VanderPool, Charles, English Translator and Editor in Chief. Apostolic Bible Polyglot (The Apostolic Bible literal interlinear translation of the Greek Old and New Testaments, The Lexical Concordance of The Apostolic Bible, and The English-Greek Index of The Apostolic Bible) Apostolic Press, 2006. pdf downloads provided. CD-ROM and bound editions available. Prices vary. http://apostolicbible.com/ (P)
ESV Single Column Legacy Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 1664 Pages. TruTone. $49.99. www.crossway.org (P)
The Expanded Bible. Contributing Scholars: Tremper Longman III, Mark L. Strauss, Daniel Taylor. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011. 1910 Pages. Cloth. $34.99. www.thomasnelsonbibles.com (P)
Jackson, Donald, Artistic Director and Illuminator. The St. John's Bible: Letters and Revelation. Collegeville, Minnesota: St. John's College/Liturgical Press, 2012. 100 pages. Cloth. $54.95. http://www.sjbible.org/ http://www.litpress.org/Detail.aspx?ISBN=9780814690574 (LHP)
Choosing a good Bible for study is important.
Apostolic Bible Polyglot is an impressive resource.
This is a massive undertaking. Even taking on editing an edition of the Greek New Testament would be a daunting task. This project includes the Greek edition of the Hebrew Scriptures, a concordance, and an index.
The above is a sample of a page from The Apostolic Bible Polyglot Old (LXX) Testament.
One could print off all of the resources and use up a lot of paper and ink, or you could make use of the pdf files on your laptop, Kindle, iPad, or tablet device. There is a wealth of scholarship to explore.
Crossway's Single Column Legacy Bible is an ideal reading experience!
I prefer text-only editions because there are far fewer human interpretations and opinions to get in the way.
I can personally attest to the lifetime guarantee promised by the publisher.
When the ESV Study Bible came out, we had concerns. (Since our pdf files are temporarily unavailable, we reproduce our ESV Study Bible review here from Liturgy, Hymnody, & Pulpit Quarterly Book Review Volume 3, Issue 3, Apostles' Tide, 2009.)
ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. 2768 Pages. Hardback with dustcover and online access. $49.99. www.crossway.org(LHP)
During the summers of 1993 and 1994, I worked full-time as Camp Staff at the Nebraska State 4-H Camp. My study Bible went along with me, of course. Over the course of three plus months, you can get to know people rather well, especially if you live in the same house all that time. One of my coworkers had a hard time accepting the Bible as God's Word, especially when "man's word" was needed to explain it at the bottom of each page. I've never forgotten that interaction. While I still use and see the value of study Bibles in general, I too have a mistrust of "man's word."
The Concordia Self-Study Bible has served me well since then, but I desired a more literal Bible translation. I rejoiced to discover the New King James, New American Standard, and English Standard Version. The ESV is now used widely in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod thanks to Lutheran Service Book, our 2006 hymnal.
The CSSB was a Lutheran revision of Zondervan's NIV Study Bible. The New International Version, as a translation, was not my preferred translation for a study Bible. I was optimistic when I heard that study Bibles were in preparation that used the ESV
I was disappointed by The Reformation Study Bible, which was biased toward Geneva and often hostile to the Lutheran Reformation. That volume, while using the ESV, had notes that contradicted the clear words of the ESV.
The Literary Study Bible, offered by Crossway, is very useful for what it is, but its thickness alone tells you it doesn't have the depth of notes most Christians want in a general study Bible.
Amid much hard work, fanfare from the proud publisher, and critical acclaim from the Evangelical Christian community, I eagerly awaited the ESV Study Bible.
For the purpose of this review, I examined the ESV Bible text itself only in passing. My focus was upon all that surrounded the ESV translation.
Fonts are attractive and easy to read. Nine point type is not exactly large print, but larger than in some study Bibles. Notes are in a 7 point sans serif font. One could easily tell the difference between Bible and notes.
Bible books and types of literature are introduced with explanations, maps, and timelines. Color illustrations are a great addition. Tan is used as a color to highlight more important notes and to aid in reading charts. Charts and maps are found in abundance throughout. Yet, charts sometimes add to the confusion of the reader, especially when multiple views are presented (e.g., The 70 Weeks of Daniel 9, 1608).
When I first read the notes on Mark 1:4-5, I noted that the commentary contradicted the clear text of Scripture. Consider: 4 f John appeared, baptizing in g the wilderness and proclaiming h a baptism of i repentance j for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, k confessing their sins.
And the notes: Mark 1:4 John prepares the way by calling people to repentance (see notes on Matt. 3:2; 3:5–6): turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness of sins. Repentance had to precede baptism, and thus baptism was not the means by which sins were forgiven but rather was a sign indicating that one had truly repented. John labors in the wilderness as a place of purification and fulfillment of prophecy (Isa. 40:3). « Less
If the ESV notes were to acknowledge that John's baptism of repentance was for (for the purpose of giving and delivering) the forgiveness of sins, the Reformed authors of the notes would HAVE to acknowledge that Holy Baptism, instituted by Christ, ALSO delivers the forgiveness of sins today. (Compare Acts 2:38.
I found it troubling that the notes explaining Matthew 16:8 say that understanding "this rock" as "Peter himself" has the strongest evidence. Further notes clarify this explanation, taking up nearly half of the page (1855), but this note may give a reader a false impression that Peter was actually the first Pope.
Lutherans will note a reformed numbering of the Ten Commandments throughout. (See 2552 for "You shall not murder" as the sixth commandment." That there are three numbering systems for the Ten Commandments should be explained somewhere.
Numerous helpful articles on understanding Christianity and the Bible are found between Revelation and the ESV Concordance. One article on reading the Bible of note to our readers is "Reading the Bible for Preaching and Public Worship." I would have wished that this article would note how some Christians (like Lutherans) make use of sung and prayed texts as part of long-used Christian liturgies in common with usages in the Synagogue and home (Seder meal). Lutherans (Luther, Gerhard, Quenstedt) are mentioned by name in an article on Evangelical Protestantism (2620).
I am able to recommend many resources by Crossway because of what we as conservative, Evangelical Reformation Christians have in common. For some reason though, people are more likely to discount theological opinions in a general hardcover or paperback than they are in a study Bible. As a Lutheran pastor, I am therefore unable to recommend the ESV Study Bible to the laypeople I serve because of the solid and consistent Reformed bias of the notes and articles.
The ESV Study Bible will likely serve well its intended audience, but Lutherans probably won't purchase it in great numbers for the reasons above (and others). Unfortunately, it simply won't help me keep my pastoral ordination and installation vow "that all [my] preaching and teaching and [my] administration of the sacraments will be in conformity with Holy Scripture and with these [Lutheran] Confessions." While the ESV Study Bible is a tremendous resource due to numerous useful charts, maps, and the online access (http://www.esvstudybible.org), it will remain a supplementary, rather than primary resource on my desk.
The Rev. Paul J Cain
This is what I would consider a flagship resource for Crossway. I would rank it head and shoulders above all of the print study Bibles we reviewed last December (http://lhpqbr.blogspot.com/2011/12/pulpit-review-study-bibles.html).
I like the resource overall, but cannot endorse it because of issues primarily with the teaching of the Sacraments of Christ (15:29, 1 Corinthians 11:24). A Study Bible's notes should be trustworthy and bold, teaching what the text says, rather than merely explaining what different groups think the words mean.
Thomas Nelson sent us a complimentary review copy of The Expanded Bible.
I expected an updated version of The Amplified Bible, where the base text was the KJV descendant American Standard Version, the base text here is the New Century Version. The differences already can be predicted.
Here's a sample:
In the beginning [or In the beginning when] God created [this Hebrew verb is used only when God is the one creating] the sky [heavens] and the earth.
There is really no substitute for The Saint John's Bible. For the ESV translation, The Four Holy Gospels gives a reader a sample of what is possible in Biblical art (http://www.crossway.org/bibles/the-four-holy-gospels-1352-gltr/), but there is no calligraphy and it only covers the four Gospel accounts.
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.