Bibles with Commentary or Bibles Without
There is a good reason to discuss the choice of Bibles with Commentary or Bibles Without commentaries. The primary reason is that sometimes the commentary or study notes are wrong. Dissimilar theologians have differing opinions. These study notes follow the research, worldview, denomination, and the personal view of scholars. In the next few lines, I’ll share my perspective on Bibles with Commentary verses Bibles Without.
Bibles with Commentary or Bibles Without – With Commentaries
I love my first study Bible. It is a Ryrie Study Bible, and yes, I still have it. I purchased it in 1982 in Orlando, FL, at a Bible Bookstore. I loved that Bible so much, my wife bought me a new one in 2005. But one of my all-time favorite errors written by the academic Dr. Charles Ryrie is in his commentary concerning Job 40:15-20. Job is describing an animal that sounds like a sauropod dinosaur, like an Apatosaurus. But Dr. Ryrie shares this explanation of Job’s description. Ryrie 1978, “Job is invited to consider the Behemoth, usually considered to be the hippopotamus.” The description that Job provides sounds nothing like a hippo. Most of Dr. Ryrie’s comments are spot-on, but in this case, he failed. So, you cannot completely trust commentary. It is not scripture! So, be careful what you believe. Only scripture can be trusted completely.
Bibles with Commentary or Bibles Without – Without Commentaries
I also love my leather-bound Gideon Bible that I purchased from The Gideons International. It has absolutely no commentaries. It has a suggested reading section in front to direct you to scriptures. It also includes John 3:16 in 27 different languages. But it provides no commentary. So, it is the Bible I carry to church with me every Sunday. Because I have found the remarks to be distracting during the sermon. Commentaries are excellent for personal Bible study and Bible study groups, but during sermons, I consider commentaries distracting. I’m supposed to be listening to the preacher not reading the critiques. I’ve tried it both ways – Taking a Bible with and without commentaries, and for a sermon, I have personally found I listen better without the distraction of commentaries. But that’s just my opinion.
Each Type of Bible Has Its Place
Bibles with Commentary or Bibles Without each have their place. I just thank God that I live in the USA. Because in some countries, you get imprisoned for just having a Bible in your possession. Others cannot afford a Bible. But in the good ole USA, I have the opportunity to own multiple Bibles of various types. I personally own 4 Bibles, and my wife owns several more. But when I study the Bible, I want to get the broadest exposure to the Word of God as possible, so that I can learn what God would have me do. As well as how I can help others.
But most importantly, how to obey God and seek His will. If you only have one Bible, use it! If you have multiple Bibles, determine which Bible works best for you in each situation. But always read and study God’s precious Word.
Just remember, trust the scriptures completely but remain a skeptic concerning Bible commentary. Most Bible commentaries or study notes are correct, but some are wrong. You must know the full counsel of God, the entire Bible, to know the truth.
Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”