- Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing
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Reformation Study Bible based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Book Review: The Reformation Study Bible (English Standard Version) Edited by R.C. Sproul Reviewed By Matthew Everhard I recently bought a copy of the Reformation Study Bible in the English Standard Version, edited by R.C. Sproul. As I had recently been bouncing back and forth between various Bible translations depending on my present work (NRSV during seminary exegesis work and pulpit preaching, NASB during my personal devotion time consisting of translating the New Testament from Greek to English, and the NIV during youth ministry Bible studies), I finally decided to give a fourth translation a try. (What can I say? I love Bibles!) I think I can finally say with certainty that I have arrived at a translation that can finally suffice for all of my ministry and study tasks. First, the ESV. As a student of and believer in Reformed Theology, my first obligation is to the Biblical text itself. Since the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is one of the most important concepts of evangelical truth, it is mandatory that our Bible translations honor the original text in both Greek and Hebrew. Not only must they honor the original languages, they must also convey them as accurately as possible. This in fact, is one of my major difficulties with the NIV: too often it ¿rounds off¿ a literary construction to make a theological point. While I often agree with the final assessment of the NIV, I would rather let the text speak for itself rather than to let the translation make that jump for me. I have tested the ESV personally by translating the epistle of 1 John and have found the ESV to be as accurate and precise as the NASB, yet often with a smoother final product in English. More than that, I visited the ESV¿s website and evaluated the list of actual translators. As one who is constantly enmeshed in scholarly writers due to my graduate work, I can assure you that the ESV was translated by the finest Hebrew and Greek Scholars of this new century, such as David Baker of Ashland Theological Seminary. Finally the ESV makes a statement on the side of Biblical authority by not jumping on the ¿gender neutrality¿ bandwagon with other new translations such as the TNIV. The ESV holds to the closer English equivalents of the Greek and Hebrew originals. As for the Reformation Study Bible notes, which were edited by R.C. Sproul one of the most respected evangelical theologians (who happens to also be in the reformed tradition), I have found that this Bible is effective in summarizing deep biblical concepts in a way that lay people and preachers alike can appreciate. Various articles (but not too many to weigh the book down like other study Bibles) cover various topics such as the atonement, baptism, predestination, and the authority of Scripture. Nearly every page contains exegetical insights from some of today¿s most respected theologians and biblical scholars such as Wayne Grudem, Leon Morris, Moises Silva, James Boice, J.I. Packer, and Sinclair Ferguson. Overall, I intend to make the ESV my most reliable companion for all of my writing, preaching, and teaching responsibilities. Matthew Everhard is the Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Hudson Presbyterian Church in Ohio. He is a graduate student at Ashland Theological Seminary, and the author of Rock Solid: Helping Teens to Discover the Truth of Christianity, 2005, PLC Publications.
The Reformation Study Bible in the ESV has the same theological notes - all 96 from Packer¿s Concise Theology (the one on ¿Salvation¿ curiously moved from Acts 4:12 to 2Cor. 6:5), and the same study notes as the New Geneva Bible (as far as I can tell). The main difference ¿ besides the translation ¿ is the LOOK. The book introductions and outlines are more aesthetically pleasing than either the Geneva Study Bible (NGSB) or the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (SRSB). I was hoping they would not revise the notes ¿ unless they wanted to add to them ¿ because I considered them to be good just the way they were. The dark background of the theological notes in the NGSB has been replaced with white and the words of Christ are in black not red (hardback version). This happens to be the way I prefer it to be and I think it looks better. The hardback edition I have has no maps in the back; it is also missing the articles written by Clowney, Boice, Waltke, Packer, and Whitlock. Also missing is the Index to Annotations (the SRSB doesn¿t have one either). Maybe these will be in the leather editions. I had hoped they would include one of the confessions or catechisms in this edition ¿ as I wished they did in the NGSB long before the SRSB decided to include some ¿ preferably the Heidelberg Catechism put at the BEGINNING of the Bible as a summary of the Christian Reformed faith. Oh well, you can¿t have everything you want. Overall, the combination of the ESV with study notes reflecting the light of the truth recovered in the Reformation make this edition well worth your purchase.