Today I received my long-awaited Reformation Study Bible (2nd Edition) from Ligonier Ministries. I have the 1st Edition, but I wanted this one due to all the things they added - and boy, am I glad I did! My Bible is their white hardbound edition - but the hardbound also comes in vivid red. I am contemplating buying the red hardbound edition when the NKJV version is released in the fall of 2015.
I collect different study Bibles in various versions. I have yet to own a NKJV version. I am looking forward to the fall when it is released by Ligonier Ministries. The Bible I'm currently reviewing above is the ESV version.
The first thing I noticed about this Bible when I took it out of the shipping box was that it's a BEAST. This Bible is so packed full of new content, it is literally thicker than any other Bible I own. It is as thick as my thumb is long.
It comes without a dust jacket (thank goodness!) and instead, has a lovely box. Along with the Bible is a small booklet outlining what's inside.
I was floored when I found out what is packed into this Bible. First of all, they have the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Westminster Confession, the Westminster Larger (and Shorter) Catechism... the list goes on.
Along with the creeds and confessions, they've added many topical articles by well-known teachers of Scripture.
There are copious maps scattered about the text, not just in the back, which I love. Snippets of theology appear in dark grey boxes on certain pages. This Bible doesn't just help you read Scripture, it helps you STUDY Scripture.
I am in awe of everything they give you in this Bible. And as if that wasn't enough, each Reformation Study Bible has it's own registration code. If you register your personal Bible online, you get even MORE, including these online resources:
EBooks, teaching series, subscriptions, and more. Ligonier didn't merely fashion a new edition of the ESV Bible, they gave the layman a SEMINARY. I am speechless. This Bible retails for anywhere from $40 - $45 depending on where you buy it. This price, in my opinion, is shocking considering the content that's at your fingertips. The history of the Bible, the history of the church, hermeneutics, apologetics... My mind is blown. I knew this Bible would be good. I just didn't know how good.
The binding of this Bible at first glance looks odd - the pages seem "wrinkly". This might turn off some people, however, I have since come to learn this book is bound with Smyth Sewn binding. It is not glued to the spine, rather, it is stitched together. That means this Bible will likely not fall apart any time soon. For a book this size, that is VERY good news.
The drawbacks are what you might expect. This mammoth book is quite heavy. It is not for the casual Bible reader, but the serious student of Scripture. I am unsure if this Bible will fit in a store-bought Bible cover. Perhaps an extra-large sized cover. I know for a fact it would not fit in a large cover. If a Bible cover doesn't matter to you, the box would be enough to protect it on the shelf.
The pages are extremely thin. There are over 2500 pages in this volume, and I'm assuming thin paper width was considered to keep the book a reasonable size. Highlighters would be fine, but I'd be nervous to underline any text on the pages with a pen. I would also caution anyone who flips through their Bible vehemently - these pages cannot be flipped with too much gusto without chancing creases, folds, and likely rips and tears.
In other words, this is not the Bible of an in-the-moment street preacher, this is a Bible that will stay in the study. However, I believe the 2nd Edition of the Reformation Study Bible will be an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the well of theology. For everything that comes with this book, including the online resources, you cannot get a better study Bible for the price.
Well done, Ligonier Ministries.