Use with Caution

Helpful, however . . . .

Many Bibles have only the text of Scripture, or perhaps some maps and a brief concordance in the back. A study Bible, however, is designed to provide various helps—such as introductions to each book, charts, diagrams, and comments on the text. A good study Bible can prove quite useful.

Since these extras are provided by fallible human beings, we do well to exercise caution and not necessarily believe everything we read.

Discernment needed

I have a study Bible, generally quite good, that depicts the tabernacle with some of the furnishings in the wrong place.

If I were to point this out to the publisher I would likely get a cordial reply acknowledging the mistake and promising to correct it in the next edition.

But what if I were to call into question some of the charts that reflect a premillennial bias—or the faith-only position it takes. These are not the result of poor proof-reading but of erroneous theology.

Another study Bible, commenting on Acts 2:38, asserts that baptism is not for salvation. Someone might read this uncritically and accept it as true. But shall we believe what some scholar thinks Acts 2:38 means or what the verse actually says?

Study Bibles are useful to those who profit from all the helps they provide, but who can also detect editorial errors as well. As the old saying goes, “Take the wheat, leave the chaff.”

Some study Bibles are “chaffier” than others. The discerning reader should be able to tell the difference.

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