The ESV Study Bible and Seminarians

The new ESV Study Bible, out in October, looks very cool. I just love the creativity (including design sense!) and energy Crossway is showing in their production and promotion of the ESV.

And there’s substance, too. (Sometimes I forget about that briefly in my delight over good design…) The contributors are solid commentators and exegetes; this is one to buy for your family.

But here’s my question: What place should a study Bible have in the life of a seminarian himself, not just that of his family? Obviously, I am not too good to read other people’s interpretations! But I do think it unwise for seminarians who should be doing their own exegesis to make a steady diet of others’ interpretations—at least without being provided with the underlying exegetical reasoning. So I wonder openly: Will the ESV Study Bible (like the NET Bible, which I do really appreciate, especially after it shipped with BibleWorks) have any space to tell me how it came to its conclusions?

If not, that’s totally fine! Not every study Bible (in fact, few to none) should be written for pastors or seminary professors.

A solid study Bible may give me a quick reminder of the most God-honoring and scripturally faithful way to view a given text. Great! I need that.

And a solid study Bible may provide me a helpful chart or map or picture or cross reference or shekel equivalent. Great!

I do plan to get one, and you probably should, too.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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