Zondervan Study Bibles

Discussion in 'Commentaries' started by mercyminister, Feb 3, 2013.

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  1. mercyminister

    mercyminister Puritan Board Freshman

    I have three - the KJV which I use quite a bit; an NIV that is gathering dust on a bookshelf in the basement; and a NASB that I recently picked up. How conservative/reformed do board members find these to be? I haven't seen any glaring problems in using them so far, but I am just wondering... Are there any pitfalls to avoid with them?

  2. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Conservative? Yes. Reformed? Not always.

    They are not the top rank of most recent study Bibles in my opinion (cf. ESV Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible). The notes were adapted from the well-regarded, middle of the road, evangelical, NIV Study Bible. As such, they attempt to strike a middle way that neither angers the dispensationalists, Weslyans, or the Reformed. It is "conservative evangelical." Notes are more historical than doctrinal and probably offer more "options" for understanding disputed points. Check out how they deal with the Millennium crux text in Revelation 20:4-5 and the "days of Genesis" in Genesis 1-2.

    If you like it, use it. I prefer the massive heft of the ESV Study Bible.

    Note that a "study Bible" is usually just a very good reference Bible with historical, archaeological, and interpretational notes layered in at the bottom of the page.
    * If you want "textual," translational, grammatical, or interpretative notes, the dirt cheap and MASSIVE 60,000+ notes in the NET Bible (also available online for free) is the best. You will use it for the notes, not for the idiosyncratic translation. I love their NASA satellite maps in the back. Wow!
    * If you want an all-in-one study Bible, the ESV Study Bible is the best (and it is Reformed leaning).
    * If you want a strictly Reformed Bible, then RC Sproul's Reformation Study Bible is tops.
    * Lutherans of a very conservative stripe will find the ESV based and massive Lutheran Study Bible (the CPH conservative one, NOT the Augsburg liberal one) helpful, but they reinforce distinctly Lutheran understandings of the Sacraments on almost every page.
    * If what you want is a good concordance and lots of cross-references and don't really care for the notes, get a Thompson system Bible or a R.L. Allan reference Bible. Um-um, they are just like butta.
  3. mercyminister

    mercyminister Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for sharing. I have a MacArthur ESV Study Bible too, but was also thinking of getting the ESV Study Bible.

    Pretty soon, I will have more Bibles than I can handle. Oh well...

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  4. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    The ESV looks better at the text of the scripture and puts it in a very general calvinistic terms of underestanding. But it`s goal is to be much more text based. On the other hand Sproul`s Reformation Study Bible (formally known as the New Geneva study bible) is more of a light 1 volume reformed bible commentary that deals with theological application of the text. They are both great volumes but have two different aims and concerns.
  5. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    You will not regret getting an ESV Study Bible, friend. Except for the fact that you may regret having to lift it sometimes! That thing is a brick!
  6. Bible Belt Presbyterian

    Bible Belt Presbyterian Puritan Board Freshman

    Not necessarily what you were asking for, but I would recommend the ESV Study Bible as well. It was given to me as a gift and my only wish is that I had gotten it earlier. :banghead:

    The Reformation Study Bible (Sproul - ESV) is good, but the notes seem to be very similar to the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (NIV). The ESV Study Bible seems to have much more, especially the great summaries in the back.

    I can't say anything about the Zondervan KJV because I have not read it and don't want to incorrectly speak of its contents. If the NIV is the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, then yes. This is only a personal feeling, but it seems to me that Zondervan will publish whatever will make a consistent revenue, regardless of whether it is theologically correct. Somethings they publish are great, others not so much. I may very well be corrected in this though.
  7. mercyminister

    mercyminister Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Joe, Zach, and Scott. Your input is much appreciated.

    The Zondervan SBs have been useful so far, but I use them along with the Wycliffe Commentaqry and the Mac Arthur Study Bibles. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, my NIV SB is gathering dust in the basement. Can anyone use it more than I can? If so, let me know. Our church still uses the NIV as its pew Bible and that may be the only time I will use one of my NIVs, if I decide to take it along on a Sunday morning.

    Board members, please keep sharing if you can add anything to this discussion.

    Stay well and have a blessed day,
  8. ShagVT

    ShagVT Puritan Board Freshman

    I had bought of the old NIV Study Bibles when I first came to Christ and it was helpful, but some things were frustrating, like their determination to provide naturalistic explanations for OT miracles. It was a paperback and totally fell apart from use so I don't have it to consult, but I seem to recall that it explained Joshua crossing the river as some sort of landslide upstream, the shadows going backward for Hezekiah as involving refraction of life (you know, 'cause shadows don't do that...), etc. It had plenty of good notes, but I got very tired of my Bible feeling like it had to make excuses for God's miracle.

    I will join the chorus of praise for ESV Study Bible and point out something that hasn't been mentioned. If you buy an ESV Study Bible, you also get access to all of the study notes online at ESVBible.org. I can't tell you how handy that is.

    The translator notes in the NET Bible are definitely interesting, but the NET translation itself is not my favorite at all. All of that material is available online for free at NET Bible.
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