Thursday, August 6, 2009

ESV Study Bible Review by Andy Naselli

Andy Naselli's review of the ESV Study Bible (ESVSB) is available online. Naselli is currently a student in a PhD program at my alma mater Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and he is a research assistant to D. A. Carson. If you have been following my posts on Study Bibles Compared (under "Blog Categories" as "Study Bibles") you will know that I like a study Bible that offers a variety of views on controversial passages. This is a very important feature for me when it comes to a study Bible. Naselli lists some passages where the ESV Study Bible offers a variety of views without favoring one particular interpretation. Among those are: "Ezekiel 40-48; Dan 9:24-27; 1 Cor 11:24; 13:8; 2 Thess 2:5-7; 1 Tim 2:4; Heb 6:4-8; 1 Pet 3:19; and the book of Revelation." He then gives a "sampling of how the ESVSB handles some controversial issues (including when it does favor a particular view)." Here's just a few:

• Genesis 1-2 neither requires nor precludes an ordinary day interpretation.
• Both the early and late dates for the exodus are viable options.
• Pharaoh is responsible for his hardened heart, but the Lord's sovereign hand ultimately governs the hardening (Exod 4:21; etc.).
• Both the single and double fulfillment views of Isa 7:14 are viable options.
• Peter is "the rock" in Matt 16:18.
• In Matthew 24-25, Jesus "apparently intertwines prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and his second coming."
• John 6:40 "implies that no true believer will ever lose his or her salvation."
• The miracle of tongues fulfills Joel 2:28-32, "though not all of it was yet fulfilled"
(Acts 2:14-21).
• "In the early church, baptism was probably by immersion, at least as a general rule, though Christians dispute whether such a practice must always be followed literally today" (Rom 6:4).
• Salvation "is not ultimately based on human free will or effort but depends entirely on God's merciful will" (Rom 9:16).
• Rom 11:26 refers to "the salvation of the end-time generation of the Jewish people in the future."
• Paul teaches that men are women are equal in dignity and essence but distinct in their roles (e.g. 1 Cor 11:7-9, 14; 14:34-35; Gal 3:28; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Tim 2:12-13).
• NT prophecy "can have mistakes and must be tested or evaluated" (1 Cor 12:10).
• Regeneration logically precedes faith (Eph 2:5; 1 John 5:1).
• The verb "to meet" in 1 Thess 4:17 "may indicate that the subsequent movement of the saints after meeting Christ 'in the air' conforms to Christ's direction, thus in a downward motion toward the earth." This suggests a posttribulational view, but the notes do not explain the major rapture views (though the introduction to Revelation does).
• Good works are the necessary result of justification (Jas 2:14-26).
• "Jesus' sacrifice is offered and made available to everyone in 'the whole world,' not just to John and his current readers" (1 John 2:2).
• Genuine Christians "have been so transformed that they cannot live in a pattern of continual sin-though this does not mean that Christians are ever completely free from sin in this life" (1 John 3:9-10).

Naselli concludes, "No other study Bible matches the ESVSB in quantity or quality." I'm not sure I would go that far. The NIV Study Bible is still an impressive study Bible and now that it is available from Cambridge in a goatskin leather you can have a premium binding that is Smyth-sewn with high quality paper to match the ESVSB. Having said that I have enjoyed using my own ESV Study Bible and would recommend it.

No comments: