Few resources are more helpful to Christians than a good study Bible. We have just seen the release of the new Grace and Truth Study Bible which is edited by Dr. Albert Mohler and now available in both English and Spanish. In this sponsored interview, I asked him a few questions about it.
We have a good number of study Bibles available to us. What was the benefit in creating a new one?
I have been dependent upon study Bibles from the time I was a teenager. Those Bibles and their notes helped to open the scriptures to me as I became more and more serious about studying the Word of God. There are many really wonderful study Bibles available to Christians, but I saw the need for a study Bible that was theologically and convictionally clear while being accessible to people who might be intimidated by a study Bible that was thousands of pages long. I also saw a need for a study Bible that people will be able to take with them. I hope Christians find the Grace and Truth Study Bible a faithful and trustworthy companion—a study Bible that can be used as a devotional Bible and a Bible to be brought to worship to be opened for the preaching of God’s Word. My great hope is that the Grace and Truth Study Bible will help coming generations to love and to understand God’s Word.
What are some of the unique features of the Grace and Truth Study Bible?
The most important feature of the Grace and Truth Study Bible is represented by the table of contributors. I was able to work with a team to pull together the most remarkable biblical scholars who combined unquestioned conviction with excellence in biblical scholarship. This is not a study Bible that will be of interest only to the world of scholarship. It represents scholarship turned into a passionate devotion for the Word of God. Every single book of the Bible received careful attention from a skilled interpreter of God’s Word whose passion is to see God’s people exalt in the glory of God as revealed in every book of scripture.
Another feature is that the accessibility of the notes has driven this entire project. It was one of my great joys was to work with that team of scholars to craft introductions and helpful notes so that Christians utilizing the study Bible could clearly understand God’s Word.
Last, I was determined that a study Bible that would serve Christ’s church would need to be available only in the highest quality of presentation in both form and format. Every part of the Bible—down to the design, the print and typeface, the quality of paper, the density of ink, the translucence of reflection—was carefully chosen. God’s Word deserves the very best. I have to thank Zondervan Bibles for their outstanding support in this respect because we were able to bring to the excellence of that attention to detail to this project.
Who’s the target audience or reader for in the study Bible?
Every Christian will benefit from the Grace and Truth Study Bible. One of the interesting issues in publishing is knowing your target audience. In that respect, one could envision a study Bible that would be many volumes in length that would serve the scholarly community. On the other hand, one could imagine a study Bible that would be so minimal that it would basically offer just a bare introduction to each book, and then a few necessary notes along the way. Finding the right balance between those two polarities is the great challenge. I believe we were able to strike a unique balance in the Grace and Truth Study Bible that I hope will really serve the church.
We aimed this study Bible at Christians who are committed to Christ, who love God’s Word, and who want to know how to understand it even better. This Bible is for getting deeper into God’s Word. It is accessible enough that the newest believer can immediately benefit from it. It is also deep enough and thoughtful enough that the faithful, mature believer of many decades will find ever new riches in the text.
I do hope there will be many unbelievers who will read the Word of God as found in this study Bible, receive new birth in Christ, and come to saving faith. It will be the Holy Spirit through the Word of God does that, not the study Bible. However, our main audience for this Bible is Protestant, evangelical Christians who are looking for a serious study Bible because they want to be devoted to the serious study of God’s Word.
What was the importance of launching the Spanish addition alongside English?
Given our own hemispheric reality, the incredible opportunities in the Spanish-speaking world, and the interchange between the English and Spanish-speaking worlds, we really saw the opportunity to make history. This is the first major study Bible released simultaneously in English and in Spanish. Many people in the Spanish-speaking world told us of the need and hope for a study Bible like the Grace and Truth Study Bible. We intended to reach the untold millions of people included in both the English and the Spanish speaking audiences in order to meet that need. I am very thankful to Zondervan and Vida Bibles and to our team for finishing this project on time without any sacrifice of quality in either translation.
Creating a project as big as a study Bible must represent quite a logistical challenge. I wonder if you could talk us through a bit of what that process looks like.
It all began with the concept that led to a consensus that this study Bible meets a need for the church. A leader from the Bible Group at HarperCollins Christian Publishing, which comprises both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Bible teams, approached me, and I agreed to be general editor. Then it fell to me to put together a team. I started with managing editor and then editors for both the Old and New Testaments. Then we had to get down to the hard work of putting together the roster of writers who would each take responsibility for one of the books of the Bible.
I was able to choose the very first ranked team because the Lord opened many doors. I am so thankful that the best team of biblical scholars bought into the project. They affirmed its theological convictions. They agreed to its approach. They were eager on the basis of their own convictions about holy scripture to help Christ’s church in understanding the Word of God.
The writers received the assignment and guidelines—including a word length—and then most of them gave a sample of their work so that we could understand how they were doing. When those contributions were forwarded to the editors, the editors went through every single line, weighing them in terms of conviction and helpfulness to the project as a whole. Those editors put enormous work into this, including keeping the entire project on time, which is seldom found in something of this magnitude. Finally, I went through the whole project to ensure we accomplished what we set out to do. It was a great joy to work with our team, and I am extremely thankful to all who worked to see this project come together.