The Next Study Bible To Join My Collection

My daddy always encouraged me to collect things that I could later sell at a profit. My Study Bible collection provides dividends of a more valuable kind (at least to me)–the benefit of the biblical scholarship of real Captains Headknowledge whose exploits include fewer Mis-adventures than do mine. The returns include a deeper understanding of God through a deeper understanding of his inspired, inerrant and infallible Word.

Case in point, Leland Ryken. Dr. Ryken is the father of Dr. Phillip Ryken, the successor to James Montgomery Boice at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who is the late successor to the even more late Donald Gray Barnhouse. Read about Tenth’s august roll of influential pastors since its early years. Dr. Leland Ryken’s credentials include a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and he is professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois, where he has twice received the “teacher of the year” award. He served as Literary Chairman on the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, and authored a wonderful book entitled, The Word of God in English, in which he explains the thinking behind what the ESV crowd has begun calling “essentially literal” translation, as opposed to “literal” (formal equivalence) and “thought-for-thought” (dynamic equivalence). As you may perceive, it sounds like a happy medium, and I think it is definitely a worthwhile achievement.

Leland Ryken also contributed to a good book by a group of evangelical scholars on the Origin of the Bible. But there are yet many others of his books around to which I’ve yet to get. But coming this September, his study Bible will be released. The Literary Study Bible!

from the ESV Blog’s post on the Literary Study Bible:

About The Literary Study Bible

A literary study Bible—what a great idea! Who better to conceive of such a Bible and to provide the notes than Dr. Leland Ryken, author and editor of numerous books explaining the literary forms manifest in the Bible and encouraging us to pay special attention to these forms. The Literary Study Bible represents the culmination of his efforts to aid all who read, study, preach, and teach the Bible. Find your understanding of Scripture improved and your appreciation for its literary beauty heightened.

“Any piece of writing needs to be assimilated and interpreted in terms of the kind of writing that it is,” write the coeditors. “The Bible is a literary book in which theology and history are usually embodied in literary forms. Those forms include genres, the expression of human experience in concrete form, stylistic and rhetorical techniques, and artistry. . . . [The use of these forms] has been inspired by God and [they] need to be granted an importance in keeping with that inspiration.”

I believe a resource such as this will help the evangelical church regain much ground lost since the fundamentalist-modernist controversy, when Dispensational hermeneutics misinformed the last several generations of evangelicals that “literal” interpretation should mean something more akin to “anti-figurative interpretation.” J. Ligon Duncan writes, “Secondly, Dispensationalists speak in terms of a literal interpretation of the Bible. This is a major rhetorical thing that you hear in discussion with Dispensationalist friends. ‘We interpret the Bible literally.’ Of course, the implication being that you don’t. We interpret the Bible literally, you don’t. You do something else to it. Whereas Covenant Theologians would argue, ‘We interpret the Bible literally, but, we believe that the New Testament interprets the Old Testament.’ We believe that the New Testament is the hermeneutical manual for the Old Testament. And Dispensationalists are suspicious of that. When you say that the New Testament must interpret the Old Testament, Dispensationalists get a little bit edgy, because they feel you are about to spiritualize something that the Old Testament has said for them very clearly. So that is a fundamental difference. The Covenant Theologian believes the New Testament has the final word as the meaning of that passage, whereas the Dispensationalist tends to want to interpret the Old Testament and then go to the New Testament and attempt to harmonize the particular teaching of the New Testament with their previous interpretation of that Old Testament passage, rather than allowing the New Testament fundamental hermaneutical control.”

Historically, literal interpretation meant “literary.” In other words, interpret the Bible according to the common rules which apply to whichever kind of literature you are reading. If we can get this understanding corrected on a grassroots level, the Light of the Gospel would shine all the brighter.


10 responses

  1. John

    I received my ESV the other day, costing me two thirds the cost just to deliver it quickly!

    I am reading and reading and reading it.

    I do enjoy the read!

  2. Gage Browning | Reply

    Good stuff

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lux

  3. John D. Chitty | Reply


    Great! I personally have almost repeated my own mistake of moving from KJV-only, to ESV-only. But only out of sheer enthusiasm this time, rather than out of bad theology and textual criticism.


  4. John D. Chitty | Reply


    Thanks, Bro!

  5. My study Bible collection consists of:
    Scofield Study Bible KJV
    Ryrie Study Bible KJV
    MacArthur Study Bible NKJV and NASB
    The Archeology Study Bible NIV
    The Reformation Study Bible ESV
    The Defender’s Study Bible KJV
    Life Application Study Bible KJV

    I think that is it, I’ll check out that one you just mentioned

  6. John D. Chitty | Reply

    You know, a funny thing happened when I wrote this post. I intended to list my personal collection, but by the time I had finished writing, I had forgotten all about it. Let’s see how I do from memory.

    ESV Reformation Study Bible

    NIV Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (this is pretty cool, it’s like an expanded Reformation Study Bible, including the major reformed confessions and catechisms in the back, with many of the notes keyed to them!)

    NASB Study Bible

    KJV Scofield Study Bible

    KJV Defender’s Study Bible

    KJV New Open Bible (I learned to love Bible book outlines with this Bible!)

    NIV Disciple’s Study Bible

    NIV King James Study Bible (just kidding!)

    KJV Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible (can you pronounce “Spiros Zodhiates”?)

    1599 Geneva Bible

    KJV Ryrie Study Bible (It’s my wife’s but it lives on my shelf! Possession is 9/10ths of the law, they say!)

    Someday I’ll get around to obtaining MacArthur’s Study Bible . . . He’s pretty good for a Dispensational Baptist! BTW, did you know I got to visit his church once? Naturally, he was on sabbatical at the time, but it wasn’t a complete loss, Mark Dever was filling the magic pulpit that rises out of the floor!

    PS–Did you view the video at the link to which the phrase “august roll of influential pastors” takes you? It’s a great video!

  7. John D. Chitty | Reply

    PPS–My Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible suffered a pencil stab wound meant for me by my ex-wife who was a bit put out with me for reading too much, and not paying her enough attention. I deserved it, but God didn’t! Man! Right on the last page of Malachi! True story! No really!

  8. I’m getting ready to start an ESV only club or maybe NASB only club…no probably ESV Only because its easier to say ESV only vs. NASB only.

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lux

  9. John D. Chitty | Reply

    Sign me up, Coach!

    What kind of activities will our club participate in? Let’s see, first of all, reading aloud of the latest, greatest, newest, truest Word of God, the ESV! Then, perhaps, we could get on the ESV website and listen to the little radio ads of famous people who were paid to say why they use the ESV! Then we’d know just what august company we are in! Or perhaps we all just need to move the party here at the Misadventures of Captain Headknowledge over the the ESV Blog and meet over there electronically!

    Okay, now that I’ve talked myself out of a blog, I’ll pass the baton to you. What else should we do?

  10. We should definitely have rules… Some folks who dare to read the NIV or KJV, or even their Greek NT’s would and should not be allowed…this should be very exclusive.

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lux

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