So I finally succumbed to my self-imposed pressure to buy The New Interpreter's Study Bible. Of course, I use the idea of "pressure" merely as an excuse, but the real reason was that I had a 40% off coupon for Borders. I had been planning to purchase the NISB for some time, but just never really got around to it. Ultimately, the decision to go with the NRSV full-time, along with the 40% off coupon, were just too powerful of a combination. I am a weak man!
But now on to the NISB. As this blog entry suggests, I intend to give a few of my initial thoughts. (I hope to blog more about the NISB in the coming weeks, after I get back from retreat.)
** First off, I purchased the hardcover edition. The reason I did this was because I decided to primarily use a non-study Bible in ministry work. To begin with, study Bibles are typically much heavier to carry around with you on a day-to-day basis. Secondly, I don't really want to rely on the study Bible's notes when I am leading a study group. I think there is always a tendency, at least with me sometimes, to not prepare as well as I could, knowing that I have the study Bible with me. I don't want to fall into that habit. So, from now on, any study Bible I purchase will be hardcover, which will then remain at home or at the office. The NISB hardcover seems to be sturdy enough. The size of the book, itself, seems to be bigger than the latest incarnations of the NOAB and HCSB.
** It was interesting to note those involved in the production of the NISB, as well as those who wrote supporting reviews of it. Some of them, including Donald Senior and Roland Murphy (+), were involved in previous study Bible editions. Senior was the general editor of Oxford's Catholic Study Bible, while Murphy was an editor of the New Oxford Annotated Bible Second Edition. In addition to them, Bruce Metzger, who was the general editor of the NOAB (RSV) and NOAB Second Edition (NRSV), wrote a glowing review of the NISB. On the NISB, he wrote: "Of the current editions of Study Bibles, in my opinion the most helpful for pastors, teachers, and all students of the Scriptures has not been issued by Abingdon Press." I find it interesting that these three men, all of whom worked on well-known and respected study Bible editions, have given their support to the NISB. Of course, maybe I am reading to much into this, but nevertheless it is interesting. In any case, the NISB is an ecumenical study Bible, with scholars from many Christian traditions.
** One of the things I like about the NISB so far is its overall layout. The NRSV text is very readable and there is a clear dividing point between the text and the notes/commentary. In addition, there are some helpful "special notes" and longer "excursus" that are placed at appropriate places in the text. Most notably, there is a very helpful "excursus" on the Eucharist found in the section on John 6. The NISB also includes some nice Bible maps at the end as well. Thankfully, it does not include a concise concordance, which, IMHO, is not necessary for a study Bible. If you are going to do serious Bible study, make the investment and get a full concordance or refer to the ones online.
** The cross-references are included in the commentary. I guess that is fine, but I would rather have them in the margins, like the NJB, or perhaps collected together, like the NAB.