The initial publication will be the “plain vanilla” Bible. For the most part the footnotes will be limited to explanations of translation decisions and textual variants. But it is our goal to produce a confessional Lutheran study bible based on our translation. Translators and reviewers are instructed to save materials that would be useful for producing a study Bible. The People’s Bible will also be a valuable resource. At this stage we cannot predict when it might be feasible to complete this second phase of our project.
Is there a need for such a study Bible? The Concordia study Bible based on the text of NIV 84 was (and, for now, may continue to be) the most widely used study Bible in WELS, but it will no longer be available for publication and purchase. (Get one if you still can.) Under present circumstances it does not seem that it will be possible to produce a Lutheran study Bible based on the text of NIV 2011.
Concordia Publishing House has turned to the ESV as the base text for its Lutheran Study Bible. The LSB is thoroughly Lutheran and includes a devotional emphasis with prayers and quotations from Luther and the Lutheran fathers. For now, it is the “only game in town” as far as confessional Lutheran study Bibles are concerned, and it is recommended for Lutheran Bible students. Its companion products such as the two-volume Lutheran Bible Companion will be very compatible for use with our Wartburg translation.
Nevertheless, we believe there is room for another confessional Lutheran study Bible which meshes with our translation (which we hope will have a more contemporary flavor than the ESV and which in some cases will have a fuller biblical text). Our study Bible would also have a greater emphasis on up-to-date archaeological, historical, and geographic information.
The Zondervan NIV Study Bible based on the text of NIV 2011 has now appeared (Fall 2015). It has a theological emphasis and is thoroughly Reformed/Evangelical in its approach, so theologically it is not suitable for Lutheran students as their main study Bible.