The Superstar Preacher Bible: a recommended article

Here is an article that raises some very important questions:

Some of my own thoughts regarding this issue:

I remember when I bought a Dake Study Bible. They were quite popular with a few people I knew, but were very hard to obtain. One day I found one and bought it, despite the significant cost and I spent a lot of time reading it. Unfortunately it wasn’t the bible part that I read. I spent more time reading Dake’s notes. But that wasn’t surprising considering there was much more written in the columns and pages of notes than in the columns of scripture.

How easy it becomes to avoid reading scripture while reading a study bible!


15 thoughts on “The Superstar Preacher Bible: a recommended article

  1. “How easy it becomes to avoid reading scripture while reading a study bible !”

    Amen ! And as you note, how easy to believe opening our hearts to the physically-equivalent “traditions of men” on the bible’s page are equivalent to receiving God’s word !

  2. One of the “traditions” that many have fallen for is that the “plain ol’ Bible” is too hard for the average church goer to understand – and that they need a specially trained and ordained “ministers” to do that for them.

    When I took the time to start reading scripture for myself, and when I heeded Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit being our teacher, I found that scripture wasn’t so difficult after all.

    Of course, we’ll often read things that we don’t understand, but I have learned to put those things aside and NOT go searching for answers in commentaries etc. Instead I trust that I’ll be given understanding when I’m ready for it. And I have found that DOES happen.

    Study bibles are a more convenient (and more problematical) means of making that “search for answers in commentaries”. It is more problematical because the notes would represent the interpretations of one person, as in the case of MacArthur’s, or a particular theological outlook depending on the background of the editorial team. Those bibles are also likely to cut into our own consideration of the word – instead of prayerfully meditating on it for ourselves, it’s much more convenient to look at and rely upon the notes.

  3. I’d probably never use a “study Bible” although I must say that reading multiple commentaries gives me an understanding about how others are interpreting the text. It’s not that commentaries are all useless, it’s just that we need to learn discernment and not take them as automatically being the correct interpretations.

  4. Commentaries could be valuable afterwards to test your own conclusions. They may help to confirm those conclusions, or show their weaknesses.

    I think the key to what you say is the word “multiple” – avoiding the temptation to stick to a favourite: which is one of the problems with study bibles. They generally present one viewpoint alongside the text and the difference between scriptural content and commentary can easily be blurred, after all, it’s all in the same bible.

  5. Maybe the pages are hollowed out to provide a hiding place for a flask of whisky.
    Sadly with the condition of the church today that could be closer to the truth than my attempted humour was intended to be.

  6. I guess I don’t really see the problem. I have read a couple study bible’s notes entirely, some of them were massively ridiculous and others were helpful. In this day of skepticism and disrespect for authority, I think there are few people who would hold the notes to be equal with Scripture. Anyone who would, probably already holds the author of the notes in too high regard to begin with.

    That being said, I would never write a study Bible!

  7. When I was shopping, in addition to the Superstar Preacher Bibles there were what I’d call the “boutique” Bibles. Breadforthebride’s “Spirit Filled Bible” might be such. There were Bibles especially for women, sports fans. teen-agers, etc. I must admit I didn’t peruse each one to see how they were specific to that “niche market.”

    The one that seemed completely WRONG on the face of it was “The Patriot’s Bible,” with an American flag across the cover. No doubt it’s a best-seller.

    In Jesus, Steve

  8. Hi. Tim and all:

    I might mention, I was pleased to see this morning that the only other Christian blog I read (“Following Judah’s Lion”) carried a blog warning against what I called “superstar preacher” versions of the Bible: posted the same day I blogged about it !!

    It seems God’s confirmation of this warning, and Rick’s take is well worth reading: see “Wicked Idolatry” at

    Blessings to all here: our God reigns !

    In Jesus, Steve

  9. It’s not so much a matter of holding the notes as being equal with scripture – it’s more of a blurring of the understanding. Did I get that idea from scripture itself or did I get it from the notes?

    Or we have someone telling us what scripture means and many people love to have someone else do that for them.

  10. I have a particular aversion to that mix of patriotism and religion.
    I think it was last year that I heard a “Christian” christmas song in which the hearers were asked to pray for the members of the military who were dying “for our freedom”.

  11. Hi Steve, I haven’t been to that blog for a while*, but its one I have a lot of respect for.

    *[I’ve had on and off problems accessing blogspot sites, which is one reason I moved my blog to wordpress]

  12. AMEN to that aversion, brother ! In the States, the Church is awash in patriotic-military Christianity (or “Christianity” ?).

    I think there’s a case to be made for Christian patriotism: that if “patriotism” is desiring the best for one’s country, there’s no deeper patriotism than desiring your country should know and follow Christ. But the “Christian patriotism” we see always seems to put “my country” in first position.

    In Jesus, Steve

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