The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible
By Brian Garrard
£25 from the Free Presbyterian Church Bookroom, Glasgow (see below for more details).
This is a truly remarkable edition of the King James Bible and worth every penny spent on purchasing a copy. It is packed full of an incredible amount of information, and this reviewer has not seen anything quite like it! There is no doubting the truth of Dr Joel Beeke’s claim that it is “thoroughly grounded in Reformation theology.” Where then to begin?
First, there are nearly 11 pages of preliminary notes about the Bible, and the King James Version in particular. These are followed by introductory articles to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the OT), the historical books, the poetry and wisdom books and the prophetic ones. At the end of the OT there is a useful 2-page explanation of the historical events between Malachi and Matthew.
Coming to the NT, there is a similar introduction to the Gospels and Acts followed by one for the epistles and separately for Revelation. These articles are extremely helpful in themselves, but there is much more. Every chapter of the Bible has a brief summary of its contents with notes on key and difficult words and verses (including archaic and less common expressions). At the end of each chapter there are thoughts for personal/family worship. The reviewer already knows of one person who is using the study Bible in their private devotions and finds it very beneficial.
All the above might seem to be quite sufficient for a Bible of this nature, but there are also 600 page-sides of other material. These include How to live as a Christian, Twenty centuries of Church history, various creeds, catechisms and confessions (9 in all), a concordance, a Bible reading plan, maps etc. In addition there are “In-Text articles” on the Doctrine of God (12), Creation (4), Sin (5), Christ (9), Salvation (15), the Church (7) and Last Things (5).
The General Editor of the Study Bible is Dr Joel R. Beeke with Michael P.V. Barrett (OT editor) and Gerald M. Bilkes (NT editor). Among the many contributors are the Bible League’s own Pooyan Mehrshahi, John Thackway and Malcolm H. Watts. Also Alan Macgregor whose book on modem versions of the Bible has been published by the League.
There are no cross references in the text of this Bible and some readers may be disappointed. However, this is compensated for by numerous references in the notes and so avoids overloading the text. It should be noted that in map 3 (the Exodus and Conquest of Canaan) the Hebrews are shown as going through what has been termed the “Sea of Reeds” north of the Great Bitter Lakes. This is a liberal view that does not believe God’s people went through the Red Sea as the Bible states. However, it is necessary to point out that RHB have used Zondervan maps, copyright 2008, and perhaps this ought to receive some attention when a new edition of the Study Bible is produced. To further clarify the matter the TBS Westminster Bible shows the Jews journeying through the Red Sea itself (see map 2 of this Bible) and thus conforming to Scripture. Even so these two points do not detract from the overall standard of this fine edition of the Bible.
A cowhide (black) edition is available at an approximate price of £120 and a “genuine leather” at about £50. The latter has a choice of 3 colours and these are charcoal, tan and black. Also, readers can obtain an imitation black leather binding for approximately £35-£40. Copies of these and the hardback can be purchased from the Free Presbyterian Church Bookroom, 133 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, G3 6LE, telephone 0141 332 1760. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and readers should contact them and not the Bible League. Alternatively, readers might like to try Amazon for other pricing possibilities.