At last! The updated Amplified Bible comes with over 5,000 footnotes in a new study edition from Zondervan, who kindly sent me a complimentary copy to review. What impressed me first, however, was the nice 10.5-point font in the body of text and an easy-to-read font for the footnotes even though this isn’t the large print edition, which is also available.
Despite the extra space needed by the use of larger, more readable fonts, the Amplified Study Bible demonstrates clear interest in the biblical text over anything scholars can say about it. I mention this because some study editions have gotten so carried away with commentary, they only allot a few hard-to-find verses per page, which seems worrisome to me – or, dare I say “arrogant”?
The Bible is the Word of God – not our words about it.
In addition, biblical words and their usage change from one century to the next and also from one language to another, which means the earliest Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible offered thoughts and expressions familiar to their original readers, but not necessarily to us. Furthermore, each language, including English, has various options for word substitutions as seen in synonyms and colloqualisms. These connotations of a word or the clearer context for an outdated phrase is what makes the Amplified Bible a unique translation of God’s Word.
Since I love to play with words and explore their fullest meanings, I’m delighted to have the Amplified Study Bible, which I plan to refer to often in my Bible studies and poetry writing. A lovely surprise, though, comes in the spiritual depths of the footnotes. For example, the note for Genesis “1:26 in Our image” says:
“Since God is spirit (Jn 4:24), there can be no ‘image’ or ‘likeness’ of Him in the normal sense of these words. The traditional view of this passage is that God’s image in man is in specific, moral, ethical, and intellectual abilities. A more recent view, based on possible interpretation of Hebrew grammar and the knowledge of the Middle East, interprets the phrase as meaning ‘Let us make man as our image.’ In ancient times an emperor might command statues of himself to be placed in remote parts of his empire. These symbols would declare that these areas were under his power and reign. So God placed humankind as living symbols of Himself on earth to represent His reign. This interpretation fits well with the command that follows – to reign over all that God has made.”
Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, reviewer and poet-author of PRAISE! published March 30, 2017 by Cladach Publishing
Amplified Study Bible, 10.5-point font, hardcover
Amplified Study Bible, large print, 12-point font, hardcover
April 8, 2017
April 13, 2013
Study Bibles bring insights and information we might not know without all those notes and extra articles, so I recommend having many! Sometimes, though, the study aids can become a distraction or, worse, get in the way of just reading. Also, most study editions weigh a lot, making the overall size and page length overwhelming to pick up, much less read.
In the 1980’s The Lockman Foundation came up with a unique solution – a translation to get nothing lost in translation. Instead of study notes, the Amplified Bible, published by Zondervan, includes the various choices of synonyms and other options that arise when translating one language into another. For example, look at these familiar verses from Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayers” in the Gospel of John.
“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I Am], He may give it to you,” John 15:16.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you],” John 16:33.
My favorite print edition of this translation came in top grain leather, which I can no longer find on Amazon, so I'm showing a bonded leather edition and hope it also places biblical references directly after the related verse. This might occur, for instance, when a verse mentions a king, and Amplified brackets the book, chapter, and verse where you can find the story of that king. Or, right after a prophetic word in the Hebrew scripture (Old Testament), you’ll find the New Testament reference that shows the fulfillment of that scripture or ones yet to be fulfilled. For example:
“One will say, I am the Lord’s; and another will call himself by the name of Jacob; and another will write [even brand or tattoo] upon his hand, I am the Lord’s, and surname himself by the [honorable] name of Israel. Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God. [Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13],” Isaiah 44:5-6.
©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler welcomes review copies of new translations, study editions, and children’s Bibles.
The Amplified Bible, bonded leather