Introduction to Bibles
Introduction to Bibles
Choosing a good study bible is critical, but not necessarily that easy. There are so many translations and study editions on the market today it is easy to get confused as to whether you are making a wise choice, so here are some tips to help you: Choose the translation carefully – ensure that the translation is offering a reliable interpretation of the original texts. Throughout the course, the translation we will be using most often is the New International Version (NIV). A list of other available translations is available here.
A summary of potential strengths of the English Standard Version (ESV) is available in this free book by Kevin DeYoung.
- Look for thorough introductions to each book – this should tell you about the author, when the book was written, where it was written and why. It should also outline any key themes and give you a structure for the book.
- Look for detailed verse notes – these shouldn’t be focussed on providing inspirational thoughts for your devotional life, rather on helping you to understand the text. Are there key historical events that these verses relates to, cross references to other scriptures, explanation of important words; these will all help you to gain a deeper understanding of the passage.
- Reference tables & maps – good study bibles will have plenty of additional study aids such as maps of important areas, illustrations of key places (such as the temple, or city of Jerusalem), maps of the geographic area in question. Tables which lay out information to aid your understanding such as weights & measures or which parables feature in which gospels will also help enormously.
- Concordance & Indices – allowing you to quickly search for key themes or important words will aid your study & interpretation, a good study bible will include a good section for these (probably at the back).
The NIV Study Bible certainly ticks these boxes, which is why we are happy to recommend it as a good option for anyone studying at KST.
If you are looking to purchase a study Bible, both of the bibles referenced within the course (NIV Study Bible & ESV Study Bible) are available for around £24-£34 online.
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