LifeWay Releases HCSB Study Bible

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B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources has enhanced the Holman Christian Standard Bible library with the release of the HCSB Study Bible, designed to take readers deeper into their journey of faith and strengthen their biblical literacy.

Ultimately, we want readers to get into the Word of God. We want readers to deepen their walk with the Lord and realize this resource offers God’s Word for life.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible released in 2004, providing the evangelical world with one of the most accurate and fresh translations of God’s Word.

B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources has enhanced the HCSB library with the release of the HCSB Study Bible, designed to take readers deeper into their journey of faith and strengthen their biblical literacy.

Jeremy Howard, managing acquisitions editor of Bibles, reference books and commentaries at B&H Publishing Group, led the creation of the HCSB Study Bible and explained that the project began with a nationwide focus group.

The focus group determined the top design decisions like two-column format, horizontal timelines, font size and even the number of pages of the Bible.

“The Bible that people want is the Bible we built,” Howard said. “Everything we included in this study Bible has meaning. We included 24 poignant essays, three feature-length articles and intuitive study notes.”

The study notes set the historical and canonical context to help create the big picture view of God’s narrative, he said.

“We wanted to set the historical scene to let the reader know what was going on in Israel and the surrounding region,” Howard said. “We also established a canonical context informing readers, for instance, how the book of Leviticus fits into God’s overarching plotline.”

The HCSB Study Bible is made for both those who are new to the faith and seasoned scholars, Howard said, mentioning that timelines, word studies, photos, maps, reconstructions and charts make it the Bible for the visual age.

“Ultimately, we want readers to get into the Word of God,” said Howard, who also contributed essays on the canonization of the Old Testament and New Testament books. “We want readers to deepen their walk with the Lord and realize this resource offers God’s Word for life.”

The study Bible offers essays on topics like church discipline, the incarnation of Christ and the historical reliability of the New Testament and Old Testament.

The study notes, Howard explained, are the handiwork of more than 100 scholars and English literary stylists from 17 denominations.

“The HCSB Study Bible offers diversity of scholarship without compromising the Baptist Faith and Message,” Howard explained.

Ross McLaren, content editor at LifeWay Christian Resources, wrote the introduction, outline and notes to the Gospel of Mark and said his approach to translation was very similar to the user-friendly ethos of the project.

“I began with the question, ‘What do I find helpful in a study Bible?’” McLaren said.

“I wanted the notes to be life centered and application centered,” he said. “I also wanted to provide informative comments to enhance the readers’ understanding of the text. Many times people think they understand the passage, but often times there’s more to the text than they realize. Good study notes explain that there is more going on and bring out the ‘a-ha’ moments.”

McLaren said he believes the resource will encourage more in-depth Bible study.

“For those of us who believe the Bible is inspired, inerrant, our practice should follow our belief,” he said.

George Guthrie, Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., served as a contributor to the HCSB Study Bible and penned an introductory article, “How to Read and Study the Bible.”

“As we work our way through Scripture, God constantly calls His people to live lives profoundly oriented to His Word,” Guthrie said. “The Word moulds us in our thinking and living. Yet, we cannot hear it properly without entering into its world of words, and that takes thoughtful, careful study.”

Guthrie said one way to combat biblical illiteracy among believers is to help Christians read the Bible more effectively.

“This involves understanding how to read parts of Scripture well and how the Bible fits together to make one, grand story,” Guthrie said.

A good study Bible is essential to that process, he said.

“As I have taught people how to read the Bible better, a good study Bible is one of two most basic tools I recommend people have, the other being a good Bible dictionary,” Guthrie said. “A study Bible places background information, issues of literary context, word studies, and issues of interpretation right at your fingertips.”

The HCSB Study Bible, Guthrie said, is balanced and faithful to the original text.

“A study Bible built around this translation will be a great tool for believers, even for those who use another version as their primary translation.”

Kendell Easley, professor and Stephen Olford Center program chair at Union University, authored the introduction, outline and study notes for the book of 2 Corinthians, and said he approached the assignment the same way he prepares for preaching or teaching God’s Word.

“I asked God help me focus on Him,” he said. “I asked for His wisdom to guide me in the task of interpreting His Word for others, and I prayed that the Holy Spirit fill me with His presence and power for this ministry task.”

As with all of the contributors, Easley upheld the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture and brought to light how age-old texts still relate to modern Christians.

“Of all of Paul’s letters, 2 Corinthians is both the most personal and the most defensive,” he said. “Paul mounted a strong defense — an apology in the good sense — of his authority and his ministry. He also included important doctrinal material found nowhere else in his letters. This letter shows us as 21st century believers the importance of personal integrity in the presence of false attacks against the gospel.”

In studying this letter readers will discover timeless principles of truth, he added.

“We find that God and the gospel haven’t changed,” he said. “Human nature hasn’t changed in that the need to speak up clearly for the truth in one’s own culture is as urgent now as it was then.”

Bible study is one way believers can prepare for speaking truth.

“Reading [the Bible] is an essential first step, yet God’s people throughout the ages have testified to the depth of insight they have gained by careful study and meditation on God’s Word,” Easley said.

“We see this in the ringing affirmation of this conviction in the Old Testament, as in Psalm 119, and in Paul’s challenge to Timothy about being diligent to present himself approved to God as a teacher of the word of truth and down through the centuries of Christianity,” he added. “Men and women of God have rejoiced to find that the more they dig into the Word, the more treasures there are to be discovered.”

The HCSB Study Bible is available at LifeWay Christian Stores and Visit to learn more about the Bible.

A podcast with Jeremy Howard is available here.


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