March 27, 2017
Although I’d previously reviewed The MacArthur Study Bible, which Crossway kindly sent, I welcomed a review copy of the newer large print edition, also from Crossway.
With an 11-point font for the ESV text (English Standard Version) and 9-point type for the study notes, this edition is easy on the eyes, which aids comprehension as does the wealth of in-text maps and drawings that help readers to envision what’s being read.
In addition, Dr. John MacArthur provided book introductions and almost 25,000 notes with pertinent information and insights based on his 40 years of biblical studies. In the Introduction to Leviticus, for example, we read:
“The most profitable study in Leviticus is that which yields truth in the understanding of sin, guilt, substitutionary death, and atonement by focusing on features that are not explained or illustrated elsewhere in OT Scripture. Later OT authors, and especially NT writers, build on the basic understanding of these matters provided in Leviticus. The sacrificial features of Leviticus point to their ultimate, one-time fulfillment in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ.”
Then, a footnote to Leviticus 1:1-7:38 explains:
“This section provides laws pertaining to sacrifice. For the first time in Israel’s history, a well-defined set of sacrifices was given… to the people and the priests….”
However, a footnote for Hebrews 9:8 reminds us “The Levitical system did not provide any direct access into God’s presence for his people…. Nearness had to be provided by another way.”
That way, of course, was The Way of Christ Jesus, Whose “death was necessary for the fulfillment of the older covenant and the establishment of the new” (as stated in the footnote for Hebrews 9:13-22.)
In the back matter, an “Overview of Theology” discusses the uniqueness of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and the creation of mankind in God’s image but, corrupted by sin, in need of salvation, regeneration, and justification through the power of Christ and His righteousness.
The next article gives readers an “Index to Key Bible Doctrines” with major headings such as “The Holy Scriptures” and “God the Father” followed by numerous subheadings that lead you to Bible verses on those themes. For instance, under the heading “Last Things,” you’ll find scriptures on the antichrist, eternal death, final judgment, heaven, hell, resurrection from the dead, reward of believers, and second coming of Christ – the latter of which required two columns to list relevant verses.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for in that list of biblical doctrines, the topic has most likely been included in the concordance to follow.
Since this study edition may turn out to be an often-used favorite, the Smyth-sewn binding assures you of a book meant to last.
Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, poet-writer, reviewer, and lifelong student of the Bible
The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, hardback, large print
March 19, 2014
The hardback edition of The MacArthur Study Bible in the English Standard Version (ESV) published by Crossway provides readers with a sturdy, well-made Bible with profuse study notes written from a conservative Christian perspective, sometimes referred to as a fundamentalist view.
In studying the Bible for forty years, the editor and well-known pastor John MacArthur gained a thorough knowledge of the scriptures, which he shares in almost 25,000 footnotes in the study Bible that bears his name. Although I’m personally not fond of seeing the name of any individual on the face of any Bible, the footnotes show insights and a clear understanding of the times, culture, and spiritual environment.
For example, a footnote regarding the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew 5:1-7:29 says, in part: “Christ plumbed the depth of the law, showing that its true demands went far beyond the surface meaning of the words…and set a standard that is higher than the most diligent students of the law had heretofore realized.” In commenting on the individual verses included in that famous discourse, we read that the phrase “those who mourn” in Matthew 5:4 refers to “mourning over sin, the godly sorrow that produces repentance leading to salvation without regret.” And, in 5:5, the footnote regarding the meek says, “Gentleness or meekness is the opposite of being out of control. It is not weakness, but supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit.”
In addition to interesting comments in footnotes throughout this study edition, another feature I particularly liked was “The Progress of Revelation,” listing books of the Old and New Testaments in their most likely time sequence. For instance, Job probably preceded Genesis – not by the date of the subject matter, of course, but according to the time written. And, in the New Testament, the book of James was most likely written prior to the four gospels.
Another unique feature in this study edition is an “Introduction to the Prophets” with a chart showing, for example, that Obadiah ministered to the peoples of Edom around 850 to 840 B.C. Most students of the Bible know that the prophet Jonah reluctantly spoke to the people of Nineveh around 784 to 760 B.C., but as this timeline shows, Nahum did, too, over 100 years later.
In the back pages, additional study helps have been provided in the maps, concordance, list of “Key Bible Doctrines” by topics with relevant scriptural references, and an “Overview of Theology” written from a conservative Christian perspective. Apparently, these study aids by MacArthur can be found in other translations, too, but the review copy which Crossway kindly sent me uses the ESV, highly recommended for its accuracy and poetic flow.
© 2014, Mary Sayler, reviewer
The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, hardback