Study Bibles

Jay Wilcoxen reviews the expanding genre of Study Bibles, a new review each month.

MATTHEW: Gospel for a Teaching Church

The Gospel readings for 2014 will come mainly from the Gospel According to Matthew. This Gospel was composed around 90 CE, probably in Antioch in Syria, a city heavily Jewish and mainly Greek-speaking. “Matthew” put into good flowing Greek the accepted teaching of that second-generation church just as it had finally separated from its roots in the Jewish synagogue. more

LUKE: A Gospel for Progressives?

If I had to select one of the four Gospels to recommend to Christian Progressives, I would choose the Gospel According to Luke. To explain this I need to define “progressive,” and then to discuss how I think Luke was a Progressive in his own time. more

Who’s Been Reading Mark Lately?

As users of the Revised Common Lectionary know, Year B (2006, 2009, 2012, etc.) is the year of Mark’s Gospel. From Advent 2011 to Advent 2012 there will be 32 Sundays with Gospel readings from Mark, and in other years, with different dates for Easter, there can be as many as 37 readings from Mark. Thus, a little introduction to this Gospel early in year B may be in place. What I offer is a chatty reminiscence of about 55 years of reading commentaries on the Gospel According to Mark. It is also an informal review of what scholars have done with Mark over the last 120 years. more

Whether counted by sales, by persistent devotion of readers, or by longevity in print, Scofield’s Reference Bible is undoubtedly the most famous—and infamous—study Bible in all of Protestantism. This now hundred-year-old Reference Bible became a trademark of Fundamentalist Orthodoxy, and made John Nelson Darby’s Dispensationalism the principal guide to Bible prophecy. more

Zondervan Publishing House has used its exclusive rights to the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible to create a whole battery of special niche study Bibles. The Faith in Action Study Bible, published in 2005, was one of those prominent on its list, though recently this Bible has become less available (at least in print). more

Judaism has had its Rabbinic Study Bible since the second generation of printing in Europe (1516). Most recently, for English-language readers, The Jewish Study Bible presents the Jewish Scriptures as the product of Israelite times but also as reverently set in the long history of Jewish life and liturgy. more

For many of us, the title of this Study Bible prompts the question, Who exactly is “Orthodox?” and then, What’s their Bible like? Another quite separate group, however, is the growing number of English-speaking Orthodox people world wide. Is this really their Bible? more

The HarperCollins Study Bible

The most distinctive feature of the HarperCollins Study Bible is the collaboration between a major publisher and the professional scholars of the Society of Biblical Literature. Each member of this partnership brought a distinguished and venerable heritage to their common enterprise. more

The NIV Study Bible

In 1952 the Revised Standard Version of the Christian Bible was published under the auspices of the National Council of Churches, the ecumenical body of mainline Protestant denominations in the USA. In the following generation this version of the Holy Bible finally replaced the worthy old King James Version of 1611 for the majority of Christians in those mainline churches. more

The New Jerusalem Bible

A year or so ago I did an adult series at University Church in Hyde Park, Chicago, on “Three Historic Bibles in English,” and one of the Bibles described was the (New) Jerusalem Bible. Nearly half of this review will be spent explaining why this Bible was “historic.” more

“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

—Reinhold Niebuhr