Why Buy a Bible with No Study Notes?

Are you in the market for a new Bible? If so, you might want to sit down. There are a lot of options out there. You could go with the popular ESV Study Bible or the Reformation Study Bible or the Literary Study Bible or the MacArthur Study Bible (although, I think he just wrote the notes) or the Apologetics Study Bible or the Woman’s Bible or the One Year Bible or Amplified Bible or the classic Ryrie Study Bible or the Journaling Bible or the Oswald Chambers Devotional Bible or the Outreach Bible or the Life Discovery Bible or the Life Application Study Bible or the Key Word Study Bible. And that’s just some of the adult Bibles out there. I didn’t even list the ones they make for students and kids.

It’s amazing the variety of Bibles available for purchase. I recently purchased a plain old ESV Classic Reference Bible. No frills, no study notes, just the biblical text. My choice was more than a mere avoidance of the seemingly impossible choices created by the above. It was strategic.

One of the goals of my life is to immerse myself in the Bible as much as possible. I want to read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, live it and teach it to others. I’ve been using Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System for a couple years now. I love that the Horner’s plan balances my daily intake of the Bible. It’s forgiving if you miss a couple days (or weeks) and it let’s you read some sections more frequently.

For example, I read through Proverbs and Acts once every month, the Gospels and the rest of the NT about four times a year, the wisdom literature and Psalms twice and the historical/prophetic books at least once. In each of these sections, I read just a chapter a day. I agree all Scripture is beneficial, but there are some sections I want to read more frequently. Horner’s plan let’s me customize what I really want to focus on at given times throughout my life.

That being said, I’ve noticed my study bibles are not good for this plan. They are big and bulky. They take up lots of space with introductions, articles, illustrations and notes. These are all great for study but slow me down when I’m reading. I just want the text when I’m reading. The ESV Classic Reference Bible is perfect for this.

I’ve also decided this will be a kinda legacy Bible for me. I’m going to track how many times I read through it over the next years and, Lord willing, one day pass it on to a child or grandchild. I want them to know that I loved God’s Word and read it a lot. I want to show it to them and tell them this book has been God’s regular communication into my life. I want it to lay open on my desk in the hour of my death, worn out from years and years of use, but dust free.

I admit if felt weird buying a Bible without all the bells and whistles, but sometimes to see the Bible’s bells and whistles, you have to ignore some other bells and whistles. For my daily reading, just give me the text!

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4 Responses to Why Buy a Bible with No Study Notes?

  1. noahsarahdad says:

    Great post! I agree wholeheartedly; the only difference is that my preferred translation for reading is the NLT. Hope you don’t think me a heretic. 🙂 P.S. I love my Keurig too!

  2. Pingback: Sola Scriptura from another angle | WiseReader

  3. Cheryl says:

    I’m trying to find an NIV Bible with only reference maps and cross-reference; I don’t even want any section headings. Can you recommend one? Thanks!

  4. I most definitely resonate with the feeling of a study Bible slowing down reading!

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