Which Reformed Study Bible would you suggest for primary use?

DrWhofan1
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DrWhofan1
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Joined: October 20th, 2014, 10:14 pm

September 1st, 2018, 2:35 pm #1

I have already the Esv SB, would either the Dr Sproul SB, or else the Zondervan NIV SB be worth it to add to my bible collection?
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Markus Leoninus
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Markus Leoninus
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Joined: April 2nd, 2009, 3:11 pm

September 4th, 2018, 8:20 pm #2

Of the Study Bibles you mention, there is no question that the Reformation Study Bible, with Drs. Sproul and Packer as prominent contributors/editors, is a good one, and likely the best one (though personal opinions on that score will vary).

Well, I certainly have a tremendous respect for these men.
Packer has long been distinguished as a major Puritan scholar. Sproul, and John Gerstner before him, were what we could call Edwardseans, i.e., experts on the theology of Jonathan Edwards. And if anyone will make you keenly aware of what whole-souled Christian faith and practice is, it is Jonathan Edwards, the great theologian of revival, arguably the greatest pastoral theologian America has ever produced.
Sproul also once commented something to the affect that he'd be glad to see his writings sink into a kind of oblivion if folk today would pick up Augustine, Luther, Calvin, et.al., from whom he learned so much. Of course, had I been able to talk to Dr. Sproul at some point before his passing, I would have respectfully submitted to him that in no way do we want his material to be set aside ... seeing his materal is such a great primer to the masters of the past.
Dr. Packer's Introductory Essay in the Banner of Truth Trust reprint to the book by John Owen on the Atonemnet, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, is a sheer masterpiece in and of itself. Owen's thesis has never actually been answered in terms of refuting what he sets forth as the biblical doctrine of the Atonement. And Packer's intro to the work is but one example of many in which we find him providing modern Christians with an appetite-whetting introduction to the giants of the past.
Because of men like Dr. Sproul and Dr. Packer, the transition from the shallowness and doctrinal aberrations and novelties of so much of what characterizes contemporary professions of faith to the doctrinal depths and the intensely practical, God-honoring theology of the old school is made easier.

But there is another major scholar of the older school of Reformed divines, and of the Puritans particularly, namely Dr. Joel Beeke.
Dr. Beeke is principally the man behind The Reformation Hertage KJV Study Bible.
https://www.heritagebooks.org/categorie ... bible.html
This is a Study Bible that deserves a very honorable mention. 
Here's why.
It is one that lives up to its name. Note that word "Heritage" in the title as descriptive of this study Bible.
The Reformation heritage is preserved in this study Bible because the Reformed study notes it contains are connected to what is most important in this case, the King James translation of Holy Scripture; the English translation of what the Puritans recognized as a providentially preserved apographa. The 17th and 18th century Puritans were the immediate successors of the Reformers, and greatly extended the original Reformed influence and legacy, or heritage, if you will ... with the KJV in hand. Many 19th century heirs to the Puritans did likewise. 
All of these men believed that God not only originally gave a fully inspired, infallible and inerrant autographa, but that He also preserved the same in an authentic apographa; i.e., fully reliable copies of the autographa; which, of course, honors God by recognition of the fact that He is consistent in His plan in terms of all things, not least of which is the care of His people throughout all ages in making sure they had the infallible and inerrant Scripture in their hands right from the very beginning. This authentic apographa has been in the possession of the Church all the while. It did not finally surface in the middle of the 19th century with allegedly better manuscripts set forth by unbelieving textual critics who are well known for having denied a number of the fundamental doctrines of the true biblical faith. 
The genuine apographa was there already, before the strident and unsubstantiated claims of modern textual critics toward the end of the 19th century and beyond started casting doubt upon it, and dishonoring God by suggesting, in some sense asserting, that God was lax in His providential care of the Church.
The Puritans, the great successors of the Reformers, knew this to be the case, and definitely affirmed that "by His singular care and providence" God had preserved the genuine apographa for the establishment and stability of His people since time immemorial... an apographa masterfully translated by the scholars behind the King James Bible. 
They affirmed this in their Confessions:
I. Of the Holy Scripture, Section VIII, Westminster Confession of Faith.
http://thewestminsterstandard.org/the-w ... fession/#1

They also taught this extensively. Present-day Reformed scholar and theologian Richard Muller is among those who points this out.
Providentially Preserved Apographa
http://confessionalbibliology.com/2017/ ... preserved/

The commentary, notes and other features from Dr. Sproul, Dr. Packer, and others in the Reformed Study Bible are very good. Placing the Westminster Standards and the 2nd London Baptist Confession of 1689 along with other standards of the Reformation era alongside other material does considerable justice to the effort to keep Reformed theology in view of modern Christians, and quite accessible to them. Far be it from me to cast doubt upon the tremendous effort of these men to reach and secure that objective.
But Dr. Beeke and company have done modern Christians of Reformed persuasion an even greater service in setting before them not only a sound, solid, and practically relevant resource of their theological heritage, much like Dr. Sproul and Packer and others have done, but also by combining this objective with the text of the time-proven and obviously God-honored King James Bible.
I ask, Does one desire to recognize and honor and benefit from the Reformed heritage bequeathed to them by the Reformers, and the 17th and 18th century Puritans?
Very well, then, I submit that The Reformed Heritage KJV Study Bible goes far in directing them with regard to that purpose.
Beware of phony Calvinists, Pharisees that thumb the nose, willfully blind to their own profound wretchedness.
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DrWhofan1
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DrWhofan1
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Joined: October 20th, 2014, 10:14 pm

September 5th, 2018, 2:02 pm #3

Thanks for your insights, and I will look into the the study bible thast you mentioned. I have looked at the new Niv study bible, and while I do respect the persons involved on this bible, do not like te revised Niv all that much. So far, the Esv study bible is quite good, as the notes seem to be written from mor eof the reformed Baptist than the Reformed persuasion such a sin the RC Sproul Study bible.
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