Study Bible
A study Bible is an edition of the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 prepared for the use of a serious student of the Bible. It provides scholarly information designed to help the reader gain a better understanding of the text.


Perhaps the first edition of the Bible in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 that qualified as a "study Bible" was the Geneva Bible
Geneva Bible
The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into the English language, preceding the King James translation by 51 years. It was the primary Bible of the 16th century Protestant movement and was the Bible used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John...

; it contained extensive cross references, synopses and doctrinal points. The text of the Geneva Bible was usually not printed without the commentary. A Cambridge edition was printed without commentary.

The Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 disputed some of the statements made in the Geneva Bible annotations; this led to the creation of the King James Bible
King James Version of the Bible
The Authorized Version, commonly known as the King James Version, King James Bible or KJV, is an English translation of the Christian Bible by the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611...

, which was typically printed with a much less extensive apparatus or none at all. Several commentators have supplied annotated King James Bibles containing their own points of view, but unlike the Geneva Bible, these commentaries are not as thoroughly integrated into the text.

Another historically significant study Bible was the Scofield Reference Bible
Scofield Reference Bible
The Scofield Reference Bible is a widely circulated study Bible edited and annotated by the American Bible student Cyrus I. Scofield, that popularized dispensationalism at the beginning of the 20th century...

, first printed by Cyrus Scofield
Cyrus Scofield
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield was an American theologian, minister, and writer whose best-selling annotated Bible popularized dispensationalism among fundamentalist Christians.-Youth:...

 in 1909. This study Bible became widely popular in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, where it spread the interpretation system known as dispensationalism
Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

 among fundamentalist Christians. A new version, the Recovery Version, published in 1985 which holds similar interpretation, and this study Bible has a very large number of cross-references, explanatory and interpretative footnotes.

The Jerusalem Bible
Jerusalem Bible
The Jerusalem Bible is a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible which first was introduced to the English-speaking public in 1966 and published by Darton, Longman & Todd...

is a widely respected study Bible originally made by French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s in Jerusalem under the auspices of the Catholic Church. The original French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 edition of 1961 became the basis of versions of this study Bible in several other languages, including English, revised as the New Jerusalem Bible
New Jerusalem Bible
The New Jerusalem Bible is a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985 by Darton, Longman & Todd and Les Editions du Cerf, and edited by the Reverend Henry Wansbrough.- Contents :...

; some versions have more extensive notes than others. Nearly all Catholic Bibles have explanatory and interpretative footnotes.

The Logos International Study Bible
Logos International Study Bible
The Logos International Study Bible is a study Bible published in 1972 by Logos International, and edited by Bible scholar Harold E. Monser.The Logos Bible is based on the 1901 American Standard Version translation of the Bible, which has been called "The Rock of Biblical Honesty" by Bible scholars...

was published in 1972 by Logos International. Based on the 1901 American Standard Bible, it is essentially an updated version of The Cross-Reference Bible, published prior to 1929 and edited by Harold E. Monser. It includes an unusually large number of cross-references, in-text articles and treatment of variant readings.

Zondervan is an international Christian media and publishing company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan is a founding member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association .- History :...

 claims that its NIV Study Bible
NIV Study Bible
The NIV Study Bible is a study Bible originally published by Zondervan in 1985 which uses the New International Version . Revisions include 1995, a full revision in 2002, an update in October 2008 for the 30th anniversary of the NIV, and a new update in 2011...

 has six million in distribution and that it is the world's best selling Study Bible.

The ESV Study Bible is a recent addition, which sold well in its pre-release phase. In recent times, study Bibles focusing on specific aspects of the Biblical message, like the Green Bible
The Green Bible
The Green Bible is an English version of the New Revised Standard Version Bible with a focus on environmental issues and teachings. It was originally published by Harper Bibles on October 7, 2008. It is a study Bible featuring essays by N.T...

, have appeared.


A study Bible usually contains an extensive apparatus
Apparatus may refer to:*Technical term for body of the Soviet and post-Soviet governments *Machine*Equipment*Critical apparatus, the critical and primary source material that accompanies an edition of a text-See also:*Fire apparatus...

, which may contain such features as:
  • Annotations explaining difficult passages or points of theology
    Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

     and doctrine
    Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

  • References to indicate where one passage of the text relates to others
  • A concordance
    Concordance (publishing)
    A concordance is an alphabetical list of the principal words used in a book or body of work, with their immediate contexts. Because of the time and difficulty and expense involved in creating a concordance in the pre-computer era, only works of special importance, such as the Vedas, Bible, Qur'an...

    , a word index that indicates where various keywords are used in the Bible
  • Variant translations or interpretations of certain debatable passages, or possible textual emendations (i.e. alterations of the original Hebrew or Greek)
  • Introductions and historical notes for each book of the Bible
  • Short biographies of Biblical people and places
  • Maps
    Maps is the plural of map, a visual representation of an area.As an acronym, MAPS may refer to:* Mail Abuse Prevention System, an organisation that provides anti-spam support...

     that illustrate the Holy Land
    Holy Land
    The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

     during Biblical times
  • Harmonies of the Gospel
    A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

    s, pointing out parallel incidents in the life of Jesus
    Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

  • Timelines of Bible history that relate it to world history

Study Bible software

Study Bible software is also available which can aid readers in the study of the Bible. This software normally includes several Bible translations
Bible translations
The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Indeed, the full Bible has been translated into over 450 languages, although sections of the Bible have been translated into over 2,000 languages....

, commentaries, dictionaries, maps
Maps is the plural of map, a visual representation of an area.As an acronym, MAPS may refer to:* Mail Abuse Prevention System, an organisation that provides anti-spam support...

 and other content. They also include search engine
Search engine
A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. Search engines help to minimize the time required to find information and the amount of information...

s to enable users to find Bible passages by keyword and by theme.

External links

See also

  • Thompson Chain-Reference Bible
    Thompson Chain-Reference Bible
    The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible is a Christian study Bible, published by the Kirkbride Bible Company.-History:The Thompson Chain-Reference system was devised by its namesake, Dr. Frank C. Thompson, in the early 1900s. Dr. Thompson was a young preacher in the late 1800s...

  • Bible study
    Bible study
    Bible study may refer to:* Biblical studies, the academic discipline* Bible study , sometimes known as "Devotions" or "Quiet Time"Other articles related to the study of the Bible:* Biblical criticism* Biblical hermeneutics* Biblical theology...

  • Dake Annotated Reference Bible
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