Not Recommended For Devotional Reading Or General
I began my Bible studies as a die-hard Scofield Bible
enthusiast. I carried one everywhere I went and recommended
Scofield to everyone who would listen to me. I began having
second thoughts about the use of study Bibles in the early
1970's after a discussion with some friends. I challenged some
statements being presented as being 'in the Bible'. One of the
friends then proceeded to show me a note in the Scofield Bible
as 'proof''. The problem is that what was stated to be 'in the
Bible' was actually a footnote by Scofield! Now I do not use
study Bibles for reading but I do keep several* on my
bookshelf with other reference works.
The notes in a Study Bible are absorbed during normal reading
& study and strongly affect the student whether the person
recognizes it or not. In my opinion:
Study Bibles should not be used for Bible reading and
All Study Bibles have some
degree of theological bias and mix the editors words in with God's
Word. Leave them on your
bookshelf and only
use them as a reference source in the same way as you would a
commentary or dictionary. Bible study should be personal
and inductive, not an exercise in absorbing other people's
interpretations and opinions which may be flawed. See the
Bible Without Comment for a good essay on this subject.
Some quotes about Study
Quote from the essay An OT Library for Ministers
by Dr. John Goldingay
“Don't buy a Study Bible. They give you the
impression that what they say is true and important, which is
often not the case, to judge from quotations in student papers.
Distinguish the Bible from books about the Bible, I say”.
Quote from No. 45 - A Westminster
'About a particular Study Bible
(Scofield) it has been said: "It is a matter of great
concern to many Christians that a book should exist, and be
offered for sale, wherein corrupt words of mortal men are printed and set
as positive statements in the midst of the Holy Word of God
Almighty. Is not this an affront before God Himself? Let God be true and every man a
liar" (Rom. 3:4)'.
Quote from a post on a Christian Forum about Study Bibles:
Q: "What makes a study bible better
than a regular bible?"
A: "It allows one to get an
explanation of God Word that makes sense. We want
someone to explain God's Word, and interpret the meaning for us"
And that is the problem!
We need to study the Bible for ourselves and understand it as the
Holy Spirit gives us guidance, not just absorb someone else's
theology and opinions.
1. If you do own a
Study Bible keep it on your bookshelf and use it for
occasional reference only, as you would a Bible commentary or
dictionary, and not for reading and study. Some pages in the
average Study Bible contain more words of man than Words of God!
and despite efforts the student will be influenced by the
interpretations of the editor.
from those Study Bibles with strong theological bias (such as the Dake Annotated
Reference Bible, The Companion Bible, Scofield
Reference Bible, Prophecy Study Bible, Ryrie
Study Bible, LaHaye
Prophecy Bible, Jimmy Swaggert's
Expositors Study Bible, etc.)!!
series of Study Bibles with the least theological bias are those
published by Zondervan, including the NIV Study Bible, NASB
Study Bible, KJV Study Bible, etc. The new ESV Study
Bible by Crossway is conservative, reformed, and
outstanding among reference Bibles. These particular books can be
useful as reference material. Other Study Bibles with similar
names by various publishers are questionable and inconsistent in
out our list of
Study Bibles and the article A
Real Danger In Using Annotated Study Bibles, Doug Kutilek
* ESV Study Bible, HCSB Study
Bible, Reformation Study Bible (ESV).