I love Study Bibles and I own several of them. The only warning that I have concerning using one is the following:
You have to remember anytime you use a Study Bible that you are reading someone else’s interpretation of Scripture. Most if not all Study Bible have a Theological Bias.
Theology-The Study of God
If you have been reading my series on the different churches and denominations that I thank God for, you have seen my statement that many times we read the Bible with denominational glasses on.
In other words, we lean heavily on the one who teaches us t tell us the truth and to have the correct interpretation. I appreciate the ones that I see so often who are taking notes. My prayer is that you take notes and then go back to your study and check out my teaching to make sure I have it right. (Note Takers Rock)
My advice is that you use a good Study Bible but, only look at the notes in that Bible after you have read and meditated on the Scripture and searched for the meaning on your own. One of the greatest tools that you can have in your library is a good Bible Dictionary. Do a word study of words you are not sure and even the ones you are sure of, sometimes you may be surprised.
Here is a great Bible Dictionary you may want to have: Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. ISBN 031024878-7
Here is a list of some good Study Bibles that I own:
Quest Study Bible: My Favorite, it tends to be more Explanation than denominational.
Jewish Study Bible: Old Testament Only: Great Study Tool with a Jewish Perspective on a Jewish Book
Archeological Study Bible: Outstanding Study Bible with lots of Historical Data and pictures of Israel and Egypt. Too big to carry around but a great study tool.
Key Word Study Bible: Very unique, every word is keyed to Strong’s Concordance, not one that I would carry around, heavy.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible: This one is widely used by Methodist’s, another heavy one to carry around.
The Geneva Study Bible: From the Reformed Presbyterian Tradition
The Spirit Filled Life Study Bible: Widely used by the Charismatic Tradition
The New Open Bible: Good Study Tool, widely used by the Baptist Tradition
The Life Application Study Bible: Good well rounded study tool but I have had issues with several of the interpretations in this one but all around good tool.
The Interpreters Study Bible: Widely used by Methodist’s another heavy one
The McArthur Study Bible: Good Study Bible, I use it often.
Soul Care Bible: Especially for those who feel called to counsel others. Lots of helps in the counseling field. I like this one a lot.
One last tool that I refer to a lot is the Jewish New Testament and The Jewish New Testament Commentary, edited by David H. Stern. Great Study Tools, we are studying a Jewish Book and Jesus was Jewish.
Again, these are all good tools, but none of them take the place of your study of the scriptures. Most of the time Scripture will interpret itself. By that I mean there are other scriptures that will explain what it is you are reading that may not be clear. Your best tool for that is a Good Reference Bible. No study notes just references to other scriptures that interpret or help to tie together what you are reading and a better understanding.
I use the NIV Large Print Slimline Edition, good carrying size and not heavy. Top Grain Leather and very reasonably priced. ISBN 0310-935903
I will look at translations in a later post. I have a great friend who says the best Bible is the one you will read.