Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review: The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World

Welcome back to Stuart's Study. I hope everyone had a blessed week. Mine was busy, but productive. As you recall, last week I reviewed the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament. So I figured, it was only fair that I review The Orthodox Study Bible: Ancient Christianity Speaks to Today's World, which was published by Thomas Nelson, one of the leading Protestant publishers in the world. (Weird, I know.)

I have mixed feelings about this Bible, which deeply saddens me. I really wanted to like this Bible. But like others I have spoken to, they too are a bit disappointed with this Bible. The Orthodox Study Bible started out as the New Testament and Psalms, and with massive funding they started a project to publish the Old Testament with the New Testament. So it is nice to have the full Bible in one volume, especially when so many people publish just the New Testament for the price of a full Bible.

However, in this case, it might have been better to just keep the New Testament. The Old Testament translation was supposed to be a more accurate translation of the original Septuagint. What it ended up being was a different story. The translators basically took the New King James Version (NKJV) and tried to make it match up to the Septuagint. I have been told, since I don't read Greek (sadly) that they didn't even do this well.

There are some positives to take away from the Bible though. For starters, the English-speaking Orthodox people have a Bible they can call their own, instead of the NKJV or American Standard Version (ASV). I am a convert to Catholicism, but seeing that Orthodox and Catholics were/are the original and true Church (not getting into that in this review), I can't imagine either one of them not having an English Bible, but apparently that time did exist.

There are also copious footnotes in the Scriptures. Sadly, most of them are very basic footnotes that don't add a lot to the discussion. I do like the footnotes that tell when specific passages are read during the Church Year. That is definitely a valuable resource, as it helps you put what you're reading in the context of the Church seasons. Also throughout the Bible are various word studies explaining different Biblical terms, which explain Biblical terms and give you references to where you can find out the Biblical basis for those terms.

Overall, I would give this Bible 3.5 stars. It is a good Bible translation, but not a great one. It can be better, and it should be better. Hopefully, there will be a revision to this edition or other translators will undertake the task of making a better translation. Tune in next Monday when I review Peter Kreeft's Prayer for Beginners. Have a good rest of your Monday, and I'll see you again on Friday. Thanks for reading!