Jimmy Swaggart's "Expositors Study Bible"

A Critical Review By Ed. F. Sanders

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

(Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)


I wrote an essay a couple years ago on Study Bibles explaining why I do not recommend them for reading and general study. In my opinion Study Bibles should be kept on the bookshelf and used only as a reference like you would with any other commentary.

I recently found an advertisement for a Study Bible published in 2005 by Jimmy Swaggart that I think is the most egregious example of why one should not use Study Bibles for study and reading. According to one advertisement:

The Expositor's Study Bible(1)
Designed by the LORD for both the layman and minister alike.
Jimmy Swaggart

"Expositor" simply means "one who explains." The two words, "Expositor" and "Commentator" both are very similar in meaning: however, the word "Expositor" has a more clinical connotation than does "Commentator". By "clinical," we mean an "Expositor" just explains the Text, rather than giving personal comments. But, at times, we most definitely give the latter also!

The actual Scripture is in black, Rev Swaggart's commentary notes are in red, Making it very easy to read.

Below is a page from Swaggart's Study Bible showing how he has mixed his words with the Words of God(2). And he has highlighted his words in red, a common way in many Bibles of showing the words of our Lord Jesus. Of course any author has the right to publish commentary on the Bible, but that should be published as a commentary - not as a Bible mixing fallible human words interspersed with the Words of God in such manner! And it seems to me to be pure arrogance to state in advertising the publication that it is "designed by the Lord"!(3)


One writer said it best: "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?"(4).

For more on this subject see the article The Bible Without Comment.

(1) Expositors Study Bible, p. 1196, Jimmy Swaggart. Publisher: Jimmy Swaggart Ministries (www.jsm.org)

(2) Most Study Bibles at least put the author's comments in footnotes or margins (which most consider an acceptable practice).

(3) Rev. Swaggart wrote of his spiritual enlightenment, "That which the Lord gave to me, which I believe sheds more light on that which was originally given to Paul, pertains to the manner in which the Holy Spirit works within our hearts and lives." (The Evangelist, From Me To You, December 2004)

(4) Quote from No. 45 - Westminster Standard Publication (on the Scofield Bible).