What Is A Study Bible?


What is a Study Bible?

You already have a Bible; why would you need one or more Study Bibles? What is a Study Bible? Is it really so much different than a regular Bible? This article discusses the commonly asked questions about Study Bibles and why study Bibles are one of the most influential Bible study tools.

If you’re wondering what the difference between a Bible and a Study Bible is or what a good Study Bible is, then this is the article for you. If you are already using Study Bibles and know its value, check the article to see if we’ve covered all the main points; if not, tell us about your favorite feature.

What Is A Study Bible?

The purpose of a Study Bible is to guide you with richer and more detailed study notes; it doesn’t replace your own Bible study quiet time with the Lord. Study Bibles just makes it easier and simpler because scholars have already researched Biblical text and sources to compile extensive notes in a way that is easy to follow and understand.

A study Bible comes with explanatory notes on verses, maps, concordances, cross-references, commentaries, and other tools for a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. These study notes, written by Bible scholars, usually feature at the bottom of the page, clearly indicating which Bible verses the notes apply.

Study Bibles help believers study God’s Word in-depth, understand the text’s original meaning, how real people understood the context in ancient times, and how believers can apply it in their daily lives today. Study Bibles often include word definitions, character studies, book introductions, and study notes.

A team of Bible scholars wrote these explanatory notes in Study Bibles; many popular religious personalities also produced study Bibles. If you aren’t a follower of a specific religious personality, you may disagree with their subjective commentaries. A study Bible compiled by a group of evangelical scholars could be more objective and non-denominational than one person’s opinion.

The intention of Study Bibles varies, and the Bible tools in the study Bible are related to the purpose. For example, the Archeologocial Study Bible notes discuss archeological discoveries and information; the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible focuses on cultural practices; the Word Study Bible explains a specific word in-depth, and a study Bible for teens focuses on notes and commentaries for teens. Each study Bible has its focus. Different study Bibles complement each other in the same way as reading different Bible versions to understand the Bible passage better. 

What Is The Difference Between Regular Bibles And Study Bibles? 

Array Of Study Resources

Study Bibles are regular Bibles with explanatory notes, cross-references, historical information, references to the original languages, and other extra features to help believers with their Bible studies. The Study Bible can be double the size of a regular Bible because it contains the biblical text and the study tools like commentary notes, cross reference, overviews, charts, and maps.

Book Introductions

At the beginning of each Bible book, a Study Bible has an overview that introduces the Bible book to the reader. One Study Bible may have theme-related introductions while the other Study Bible may only have the standard features you would expect in a book introduction. Most book introductions will tell you who wrote the book, when and where the Bible stories in the book happened, the main focus and purpose, and the key verses of the book.

Bible Translations And Versions

A regular Bible is the Scriptures in a specific transaction and Bible version; the Bible is generally named according to the Bible version. English Bibles are available in various versions, for example, the KJV (King James Version), NASB (New American Standard Bible), NLT (New Living Translation), AMP (Amplified Bible), and so forth. These versions were originally translated from Hebrew or Greek into English. 

Likewise, Study Bibles come in different translations. You should find a Study Bible in your preferred translation and many study Bibles are available in more than one Bible version. We are privileged with the variety of Study Bible versions available in the English language.

Names Of Study Bibles

A study Bible is often named after the specific Bible version, for example, the NIV Study Bible, ESV Study Bible, NKJV Study Bible, or NASB Study Bible.

The best Study Bibles are written by a group of editors; the names of the general editors will give you an idea of the theological position you can expect from the particular Study Bible. Some Study Bibles are named after the main person responsible for all the notes, for example, John MacArthur Study Bible, Scofield Study Bible, and Ryrie Study Bible.

Specific themes and the purpose of the Study Bible are often described in the name of the Study Bible, for instance, Discipleship Bible, Life. Application Study Bible, Full Life Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible.

Other Features

  • Most Bibles have a concordance but a Study Bible concordance is more comprehensive than the concordance found in a regular Bible.
  • The Bible verses in a Study Bible are the same as in any other Bible. Most study Bibles, like many Bibles, have Jesus’ words in red.  
  • Study Bibles can have reading plans to read through the Bible in a year, three years, or chronological. Some have a little box next to the Scripture believers can check when they’ve read the passage.  
  • Some Study Bibles have study guides and discussion questions to help believers in additional study and help them apply Scripture in their daily lives. 

Who Needs A Study Bible? 

The short answer is that a Study Bible is helpful to anyone who wants to study Scripture. A more elaborate answer is, study Bibles are one of the most useful tools for

  • People looking for answers to difficult passages often find the explanations in Study Bibles
  • Believers who are searching for resources that help them understand and apply God’s Word
  • Small group discussions and when assisting in leading small groups in Bible study
  • Pastors preparing a sermon to preach
  • Individuals to use during in-depth personal study time
  • Visual learners appreciate the color photos, maps, graphs, and maps many Study Bibles contain
  • Christians who want to see the big picture will find the introduction to each Bible book helpful
  • Bible students who enjoy word studies and cross-referencing Scripture.

How To Choose The Right Study Bible?

The amount of information available in any Study Bible is amazing; it’s like reading the Bible, commentaries, biographical studies, and extensive study notes at the same time. But how do you know which Study Bible is the one for you?

The best Study Bible is the one that will motivate you to read the Word of God every day and inspire you to deep study the Bible with the Holy Spirit. A comprehensive study of a topic is only knowledge if the Holy Spirit doesn’t bring it to life. Studying the Bible is not just about Bible stories but understanding the message and applying the Word of God in your life.

Was the article helpful to you? Do you have a favorite Study Bible or do you use different Study Bibles? What kind of Study Bible do you prefer?


About Retha Groenewald

Retha Groenewald loves to study the Word of God. She is a Christian online writer for Christian-owned businesses, ministries, and professionals. Retha lives in beautiful South Africa.

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