Against Study Bibles

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

The brush is a bit too broad there. We could say of lots of thing that they "do not meet a need," but can they help?

On the other hand, there are too many study Bibles and they've definitely become a big business. I'm just not ready to say the genre has no value.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I like his ignorant poke at dispensationalism and the Scofield Study Bible:

One of the strangest aspects of American Christian culture to a foreigner like myself is the popularity of dispensationalism.  There are probably many reasons for the large numbers of supporters this system commands in the New World but high among them is surely the role of the Scofield Reference Bible.

Like so many otherwise informed and intelligent men, he seems to believe that dispensationalists think the Scofield Study Bible functions as a defacto confession of faith. Sure it does, and Clarence Larkin's charts are infallible, too . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ron Bean's picture

There are still fundamentalists who adhere to the Scofield style of dispensationalism. 

At least the John R. Rice Reference Bible didn't catch on.

The debate over reference Bibles may be as old as the Geneva Bible.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

The first Bible I got as a new Christian--a gift from a friend who saw me struggling with an RSV with no notes and a dense text--was at first a huge blessing as the notes explained a lot about the culture and such.  As i grew in Christ and obtained some other references, I actually started blacking out the notes because I found my eyes always going to the "bling" (the notes) and not to the text.

What really gives me the heebie-jeebies, though, is a study Bible with the name of a pastor attached.  By what logic do we get to do this?  In a manner of speaking, it's our Magisterium--a Papacy in a church that officially claims Sola Scriptura.  Yes, you need some identification of the theological "bent" of the notes (hopefully footnotes that are in a smaller font), but let's leave people's names off of it.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Dan Miller's picture

TylerR wrote:
...he seems to believe that dispensationalists think the Scofield Study Bible functions as a defacto confession of faith...
If study bible notes ought to be a used as a source and help to understand the text, then I would say the study bible functions for him as a de jure confession of faith.

If, without regard for whether the notes ought to be a source and help to understanding, he does read the study bible notes and uses them to understand the text, then those notes are a de facto confession of faith. They are functioning that way in fact.

I say this not to be picky, but because I've been thinking a lot about de jure, de facto lately.

Bert Perry's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

 

TylerR wrote:

...he seems to believe that dispensationalists think the Scofield Study Bible functions as a defacto confession of faith...

If study bible notes ought to be a used as a source and help to understand the text, then I would say the study bible functions for him as a de jure confession of faith.

 

If, without regard for whether the notes ought to be a source and help to understanding, he does read the study bible notes and uses them to understand the text, then those notes are a de facto confession of faith. They are functioning that way in fact.

I say this not to be picky, but because I've been thinking a lot about de jure, de facto lately.

Sorry, but when you said that you're getting more into legal terms like this, I figured I had to tease you about possibly being in some legal process.  (and my apologies and condolences if my joke is closer to reality than it ought to be)

Seriously, point well taken--I'd draw a line between de facto and de jure (perhaps de credo?) where the endorsement of a particular study Bible around when that, or a clear reference to it, makes its way into a church constitution or other statement of faith.  And I'd perhaps differentiate it as de facto vs. de credo,  or something like that.  

And for the non-Latin lovers out there, de facto means it's unofficial but nevertheless there, and de jure means that what you're talking about is "of the law", or required by law or code.  And de credo would mean "according to belief" or "according to creed".  Either distinction differentiates between unofficial and official positions.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Greg Long's picture

Love a lot of what Trueman writes, but this one was all over the place. Not sure if it was supposed to be completely satire, or he was actually arguing against the use of any kind of study Bible (with a dash of humor sprinkled in). And if he was arguing against study Bibles, his argument was...they foster dispensationalism? (But what about the Reformation Study Bible?) They make money for publishing companies? (But so do Bibles!) There's too many of them? (Just like blogs?) There are too many that are "branded" with the name of a popular evangelical leader/pastor? (But isn't the same true for books in general?)

And is a Presbyterian really arguing against the Geneva Bible study notes and hinting that King James was right to authorize a new translation simply because he wanted a Bible without the seditious Geneva Bible notes?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

josh p's picture

Two men I love to read. Bauder's response was great. Especially loved the part about the Amish Romance. If you listen to The Mortification of Spin podcast then you know it comes up from time to time.

Mike Mann's picture

I was waiting for ( Carl's on the left mine on the right ) designation. You didn't disappoint.  emoji to indicate humor here.

DavidO's picture

What Trueman is suggesting is that dispensationalism might not have taken the hold it has in the US were one of its primary articulations not printed alongside the actual words of God.  That the juxtaposition lent the new system undue credibility.  

Rob Fall's picture

the original Schofield was published by Oxford University Press.  So, it had seemingly very good academic credentials.  Then, many Believers didn't follow the late B. Myron Cedarholm's advice:

I love my Schofield Bible.  It fits nicely in my hand and is easy to read in the pulpit.  However, you need to remember to read your Bibles from the top down and not from the bottom up.

Brother Cedarholm had issues with Schofield's Universial Invisable Church.
 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..