No Shortage of Bibles

The Hebrew-English Old Testament: BHS/ESV. Stuttgart, Germany/Wheaton, IL: German Bible Society/Crossway Books, 2012. pp. 3148.

The Greek-English New Testament: N-A28/ESV. Stuttgart, Germany/Wheaton, IL: German Bible Society/Crossway Books, 2012. pp. 1674.

The Systematic Theology Study Bible. ESV. Christopher W. Morgan, Stephan J. Wellum, and Robert A. Peterson, Eds. Graham A. Cole, contributing ed., Wheaton, IL. Crossway Books, 2017. pp. 1883.

While I am generally critical of the glut of various kinds of Bibles which one can find on the shelf at your local bookstore, I must confess that the Bibles I am considering in this brief notice are a happy exception. All three Bibles enhance the regular study of the Scriptures and therefore contribute to our growth in grace and increase in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The Hebrew-English OT and the Greek-English NT provide a large measure of convenience. While it is great to have these texts in electronic format, I am old enough to still appreciate and benefit from the tactile reality of the printed volume. These beautifully bound volumes, which resemble but are not identical with their Hebrew and Greek text counterparts, set the Hebrew and Greek texts side by side (on separate pages) with their English Standard Version translations. This is most beneficial for those who have either not kept up with their facility in the original languages or who have grown a little rusty in their use of Hebrew and Greek. They are useful, among other things, in helping to jumpstart a recovery of the use of the ancient text. These volumes also may prove useful in a group Bible study setting in which you can show folk the original text behind the English translation in an easy to use format. Finally, these two volumes may serve to get a young man who is considering whether God is calling him into the ministry and therefore going to seminary in getting used to looking at the original languages. These are all commendable uses.

The Systematic Theology Study Bible demonstrates that Systematic Theology (ST) is or ought to be directly tied to the text of Scripture. While any study Bible worth its salt will be in fact a ST study Bible of sorts, this one has the merit of being up front about its goal of grounding the traditional loci of ST (God, man, sin, revelation, etc) in the biblical text. The multitude of contributors represent a broadly Reformed perspective (with one recognizable exception) as that is reflected in such parachurch organizations as the Gospel Coalition. There are useful book introductions and the topical notes are placed in locations where the topic arises from the text. I note that the reader can read for pages without the interruption of study notes so these are not overwhelming. The Bible contains the standard ESV cross references and concludes with ST topical appendices and indices.

These volumes are tremendously useful and the pastor can use all three in the pulpit and laypeople could benefit from using the Systematic Theology Study Bible in the pew during public worship and in weekday personal and family worship as well. The use of these Bibles would go far in fulfilling the Westminster divines reminder that the Scriptures are known through the diligent and due use of all outward and ordinary means of grace (WCF 1.7).



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