NLT Study Bible (New Living Translation). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2008. 2488 Pages + 40 + Maps. Cloth. $39.99. www.NLTStudyBible.com www.newlivingtranslation.com www.tyndale.com (LHP)
I own and use the leather, regular, compact, Kindle, and LOGOS editions. I know it well and trust it highly. The text is black on white with red text for the words of our Lord. It will serve as our standard/control/reference study Bible for comparison in this review.
The NLT Study Bible makes use of a 2004 update of the original 1996 New Living Translation by Tyndale House Publishers, itself a more respected, respectable, and academic successor translation to the personal, yet biased paraphrase The Living Bible of a generation ago. NLT self-identifies as as more "dynamic equivalent" than the New International Version, halfway in publisher's estimation between "essentially literal" and paraphrase (Text and Product Review, 14). I have used the NLT version of John 9 to preach as the man born blind because of the text's conversational tone.
The HCSB Study Bible is the official study Bible using the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation. This is a 2009 update to the full translation of the Bible released in 2004. I note a Baptist flavor to the translation, interpretation, and notes. The HCSB is similar to the NIV in being largely of the "dynamic equivalent" type of translation, though the translators prefer "optimal equivalence" for the HCSB (xli). They also take special care with the names of God (xliii, 103, 498, 1883, et al). This is to be highly commended!
For years, the spiritual lives of countless men and women all over the world have been strengthened with the help of The MacArthur Study Bible. This all-in-one spiritual library contains Dr. MacArthur's personal study notes below the full-length Bible text. Virtually every Scripture has a matching study note with detailed information, explanation, and helpful insight. The notes are based on Dr. MacArthur's verse-by-verse approach to the Bible and nearly forty years of careful study. His goal is to let the Bible speak for itself—nothing more, nothing less.
I am not a regular reader/viewer of John MacArthur. Having 25,000 study notes from one person is impressive, but everything depends on the quality of the notes, which were taken from the 1997 NKJV The MacArthur Study Bible. Crossway is responsible for the concordance, color maps, cross-reference system, and most of the art. Text is black on white with some gray and light blue in charts and maps. Bible chapter numbers are in the same blue. This is a good compromise between full color and black on white only.
Glo is more than a digital study Bible. It is a KJV, NIV, NIV2011, The Message, and ESV study Bible. It is interactive and available across digital platforms, currently serving PC, Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
These resources helped me add context to our summer study on "How to Study the Bible." I spent weeks talking about the different kinds of Bible studies, study tools, and how to use them. We used Glo to show how all of the tools come together in Bible software like Glo. Glo Lite is free. Upgrades to Premium are then available to users at a discount.
I get ANGRY when any Christian, preacher, writer, or Bible editor has the audacity to directly contradict what the Bible says. I have high standards when it comes to what I will recommend to you as I do when considering books to recommend to family, friends, and congregation members. If we are to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, no falsehood can be tolerated. Law and Gospel must be properly distinguished. And the Gospel shall predominate. God Bless your Bible reading.
Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.