I have been waiting for this one for years. The Reformation Study Bible (2015) has recently been released.
There are dozens of really good study Bibles available in English today. But I always advise people to consider reading in different translations if at all possible to get various perspectives. The problem, of course, is that Bibles can get expensive, especially study Bibles.
However, these days one of the benefits of Internet technology is the access to great online resources, such as BibleGateway.com. BibleGateway.com is where you can read passages of Scripture in multiple translations. Not only that, but BibleGateway.com has a few helpful commentaries. But the big news this week is that BibleGateway.com has added many of the study notes for the Reformation Study Bible (2015) to its online access. Essentially, you get the notes from this study Bible for free online! But you might want to consider the paper version as it has more material in it.
The story behind the Reformation Study Bible is that it is the product of a team of scholars led by Bible teacher R.C. Sproul, the leader of Ligonier Ministries and the Renewing Your Mind radio program. R.C. Sproul was first inspired by the original 1560 Geneva Bible, which was essentially the great English translation that mentored multiple generations of English Puritans in transforming 16th and 17th century Britain and the American Colonies, only to be eclipsed by the famous King James Version of the Bible. What set the Geneva Bible apart from other Bibles is that it had copious notes explaining the Bible text for the non-Bible scholar reader. The Reformation Study Bible carries on with that tradition for contemporary English readers.
The Reformation Study Bible was originally done with the New International Version (NIV) in 1988, but when the English Standard Version (ESV) became available, a slimmed down version of the Reformation Study Bible came out for the ESV in 2005. The 2015 is a greatly expanded resource with tons more material than the 2005 version.
Nevertheless, there are some things to keep in mind with the Reformation Study Bible. Because of its decidedly “classical” Reformed theological bent, readers who hold to more Arminian and Wesleyan perspectives might be put off by some of the theological biases. Furthermore, when it comes to issues dealing with the “End Times” and the question of the relationship between Israel and the church, the Reformation Study Bible will prove to be a challenge to readers from more dispensationalist backgrounds. However, when I reviewed the notes for some of the more controversial passages of the Bible, I was pleased that the editors showed a fairly generous view towards different theological positions while clearly stating their own.
Here is a short one-minute video promo: