Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 006:2 (Winter 1997)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Kenneth Alan Daughters

The MacArthur Study Bible. Edited by John F. MacArthur, Jr. Nashville: Word Bibles, 1997. 2,200 pages. Hardcover, $39.99.

Because of the plethora of study Bibles, a new release seldom is cause for notice. The new MacArthur Study Bible is worth noting. Its claim to fame is its generous supply of explanatory and interpretive notes that help the reader interpret what he is reading and understand its theological significance. Many of the recent releases of study Bibles focus on helping the reader find devotional application to meet his felt needs. This study Bible concentrates on biblical interpretation, and does so in greater depth than any other study Bible of which I am aware.

If you are looking for more help in interpreting the text, this study Bible is hard to beat. There are so many notes, and they are so extensive that they almost reach commentary proportion. As a one-volume guide to the Bible, there are few other ways to carry with you so much helpful information. On the other hand, this is the work largely of only one commentator, John MacArthur, and its strengths and weaknesses mirror his teaching style. Many of the other study Bibles on the market are a product of a team of editors seeking to reach a variety of readers from a number of different backgrounds. The NIV Study Bible is like that. It contains a wealth of information, but seeks to offend no one by remaining quiet on controversial issues. One author also writes the Ryrie Study Bible, but Ryrie’s style is different from MacArthur’s. Both authors have a personal theology that they clearly teach through the notes, but Ryrie will remain silent or at least show some reservation when the proper interpretation is up for debate. MacArthur is very sure of himself and his interpretation, even to the point of being opinionated. What he writes is very interesting and may be the correct interpretation, but he often takes stands on issues that are so debatable that one would wish he would at least mention that many take a different view.

MacArthur writes as a consistent Calvinist. “Christ actually paid the penalty only for those who would repent and believe” (note on 1 John 2:2). He writes as one who believes that the gospel message includes a call to discipleship under the Lordship of Christ. “Saving faith consists of three elements: 1) mental: the mind understanding the gospel and the truth about Christ; 2) emotional: one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joy over God’s mercy and grace; and 3) volitional: the sinner submits his will to Christ and trust in Him alone as the h...

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