reader higher than the other translations. But, as I said, I sometimes need the stepladder of the NIV 1984 and NRSV to get me up to the KJV.​

    Here are the study bibles I am familiar with in the three translations I use.

    . . .

    NIV 1984

    NIV Study Bible
    My favorite study bible, presenting a good balance between interpretation and application.

    NIV Archaeological Study Bible
    I also enjoy this interpretation study bible because I like to study the geography, archaeology, and customs of the Bible. This study bible is also available in the KJV.

    NIV Spiritual Formation Bible
    An application study bible that presents a devotion on each page. Also available in the NRSV.

    NIV Life Application Bible
    This application study bible presents study notes in abundance. Available in KJV, NKJV, NASB, and NLT.

    NIV The Learning Bible
    This interpretation study bible was designed for the new Christian reader. Many theological concepts taken for granted by church goers are defined with simple terms for the new Christian.​


    NRSV

    NRSV New Oxford Annotated Bible, Fourth Edition
    This literary study bible is used in many college and seminary classes. Some of the study notes present critical interpretation of scripture.

    NRSV Wesley Study Bible
    This interpretation study bible was developed around the writings of Methodist theologian John Wesley, which means the study notes present an Arminian point of view.

    NRSV, The C. S. Lewis Bible
    This application study bible contains insets of quotations from the writings of C. S. Lewis. This study bible was developed for fans of C. S. Lewis, of which I am one. The writings of C. S. Lewis reflect Arminian theology.


    KJV

    The King James Study Bible, 400th Anniversary Edition
    This interpretation study bible has been reprinted for the 400th anniversary of the King James Version. Originally developed at Liberty University, the notes reflect an independent Baptist interpretation.

    Zondervan KJV Study Bible
    This study bible presents a balance of interpretation and application. Many of the study notes resemble the study notes found in Zondervan's NIV Study Bible, altered for the KJV translation.​


    . . .

    As I said at the beginning of this post, I find it difficult to recommend study bibles because of preferences in translations, interpretation (theology), and format.

    I hope the above list gives you a few alternatives to consider, in addition to the fine study bibles being recommended by others.

    ...Bob
     
    #16 BobinKy, Jan 30, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2011
  17. Priscilla Ann

    Priscilla Ann
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    Hi, Bob!

    I appreciate the recommendations and your detailed comments regarding study bibles. I agree with your comments on the study notes; they definitely reflect the theology of the publisher. I do have a NIV Thompson Chain Reference Bible, which I love because it allows scripture to interpret scripture.

    You've definitely given me a lot to think about and consider before purchasing a new study bible. Thanks for the specific suggestions; I will definitely keep those in mind. I tend to shop around a lot before I make a purchase, so I truly appreciate all the recommendations that I've received here.

    God Bless!
     
  18. BobinKy

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    Priscilla Ann...

    I have found a good reference book for scripture interpreting scripture is Nelson's Cross-Reference Guide to the Bible: Illuminating God's Word Verse-by-Verse (2nd ed.) by Jerome Smith, which provides over 600,000 cross references. The book is organized in the same order as the books, chapters, and verses of the Bible--so it is easy to use when you keep it open on your desk as you read your Bible. The typesetting and content of Smith's book is a major improvement over Torrey's The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, which is almost impossible to read without a magnifying glass.

    [​IMG]



    ...Bob
     
  19. jaigner

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    I would suggest getting an inexpensive Bible and then building a collection of commentaries and other helps. They can be found used on amazon fairly inexpensively. The Tyndale commentaries are a good place to start.

    The problems I find with study bibles is that people tend to listen to the notes more than the text. Additionally, there is no reason to trust one particular interpreter's commentary alone.

    That's why I like to keep the text of the Bible separate from the other helps.

    Just my opinion.
     
  20. Robert Snow

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    I have a KJV study bible, NKJV study bible, NIV study bible, and the NLT study bible. They are all good, but my favorite is the NLT study bible by far!
     

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