Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Wesley Study Bible (Review)

Here is an item worth your time and money.

The *New* Wesley Study Bible. This is an awesome tool to add to your repertoire of good Christian resources. The Wesley Study Bible has been out about a year and is well worth buying and reading. Top Old Testament and New Testament scholars (e.g. Ben Witherinton III) have contributed to the study notes. This Bible also systemizes Wesleyan theology through a series of Core Terms boxes that are scattered throughout the Bible and indexed in the back. So, here are some of my thoughts on this Bible. We will start with the negative and move to the positive.

- Would have been nice to have some cross-references. There are hardly any (occasionally one is thrown into the study notes).
- Would have been nice to have some kind of concordance in the back to use for looking up words.
- Kind of big and bulky. Could it be offered in a smaller size?
- Book and chapter headings are in the middle of the page so it makes it a little more difficult to find things quickly.
- Promotion for this Bible has been very minimal (at least in my denomination). Is there a fear that it won’t be accepted or that we aren’t sure of it? What's going on? When I was at General Assembly this past summer in Orlando the Nazarene bookstore in the convention center had several copies of the Wesley Study Bible out and they were drawing quite a crowd. When I came back the next day they were gone! These things sold like hotcakes at General Assembly!


- Content is awesome. The book introductions, study notes, and Wesleyan Core Term boxes are top quality. This Bible helps you understand Wesleyan theology and thinking and how it is exegeted from scripture and applied to life.
- The amount of scholars that contributed to this Bible is amazing! You can find a full list on the site. Here are the actual names.
- NRSV translation is a pretty trustworthy translation. It has been a lot easier to read then I initially thought it would be. At first I wasn’t too impressed with it, but it has grown on me. I have started to like it a bit more the more I dig in and read/study it. It uses “brothers and sisters” when writers use the word “brothers,” or “brethren”. It is not quite as user-friendly as the NLT, but it works.
- The references throughout the Bible to Wesley’s notes and various works are helpful.
- Easy to read font size and style.

It is great to have a study Bible from our heritage. I just saw the other day that Cokesbury will be offering this in a genuine leather special edition which is now available (I think it’s priced at $67). This would make for a great gift for a discipleship and senior adult pastor (hint hint :) ).


Mr. Guthrie said...

Perhaps the gender neutral language causes some to be hesitant to publicize it. I have heard of it before it came out and do plan to get one when I have more funds that will justify me in buying more books and Bibles. I may be wrong, but it appears the whole Wesleyan wing of the American Christian Church does not publisize much of anything. A group from various Wesleyan denominations met to consider the state of our branch of the Church. I have seen only one article concerning it in three years. It appears some members of the group published the groups findings in a book called "The Holiness Manifesto." Have you ever heartd of it?

Tim Sheets said...

I think I may have stumbled across that, but not because it was promoted.

Maybe you and I can start spreading the word about this awesome resource (The Wesley Study Bible) for Wesleyans!

T <><

Mr. Guthrie said...

Actually, this is not the first Wesleyan Study Bible. One came out in the 90's, but it never caught on for some reason. Probably lack of publicity.