Friday, January 30, 2009

Coming Soon: The Lutheran Study Bible

My e-Sword program has for several years now included a copy of the English Standard Version translation (ESV) of the Bible, to which I make frequent reference. If you haven’t noticed, the ESV has rapidly become the unofficial “official” translation of the LCMS. It’s used in The Lutheran Service Book and The Treasury of Daily Prayer. It’s probably used in your church bulletin, and the Small Catechism is now available in an ESV version. The ESV is more faithful to the text of the original languages, and doesn’t carry the hint of Reformed theology that a translation like the NIV contains.

So why don’t I have a bound version of the ESV you ask? Because I’m waiting for the release of the Concordia Publishing House version of the ESV, called The Lutheran Study Bible, which is due to be released in October of 2009.

The Lutheran Study Bible is not just an ESV version of the old Concordia Self-Study Bible, it’s new from the ground up. And it’s a pan-Lutheran project, with Lutheran theologians and pastors from over twenty Lutheran church bodies working on the project.

Lutherans have always viewed reading the Bible as a devotional act, and I like how that belief is reflected in the structure of The Lutheran Study Bible, which includes notes which explain Law and Gospel in the particular passage, and “provide a petition or praise to guide the reader into prayer.” There are also quotes from the Lutheran Confessions, Luther, and the Small Catechism, as well as quotes from early church fathers, and other Medieval and Reformation era Christian writers to add depth.

Starting in February, you can pre-order The Lutheran Study Bible, which I’d recommend, since it will save you dollars, and bring out the richness of the Scriptures in a way that only Lutheran theology can do. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 ESV

For further info:

The official TLSB site at CPH

The Lutheran Study Bible group on Facebook, which currently has 1,469 members. Join the party!

Pastor Paul McCain’s sneak preview of TLSB, complete with screenshots

Finally, Pastor McCain’s review of that “other” ESV Bible that was recently released, the ESV Study Bible. This study Bible contains notes of a Reformed Calvinist-Zwinglian variety. I mention it for two reasons: 1) So you don’t get confused and buy this one by mistake, and 2) To recommend that you read Pastor McCain’s excellent review of it. Once you’ve read the review, you’ll have a fuller appreciation of how important the notes in a study Bible can be, and why you’ll want to run out and grab a copy of TLSB post-haste.