Favorite Study Bibles

Posted on December 15, 2008. Filed under: Book Reviews, Daily Journey, The Walker Library |

Monday, 12-15-2008: Dr. Al Mohler of Southern Seminary in Louisville, has an excellent post on his blog today about “How to Use a Study Bible” Here is the link:


Dr. Mohler only talks about 4 study Bibles and lists 3 as his current favorites. In his youth his first study Bible was the Thompson Chain Reference. Currently he praises the brand new ESV Study Bible, edited by Dr. Wayne Grudem; the MacArthur Study Bible by John MacArthur is NASB; and the Apologetics Study Bible by Holman, edited by his colleague at Southern, Ted Cabal, in the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation. Dr. Mohler contributed an article in this Bible.

My first Study Bible was the Harper Study Bible in the RSV


which I purchased in college. Back then I preferred the RSV to the KJV and that Bible was of moderate help. When I was in the Army in the early 1980’s I finally got around to buying a Thompson Chain Reference Bible.



Unfortunately I never fully utilized that Bible because by that time I was using the NASB and NIV primarily. But I do remember how it tied many of the themes of the Bible together. That Bible is buried in a box in my garage now that I do not have an office. I need to dig that out and place it by my desk ASAP. My parents both had Thompson’s when I was growing up and my mom still used hers til she was too blind to read it.

Some time after coming to seminary in 1985 I purchased my first “Real” Study Bible, The NIV Study Bible by Zondervan.


I wore this Bible out. I still have it somewhere, in a box in the garage I’m sure. Again, I ought to dig that one out. By the early 90’s there was just a boom of Study Bibles, some not so good. By the late 90’s I had gotten two that are noteworthy.

1) The MacArthur Study Bible in NKJV


2)The New Geneva Study Bible in NKJV. While both of these are excellent, I used the New Geneva Study Bible by RC Sproul extensively. I ended up giving that Bible away to somebody a couple of years ago, which meant I had to get the newest edition, updated by Sproul,  called The Reformation Study Bible.

3) The Reformation Study Bible which has been my main Bible since 2006.


In the last 2 years I have gotten four more study Bibles that are all very helpful. 4) The Archeological Study Bible by Zondervan in NIV my wife won at work for taking a test and scoring well (she works at Lifeway Christian Store in Ft. Worth).


This is an outstanding reference work very beautifully illustrated and full of neat archeology stuff. I actually use this Bible at times to help me prepare my SS lessons in Genesis.

5) My wife got me the Apologetics Study Bible last year from Holman, using the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation that Dr. Mohler praised in his article.


I carry this behemoth with me to work in my briefcase. It is loaded with cool apologetics notes and articles and I highly recommend it. Again, I refer to this a lot while doing my weekly lessons.

6) I purchased the Literary Study Bible from Crossway in the ESV edited by Leland Ryken and Philip Graham Ryken.


This is another excellent idea that has assisted me in my lesson preparations. In this study Bible, I think the editors took a minimalist position and I am often wanting a bit more than they provide.

Finally, for my 50th birthday a week ago, my wife got me the cadillac of study Bibles, the new ESV Study Bible, edited by Dr. Wayne Grudem (one of my favorite theologians) published by Crossway.


We own a few more study Bibles from here and there like The NASB Study Bible (which is the same as the NIV Study Bible, only in the NASB translation) The Life Application Study Bible, The Living Insights Study Bible by Chuck Swindoll and the Ryrie Study Bible, and maybe 1-2 others. One I do not own that I always wanted is now out of print apparently, The Cults Reference Bible by the late Walter Martin.


Another Bible I do not own but I would like to obtain at some point is the grandaddy of all the study Bibles, the Scofield Reference Bible:


www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=165306&sp=59339&kw=schofield_bible&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&cm_mmc=Google-_-Bibles-_-bibles-_-schofield bible&gclid=CKX-2dL3wpcCFQudnAodnm84Sw

In summary, if you are a new Christian, or if you know a new Christian who needs a Bible, or if you are not a Christian but simply want to read the Bible I would recommend my top two study Bibles. #1 has got to be the new ESV Study Bible. It has a miniature systematic theology in it that would be great for anyone new to Christianity. #2 would the Reformation Study Bible by RC Sproul, also in ESV. These are simply the best and will be the most helpful.


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