Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: ESV Ryrie Study Bible


The Ryrie Study Bible has been popular since its first publication in 1978 and has sold over 2.6 million copies. Moody Press has released the Ryrie Study Bible with the ESV text, a new layout, and in a new soft-touch faux leather binding. Among single author Study Bibles, Ryrie's stands out as the most popular and perhaps the most accessible. Though distinctly dispensational, it includes enough study materials and basic informational notes to remain relevant and useful to those who disagree with dispensational theology. The Ryrie Study Bible's strength is in its ability to make academic information concise and accessible to all.


BINDING


The Soft-Touch binding is smooth and attractive with a handsome design that looks modern but will be appealing to more than just youth or those with trendy taste. The back features an imprint of 2 Timothy 3:16, and I appreciate the lack of gold lettering or ostentatious design. The Soft-Touch material is firmer and less textured than than Crossway leathersoft but has a nicer, matte texture when compared to Hendrickson's flexisoft. It is not as flexible or as thick as either, but it doesn't seem to have as much of a rubbery element. It will be interesting to see how it wears.


At 6.94 x 9.5 the Bible is fairly large but not as thick or as heavy as many study Bibles. It seems that Moody has arranged the layout and materials of the Bible to facilitate a fairly thin spine, a compromise I usually don't favor, but when it comes to study Bibles this may be a deciding factor for some. The ESV study Bible is almost certainly too large for most people to use it as an everyday Bible, while this edition will be appealing to those who wish to carry a study Bible with them everywhere.

The Soft-Touch edition features an obviously glued binding (correction: CBD staff state that this is smyth-sewn as well as glued), which means it may begin to crack and release the maps at the end if put through rigorous use for more than a year or two.

I was impressed to see this edition perform yoga fairly well in spite of its more rigid binding; it took a little more coaxing to get it there, but it held the position well and returned to its original posture without folds or seams showing up.


LAYOUT

One of the reasons I was interested in looking at this edition was because I wanted to look at the ESV as rendered by a different publisher from Crossway and Cambridge. Moody Press hasn't done anything revolutionary with the layout, but they have provided a readable double column format, featuring a center column of references and humble note placement. The occasional graphic, map or chart interrupts the text but for the most part the notes are uninterrupting, staying fairly far down on the page in a readable but narrow sans serif font. The main text is very similar to a Crossway layout with a taller serif font at about an 8/9 pt size. The text is given headings that correspond to outlines given in the book introductions, which creates an extra tool for study, reference and is very helpful in tracking topics or finding certain passages or events in the narrative or argument of the text. 



Moody has changed their previous layout style, which included two columns of side column references. The center column reference bar creates a more unified, less cluttered look and makes the margins look wider, though in actuality the previous layout may have afforded more space for note taking.


My co-laborer Andrew's 1995 NASB Ryrie Study Bible.


NOTES

The Ryrie Study Bible features a holistic commentary on the text, providing a wealth of pratcical, factual information without being intrusive, and providing more in depth commentary on verses within a millennial dispensational perspective. This means there may be an unusual emphasis on the millennial kingdom and the specifics of how God worked in different ways at different times. The strength of the Ryrie notes is their ability to quickly and concisely convey basic information that helps understand biblical terms, history and language better.

Ryrie states his positions within the notes without listing other interpretive choices, which is not unusual for study Bibles edited or created by a single scholar. It should be kept in mind that the notes are from a single perspective.

Matthew 16:19
16:19 the keys. The authority to open the doors of Christendom was given to Peter, who used that authority for Jews on the Day of Pentecost and for Gentiles in the house of Gentiles in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10). shall be bound . . . shall be loosed. Heaven, not the apostles, initiates all binding and loosing, whereas the apostles announce these things. In John 20:22-23 sins are in view; here, things (i.e.,practices). An example of the apostles binding practices on people is found in Acts 15:20.


FEATURES

The additional study tools and features are one of the biggest draws to the Ryrie Study Bible. The inclusion of an expanded topical index, a comprehensive concordance, 16 full color maps, an 8 page historical timeline and Daily Bible Reading adds powerful and distinct study tools that make information quickly accessible. Detailed articles include a synopsis of Bible Doctrine, The Inspiration of the Bible, Understanding the Bible, How We Got Our Bible, The Meaning and Blessings of Salvation, Archaeology and the Bible and A Brief Survey of Church History.


It is easy to see why the Ryrie has been so popular for so long. It features a popular layout and relevant usable study tools, and the notes feature important information in a concise format. Those searching for a study Bible they can carry with good commentary from a dispensational perspective should look no farther.

18 comments:

  1. As always a superb review.

    By the way, your friend's beaten version is beautiful.

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  2. Can you tell us if this is published (meaning bound) by Moody or Crossway?

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  3. What in your opinion is the best wide margin bible. I am addicted to note taking and personal cross referencing. I've got an old NIV study bible from Zondervan that is falling apart.

    Steve Whalen
    s_whalen22@comcast.net

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  4. Great bible but I wish that Moody had kept the larger font size used in their other Ryrie Study Bibles. The font size in this ESV Moody is kind of small in comparison.

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  5. Thanks for this great review! I just purchased this same exact bible and I LOVE IT!!! I theologically lean more towards MacArthur but I like Ryrie's study bible better. Particularly, I like how his book outlines are implemented into the text. And nothing beats the Moody Atlas Maps in the Ryrie Bible! My only negative is that all the current ESV Ryries still use the 2007 text edition and not the slightly updated 2011 text edition. Overall, this is "my Bible" as I carry it to church and USE it all the time! Kudos to Moody Publishers!

    Michael

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  6. I don't like the new font. I hope they don't change the font in their other bibles.

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  7. sure i'm late to the party... but hey, i was broke as a joke and i ordered the hard-back version. it was only $24.00. If I had the green to get the calfskin, I would've... but its okay... I need the study notes and other reference. you have the best review on this on the net... thanks and God Bless!

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  8. You gotta do a review of the Wordsearch 10 software that comes with it... its better than the book cause you get stuff there that you get nowhere else... however its not the eternal feeling of a book.

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  9. hey, review the HCSB study bible!

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    Replies
    1. I would love to, but Holman has never responded to my requests for a review copy. I may try again in the future.

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  10. what are your thoughts on the treasury of scripture knowledge

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    1. I think it's a great resource. Thomas Nelson expanded it into Nelson's Cross-Reference Guide:

      http://www.amazon.com/Nelsons-Cross-Reference-Guide-Verse---Verse/dp/1418504599/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372615341&sr=1-1&keywords=nelsons+cross+reference

      I have a couple friends who use it and love it. For cross references http://www.openbible.info/labs/cross-references/ is by far the best resource I've ever used.

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  11. Good review, thanks!

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  12. Any thoughts on the ESV Hebrew/Greek Keyword Study Bible?

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    Replies
    1. I have yet to handle one. It's been on my "to review" list for a long time, but Bible reviews, and really this blog, have taken the back burner: way, way in the back.

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  13. If this had the same layout as the KJV/NIV/NASB I would buy it, since I need an ESV I can take to church with me.

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