A Bible Every Christian Should Own: The Orthodox Study Bible

The $5,000.00 worth of bible study and reference books on my library shelf gives my condition away to most people.  But since you can’t see them, let me state the problem:  I love Bible reference books!  Recently, I added a not-so-well-known study bible to my collection that I think every follower of Christ would benefit from having:  The Orthodox Study Bible.

Here’s Why I Like It:

The Study Notes are taken from the Church Fathers of the early church.

If your library is similar to mine, most of your books have The Reformation as a central reference point.  Believe it or not, there is 1500 years of church history prior to this.  Most of our study bibles and reference works do not take much of that history into account.  I find it incredibly enriching to read a passage of scripture and see how the Fathers understood the passage.  This book allows me to do that without going to another book.  That is great!  The Orthodox Study Bible accomplishes this by giving specific attention to the biblical interpretation of the fathers of the ancient and undivided Church, and to the consensus of the Seven ecumenical or Church-wide Councils of Christendom, held from the 4th to the 8th centuries.  This alone makes the book well worth the $30-40 you will spend on it.

The Notes and Commentary Emphasise the Major Themes of the Faith.

The Trinity, The Incarnation, the Church, and God’s call to His people to live righteous and holy lives in Christ.  It sticks to these key areas and what it does, it does well.

The Old Testament is based on the Septuagint.

This is the only Old Testament I own that is!  I am a big advocate of reading the Bible in different translations because of the clarity it brings.  I have been rewarded by the time I have spent reading out of this one.  I think you will be too.  It does have the books that the Protestant Church rejects.  I am actually glad it does.  The early church accepted them as scripture, The Catholic and Orthodox churches continue to accept them.  We reject them, primarily because Martin Luther decided to eliminate them.  I know the arguments for this, but I still think they are worth reading.  This is the only Bible I own that also has the Apocrypha in it.  The New Testament is the New King James.

It Includes Rich Devotional Material.

I don’t come from a liturgical background and so I am unfamiliar with many of its aspects.  Over the years, I have grown to appreciate it more.  This book includes the Orthodox Lectionary, morning and evening prayers and a host of devotional material.  Again, I have been enriched utilizing them

The Orthodox Study Bible is unique, there is no other Bible like this in existence.  It is historical, helping modern followers of Christ connect with our brothers and sisters of the ancient past.  On top of all this, the Bible is very, very well done.   For these and other reasons, this is a great book to add to your library. It is well worth the money. If you are hesitant, do what I did:  check it out from your local library for free.  I was sold from the moment I held it in my hand!

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the serious issues that exist within the American Evangelical church. It is a place for like-minded people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on March 24, 2012, in Christianity, Early Church History, The Christian Life, Theology, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’ve been Thinking about getting that bible. thanks for the post. this is FIRE!!

  2. My RSV NT study Bible also has citations from the Early Church Fathers which I find really helpful. However, when I want more detailed commentary by the Early Church Fathers on the Gospels I always go to the Catena Aurea:

    http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php

    Thank you St. Thomas Aquinas for being so freakishness smart!

    http://restlesspilgrim.net/blog/2011/10/03/catena-aurea/

    • David,

      Thanks for providing that link! What a TREMENDOUS resource that I did not know existed. Bookmark this friends!

      • Restless Pilgrim

        The Catena is one of the first places I go to when preparing my leader’s notes for Bible study each week.

  3. Jeff bar Abbas

    Brother Jim, I wholeheartedly agree! I I had been looking for a bible that contained the Septuagint (LXX) and NKJV version for sometime… actually an easy-reading LXX, and this is what I’ve found in the OSB. The LXX is a wonderful translation in that they have not gone the way of the NETS LXX of greek transliteration of names (awkward reading for me). Plus, as you say, most of the study notes are actually very edifying.

    For those not familiar with the LXX, this is the OT version that Jesus and the Apostles quoted from in the NT. And it is not that the Apocrypha was “added to”, rather it was “taken out” late in the 1800’s. FYI: I did not grow up with the Apocrypha, but was taught to have a disdain for it. However, I have since learned, as you, that these books were quoted extensively by the disciples of the apostles, and by the apostles themselves, even Jesus seems to reference but not word for word. Anyway, any serious student of the Word, of history, and of Truth – able to reject the opinions of men (such as Martin Luther) and accept the internal manuscript evidence, the witness of the Early Church, and the historical/archaeological evidence, will find that in this bible they will be holding the closest representation of the bible of Jesus and the Apostles.

    A few caveats but not deal breakers for me should be noted:

    This bible contains Orthodox “icons” (depressive depictions of biblical scenes – why do they all look so sad?). Some may find these offensive, but they don’t bother me. Most of those who have received this bible and now use it have cut out the icons. Some have left them in.

    And you’ll notice that on the matter of at least two topics, such as the priesthood of the NT and divorce and remarriage, the study notes are oddly contradictory. The OSB tries to make a strong point to defend and support why their overseers are called Priests in the NT, but fails to point out that this distinction of priest is applied to ALL Christians. The notes in Ezekiel 42 could’ve been strong in discouraging the clergy/laity divide, but instead they maintained the separation. And with divorce and remarriage, in the notes on Jesus’ teachings about it, the OSB makes strong statements about Jesus forbidding it. However, they go on to justify their permissive doctrine in contradiction about what they believe Jesus taught on the subject. Like I said, you will find 99% of the notes very enlightening. Just beware of the rest.

    Since the Orthodox doctrine is so similar to Roman Catholic, they do support praying for the dead and helping them out of purgatory. But as with any scripture taken and twisted, just because others have twisted them doesn’t mean the scriptures are broken.

    Lastly, while I also strongly object to the open Mariology teachings from the Orthodox POV, along with a few other things, all in all this is probably the best representation of the scriptures we have had for MANY years.

    Thanks for the post, brother Jim.

    • Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for offering your own thoughts about the Orthodox Study Bible. I think it is a great resource for every believer, especially those who aren’t part of the Orthodox family. I would venture to say that most of us don’t agree with everything ANY Study Bible states in their notes. The OSB adds things that no other Study Bible has: The Sept. and notes from the Early church Fathers. To me, that makes it a GREAT resource.

  4. I have the OSB, and I have not used it yet. You have motivated me to get to it … today.

    One similar resource is the last volume of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. It has a Scripture index which directs you to every page in those pre-Nicene writings (9 volumes) that addresses any particular Scripture. Unfortunately, you have to have the whole set for that to be useful, but they are coming down in price regularly. Electronic versions don’t have that index, but they can be searched for Scripture references.

  5. I’m really glad someone commented here just recent to remind me I hadn’t returned to thank you for mentioning this Study Bible. Downloaded to Kindle and you are right, for the notes by the Fathers makes it a must own. Thanks Jim.

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