At church on Sunday, a friend leaned over and asked me what Bible I was using. It happened to be the ESV Study Bible; she asked because of the many (and long) footnotes, margin references, etc., but this is only one of the Bibles that I use on a regular basis.
In my experience, academic types tend to have strong opinions about their Bibles, especially on a few key points. Then again, maybe this is just me:
- Which translation (if any)? Bible translations come in many varieties, with several different translation philosophies governing their production. I’ve known people who use only “literal” or “word-for-word” translations because of a concern for accuracy, and I’ve known people who use only “loose” or “thought-for-thought” translations…because of their concern for accuracy. If you hang out with Biblical studies types, you’ll probably also know a few people who read directly from the Greek and/or Hebrew, even for their personal devotions.
- Good footnotes…? Being academically oriented, we like thorough citations and as much additional information as we can get. And a bogus interpretation or poor reference will turn us off instantly.
- …or no notes at all? Then again, because we know that study Bibles only scratch the surface (and maybe we own several commentary sets as well), maybe we want the source text and nothing else.
- How good is the paper and binding? We’re also the type to mark up our Bibles, especially if we had a strong InterVarsity foundation in manuscript study. The paper has to be good enough to take pencil marks and highlighting. The binding also has to last because we’re going to have the book open quite a bit (aren’t we?). Just this morning, I had a Bible fall apart in my hands because of cheap binding.
Currently, there are two Bibles that I use regularly. I call them “the Odd Couple.” (Okay – actually I don’t call them that, but it would make a good name for them.)Â [Read more…] about Which Bible do you use?