Review: The Wesley Study Bible

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Product Description
Love God with a warmed heart. Serve God with active hands.Lead an abundant life, grow as a faithful disciple, and find new avenues to serve. By studying the Wesley Study Bible you will share God s grace and find the good gifts God has for you. As God transforms you through study, you will be inspired to transform the world. Contributors from across the Wesleyan family join together to help you experience God in fresh ways.

Special Features:

  • Comprehensive study notes on NRSV text by over 50 biblical scholars
  • Accessibly written life application and inspiration by over 50 key pastors
  • Easy-to-understand explanations of core terms by over 60 Wesley experts, including: eternal life, forgiveness, grace, heaven, holiness, justice, and mission
  • Extended reference to works by John Wesley
  • 19 pages of full-color maps; cross references; and summary of each biblical book

General Editors:

  • Joel B. Green is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Fuller Theological Seminary.
  • William H. Willimon is Presiding Bishop of the Birmingham Area of The United Methodist Church.

Thanks to Abingdon for this review copy.

First, the cons:

It is NRSV, which to many, could be considered a ‘liberal’ translation. While I have used the NRSV, and found no problems with it, rather not enough for me to discard it, I feel that Abingdon might have provided a few translation choices.

Secondly, the index of Core Terms and Life Application Topics are found in the back of the bible. Ideally, it should have have been first, but this might be a personal preference.

The pros:

The bible is duo-tone leather, very supple, with the pages of adequate quality. It is wider (not wide-margin) than an average bible, giving you room to open it nice and flat. It is a very nice, church bound bible, which should last a dozen years or so.

The Editorial Board includes Joel B. Green and a whole host of other theologians from schools from across the country. The List of Contributers, including Ben Witherington III, include a wide range of voices, which is suitable for the Wesleyan Tradition.

Each book is prefaced with a short introduction, summarizing and many times, giving a segway into what part it played in the Wesleyan Tradition.

The study notes which accompany the reader on every page are solidly in the greater Wesleyan Tradition – middle of the read, the namesake was. It does allow, briefly for modern scholarship, such as questioning the authorship of several of the books, but remains true to the theology of the Wesley’s, especially in such places as Romans 8 which is a key separator between the Wesleys and Calvinist. They are not essentially academic, but they serve the purpose of highlighting the passages as used by Wesleyans. Special attention is given to using John Wesley’s study notes, and his sermons (see pf 1401, referencing Sermon 12.)

While many of the notes are indeed from John Wesley, the majority can be rightly said to be in the Weslyan Tradition – regardless of authorship.

The Wesley Core Term is an added benefit which explains the meaning of certain theological words according to the Wesleyan Tradition, such as Grace, Acceptance, Danger of Riches and Kingdom of God. It is clear that this study note system, including the Core Term system, is unapologetically centered on Wesley’s notes and sermons, which included snippets of social justice ideals which we see prevalent in today’s Methodists churches.

Another feature along side the previous two is the inclusion of the ‘Life Application Topic.’ It includes insights for applying a certain passage to the reader’s life, much in the same way a devotional might. For example Colossians 3.14 discusses Paul’s use of ‘binds’ applying it to the love of Christ which brings us together. Or, the LAT found in 1st Thessalonians (pg 1453) which states the etymology of the English word encouragement, connecting it to Paul’s goal in writing to the Christians in that city.

While this bible is geared to those of the Wesleyan Tradition, which too often is solely associated with only the Methodists, it should be remembered that Charismatics, Pentecostals, and those of the Holiness Tradition more often than not descended theologically from John and Charles Wesley.


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20 Replies to “Review: The Wesley Study Bible”

  1. On another translation, I was just given today, the new ESV Study Bible (black and genuine leather, very well made and bound it appears).  I have the older Wesley Study Bible (NKJV)….really the American Naz. Ch theolog’s.

  2. Joel,
    On your word, I will get one! I also have a NRSV, with Apoc, etc. (Oxford). The NRSV has some excellent renderings, but the gender issue will always keep it from the whole Church.  At least as long as there are biblical conservatives, and those who hold to inerrancy.
    Fr. R.

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