Another Reason to Hate Study Bibles

Another Reason to Hate Study Bibles

Thomas Nelson has release The American Patriot’s Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America*, which is a Bible so lousy in concept that one can dislike it without even bothering to read it.  (HT: Christ my righteousness.)  You’ve probably heard the cliche, “It’s a really bad book, that’s why I never read it?”  OK.  I’m caught.  But I’m still not going to read it.

I don’t really hate study Bibles.  I’ve reviewed some of them before.  They can provide valuable background information and ideas.  But in too many Bible classes I see students reading the footnotes in place of the Biblical text, and assuming that the notes are correct, rather than interacting with what the Bible text (you know, the part normally printed on the top half of the page) actually says.

But the Patriot’s Bible goes a step further by simply mating two sets of concepts.  It is really quite rare that American patriotic stories and symbols go directly with the passage of scripture one is reading.  In many cases, the text might just go quite contrary to these symbols.

But by putting information on a particular page of the Bible, one suggests (to the suggestible, at least) that the Bible in that particular place actually embraces what is contained in that extraneous information.  Unfortunately, I know people in churches who are just careless enough to believe this without actually checking.

The first rule of interpretation should be to actually read the words of the text you’re interpreting, even if only in translation.

* Note that I provide this link for information purposes only. I do not in any sense recommend buying the book to which the link leads you.

3 thoughts on “Another Reason to Hate Study Bibles

  1. “”But by putting information on a particular page of the Bible, one suggests (to the suggestible, at least) that the Bible in that particular place actually embraces what is contained in that extraneous information. ” – This is especially true of new believers who often need the extra help, but have not learned to distinguish interpretation from inspiration.

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