I Have a Confession to Make….

I recently examined several study bibles in the area (can’t say local) B&N and discovered I preferred the Saint Benedict Press’ study edition of the NABRE.

Why, you ask, when the HCSB Study Bible won the Christianity Today award, and is a fairly hefty volume of the kind bible geeks love?

New Testament Textual Criticism is why.  I compared the footnotes and reference notes in these several study bibles, and the NABRE was consistently the best in handling and explaining textual variants like the ending of Mark, the Woman Caught in Adultery, some of those pesky Western readings in Luke, and even some Dead Sea Scroll changes in the Old Testament.

The other study bibles either ignored the variants, barely noted them, or tried to explain them away in a completely nonsensical way (I’m looking at you NKJV Study Bible!).

Yes, it’s a small criteria to judge massive tomes, but with the growing explosion of interest in textual criticism (Copies of copies of copies of copies*) among skeptics, Muslims, and others, it’s something that needs to be better addressed than study bibles currently do.

Except of course, for the NET Bible, which hits about half the variants discussed in Metzger’s textual commentary and explains them simply enough (some variants are simply not simple,  and many have evidence that leaves the judgement as to the better reading more art than any preference for manuscripts).

More anon, as they say. And let’s keep my preference for a Roman Catholic study bible just between us, hmm? Otherwise I’ll have to turn in my SBC membership card, and I get free lunches with that card every so often.

* Copyright Bart Ehrman 1996


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