13. Will the Wartburg Bible be a study Bible?

In FAQ by

Updated October 16, 2019

Midway through the process of translating the EHV we were asked, “Is the Bible produced by the Wartburg Project going to be a study Bible?” Now that the full EHV translation has been published it is time to update that answer.

The initial publication was the “plain vanilla” Bible. For the most part the footnotes are limited to explanations of translation decisions and textual variants. But it was always our goal to produce a study bible based on our translation. Translators and reviewers were instructed to save materials that would be useful for producing a study Bible. The People’s Bible, a multi-volume commentary for laypeople, was also available to serve as a valuable resource.

A question we asked was, “Is there a need for such a study Bible? The Concordia study Bible based on the text of NIV 84 was (and some degree perhaps still is) the most widely used study Bible in among confessional Lutherans, but it will no longer be available for publication and purchase because Zondervan has withdrawn the NIV 84 text from the market. Under present circumstances it does not seem that it would 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. Until now it has been 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 EHV translation.

Nevertheless, we believe there is room for another study Bible which meshes with our EHV translation (which we believe has a more contemporary flavor than the ESV and which in some cases will have a fuller biblical text in the New Testament). Our study Bible also has 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 it is Reformed/Evangelical in its approach, so theologically it is not suitable for Lutheran students as their main study Bible.

To meet this need, we have published a computer version of an EHV study Bible which is available for purchase at the Microsoft Store. The format of the Bible is that the biblical text fills the left half of the computer screen and notes, maps, and pictures scroll along beside it on the right half of the screen.

In addition to the basic EHV translation, this study Bible includes detailed introductions to each book of the Bible as well as supplemental appendices on subjects such as weights and measures, Israel’s neighbors, biblical chronology, geography, the Herods, and so on. It includes maps, charts, and pictures. Its notes focus on archaeological, historical, and geographic information about the text, but it will also include doctrinal notes. The doctrinal notes of this study Bible are written from a Lutheran perspective, so the notes on topics like the sacraments, the millennium, etc., reflect a Lutheran understanding of these topics. We do not think this will limit the usefulness of our study Bible to Lutherans only, since the archaeological, historical, and geographic information is not dependent on any denominational understanding, and non-Lutherans may appreciate including in their study Bible collection a study Bible that helps them understand the confessional Lutheran perspective on various issues.

At present (Fall of 2019) this Windows computer Bible is the only edition of the EHV study Bible, but we hope to add an Apple-compatible edition, other electronic editions, and a print edition in the not too distant future.

The basic EHV text can also be licensed for use in other study Bibles and commentaries. That is why we call this edition, An EHV Study Bible, rather than The EHV Study Bible. We hope there will be many others. The creators of those derived works will be responsible for the contents and the opinions expressed in the notes of those works.