Crossway has just announced their plans to release a new ESV study Bible that will premiere this summer. Many people have felt surprised by this announcement in light of the fact that the study Bible edited by Wayne Grudem is due out shortly. When I heard the announcement I decided to call Lane Dennis, the president of Crossway, and see if I could get to the bottom of this. Below is a "rough" transcript of our conversation*:
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
HS: Lane, thank you for taking the time to meet with me over the phone regarding the new ESV study Bible. Could you tell me a little bit about it?
LD: Sure. The new ESV study Bible is meant to meet an often overlooked nitche in the "Study Bible" realm. All of the notes in this study Bible have been done by first year seminary students who just finished their first hermeneutics class and a couple semesters of Greek.
HS: Wow! That is truly interesting. I never would have thought there was a market for such a study Bible. What was it that motivated you toward this vision?
LD: Excellent question. My primary motivation was that in so many of the study Bibles today the writers are so carefully nuanced in their comments that they actually don't say much at all. In addition to this, too many people that read these study Bible begin to feel as though they can never understand the Bible as well as the scholars who have written the notes. Because of these two things I wanted to produce a study Bible that would show people that they too could study their Bible. For example, one of the contributing author's to the study Bible made the following comments on a phrase found in 2 Corinthians 1:1: "To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:" Author's Comment: What you will notice here is that the word Achaia comes from the Greek word "Achaia." You can hear the English word "ache" in this word. Paul is recognizing that these saints are "aching" and that by greeting them he can relieve this pain. In fact, Paul's name is related to the Greek word for "little stone" and this points to the fact that he probably used a type of massage technique with heated stones to alleviate the back pain that the saints in "Achaia" were experiencing.
HS: I don't get it. That seems to be such a blatant misread of the text not to mention a butchering of the Greek language.
LD: Exactly! What we are hoping to provide to the person who purchases this study Bible is a sense of confidence in their own ability to interpret the text. When they read a ridiculous interpretation like the one above, it will actually encourage them by showing them that they understand the text better than the so called "scholar."
HS: Interesting approach. When and where will people be able to purchase this study Bible?
LD: We hope to have it hit the shelves by mid May to early June.
HS: How much will it cost?
LD: Each Bible will cost around $500.
HS: Why such a steep cost?
LD: All of the proceeds will go into a general fund that will provide scholarships to all of the contributing authors for vocational training in another field besides ministry.
HS: Interesting. Why will the money provide scholarships for other areas instead of ministry?
LD: That is the double beauty of this project. Not only will it help people who buy the study Bible by increasing their confidence in understanding the text, but it will also keep these "Greek scholars" from infecting the pulpits across the land.
HS: Mr. Dennis thank you very much for your time.
LD: My pleasure.
(*PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A LAME ATTEMPT AT AN APRIL FOOL'S JOKE. NONE OF THE PRECEDING EVENTS EVER TOOK PLACE. I NEVER INTERVIEWED LANE DENNIS AND CROSSWAY, AS FAR AS I KNOW, HAS NO PLANS FOR SUCH A STUDY BIBLE.)