Saturday, November 9, 2013

Giving Thanks #9 Study Bibles

One of the first study Bibles I owned was the MacArthur Study Bible in the NKJV. It has since been released in the NASB, the ESV, and just this past year in the NIV. The MacArthur Study Bible is many things: wonderful and thorough, intimidating and satisfying. It is probably the BEST bible to take to Sunday School class or Bible study. That is because MacArthur's notes have a way of answering all sorts of questions from all sorts of minds. It is good--very good--to have a place to go for those hard-to-answer questions. But I'll be honest, the amount of notes-to-text can be overwhelming at times! Especially if you feel you "have" to read all the notes. It could easily take you thirty minutes just to read one chapter of the Bible if you read all the notes.

From Introduction to the Bible:
Scripture is always teaching or illustrating: 1) the character and attributes of God; 2) the tragedy of sin and disobedience to God’s holy standard; 3) the blessedness of faith and obedience to God’s standard; 4) the need for a Savior by whose righteousness and substitution sinners can be forgiven, declared just, and transformed to obey God’s standard; and 5) the coming glorious end of redemptive history in the Lord Savior’s earthly kingdom and the subsequent eternal reign and glory of God and Christ. It is essential as one studies Scripture to grasp these recurring categories like great hooks on which to hang the passages. While reading through the Bible, one should be able to relate each portion of Scripture to these dominant topics, recognizing that what is introduced in the OT is also made more clear in the NT.
From How We Got The Bible:
This book contains: the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrine is holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here heaven is open, and the gates of hell are disclosed. Christ is the grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, health to the soul, and a river of pleasure. It is given to you here in this life, will be opened at the judgment, and is established forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and condemn all who trifle with its contents.
From How To Study The Bible:
Why Is It Important to Study the Bible? Why is God’s Word so important? Because it contains God’s mind and will for your life (2Ti 3:16, 17). It is the only source of absolute divine authority for you as a servant of Jesus Christ. It is infallible in its totality: “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps 19:7). It is inerrant in its parts: “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar” (Pr 30:5, 6). It is complete: “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” (Rev 22:18, 19). It is authoritative and final: “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Ps 119:89). It is totally sufficient for your needs: “… so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2Ti 3:16, 17). It will accomplish what it promises: “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Is 55:11). It provides the assurance of your salvation: “He who is of God hears the words of God…” (Jn 8:47; cf. 20:31).
Develop a plan on how you will approach reading through the Bible. Unlike most books, you will probably not read it straight through from cover to cover. There are many good Bible reading plans available, but here is one that I have found helpful. Read through the Old Testament at least once a year. As you read, note in the margins any truths you particularly want to remember, and write down separately anything you do not immediately understand. Often as you read you will find that many questions are answered by the text itself. The questions to which you cannot find answers become the starting points for more in-depth study using commentaries or other reference tools. Follow a different plan for reading the New Testament. Read one book at a time repetitiously for a month or more. This will help you to retain what is in the New Testament and not always have to depend on a concordance to find things. If you want to try this, begin with a short book, such as 1 John, and read it through in one sitting every day for 30 days. At the end of that time, you will know what is in the book. Write on index cards the major theme of each chapter. By referring to the cards as you do your daily reading, you will begin to remember the content of each chapter. In fact, you will develop a visual perception of the book in your mind. Divide longer books into short sections and read each section daily for 30 days. For example, the gospel of John contains 21 chapters. Divide it into 3 sections of 7 chapters. At the end of 90 days, you will finish John. For variety, alternate short and long books, and in less than 3 years you will have finished the entire New Testament—and you will really know it!
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible


Patricia DL said...

I agree- the study notes on some bibles can be overwhelming- especially when they take up half the page. I feel it detracts from the actual bible text sometimes.

Joyful Reader said...

I enjoy my NKJV Study Bible. Sometimes I get distracted from my reading with all the great study notes. :)