Saturday, July 14, 2012

Do study Bibles hamper good Bible study?

Jen Wilken has written a helpful post over at The Gospel Coalition titled "Recalculating: How Study Bibles Can Limit Bible Study". The set-up is worthwhile, so I suggest you read the whole post, but here's her conclusion:
So what is the right use for a study Bible? I would suggest the following:
  • Don't throw it away, just put it away. Keep your study Bible on the shelf when you read. Get a Bible with only cross-references to use as your primary copy. Investigate cross-references to help you comprehend and interpret.
  • Treat study Bible notes as what they are: commentary, and brief commentary at that. Remember that they are man's words, subject to bias and error. Read them respectfully but critically.
  • Consult multiple sources. Study notes should be a starting point for further inquiry, not a terminus. Once you have read for personal understanding in a note-free Bible, consult not just one but several study Bibles and commentaries from trusted sources. Look for consensus and disagreement among them.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit for insight. Humbly ask the Spirit to reveal truth to your heart and mind as you read for understanding on your own, and as you compare your own discoveries to those of trusted commentators. Even if you find you have drawn the wrong conclusion from a text, you are more likely to remember the better conclusion because you have worked hard to discover it.

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