I love Bibles. As a family, we probably own fifty of them. I have never taken the time to actually count how many Bibles we have. Bibles come in all shapes and sizes and colors and versions. From the little Gideon’s pocket New Testament to the critically acclaimed ESV Study Bible that weighs in at over 4 lbs., you don’t have to search far in my office or at our house to find a copy of God’s Word.
I have decided to do a series of blog posts featuring some of the Bibles that I own, starting with the Pilgrim Study Bible.
This Bible is precious to me because it was a gift from my wife’s grandfather, Mr. Bean. Because I am a pastor, Mr. Bean loved to talk theology and church with me. Occasionally he would mention how much he loved the Pilgrim Study Bible. He would frequently ask, “Do you have a Pilgrim Study Bible?” To which I would have to deliver the always disappointing, “No, sir. I don’t have that particular study Bible.” One time, when he was in his early 90s and just a few years before he died, he took it upon himself to rectify my sorry status of not owning a Pilgrim Study Bible. It was hard to find, but he was able to secure a beautiful red leather Pilgrim Study Bible from Oxford Press. He even had my name imprinted on the front.
Although it has never been my primary choice for reading, studying, or preaching, I have a great appreciation for the King James Version. The King James Version (KJV), also known as the Authorized Version, is easily the most widely printed and best selling book in all of human history. First published in 1611, it was the first mass produced Bible, and as such, holds a special place in literary history. It is a very literal translation, meaning that the scholars that translated the text using a word-for-word translation theory. Therefore, the King James Version is considered to be a very accurate and reliable translation.
For many people today one of the attractive features of this version is that it’s outdated language actually preserves a certain regality and beauty that makes is sound special and unique. For others, however, especially children, it can be almost impossible to understand, even though almost every King James Version anyone owns has been updated linguistically. An actual 1611 version looks like a foreign language.
This particular study Bible has notes that are brief but helpful. If you have ever owned a Ryrie Study Bible or more recently popular MacArthur Study Bible, then you will probably find the notes lacking.
The notes are written from a dispensational, premillinial perspective. The Bible’s contributing and consulting editors include the founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary.
Although it is not a thinline Bible and, therefore, has a pronounced thickness to it, it is surprisingly handy and small. The type is pleasant to the eye and is not too small to require my reading glasses. The pages are very thin, yet the shadowing (seeing the text from the other side of the page) is not too bad. The gilded-gold page edges are appropriate and classy. For marking your place, the Bible has one red ribbon is more than adequately long, which is important because I’ve noticed it easily frays.
Call me a sentimentalist or a romantic, but I love the feel of this Bible. Holding it my hand, I can picture myself standing in the pulpit back in the 1950s in a traditional Baptist church in the South, dressed in a sharp three-pieced suit, handkerchief in pocket, with a red hot hell-fire and brimstone message to deliver. Although that vision will never become a reality, I was honored a few years back to stand in a suit and tie in Knoxville, Tennessee, offering my family words of hope and joy and consolation…delivering the funeral message of Mr. Bean from his favorite Bible.