I’m hearing from some pastors that they would find it helpful to have a list of talking points to answer a question that comes up from time-to-time, “Why should I buy The Lutheran Study Bible if I already own the Concordia Self-Study Bible?” For that matter, the question is valid regardless of what Study Bible a person might own. But since the Concordia Self-Study Bible has been the most widely used Study Bible in many Lutheran circles, here are a list of talking points you might find helpful, either for yourself, or to share with others. Feel free to pass this along. Oh, by the way, the very short answer to the question is: The CSSB is good, but TLSB is much gooder. That might not past muster in the old copy editing department, but you catch the drift!
Why should I buy The Lutheran Study Bible if I already own the Concordia Self-Study Bible?
The Lutheran Study Bible (TLSB) is the most complete Study Bible ever produced for Lutheran Christians. Making the decision to buy a copy of TLSB, when you are already own a copy of the Concordia Self-Study Bible (CSSB) can be a bit challenging, but there are many reasons why owning The Lutheran Study Bible makes good sense. It’s important to stress that the Concordia Self-Study Bible is not “bad”; on the contrary, the CSSB has served its purpose well for more than thirty years. The Lutheran Study Bible is simply a very significant improvement over the CSSB. Consider these impressive “upgrades.”
• TLSB was designed, researched, and developed from the ground-up by hundreds of contributors including more than 27 Bible scholars, as well as Lutheran professors, pastors, teachers, writers, and editors. The CSSB was not. Its notes were borrowed from a non-Lutheran publishing company, and were lightly edited to fit Lutheran doctrine.
• TLSB provides life application notes and prayers for every portion of the Scriptures. This guides readers toward a prayerful-meditative approach to Bible reading. The CSSB does not include personal application notes or devotional helps.
• TLSB is keenly focused on equipping readers to understand the proper distinction between Law and Gospel, and to encounter all of God’s Word as focused on Christ and our salvation in Christ. CSSB does not provide this kind of help in distinguishing Law and Gospel and lacks the same keen focus on Christ.
• TLSB articles and notes address contemporary issues, practical needs, and concerns. The content also explains trends and teachings that are contrary to God’s Word . It emphasizes true Biblical teaching and reaching out with the Gospel of Christ in all circumstances. CSSB does not include such real life, practical commentary and helpful guidance.
• TLSB provides significant quotes from many of the church’s greatest teachers, from the periods of the Early Church, the Medieval and the Reformation era, and modern times. The CSSB does not offer this insight from the rich conversation of the whole Church through the ages.
• TLSB uses a more accurate translation of the Bible, the English Standard Version and It thoroughly reflects the teachings of the Lutheran Church, based on the Bible, and offers practical tools that equip readers to understand and apply the Lutheran faith to real life, and to share faith with others. Unlike the CSSB, the TLSB explores the Biblical teachings on Holy Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and many other topics, in a much more thoroughly Lutheran manner than was possible to do with CSSB.
• CSSB is thirty years old and does not reflect any of the trends, teachings, research and findings of faithful scholarship in the past thirty years. For example, there is no mention of all the more recently archeological findings and discoveries that shed additional light on the meaning of Scripture.
• TLSB presents a warm, devotional, and pastoral tone and quality in its notes, which makes them easier to read and understand. CSSB uses a clinical, academic approach.
• TLSB is available in a larger print edition. The CSSB comes only in a regular smaller print edition.
• TLSB sets a new standard for thoroughness in biblical commentary and practical application, not only for Lutherans, but for all Christians. TLSB is the most thorough and in-depth study Bible available today.