I’m not a huge fan of study Bibles, but I believe they are useful when they are used in the role they were intended. I happen to have a number of study Bibles in my library, so it’s not like I don’t use them. The reason I’m not a big fan of them is because I believe they have the tendency to lead our reading. I have witnessed all too often people referring to “study notes” as if they were inspired with equal standing of the scriptures themselves. They are often used as the lazy man’s crutch to explain “what this means.” On the other end of that bias is the usefulness of the study Bible; maps, background history, socio-political climate, cultural information, and other extremely helpful information useful in understanding what the intent of the writer might be and to whom he might be writing. These pieces of information are helpful in understanding the meaning, rather than rushing right to the commentary.
I recently acquired the NLT (New Living Translation) Study Bible as the newest edition to my Study Bible library. I have not spent much time with it yet, but from what I have looked at it appears that I will have a good relationship with it.
I think the latest translations of the NLT Bible are among the most readable and accurate dynamic translations of the English Bible we have today.
Another study Bible that I was eager to look at is the ESV (English Standard Version) Study Bible. It was just released today for public sale. I had placed an order for this version several months ago when I received a notice that it was soon to be published. I opened an email today that told me my new ESV Study Bible is in the mail and in route to me as of today!
I’ve heard good reviews about both of these study Bibles and think they will represent the best English translation Study Bibles available today. What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite study Bible? What version do you use and what do you like most about it? I look forward to hearing from you!