Study Bibles are all the rage, it seems, and the choices you have are many. These study Bibles have just arrived in 2016 –
For kicks, here’s a brief overview of the increasing popularity of the study Bible.
1909, revised 1917 – Scofield Reference Bible
1967 – New Scofield Reference Bible
1978 – Ryrie Study Bible
1985, 1995, 2002 – NIV Study Bible
1995 – New Geneva Study Bible
1997 – MacArthur Study Bible
2005 – The Reformation Study Bible
2006 – The Holman Illustrated Study Bible
2007 – The Literary Study Bible: ESV
2008 – ESV Study Bible
2010 –HCSB Study Bible
2011 – NIV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible
2012 – The KJV Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, ESV Global Study Bible
2013 – Gospel Transformation Bible, The Jeremiah Study Bible
2014 – KJV Reformation Heritage Study Bible
2015 – NIV Zondervan Study Bible
2016 – Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible a
. NIV Foundations Study Bible
. Know the Word Study Bible
. Faith & Work Study Bible
. Word Study Bible
. ESV Family Devotional Bible
This list is by no means complete. For example, Crossway has study Bibles for children, such as the ESV Big Picture Bible and ESV Student Bible. In fact, we understand that a Systematic Theology Study Bible and a Church History Study Bible are in the works and forthcoming. The options continue to increase!
Each of these study Bibles has it’s own advantage, and enough have been around long enough to prove the value of these kinds of resources to build up God’s people in the knowledge of his Word. Here are a few of our random observations:
- The NIV Study Bible is an excellent resource, but it has been eclipsed both by the ESV Study Bible and the NIV Zondervan Study Bible.
- The NIV Zondervan Study Bible is unique with its emphasis on Biblical Theology, providing wonderful help to learning the Bible in its progressive revelation.
- The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible is unique also with the helpful light it sheds on historical context.
- The Gospel Transformation Bible may be the best option for general devotional reading for the lay reader.
Each of these – NIV Zondervan Study Bible, ESV Study Bible, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, and Gospel Transformation Bible – provides wonderful help for learning the Bible as you read through. And we expect the forthcoming Systematic Theology Study Bible and the Church History Study Bible both to make significant unique contributions also.
How to choose just one? That depends on the individual reader, of course. But then why settle for just one? Our top picks are these (in random order):
- ESV Study Bible
- NIV Zondervan Study Bible
- Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible
- Gospel Transformation Bible
Each of these is available at reasonable cost and in eBook formats, which means that every Christian now can continue his or her advance in the knowledge of God’s Word with relative ease. Daily Bible reading with these resources makes your devotional time all the more rewarding.