Once in a while you come across a Bible that makes you stop cold in your tracks, you absolutely have to know more about the features that are included with the Bible text. Enter the Wesley Study Bible…(By way of background, I was raised in a Pentecostal Church, Pentecostalism having grown out of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement)
Note: This Bible was provided free of charge by Abingdon Press in exchange for an honest review.
First published February 1, 2009 the initial release, from Abingdon Press, was an NRSV Bible, without the Deuterocanonical/Apocrypha books. In November 2012, the Wesley Study Bible was republished, this time in the Common English Bibletranslation (also without the Apocrypha).
Where did the Wesley Study Bible come from? The Wesley Study Bible was developed by scholars from 11 denominations, in North America, with roots in the Wesleyan/Methodist Movement: The United Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Christian & Missionary Alliance (Pentecostal/charismatic), Christian Methodist Episocpal Church, Church of the Nazarene, Church of God (Anderson, IN also pentecostal/charismatic), Free Methodist Church of North America, The Wesleyan Church, Salvation Army, and the United Church of Canada. The Wesley Study Bible is not just for those in the Wesleyan/Methodist/Pentecostal/Holiness Movements; every Christian can benefit from features that are in this Bible…
From the Publisher
“Lead an abundant life, grow as a faithful disciple, and find new avenues to serve. By studying The Wesley Study Bible, readers will share God’s grace and find the good gifts God has for them. As God transforms them through study, they will be inspired to transform the world. Contributors from across the Wesleyan family join together to help others experience God in fresh ways. The Wesley Study Bible highlights the depth of John Wesley’s perspectives on scripture and features accessibly written notes and articles contributed by pastors, theologians, and Bible scholars. Easy-to-understand explanations of core terms encompass the following themes: eternal life, forgiveness, grace, heaven, holiness, justice, and mission.”
About the Common English Bible
What is the CEB? (From commonenglishbible.com)
The Common English Bible is not simply a revision or update of an existing translation. It is a bold new translation designed to meet the needs of Christians as they work to build a strong and meaningful relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
A key goal of the translation team was to make the Bible accessible to a broad range of people; it’s written at a comfortable level for over half of all English readers. As the translators did their work, reading specialists working with seventy-seven reading groups from more than a dozen denominations review the texts to ensure a smooth and natural reading experience. Easy readability can enhance church worship and participation, and personal Bible study. It also encourages children and youth to discover the Bible for themselves, perhaps for the very first time
I do not care for the fact that the CEB changes Son of Man (a decidedly Messianic Term) to the Human One. I feel this takes away from the deity of Christ and fails to give Him the reverence due.
Holiness of Heart and Life Articles (for every Christian)
One of the hallmarks of John Wesley’s ministry was his emphasis on practical holiness, essentially being the hands of God in the world. (Please note, I am not talking about works based salvation.)
There are approximately 150 side-bar articles on the fruit of your salvation, holiness of heart and life. These offer wisdom and applicable advice on what it looks like. As a pastor once told me, you don’t do works to be holy but because you have been made holy. In these valuable articles you will find tangible and measurable examples of holiness.
Wesleyan Core Terms (mostly for Methodists of all stripes)
No matter which Christian Fellowship you belong to, there are terms that are important to understand such as Free Grace, Holy Spirit, Personal Holiness, etc. These terms are essential to understanding your faith and committing that faith to others.
As with the Holiness of Heart and Life Articles, there are approximately 150 side-bar articles explaining these terms.
Study Notes & Introductions
There are approximately 7500 Study Notes. The notes are designed to be of a very pastoral/practical nature, that is to say, to guide you into ways to put your faith into action.
The introductions are not as detailed as you will find in other study Bibles. I think that is done in keeping with the pastoral tone of the Bible.
This is a Bible that is designed to be experiential. If you are using it correctly, you will find yourself motivated to live out the holiness that has been gifted to you (James 1:22). If you look at Matthew 25, Jesus meant it when he said “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink, sick and in prison and you visited me.”
Overall, I really enjoy this particular study Bible. It is, candidly, difficult to discuss with someone who is not from this background. It’s a niche Bible but at the same time it isn’t. No matter your denominational background, you will be able to find something in the Wesley Study Bible that will benefit you.