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Posts Tagged ‘study Bibles’

Study Bible or Commentary – which is better?

Posted on: January 17th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 5 Comments

Study Bibles have become very popular over the last few decades. Today they come in many sizes and flavors with some even targeted at specific groups (i.e. women, grandmothers, teens) or purposes (i.e. apologetics, archaeology, recovery). Study Bibles offer a combination of Bible text, brief commentary and extra study helps such as maps, tables, and explanatory or introductory articles. With PocketBible, we provide the study part separately from the Bible text so you can mix and match (with the exception of the ESV Study Bible which includes the Bible text). By “mix and match”, we mean you could use the NIV Study Bible Notes side-by-side with your NKJV Bible or your NLT Study Bible Notes with your ESV Bible.

Think of study Bibles as the Swiss army knife of Bible learning. You get a little bit of everything but you sacrifice depth for breadth as compared to a single purpose tool like a commentary or Bible atlas. For example, the notes or commentary part of a study Bible are designed for quick insight into the Bible. There simply isn’t room for lengthy arguments about what everyone thinks a passage means as is done with multi-volume commentaries.

It’s easy to see the benefit of having a multi-volume commentary on your phone but what about a study Bible? There is still a weight factor to consider even with study Bibles! Wouldn’t you rather have a study Bible on your phone than carry around a mammoth book (even if it is only one volume)? Plus, study Bibles offer extensive cross-references which are more convenient to check with PocketBible.

One of the frustrations I have with study Bibles in general is that they don’t always have a comment on the verse I am interested in. Unfortunately, for brevity’s sake, most study Bibles won’t comment on every verse in the Bible. Thus, it is a good idea to have at least one verse-by-verse commentary in your PocketBible library. On the positive side, if you just want a quick understanding of what a verse means, study Bibles are ideal. You can check there first and move to a commentary for more information. In this way, your study Bible and commentary can work hand-in-hand.

We often get asked “which study Bible is best?” Rather than say one is better than the other, we suggest you consider things like the Bible translation it is based on, any unique helps it offers and how much of the Bible it covers. Here is a comparison chart of the study Bibles we currently offer that can help you make a decision based on those features.

  Based on Bible Translation Study Notes Maps Charts Illustrations Unique Features Price
ESV Study Bible ESV (included) 20,000 200 200 40 80,000 cross-refs; 50 articles $34.99
NIV Study Bible Notes NIV 1984 Ed. 20,000 16+ 24 10 Topical and Note Index $14.99
NLT Study Bible Notes NLT 2nd Ed. 20,900 Yes Yes Yes Personality Profiles, Book Themes $14.99
Life Application NA 10,000 NA 200 NA Personality Profiles, TouchPoint Topics $14.99
MacArthur’s Study Bible Notes NKJV 20,000 35 100 10 Overview of Theology, Harmony of Gospels $39.99
Dake’s Study Bible Notes KJV 35,000 NA NA NA 500,000 cross-refs, Pentecostal, Dispensational $39.99
Women’s Study Bible Notes NA Hundreds NA Yes NA Topical Articles, Character Portraits, Quotes $29.99
Spirit of the Reformation NIV 1984 Ed. 20,000 NA NA NA Catechisms and Creeds, Reformed Theology Articles $14.99

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