If you frequent your local Christian bookstore you have probably seen about a hundred different study bibles shuffle on and off the shelves. Generally speaking there are two types of study bibles that make it onto the shelves. Both types of study bibles have good aspects and bad aspects to them. Not all study bibles are created equal. First, there are study bibles that focus mainly on explanation. These SB are extremely helpful when a person comes to a difficult passage and is seeking clarification of the meaning of the passage. These study bibles often bring up points regarding 1st century culture that may not be clear with a surface reading of the text or to the person who is not that acquainted with bible history. There are a couple problems that can occur with this type of study bible. First, when the reader is reading notes from the Old Testament, the commentator will often never bridge the gap to Christ. The commentator is being faithful to his job of explaining the meaning of the text, but he/she often neglects to explain it through ht he lens of the rest of scripture. This will result in a Christ-less reading of the text. Although the writer may be doing a great job of explaining the context and meaning, he may miss the purpose of the text (i.e., what does this Old Testament passage teach me about Jesus). The second problem with this type of study Bible is that it often lacks application. When the purpose of the SB is explanation, it can fail into the trap of never explaining, “what does this text mean to the reader?” The second type relates directly to this. The second type of SB is one which is devoted to application of the text.
The second type of SB often will even carry a title which emphasizes its focus on application (e.g., The Life Application Study Bible, Spirit Filled Life Study Bible, Life in the Spirit Study Bible, Life’s Essentials Study Bible, Mission of God Study Bible, etc.). Application SBs like Explanation SBs have benefits and problems also. The clear benefit to them is that they bridge the gap from 1stcentury to the 21st century and answer the question, “what does this text mean to me?” One problem with application SB is that they will often overstress the application to the neglect of the explanation of the text. A second problem with Application SBs is that they will stress the moral implications of the text to the absence of Christ. The result of this sort of application is a moralism that is void of the gospel. I say all this as a preface to why I LOVE the Gospel Transformation Bible.
The Gospel Transformation Bible is a very unique study bible. First this SB offers a great balance between application and explanation. I do not believe that there is a SB that compares in the realm of scholars explaining the text apart from the ESV Study Bible. The thing that I believe places this above this ESV Study Bible is that it bridges the gap to Christ, when explaining the Old Testament. The ESV Study Bible is an incredible resource, especially when it comes to offering clarification for difficult passages. The Gospel Transformation Bible offers explanation, but also explains how the text points to Christ. Next, the GTB is filled with gospel centered application. The GTB does call the reads to do more or be more and Jesus will be happy with you. The GTB tells the reader, “in light of what Christ has done for us in the gospel, we should….”. I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of this study bible for awhile. This SB has pulled together some incredible scholars from our day (e.g., Michael Horton, Graeme Goldsworthy, Jim Hamilton, Bryan Chapell, Bruce Ware, Ray Ortland Jr., and Daniel Doriani). This SB pulls together the “whose, who” in Christo-centric writers and preachers. Please go and purchase this book.
Publication Date: 2011
Binding Type: Hardback
Book Grade: A+