Recently we had the opportunity to ask Dr. Joel Beeke, of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
, a few questions about the soon to come KJV Reformation Study Bible
(due out in November). Dr. Beeke has been a regular speaker of the Alliance and is a good friend of the ministry. With his earnest promotion of the KJV, a study Bible out of his team is no surprise.
1. What was at the core of your motivation to create another study Bible?
I longed to see a KJV Study Bible that was Reformed, experiential, and useful for personal and family worship.
2. What are some of the major advances here that we can't find in other Bibles?
Study Bibles generally aim to instruct the mind with features such as introductions to the books of the Bible, notes on various verses, short articles on important doctrines and topics, a Bible reading plan, concordance, maps, etc. The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible has all of that, of course, but it also has more.
This Study Bible aims not just to instruct the mind, but also to feed the soul. The feature that especially excites me is the "thoughts for personal/family worship" for every chapter in the Bible. They draw out applications from that chapter and often include questions for meditation or discussion. They help readers to see how all the Bible points to Jesus Christ. I know that heads of households often find it difficult to lead family devotions. It is our prayer that God will use this Bible to equip them to lead their families in profitable devotions, one chapter at a time. This practical focus of the Study Bible is supplemented by a section of three dozen articles written by godly pastors on how to live the Christian life.
The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible
also aims to help contemporary Christians discover their roots in the historic church. The contributors of notes are men who value and study the old writings while keeping up with recent insights. Many of the theological articles are drawn from the Reformers and Puritans. In the back of the Bible are included twenty snapshots of church history through the centuries, and ancient creeds, confessions, and catechisms. This Study Bible springs from the conviction that the old paths are good paths, and still relevant for today.
3. Why have you chosen the King James Version for this Bible?
I certainly respect my brothers and sisters in Christ who use other translations of the Bible. However, I am convinced that the King James Version (or Authorized Version) remains the best choice for personal and pastoral use. It is the standard text of the English Bible, and has been so for centuries. It takes time to assess a translation, and sometimes new translations that are greeted with great enthusiasm are later found to have serious weaknesses.
The KJV is well-known as a faithful, word-for-word translation. This reflects the character of the fifty men who translated it, for they were not only able scholars in the original languages, but also God-fearing men of sound doctrine who loved the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Sometimes people make fun of the old terms "thee" and "thou," but in fact they communicate with greater clarity and precision because they identify the person addressed as singular, as opposed to the plural "ye" and "you"--which can be a key point in interpreting the text.
4. So the next logical question is, why do we need another KJV Study Bible?
There is no KJV Study Bible on the market whose notes were written from the consistently Reformed perspective. Furthermore, this Study Bible was written with a desire to serve people who are not familiar with the KJV. For this reason, the notes explain many words and phrases that are now strange to modern ears. And, as I mentioned before, many articles are drawn from the writings of men like John Calvin, John Owen, and the Dutch Further Reformation. This Study Bible passes on the legacy of the Reformation to its readers.
5. How hard was it to get John Calvin and John Owen to file their submissions?
Calvin took over 450 years to get it in. Owen was about a century faster, but his submission was much too long, so we had to abridge it!
6. Seriously, this must have been hard work, how long have you been working towards this?
It all started with a conversation I had with Michael Barrett over lunch about five years ago. We were delighted to discover that we both had the same dream of a Reformed KJV Study Bible. The notes we scribbled on a napkin proved to be the genesis of this project. Dr. Barrett is an experienced scholar in Hebrew and the Old Testament, so he took up the role of Old Testament editor. Gerald Bilkes, who has his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and has taught biblical studies for years at our seminary, became the New Testament editor. I served as the general editor. Paul Smalley provided invaluable help as my assistant. As contributors, the editors and another dozen men, have worked on preparing the study notes for two years. The last nine months have been an especially intense time for us as every note in the Bible passed through multiple layers of editorial review. The team also worked hard to prepare the many introductions and articles that fill the Study Bible. It has been one of the most difficult projects we have ever undertaken, but worth every bit of effort.
7. If I were to carry just one Bible, would you suggest this is it?
Yes, because in this one volume you would be carrying an excellent resource for personal devotions and family worship, short articles that you could use to talk with friends about the Lord and the Christian life, insights from great teachers of the Reformation and Puritans, the confessions and catechisms often used in Christian worship and study classes, and above all, the Word of God in a trustworthy, tried, and true translation.
Available November 1st.
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