The Chronological Study Bible,
Thomas Nelson Press, 2008
Family Christian Store
I bought the “Chronological Study Bible”, Thomas Nelson, 2008, for my recent Bible reading each day, and a friend and I are going through it in 120 Days including the notes.
This Bible is not really for a new or immature Christian. The notes are very valuable for historical, cultural, architectural, and even biblical explanations, BUT … the tenor of many notes is to give a “balanced” view for both theological Liberals and Conservatives (see Introduction pg xi, column B, paragraph 3). But despite this promise, many notes on OT texts do not present the ‘Conservative’ position that there are ‘supernatural’ explanations or fulfillments in the NT. A new believer needs these ‘conservative’ perspectives, and there are plenty of conservative books that can give such valuable background.
Many notes in the Chronological Study Bible hint that Yahweh is one of many gods in the “Holy Land”, and that there can be ‘natural’ explanations for many of the miracles in the text. In lots of places, the notes make it sound like the Bible ‘borrows’ from the surrounding religious practices, giving the impression that they weren’t really given directly to Israel by God Himself. But instead, we conservatives believe that culture ‘corrupts’ what God has given us, and not the reverse where it appears in the notes that the writers of the Bible ‘borrow’ extensively from the surrounding culture.
A good example of this subtlety is the Pg 622 Note: “The import of this statement is that Yahweh was one God among many deities.” Now, while this sentence in the note is technically accurate about the ‘culture’ of the world, in fact, God makes very clear that the other ‘deities’ are not true ‘Gods’, but are really ‘demons’. These ‘gods’ were created by the One True God to be ‘Angels’ (“ministering spirits”) but which are now “fallen angels” which deceive and oppress peoples and nations. They are “no gods”.
I’m glad that I bought this study Bible, and I’m enjoying it for the background information; but over and over I say to myself that ‘a young believer could get their faith injured’ from the ambiguous, ‘scholarly’ perspective of the notes. And that is just conclusion that one reviewer arrived at. USAToday Review: “this Bible should have a warning from the theologian general or something: ‘This bible may be harmful to your spiritual health.'”
Instead, for the growing Christian, I would recommend “The Reese Chronological Bible”, Bethany House which I used before. It has no study notes in the text, but is a very good chronological arrangement of the Scripture giving the grand sweep of God’s Hand in history and in the personal lives of His beloved Saints. For a ‘Study Bible’, I’d recommend a ‘conservative’ one such as MacArthur. These will present the scriptures in light of ‘faith’ and not ‘natural explanations’, however helpful for culture and other background.
In His Service,