to be honest I don’t really use them, that much.
In fact, I only have maybe two or three of them and rarely do I actually look at them. This is not to say they are not useful or beneficial to the church. They are very useful and very beneficial to the church – probably one of the most useful aspects of them are the introductions and the outlines.
I once embarked on an inductive study of 1 John and spent quite a bit of time just reading through it over and over noting key words and phrases and making notes on a chart and things. When I was done I decided to look up 1 John in my NIV Study Bible and to my amazement, the outline and thoughts I had come up with was virtually identical to the NIV notes. And this is probably how it should be. If you study a book in depth and come up with something completely different than what is commonly stated you should probably be worried and maybe go back over some things. My comparisons with the NIV Study Bible notes only confirmed I was going in the right direction – and perhaps this is really the biggest benefit of Study Bibles – they can help us be sure we’re going in the right direction with regards to how we are understanding the Bible text.
That aside, I have an MDiv (not that that makes me more special than anyone else), I have the tools needed to be able to write the notes most of the folks do who write the notes for the Study Bibles. Well, of course they are more learned than myself but don’t miss my point – for pastors and teachers, who should have the training, Study Bibles shouldn’t be their main resources.
Who are Study Bibles most helpful for? They are most helpful to those who don’t have the training and want a good resource for getting the needed guidance for properly understanding the biblical text.
But for those who have the training, I am not sure they should be used that often if at all.
What say you?