TalkAcademic Study Bible Recommendation

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Academic Study Bible Recommendation

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May 28, 2007, 12:13pm

Hello - I am looking for a recommendation for a good academic study Bible, NOT a personal one. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

Edited: May 28, 2007, 1:40pm

1. NASB MacArthur Study Bible
2. MacArthur Study Bible: The Revised and Updated Edition -- **IMPORTANT: this is in the NKJV, but has same notes as NASB, BUT do not get the older version of this NKJV MacArthur since it doesn't have a concordance and the topical index is hard to follow
3. Ryrie Study Bible NASB

There are others, but those are my favorites for academic study. I wrote detailed reviews of the first 2 on Amazon when they first came out not so long ago. (Of course there are niche Bibles, like interlinears and so on, but I doubt that's what you mean.)

Edited: May 29, 2007, 12:44pm

I use the New Oxford Annotated Bible, which has the New Resived Standard Version and the Apocrypha. The explanatory footnotes, introductions, essays, and maps (available in the hardback edition) are very good, especially if you are interested in the literary and historical aspects of the texts.

The most authoritative concordance is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which contians every word in the King James Version. It also provides cross-references to the Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament in case you're interested in following along in Hebrew.

But for everyday reference I use an online concordance that allows you to select the version you want to search.

Edited: Jun 23, 2007, 5:34am

I second the New Oxford Annotated Bible, although you may also wish to look at the HarperCollins Study Bible.

(The standard translation of academia is the Revised Standard Version or the New Revised Standard Version.)

I can't recommend the Archcheological Study Bible, it is too canted towards supporting a particular theological perspective. (Instead of simply letting the past be everything-that-was.)


Aug 28, 2007, 6:58pm

Hi fannyprice,

I highly recommend the Archaeological Study Bible. Kushana is right in that it is quite bias... though if we believe Gadamer, bias is not always that bad... if you're aware of this bias, it doesn't matter whether you agree with it or not, you can learn from it. Besides, the info is not all that bad... the cd is really good. Check it out in this webpage and make up your own mind. The New Oxford Annotated Bible is superb as well. I use both. I hope this is helpful.

Edited: Sep 2, 2007, 2:48am

Les francophones peuvent commmencer par Introduction à L'Ancien Testament, Labor & Fides sous la direction de Thomas Römer. Ils peuvent continuer avec Introduction au Nouveau Testament Testament sous la direction de Daniel Marguerat

Pour des études plus détaillées, ils pourront consulter les travaux de Marie-Emile Boismard, par exemple À l'aube du christianisme. Avant la naissance des dogmes ou, plus fouillés, les travaux sur Marc L'évangile de Marc. Sa préhistoire chez Gabalda.

On peut aussi lire de confiance Etienne Nodet

Edited: Sep 25, 2007, 6:54pm

Merci, Pharisienlibere.

Dear Learnonajourney,

I don't see any bias as a good thing.

I can't recommend the Archaeological Study Bible because it gives into bias on two points: it is both too eager to tie artifacts to the Bible and too eager to support a particular theology. These are not bias even specialist could always correct for, never mind ordinary readers. (Even a theologian does not always remember the fine points of the assertions of every sect, and even an archaeologist cannot be familiar with the facts and arguments about every place and object.) Due to the book's confirmation bias, the reader is left with the impression that discoveries of the past support a particular religion's reading of the Bible (and none other). This poorly serves the Bible (which has always been read in many different ways and on many levels) and the field of archaeology (which must often deal in possibilities and likelihoods rather than cold certainties.)

It would be a more valuable book (to far more readers) if it had left these uncertainties intact and prepared to reader study further, elsewhere, and make up their mind on their own -- whether they know about archaeology or not and whether they belong to a particular branch of Christianity or not. Instead of being a good reference book that anyone can use the Archaeological Study Bible is a more often a promotion for a particular theology (disguised as a general reference book). That's a pity: the field could use a good current general reference book.

(For why I see things this way, see Kushana's Bible Question Page.)

Sep 25, 2007, 10:32pm

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Sep 27, 2007, 10:15pm

Dear Kushana,

thank you for your kind, and informative, response. I don't wish to begin a controversy about it. Your comments are well accepted. I just wish to remind you that this Bible, like many of the niche-movement-thingy, is targeted to people of a particular religious bias. Your comments, all correct and not inflammatory in any way, can easily be applied to the very translation, the NIV. It is a biased translation, but it's targeted to people who share some, if not all, of these biases.

I'm not promoting the Archaeological Study Bible for religious reasons, even if I am religious myself. I simply think that its information is not all worthless. In fact, it's difficult to think of a book whose contents are entirely worthless.

I agree with EncompassedRunner; if you want to do serious, in depth study, this Bible is not nearly enough.

Kind regards,


Sep 27, 2007, 11:36pm

Well, as a Unitarian, I am happy with The New Interpreters Study Bible and The New Jerusalem Bible (the one with the full set of notes; there are some, like the Readers Version, without the scholarly attachments).

I have a lot of volumes of the Anchor Bible which I respect but is more than most folk want. Its fault is that each editor takes his own approach to the work which can leave you hanging on questions you have of the work.

I have looked a the New Interpreters Bible, the big cousin of the study bible. It looks good, but I haven't actually experienced it.


Oct 10, 2007, 6:41pm

I'm not trying to stir up controversy, either; the Archeological Study Bible very ably serves the audience it is intended for. (I just hope it will not discourage publishers who want to produce a similar volume from a wider perspective; I would enjoy one that took on the problems of Egyptian chronology and the many other lively argument in Ancient Near Eastern/Biblical Archaeology.)


Oct 12, 2007, 11:23am


Nov 18, 2007, 8:23pm

I imagine you may have already chosen a bible but I recommend the Harper Collins Study bible, Student edition with Apocrypha. Good intro material, some textual notes, and lots of footnotes. Overall it’s excellent.

Mar 13, 2008, 9:06am

How can ANY study bible with notes be free of bias? The only one that even CLAIMS as much is the Thompson Chain-Reference because they try to let the Bible interpret and verify itself through the links. I bought the Archaeological Study Bible this week (so I haven't had adequate time to form an opinion) at Family because it was 50% off, despite knowing that the lead contributor is an old-earth creationist, a position with which I happen to fervently disagree. But my interest in this particular volume comes not from its theology, or even archeology that "proves" the Bible true, but rather a perspective of the cultural/historical framework within which the texts were written.

May 8, 2008, 9:06pm

Hey, thanks for that post rdurick, if I'm going to spend so much time reading, I'd like to do a little research and your suggestions are very helpful.

On the other hand, I may cop out and just listen to a Bible during my commute. I've got access to The Holy Bible, New International Version. It was recorded by the International Bible Society. Does anyone know of its shortcomings, limitations? I really don't know anything about various bibles.

Jun 30, 2010, 4:47am

>7 Kushana: (Kushana)

Your attitude is the approach of a true scholar. There will always be bias, but recognizing it is a quantum leap to further insight. I recall my visit to the Kumran site and was intrigued. The tour guide's yap, however, was far from scholarly.

Besides, there's the question if there's any such thing as uninterpreted history.

Feb 14, 2012, 11:57pm

There are some critical Jewish Bibles as well. Recommended are The Jewish Study Bible and Etz Hayim. If you want a near literal translation of the Hebrew of the Torah into English you might look at The Five Books of Moses If you are looking for compact commentaries there is also How To Read The Jewish Bible

Feb 15, 2012, 6:59am

I think you almost have to decide whether you prefer a conservative or a critical approach. For the critical approach, the College Edition Oxford Annotated with the Apocrypha is hard to beat for just a bible with running commentary. The college edition though is the version with the most detail in the comments.

The Interpreter's Series is expensive and large - either the older set or the newer set.

For a conservative approach, the MacArthur Study Bible or the Student's NIV bible are probably good choices, again for just a bible with good notations.

I think though having a Jewish Bible is also important. I would add Commentary on the Torah by Richard Elliott Friedman to the excellent recommendation from lawecon.

Feb 15, 2012, 7:34am

And I very much agree with that recommendation.

Jul 10, 2017, 1:57pm

Check out the Dickson New Analytical Bible. Its an old publication going back to the thirties at least. Pretty much as nondenominational as one can get. This also means most of today's politics are not included, and that is a rarity now.

The New Analytical Bible published by John A. Dickson Publishing Company is a unique Bible in history and is similar to the Cambridge KJV/RV interlinear Bible. The text is the King James Version Bible. However the alternate translations made for the American Standard Version are presented with brackets in the text. The ASV and British Revised Version (RV) translations of the Bible started as a joint effort on both sides of the Atlantic to update the venerable King James (Authorized Version) of the Bible with new information available at the time. Eventually the translation effort diverged somewhat with the Revised Version being released first and the American Standard Version released shortly thereafter. Though different, both translations are very similar.

Dickson's New Analytical Bible offers more then just two translations (KJV/ASV). Included are introductions and chart outlines for each book, a dictionary, a concordance, and color maps. The whole volume is bound in supple Genuine Morocco Leather and is lined for flexibility. Finishing off this fine Bible is art-gilt (red under gold) page edges and a ribbon marker.

Dictionary of the Bible
Introduction to each Book
A Chart Outline of each Book
Analysis of the entire Bible
Treatment of Outstanding Facts of each Book
Contemporaneous History
A Harmony of the Gospels Specially Arranged
The Teaching of Jesus in Alphabetical order
A Concordance
A Comprehensive Index to Important Subjects, Persons, Places, and Thing
Bound in Flexible Genuine Morocco Leather
Art-Gilt Page Edges
Ribbon Marker
Approximate Cover Size: 10.13 x 6.83 x 2.00 inches
Bound usually in Moroccan Leather or genuine Leather (I have one of each and cannot tell the difference in touch, both are soft and limp)
Most have a full yapp

See eBay
See Amazon
See AbeBooks

Also feel free to check out my Facebook Group on the Dickson New Analytical Bible.