Any Thoughts on the "Life Application Study Bible"?

B.L. McDonald

Puritan Board Freshman
Greetings friends,

I am looking at getting each of my children a study Bible that has more of a devotional quality to it and wondered if anyone is knowledgeable of the "Life Application Study Bible"? Any thoughts on this particular study Bible? Any other recommendations that might have more of a devotional emphasis?

Thanks.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
I do not believe you will find anything very deep in the Life Application Bible. I suppose you could supplement anything they glean from it with your own teaching. The only study Bible I use to help with devotionals and praying over Scripture is the Reformation Heritage. I believe some may recommend the Reformation Study Bible (Ligonier). For devotional quality really check out the RHSB. It has a Christ-centric focus for every chapter of Scripture, and usually recommends how to pray over what can gleaned from that particular chapter.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Just get each of them their own 6 volume set of Matthew Henry Commentary, it will benefit them from now until they get old and crusty;)

P.S. I really hope someone like BoT or RHB reprints these is a quality binding one day!
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
Just get each of them their own 6 volume set of Matthew Henry Commentary, it will benefit them from now until they get old and crusty;)
Better yet, get each child the whole 22 volume set of Manton's works. That's within budget, right?
 

B.L. McDonald

Puritan Board Freshman
Exposure to the Puritans will come in due time...

My children, one 11 the other 7, undergo a good amount of catechetical instruction and we do a lot of scripture reading along with family worship each day. What I'm trying to find is something age appropriate that will help them start to do a bit of independent study on their own. At this point I'm interested in them learning to independently take that first next step and think about application.

Depth will come, but for now I just want to put a shovel in their hand and let them practice how to use it which is why I thought something less technical and more devotional would be good.

My 11 year old uses the ESV Student Study Bible, which is well done...open to other ideas though especially for my younger son.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
Not for the seven year old, but I will again plug the RHSB. Most of it is devotional and notably easy to understand. Your eleven year old, if he is above the average public schooler, would most likely be able to understand much of its material. You would still have to explain some bits I'm sure though. It also contains about 20 articles on living the Christian life, and at least one on being a godly child.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I do not believe you will find anything very deep in the Life Application Bible. I suppose you could supplement anything they glean from it with your own teaching. The only study Bible I use to help with devotionals and praying over Scripture is the Reformation Heritage. I believe some may recommend the Reformation Study Bible (Ligonier). For devotional quality really check out the RHSB. It has a Christ-centric focus for every chapter of Scripture, and usually recommends how to pray over what can gleaned from that particular chapter.
Or, if you don't want to shell out for the Reformation Heritage Study Bible, you could get them the Family Worship Bible Guide, Joel R. Beeke, general editor (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016), xviii + 856 pages. It consists of the "Thoughts for Personal and Family Worship" for every book of the Bible (except for Daniel 12 which, due to some production error, was omitted) extracted from the RHSB and published in this separate volume. It's inexpensive and of a convenient size so that even little hands can hold on to it. The book opens with Beeke's 10-page "Introduction: How to Do Family Worship," which is most edifying. I use it myself, and I highly recommend it. And, it's explicitly devotional.
 

B.L. McDonald

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks gents. I appreciate the input.

I own the RHSB and have used it for years...I agree that it is a wonderful resource, but neither of my children are KJV readers so its really not an option. I use the family worship material already, which is fantastic.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
At 11 years old I also tried to read the Bible. It was a wash because I could not understand the KJV. What are these folks talking about even?!?!

But then I found a Life Application Study Bible and I read it through.

A training bike is not a Harley. But sometimes a Harley is not fitting for a toddler. I would urge grace and understanding as kids "graduate" up to more accurate translations of the Bible.

I can't be mad at the Life Application folks; they did me a blessing. I shouldn't be staying there now in that version; but I did get a copy for my own kids. But now why would I ride a scooter if I can handle a Harley?
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Several years ago, a friend of mine told me that a certain well known Calvinistic preacher (whose name everyone here would recognize) told him that he struggled with coming up with applications for his sermons. This preacher bought a Life Application Study Bible. Apparently it was of some help to him here and there.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Greetings friends,

I am looking at getting each of my children a study Bible that has more of a devotional quality to it and wondered if anyone is knowledgeable of the "Life Application Study Bible"? Any thoughts on this particular study Bible? Any other recommendations that might have more of a devotional emphasis?

Thanks.
What version(s) do they use?
 

PaulCLawton

Puritan Board Freshman
Exposure to the Puritans will come in due time...

My children, one 11 the other 7, undergo a good amount of catechetical instruction and we do a lot of scripture reading along with family worship each day. What I'm trying to find is something age appropriate that will help them start to do a bit of independent study on their own. At this point I'm interested in them learning to independently take that first next step and think about application.

Depth will come, but for now I just want to put a shovel in their hand and let them practice how to use it which is why I thought something less technical and more devotional would be good.

My 11 year old uses the ESV Student Study Bible, which is well done...open to other ideas though especially for my younger son.
While not exactly what you were looking for, you (or others who read this thread) may want to consider Exploring the Bible by David Murray.
 

B.L. McDonald

Puritan Board Freshman
While not exactly what you were looking for, you (or others who read this thread) may want to consider Exploring the Bible by David Murray.
Thanks! Yes, I used this with my oldest and both kids are currently using Murray's newest one "Meeting with Jesus", which is also real good. My oldest is a bit too old for the targeted age-range of these I think, but both kids have benefited from using them. The first thing my kids do when they come downstairs each morning is open up the book alongside their Bibles and knock out the day's activity and pray. I have been teleworking from home the past several months and one benefit from it has been seeing them develop this practice. I'm thankful to God for an abundance of good resources out there!
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
NKJV, ESV, and NIV probably in that order. They do a limited amount of memory work in the KJV for homeschool.
I was thinking that if you said CSB, there is no shortage of Study Bibles in that version, although I am not familiar with the ones aimed at children. The Spurgeon Study Bible (CSB and KJV) is very good as far as it goes, but sadly that isn't very far in my opinion. What content is there is great, but the majority of chapters have no notes. (Since he wasn't an expository preacher, I suppose that's not too surprising.) Some of the others I'm familiar with, such as the Worldview and Apologetics Study Bibles, probably wouldn't qualify as "devotional."

For various reasons, I've soured on the ESV in the past decade, so I'm not that familiar with options there other than the ESV Study Bible, the MacArthur Study Bible, and the Reformation Study Bible. I do know that they have a good many "student" Bibles designed for various ages.

Likewise, with the NIV, I'm only familiar with more prominent ones like the NIV Study Bible, the Biblical Theology Study Bible, and the out of print Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible. I've looked my old NIV Study Bible recently and it is better than I remember. (I'm referring to the one edited by Kenneth Barker which was originally published in 1985 and which has gone through several editions, not the newer one edited by D.A. Carson, which was first published as the Zondervan NIV Study Bible and later renamed the Biblical Theology Study Bible.) It has a mix of doctrinal and devotional (or application) notes. I think it is probably still pretty good as a "training wheels" Bible and is more than that. But unless you go hunting around for used copies, it is only available in the NIV11. It wasn't designed for children, but neither was the Life Application Study Bible.

There is no shortage of Study Bibles in the NKJV as well. That's probably one reason why sales of the NKJV haven't dropped off further in the past decade. (It used to be #3 consistently on the sales charts, now it is usually around #5.) The Holman NKJV Study Bible (not to be confused with the one by Nelson) is more or less in the same vein as the NIV Study Bible and was based on their HCSB Study Bible. It is more "devotional" than something like the MacArthur in that it is less in-depth. Like other Study Bibles that are in what I term the "General Use" category, it contains a fair amount of historical and geographical material. But that could be a good thing even if it isn't strictly "devotional." Beyond the educational value of that, it may serve to better engage the reader, whether a child or an adult. "Well it says the Israelites fought the battle here or there. Oh look, here's a map right here in the text that shows where that is." "Ooh here's a picture that shows what the temple looked like and what the priest wore." As you may have noticed, these kinds of Study Bibles now include full color pictures of the type you'd expect to see in a Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia in the past. That may help to build interest too. Being produced by a Southern Baptist company, it is Baptist broadly speaking. Some of the material probably isn't incompatible with covenant theology, although it certainly isn't taught. There are hints of dispensationalism here and there, but the notes in other books are clearly incompatible with that. (The Nelson NKJV Study Bible was produced by men who are all or almost all dispensational. I've only glanced at it and they nonetheless seem to have sort of tried to keep it in the middle of the road, but I think the Holman is probably preferable.)

I don't know what the theological position of the Life Application Study Bible is. (I have one boxed up, and I've barely cracked it open.) My guess is that it is probably sort of lowest common denominator evangelical, and probably not particularly friendly toward covenant theology or Calvinistic soteriology. I can't remember who any of them are in particular, but when I looked at the contributors, to my recollection they represented a wide variety of denominations. So with that in mind........

A good Study Bible that fits into the "devotional" category (at least as far as I'm concerned) is the Wiersbe Study Bible, which uses the NKJV. Warren Wiersbe was a dispensationalist to be sure, but I don't think that can be seen in most of the notes. He was also fairly Calvinistic, basically what most here would term an Amryaldian. He doesn't seem to have been into "easy believism" either. Others may disagree, but I think that's probably preferable to a lot of the other Study Bibles out there. Most of the notes are practically verbatim from his commentaries. If you can eat the meat and spit out the bones, arguably it is better than the Spurgeon simply because there really isn't a whole lot of material in the Spurgeon.

Unless maybe it is among the plethora of Study Bibles that I've written off as superficial (if not filled with bad theology) I can't think of anything in the devotional category that is worth a look besides the Spurgeon, the Wiersbe, and the RHB KJV Study Bible. But maybe the Life Application is a lot better than I imagine it is.

The best website to shop for Bibles is probably Christianbook.com since they generally have everything that's in print, probably have the best Bible specific search function, typically provide more information about a Bible than other sites do, and sometimes have a better preview than Amazon does. The prices are competitive and are frequently cheaper than Amazon.
 
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Frosty

Puritan Board Sophomore
My older sister gifted me an NIV Life Application Study Bible when I was maybe 13 or 14. To this day it's the greatest and most important gift I've ever received. The notes helped me understand and love the Bible in a way I couldn't even fathom before.

I was raised in a Christian home but wasn't nearly as knowledgeable about the Bible as it sounds your children are. I'd highly recommend it for kids in their age range.

And it may lose me some street cred, but I MAY still use it from time to time.......:chained:.....can't....break...away...
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
My older sister gifted me an NIV Life Application Study Bible when I was maybe 13 or 14. To this day it's the greatest and most important gift I've ever received. The notes helped me understand and love the Bible in a way I couldn't even fathom before.

I was raised in a Christian home but wasn't nearly as knowledgeable about the Bible as it sounds your children are. I'd highly recommend it for kids in their age range.

And it may lose me some street cred, but I MAY still use it from time to time.......:chained:.....can't....break...away...
Maybe I should put mine on the shelf and crack it open every now and then.

Although they are on another level, I'm sure that somebody somewhere scoffs at the NIV Application Commentary series too, but some of those are pretty good from what I've seen.
 

B.L. McDonald

Puritan Board Freshman
I was thinking that if you said CSB, there is no shortage of Study Bibles in that version, although I am not familiar with the ones aimed at children. The Spurgeon Study Bible (CSB and KJV) is very good as far as it goes, but sadly that isn't very far in my opinion. What content is there is great, but the majority of chapters have no notes. (Since he wasn't an expository preacher, I suppose that's not too surprising.) Some of the others I'm familiar with, such as the Worldview and Apologetics Study Bibles, probably wouldn't qualify as "devotional."

For various reasons, I've soured on the ESV in the past decade, so I'm not that familiar with options there other than the ESV Study Bible, the MacArthur Study Bible, and the Reformation Study Bible. I do know that they have a good many "student" Bibles designed for various ages.

Likewise, with the NIV, I'm only familiar with more prominent ones like the NIV Study Bible, the Biblical Theology Study Bible, and the out of print Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible. I've looked my old NIV Study Bible recently and it is better than I remember. (I'm referring to the one edited by Kenneth Barker which was originally published in 1985 and which has gone through several editions, not the newer one edited by D.A. Carson, which was first published as the Zondervan NIV Study Bible and later renamed the Biblical Theology Study Bible.) It has a mix of doctrinal and devotional (or application) notes. I think it is probably still pretty good as a "training wheels" Bible and is more than that. But unless you go hunting around for used copies, it is only available in the NIV11. It wasn't designed for children, but neither was the Life Application Study Bible.

There is no shortage of Study Bibles in the NKJV as well. That's probably one reason why sales of the NKJV haven't dropped off further in the past decade. (It used to be #3 consistently on the sales charts, now it is usually around #5.) The Holman NKJV Study Bible (not to be confused with the one by Nelson) is more or less in the same vein as the NIV Study Bible and was based on their HCSB Study Bible. It is more "devotional" than something like the MacArthur in that it is less in-depth. Like other Study Bibles that are in what I term the "General Use" category, it contains a fair amount of historical and geographical material. But that could be a good thing even if it isn't strictly "devotional." Beyond the educational value of that, it may serve to better engage the reader, whether a child or an adult. "Well it says the Israelites fought the battle here or there. Oh look, here's a map right here in the text that shows where that is." "Ooh here's a picture that shows what the temple looked like and what the priest wore." As you may have noticed, these kinds of Study Bibles now include full color pictures of the type you'd expect to see in a Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia in the past. That may help to build interest too. Being produced by a Southern Baptist company, it is Baptist broadly speaking. Some of the material probably isn't incompatible with covenant theology, although it certainly isn't taught. There are hints of dispensationalism here and there, but the notes in other books are clearly incompatible with that. (The Nelson NKJV Study Bible was produced by men who are all or almost all dispensational. I've only glanced at it and they nonetheless seem to have sort of tried to keep it in the middle of the road, but I think the Holman is probably preferable.)

I don't know what the theological position of the Life Application Study Bible is. (I have one boxed up, and I've barely cracked it open.) My guess is that it is probably sort of lowest common denominator evangelical, and probably not particularly friendly toward covenant theology or Calvinistic soteriology. I can't remember who any of them are in particular, but when I looked at the contributors, to my recollection they represented a wide variety of denominations. So with that in mind........

A good Study Bible that fits into the "devotional" category (at least as far as I'm concerned) is the Wiersbe Study Bible, which uses the NKJV. Warren Wiersbe was a dispensationalist to be sure, but I don't think that can be seen in most of the notes. He was also fairly Calvinistic, basically what most here would term an Amryaldian. He doesn't seem to have been into "easy believism" either. Others may disagree, but I think that's probably preferable to a lot of the other Study Bibles out there. Most of the notes are practically verbatim from his commentaries. If you can eat the meat and spit out the bones, arguably it is better than the Spurgeon simply because there really isn't a whole lot of material in the Spurgeon.

Unless maybe it is among the plethora of Study Bibles that I've written off as superficial (if not filled with bad theology) I can't think of anything in the devotional category that is worth a look besides the Spurgeon, the Wiersbe, and the RHB KJV Study Bible. But maybe the Life Application is a lot better than I imagine it is.

The best website to shop for Bibles is probably Christianbook.com since they generally have everything that's in print, probably have the best Bible specific search function, typically provide more information about a Bible than other sites do, and sometimes have a better preview than Amazon does. The prices are competitive and are frequently cheaper than Amazon.
I really appreciate you taking the time to provide such a thorough reply. This is great stuff right here.

Thank you!!
 

B.L. McDonald

Puritan Board Freshman
My older sister gifted me an NIV Life Application Study Bible when I was maybe 13 or 14. To this day it's the greatest and most important gift I've ever received. The notes helped me understand and love the Bible in a way I couldn't even fathom before.

I was raised in a Christian home but wasn't nearly as knowledgeable about the Bible as it sounds your children are. I'd highly recommend it for kids in their age range.

And it may lose me some street cred, but I MAY still use it from time to time.......:chained:.....can't....break...away...
At 11 years old I also tried to read the Bible. It was a wash because I could not understand the KJV. What are these folks talking about even?!?!

But then I found a Life Application Study Bible and I read it through.

A training bike is not a Harley. But sometimes a Harley is not fitting for a toddler. I would urge grace and understanding as kids "graduate" up to more accurate translations of the Bible.

I can't be mad at the Life Application folks; they did me a blessing. I shouldn't be staying there now in that version; but I did get a copy for my own kids. But now why would I ride a scooter if I can handle a Harley?
Both of your experiences with it is reassuring. I read that a third edition was recently released and that some 30% of the notes were re-written. I'll have to look for some Youtube videos on it maybe and see what the range of available translations are.

Thanks for putting your street cred on the line and offering your thoughts! ;)
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Greetings friends,

I am looking at getting each of my children a study Bible that has more of a devotional quality to it and wondered if anyone is knowledgeable of the "Life Application Study Bible"? Any thoughts on this particular study Bible? Any other recommendations that might have more of a devotional emphasis?

Thanks.
Years ago my Pastor bought up a couple of dozen LASBs in KJV and handed them out. My wife received one and loves it, uses it and I find it to be light and helpful. The cover was leather like and has held up very well.

Yours in the Lord,

jm
 
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