I’m not usually a fan of study Bibles built around a particular author or niche group. (I’ve been using the ESV Study Bible and like it a lot.) But when I got the chance to receive a review copy of the Transformation Study Bible, I was interested. For one thing, it’s the New Living Translation (NLT), which I’ve been interested in learning more about. And I was very interested in the study helps based on Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s series of Bible commentaries.
So far, I like this study Bible. The NLT is a good, readable translation and I think I’m going to enjoy using it. It’s a dynamic equivalent translation, which means it’s less formal than the ESV. That makes it a good contrasting version for study. This Bible’s layout is useful — it has two columns, with center references, for the scripture on the top two-thirds of the page. The bottom third (more or less) of the page is the study notes, which are set in two columns in a slightly smaller contrasting font. The text of both is large enough to be easily read. (And that matters a lot to me as my eyes get older.) There’s also a concordance and maps in the back, along with preaching outlines of each book of the Bible (a feature of Wiersbe’s commentaries). Interspersed throughout the Bible are set-off sections labeled “Catalyst.” These sections highlight specific themes in the text. For example, on the page with Hebrews 11 is a Catalyst section about Faith — just a couple of paragraphs of additional thoughts a reader could use devotionally or to spark further study. Each book of the Bible has an introduction that includes an outline of the book, a brief overview, and a section labeled “Be Transformed,” which focuses on the application of the text. Dr. Wiersbe is a respected writer, preacher and Bible teacher and his commentaries have been widely used for years. His doctrine falls squarely within the evangelical mainstream. His commentary in the various helps and study notes is clear and will be easily understood by the average person in the pew, as well as useful to pastors and teachers.
Most study Bibles come with a certain set of theological presuppositions and the reader needs to keep in mind that introductory sections and study notes are helps and not part of the scripture. But a good study Bible can help the reader understand more and dig deeper into the scripture. I think the Transformation Study Bible is another good tool that a student of the Word will find useful.