Best Study Bibles
Throughout our Christian lives, we have at many times found ourselves asking, "what does that verse mean?!" While Study Bibles do not always provide us with all the desired answers, they do provide an incredible amount of help to the reader. Whether you are just starting your Christian journey or you are a seasoned pastor, Study Bibles can be a tremendous tool helping you understand the Bible. Having said that, it must be clearly understood that the commentary and extra tools included in a study Bible are just that -- commentary and tools -- not the Word of God. Here are few Study Bibles that we recommend:
The ESV Study Bible
This is perhaps the most comprehensive Study Bible that I have ever used. It covers key aspects of commentary on the text, key doctrines (from a conservative evangelical perspective), essential historical and cultural background insights, among an impressive collection of articles. The downside is that it is MASSIVE. This is not a "throw it in your purse" kind of Bible.
The Systematic Theology Study Bible
As the title suggests, the Systematic Theology Study Bible provides readers with an engagement of the text which has an eye out for how it contributes to the bigger picture of key Christian doctrines. This tool can be helpful for understanding the larger sweeping topics addressed by the Scriptures.
The Reformation Study Bible
The Reformation Study Bible is a wonderful blend of useful notes and not overwhelming you with notes. Some readers may find the commentary lacking - others will find it just right. The particular perspective from which the editors come is from a Protestant, Reformed, Presbyterian perspective. So, as Baptists, there are several articles with which we would strongly disagree. However, it has been proven a useful tool for years.
The Archeology Study Bible
This Study Bible provides readers with the fascinating look into Archeological evidence which demonstrates the historical and cultural veracity of the biblical text. There are many times this book has served to encourage people when they wrestle with the question, "Can I trust the Bible?"
The NIV Study Bible
Over and above the other recommended study Bibles, the NIV Study Bible provides readers with a greater eye to the application of the text. It provides readers with manageable levels of background information without being too simplistic. The editors come from a slightly wider theological persuasion while remaining conservative and evangelical.
If I were to have only one copy of the Bible, and I had the opportunity to choose one, I would go with the ESV Study Bible.