Former Christian Bookstore Manager Comments on The Lutheran Study Bible and Other Study Bibles
I received this very interesting message from a former manager of a Christian bookstore, who has a lot of experience with many Study Bibles. I told him that his remarks were not “goofy” at all but spot-on. I think you will agree:
In the late 80′s and early 90′s when I was fresh out of Bible college that I worked in and then managed a Christian Bookstore. I was familiar with the Scofield Reference Bible (my parents bought me one in 1978), the Thompson Chain Reference, the Open Bible (even the Walk through the Bible edition), and the Ryrie Study Bible. I was there for the release of the NIV Study Bible–and gave them away as gifts. I saw the Disciple’s Study Bible appear from Holman. I was there at the 1990 Christian Retailers convention in Denver when one of the “scholars” who worked on the New Revised Standard Version openly stated that they “fixed” the wording in part of Hebrews where it quoted the LXX rather than the “actual Hebrew” and became completely, openly convinced that I would never, ever use that translation with a church group nor recommend it to anyone ever—You don’t correct theopneustos words, they correct you. I saw the Life Application Bible and the “English translation explosion” and for a few years reviewed every new Study Bible or translation that came out.
Then the Holy Spirit took what I had learned from my Baptist professors and helped me to understand that the Sacraments weren’t pretty pictures, but that God actually worked through them. And as I searched for where God would have me go, I found the complete works of a fellow called “Martin Luther” at the State Library of Michigan (of all places). I read and I read and I read. I found a man whom the Holy Spirit had changed through the Word of God and who thought as did I and I could sense the Holy Spirit using this text. No, not in some sort of pietistic “outside of scripture” way, but as God led Luther to use the scriptures, the Holy Spirit then worked with them on me.
All that is to lead up to this: I had almost the exact same experience as I read through the notes of The Lutheran Study Bible. It’s as if the commentators jumped back to an earlier era of Lutheranism. I say that because much of what I read outside of Luther or Chemnitz (even a lot of Walther) really didn’t thrill me. It either seemed like a response against the Zwinglian-Reformed or it was just an empty stating of Dogma rather than an interaction with the Risen Christ. But this new Lutheran Study Bible doesn’t leave me just intellectually stimulated; it goes deeper.
Most of the problems I now see with the Zwinglian-Reformed Study Bibles stem from the fact they focus either on a conservative cerebral exercise or they tend to drum up a false emotional-based sensation that focuses “on the horizontal” (Jesus and me—and really, it’s me) rather than leading us back to Christ and having the emotion that sometimes naturally flows come from interaction with the “vertical” by the Holy Spirit using the Word.
What I have experienced in just two days of using my new LSB is not only cerebral, but it’s deeper. It’s not only emotional, it’s emotion based on a relationship with Christ through His Word—it’s hard to explain without sounding goofy.
I guess all this is simply to say, “Thank you.” “Home Run.”
I bought one of these for my “classical dispensationalist” Father-in-law, but I think he’s really, really going to be blessed by it (even if he won’t like the chart in the beginning of the Revelation).
Randy Keyes Lansing, MI