Friday, December 14, 2012

Liturgy and Pulpit Review: New Study Bibles



ESV Daily Reading Bible (Through the Bible in 365 Days based on the popular M'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan). Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 1405 Pages. Cloth with jacket and ribbon. $29.99. (LHP)

Little Rock Scripture Study. Little Rock Catholic Study Bible. Little Rock, AR/Collegeville, MN: Little Rock Scripture Study, a ministry of the Diocese of Little Rock, in partnership with Liturgical Press, 2011. 2632 Pages (plus maps). Cloth with dust cover. $49.95. (LP)

ESV Global Study Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 1984 Pages. Cloth with dustcover. (Other bindings available.) $29.99.  (P)

At long last, this is our very first "Liturgy and Pulpit" Review! 

We've had Liturgy reviews, Hymnody reviews, Pulpit reviews, Liturgy and Hymnody reviews, and plenty of LHP reviews, and maybe even one Hymnody and Pulpit review, but this is our first L and P!  

After doing this for 6+ years, it is nice so have something fresh.

Three Bibles intended for more intense study are before us.


The ESV Daily Reading Bible portions the Bible text into 365 daily readings. It follows the M'Cheyne reading plan, which was originally developed by the 19th century Scottish minister Robert Murray M'Cheyne and is still widely used today. Each day in the Daily Reading Bible displays chapters from various books of the Bible, allowing readers to easily work through the assigned passages. Over the course of a year, users will read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and the Psalms twice. Convenient and easy-to-follow, the Daily Reading Bible helps readers encounter the entirety of God's Word on a daily basis. (publisher's website)

The ESV is the main English text I use. In the course of my work week, I regularly consult the original Greek and Hebrew (less so the Aramaic portions), and Latin. Often, I need to consult the German and other English translations. I've been wanting a "one year" style ESV Bible to supplement my regular chapel, Sunday, and devotional life. I now have that with the ESV Daily Reading Bible.

According to the Publisher's Preface (vii), "Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843) was a Scottish pastor who, despite his short life, had a profound impact on the spiritual state of Scotland through his preaching and personal holiness. He is probably best known, however, for his Bible reading calendar that has become widely used throughout the world."

Can you read five pages a day? Reading the Bible in a year is an achievable goal. The ESV Daily Reading Bible can help make 2013 your year to make that happen (or happen again). 

We now turn to a Study Bible by and for Roman Catholic Christians.


Open the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible and feel at home with the Word of God. Through accessibly written information and engaging visuals that highlight and clarify significant areas of Scripture, readers will easily gain an understanding of these ancient texts that can be carried into today's world. Using the authorized translation in the New American Bible Revised Edition, this lasting volume is ideal for both personal use and group Bible study.

The valuable information in the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible is offered in small notes and inserts that accompany the Bible texts as well as in expanded essays, articles, and graphics. Key symbols help readers quickly identify the type of information they need, such as explanations, definitions, dates, character and author profiles, archaeological insights, personal prayer starters, and insights connecting Scripture and its use in today's church. Colorful maps, timelines, photographs, and charts further enhance the study experience. Longer articles are dedicated to explaining study Bible fundamentals, the Catholic Church's use of the Bible, and the people and places of the biblical world.

General Editor: Catherine Upchurch serves as the director of Little Rock Scripture Study. Her work in adult faith formation involves writing, editing, lecturing, leading retreats and days of reflection. She is the editor of A Year of Sundays and an associate editor of The Bible Today, a journal of biblical spirituality.

Old Testament Editor: Irene Nowell, OSB, is a Benedictine of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. She is an adjunct professor at St. John's University School of Theology, has published two books and numerous articles, and is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association. She is also a member of the Committee on Illuminations and Texts for The Saint John's Bible.

New Testament Editor: Ronald D. Witherup, SS, is Superior General of the Sulpicians and lives in Paris, France. He holds a doctorate in biblical studies and is the author of numerous books and articles on Scripture. His current interest is in the letters of Saint Paul and the Acts of the Apostles.


My paternal grandmother was raised Roman Catholic, as was my grandfather. (My maternal grandparents were, too, but that's a story for another day.) My grandpa Cain passed away before my parents met. He and Grandma Cain were charter members of St. John's Lutheran Church (LCMS) in my home town. I'm the first from that congregation to enter the ministry. Grandma's bookshelf was part of what influenced me in that direction. I inherited many of her books and Bibles, including what passed for Roman Catholic study Bibles back in the day, but none were quite like this.

The overal size, format, symbols, coloring, font size and arrangment are pleasing. This volume will encourage many to dig deeper in the inspired Scriptures

I must admit disappointment with this Study Bible in two regards.

Unfortunately, the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible editors embrace and promote JEDP (inside front cover, passim). Yes, I am calling the orthodoxy of the faith confessed in this volume into question. Did Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy actually happen? JEDP says, "No." Did Moses actually compose/edit them as is self-evident from the narrative of the Penteteuch? JEDP says, "No." That is not acceptable! Roman Catholics are more "progressive" in some circles (e.g., "social justice") than in others. Why bother with Bible study if we're not studying something that is true, or something that is only doubtfully God's Word from the JEDP perspective?

My main reason for requesting a review copy of the LRCSB was their own promotional material that implied that the liturgy would be explained within the study Bible. It is (26-32, 2599-2608, e.g., 273, 1151, 2116),  but not nearly to the extent is could be or should be in a study Bible for liturgical Christians. 

For those two reasons, I cannot recommend LRCSB beyond use as a tertiary reference book.

Here's what I have in mind: A study Bible that goes beyond merely telling you what the Sunday/Festival readings are, one that is a reverse reference chart of sorts, where readers read a passage and find a note telling him/her what Sunday/Festival that portion of Holy Scripture  is read.

Readers will note brief articles from a Roman perspective noting the difference in Psalm numbering (1010), Peter's Confession and "Primacy" (2020, 2053) but nothing about his Mother-in-Law (2125) other than the text of Luke 4, and Justification (Romans 4, 2302), Martin Luther, and the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, rejected by my church body, The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

We close with another English Standard Version study Bible by Crossway.

Global Study Bible Product Overview from Crossway on Vimeo.


The ESV Global Study Bible is a one-volume study resource for globally minded Christians everywhere. It has been designed from beginning to end to be highly accessible and value priced for distribution on a
global scale.

The Global Study Bible features a fresh design, with a wide range of new features. Each book begins with an introduction, followed by a unique, insightful description of the global message of the book. Likewise, a set of new articles by global Christian leaders apply the Bible to global issues, such as the role of government, the nature of the church, world religions, social ethics, and missions and evangelism.

The Global Study Bible's notes and maps were adapted from the best-selling ESV Study Bible and contain a wealth of information about the biblical text, history, and geography. With overviews of each Bible book, special facts, and character profiles, the Global Study Bible is a remarkable resource for Christians everywhere who seek to know and understand the truth of the Bible and its global meaning.

The Online Global Study Bible (digital retail price $14.99) is available free with your purchase of a print edition.

When you register online for your free access, you will also make a second copy available free to another global Christian, wherever the demand is greatest, anywhere in the world. (

In my opinion, Global Study Bible is most similar to Crossway's ESV Student Study Bible, also adapted from the ESV Study Bible, though slightly thicker, shorter, and less wide in presentation. QBR reviewed the Student version ( and the original ( 

Some content was selected from the ESV Study Bible and was re-edited for this specific edition (1980-1983). The Foreword states, "Building on the 768,000 words of the ESV Bible Text, the Global Study Bible provides notes, articles, and other study material comprising an additional 759,000 words of explanation and teaching" (7).

Crossway embarked on an ambitious project with their Global Study Bible, one that is also generous, providing a free digital copy for another English speaker/reader worldwide with each purchase. My copy was printed in China.

Authors contributing articles on the Global Church are noted on pages 9-10 and 1979-1980. Articles address Christianity and world religions, basic Bible content, and the global historical nature of our faith in Christ. Much of the new volume-specific content is found in the back, pages 1859-1908. 

Articles for the Global Church are:

  • God's Global Plan of Salvation
  • The Importance of the Global Church
  • How to Read and Understand the Bible
  • How to Apply the Bible in Daily Life
  • The Reliability and Authority of the Bible
  • The Great Truths of the Bible
  • Mission and Evangelism
  • Major World Religions
  • Biblical Ethics: An Introduction
  • The Value and Dignity of Human Life
  • Marriage and Sexual Morality
  • The Purpose and Role of Government
  • Social Ethics
  • Personal Ethics

With so many English Bible translations and study Bibles around, my favorite study Bibles have Lutheran notes or just present the Bible text in a fad-free, honest literal translation. My comments on study Bibles and Bible translations will hopefully save you time, money, and frustration and may well introduce you to a helpful reference for your and your family.

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.

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