The MacArthur Study Bible

The MacArthur Study Bible

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TheESV MacArthur Study Biblecontains John MacArthur's personal study notes below the full-length ESV Bible text.Virtually every Scripture has a matching study note with detailed information, explanation, and helpful insight.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433521447
Publisher: Crossway
Publication date: 08/20/2010
Pages: 2144
Sales rank: 684,096
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 10.20(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

John MacArthuris thepastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You.He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur is chancellor emeritus of the Master’s Seminary and Master’s University. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

Read an Excerpt




The English title, Genesis, comes from the Greek translation (Septuagint, LXX) meaning "origins"; whereas, the Hebrew title is derived from the Bible's very first word, translated "in the beginning." Genesis serves to introduce the Pentateuch (the first five books of the OT) and the entire Bible. The influence of Genesis in Scripture is demonstrated by its being quoted over 35 times in the NT and hundreds of allusions appearing in both Testaments. The story line of salvation that begins in Gen. 3 is not completed until Rev. 21–22, where the eternal kingdom of redeemed believers is gloriously pictured.


While 1) the author does not identify himself in Genesis and 2) Genesis ends almost three centuries before Moses was born, both the OT (Ex. 17:14; Num. 33:2; Josh. 8:31;1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 13:1; Dan. 9:11, 13; Mal. 4:4) and the NT (Matt. 8:4; Mark 12:26; Luke 16:29; 24:27, 44; John 5:46; 7:22; Acts 15:1; Rom. 10:19; 1 Cor. 9:9; 2 Cor. 3:15) ascribe this composition to Moses, who is the fitting author in light of his educational background (cf. Acts 7:22). No compelling reasons have been forthcoming to challenge Mosaic authorship. Genesis was written after the exodus (c. 1445 B.C.), but before Moses' death (c. 1405 B.C.). For a brief biographical sketch of Moses read Ex. 1–6.


The initial setting for Genesis is eternity past. God then, by willful act and divine word, spoke all creation into existence, furnished it, and finally breathed life into a lump of dirt, which he fashioned in his image to become Adam. God made mankind the crowning point of his creation, i.e., his companions who would enjoy fellowship with him and bring glory to his name.

The historical background for the early events in Genesis is clearly Mesopotamian. While it is difficult to pinpoint precisely the historical moment for which this book was written, Israel first heard Genesis sometime prior to crossing the Jordan River and entering the Promised Land (c. 1405 B.C.).

Genesis has three distinct, sequential geographical settings: 1) Mesopotamia (chs. 1–11); 2) the Promised Land (chs. 12–36); and 3) Egypt (chs. 37–50). The time frames of these three segments are: 1) Creation to c. 2090 B.C.; 2) 2090–1897 B.C.; and 3) 1897–1804 B.C. Genesis covers more time than the remaining books of the Bible combined.


In this book of beginnings, God revealed himself and a worldview to Israel that contrasted, at times sharply, with the worldview of Israel's neighbors. The author made no attempt to defend the existence of God or to present a systematic discussion of his person and works. Rather, Israel's God distinguished himself clearly from the alleged gods of her neighbors. Theological foundations are revealed that include God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, man, sin, redemption, covenant, promise, Satan and angels, kingdom, revelation, Israel, judgment, and blessing.

Genesis 1–11 (primeval history) reveals the origins of the universe, i.e., the beginnings of time and space and many of the firsts in human experience, such as marriage, family, the fall, sin, redemption, judgment, and nations. Genesis 12–50(patriarchal history) explained to Israel how they came into existence as a family whose ancestry could be traced to Eber (hence the "Hebrews"; Gen. 10:24–25) and even more remotely to Shem, the son of Noah (hence the "Semites"; Gen. 10:21). God's people came to understand not only their ancestry and family history, but also the origins of their institutions, customs, languages, and different cultures, especially basic human experiences such as sin and death.

Because they were preparing to enter Canaan and dispossess the Canaanite inhabitants of their homes and properties, God revealed their enemies' background. In addition, they needed to understand the actual basis of the war they were about to declare in light of the immorality of killing, consistent with the other four books that Moses was writing (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). Ultimately, the Jewish nation would understand a selected portion of preceding world history and the inaugural background of Israel as a basis by which they would live in their new beginnings under Joshua's leadership in the land that had previously been promised to their original patriarchal forefather, Abraham.

Genesis 12:1–3 established a primary focus on God's promises to Abraham. This narrowed their view from the entire world of peoples in Gen. 1–11 to one small nation, Israel, through whom God would progressively accomplish his redemptive plan. This underscored Israel's mission to be "a light for the nations" (Isa. 42:6). God promised land, descendants (seed), and blessing. This threefold promise became, in turn, the basis of the covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:1–20). The rest of Scripture bears out the fulfillment of these promises.

On a larger scale, Gen. 1–11 set forth a singular message about the character and works of God. In the sequence of accounts that make up these chapters of Scripture, a pattern emerges that reveals God's abundant grace as he responded to the willful disobedience of mankind. Without exception, in each account God increased the manifestation of his grace. But also without exception, man responded in greater sinful rebellion. In biblical words, the more sin abounded the more did God's grace abound (cf. Rom. 5:20).

One final theme of both theological and historical significance sets Genesis apart from other books of Scripture, in that the first book of Scripture corresponds closely with the final book. In the book of Revelation, the paradise that was lost in Genesis will be regained. The apostle John clearly presented the events recorded in his book as future resolutions to the problems which began as a result of the curse in Gen. 3. His focus is upon the effects of the fall in the undoing of creation and the manner in which God rids his creation of the curse effect. In John's own words, "No longer will there by anything accursed" (Rev. 22:3). Not surprisingly, in the final chapter of God's word, believers will find themselves back in the Garden of Eden, the eternal paradise of God, eating from the tree of life (Rev. 22:1–14). At that time, they will partake, wearing robes washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 22:14).


Grasping the individual messages of Genesis that make up the larger plan and purpose of the book presents no small challenge since both the individual accounts and the book's overall message offer important lessons to faith and works. Genesis presents creation by divine fiat, ex nihilo, i.e., "out of nothing." Three traumatic events of epic proportions, namely the fall, the universal flood, and the dispersion of nations are presented as historical backdrop in order to understand world history. From Abraham on, the pattern is to focus on God's redemption and blessing.

The customs of Genesis often differ considerably from those of our modern day. They must be explained against their ancient Near Eastern background. Each custom must be treated according to the immediate context of the passage before any attempt is made to explain it based on customs recorded in extrabiblical sources or even elsewhere in Scripture.


Genesis by content is comprised of two basic sections: 1) Primitive history (Gen. 1–11) and 2) Patriarchal history (Gen. 12–50). Primitive history records four major events: 1) Creation (Gen. 1–2); 2) the fall (Gen. 3–5); 3) the flood (Gen. 6–9); and 4) the dispersion (Gen. 10–11). Patriarchal history spotlights four great men: 1) Abraham (Gen. 12:1–25:8); 2) Isaac (Gen. 21:1–35:29); 3) Jacob (Gen. 25:21–50:14); and 4) Joseph (Gen. 30:22–50:26).

The literary structure of Genesis is built on the frequently recurring phrase "the book of the generations of" and is the basis for the following outline.

The Creation of the World

GENESIS 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens." 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds — livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The Seventh Day, God Rests

GENESIS 2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

The Creation of Man and Woman

4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up — for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground — 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

"This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The Fall

GENESIS 3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."


Excerpted from "The MacArthur Study Bible"
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Copyright © 2010 Crossway.
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All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Articles and Resources,
The Old Testament,
The New Testament,
The Old Testament,
The New Testament,
Articles and Resources,
ESV Newsletter Sign Up,
Index of Charts and Maps,
Alphabetical Subject List of Charts and Maps,
How to Use The ESV MacArthur Study Bible, ePub Edition,
Introduction to the Bible,
Personal Notes,
How We Got the Bible,
How to Study the Bible,
Preface to the English Standard Version,
Explanation of Features,
Introduction to the Pentateuch,
Introduction to the Prophets,
Introduction to the Intertestamental Period,
Introduction to the Gospels,
New Testament Chronology,
A Harmony of the Gospels,
The Character of Genuine Saving Faith,
Overview of Theology,
Index to Key Bible Doctrines,
A Harmony of the Books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles,
Tables of Weights and Measures and Monetary Units,
Daily Bible Reading Plan,

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The MacArthur Study Bible 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
CraigBennett More than 1 year ago
I have many study Bibles, however I find that I turn to the MacArthur Study Bible for John MacArthur's insight every time. His clarification and insight on scripture is unmatched in IMHO. I use this Bible for all my studies and carry it as my main Bible to church. (I have the eBook as well as leather bound version). The eBook version allows me to quickly move from study notes and cross references to main text.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿m not sure it gets any better than this: The Holy Bible rendered in the readable yet reverent New King James Version ¿ with study notes provided by the inimitable John MacArthur. He has included a number of excellent articles on subjects ranging from how the Bible came into being to how to recognize genuine saving faith. And he provides sound advice on how best to study Scripture ¿ critical for someone who no longer has all the time in the world left.
Guest More than 1 year ago
MacArthur is the first pastor/teacher I've found who teaches like our deceased SS teacher. They are amazingly alike, and our teacher had hardly any formal education...but he read all world history, and Jewish history, and knew the Bible and it's people. I have read the new Scofield three times...and now I'm reading is like having a commentary included!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Bible does not change in its message but the MacArthur Bible opens your eyes to what the message REALLY is. If you're hungry for the word but having a hard time being nourished by it, this is a Bible you should very seriously and strongly consider!
George-Mattern More than 1 year ago
Best book ever published!!! The MacArthur Study Bible is the greatest single-volume book in the history of the written word! John MacArthur has been pastor of Grace Community Church since 1969. During that time, he has preached verse-by-verse through the entire New Testament, as well as significant portions of the Old Testament. The essence of John MacArthur's credibility as a teacher and spiritual leader is his unswerving devotion to the Divine inspiration (authorship), absolute inerrancy, and complete authority of the Bible. Since the Bible is the true and infallible written revelation of God to mankind, Dr. MacArthur has said: "The only logical response to inerrant Scripture is to preach it expositionally. By that, I mean preaching in such a way that the meaning of the Bible passage is presented entirely and exactly as it was intended by God." He is manifestly committed to declaring "the whole purpose of God" (Acts 20:27), and yet equally determined "not to exceed what is written" (2 Corinthians 4:6). This honest, forthright handling of Scripture renders MacArthur's work refreshingly free of the distortions and outright oppositions of the ear-tickling theology demanded by fallen human preference--which is so often shamelessly catered to and pandered to by the Lord's foes and friends alike! In this study bible (and in any of MacArthur's books, commentaries, and sermons), Holy Scripture is always handled with credence as trustworthy, dynamic, living truth that has urgent and immediate application for every reader--as you would expect of words written by Almighty God Himself. According to the "Grace to You" ministry website, the MacArthur Study Bible is an "al-in-one spiritual library [which] contains John's personal study notes below the full-length Bible text. Virtually every Scripture has a matching study note with detailed information, explanations, and helpful insight. The MacArthur Study Bible...can transform your personal time in God's word by clarifying difficult passages, bringing unseen cultural and historical details to life, and helping you understand and apply biblical truth." The MacArthur Study Bible has nearly 25,000 study notes buttressed with 80,000 cross-references, and it is also rich with other valuable features, including complete introductions to each book of the Bible, a treatment of key historical, political, and religious developments in the intertestamental period, several full-color maps, over 140 two-color maps, charts, timelines, and illustrations, informative background articles like "Introduction to the Bible" and "How We Got the Bible," an overview of theology, an index of key Bible doctrines and where to find passages relating to them, an extensive concordance, and more. On every page of this magnificent resource, the meaning of the Word of God is faithfully explained with clarity and concision that will readily appeal to the most serious Bible student, and yet the content is not overly technical so as to be too laborious for a layman. Not only the study bible, but ALL of John MacArthur's books and sermons are valuable for their forthright, straightforward proclamation of the truth of God, including the one true gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (apart from any false considerations of human merit, Isaiah 64:6)--which is mankind's only hope of escaping God's righteous judgment against the sin we are all guilty of committing against Him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have this Bible as a book and I love it. It is great to have reference to the harder verses *Sam*
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PayingItForwardChristian More than 1 year ago
Overall I really enjoy the layout and ease of use.  This has good footnotes on a lot of things.  I do not agree with everything in the footnotes, but it is all orthodox stuff.  So it just like there is no such thing as a perfect study Bible.  I would recommend this to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get this bible!
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Love the study notes. What a great compliment to my library.
shad39 More than 1 year ago
The MacArthur study Bible will always have a comment worth considering on every chapter and nearly every verse. Unfortunately, Barnes and Noble is a poor choice to find this. Try searching for "MacArthur Study Bible ESV" and see if you get anywhere close to this page. On the other hand a search at Amazon or even Google will take you directly to the correct item. BN, how can I buy a book from you if I can't find it. Also, I can't buy this on my Nook, but for $9.99 I can download it instantly on the Kindle. Please BN, give the Amazonians some fair competition so we have a choice on where to buy books a year from now!
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