Date: June 14, 2010
The only formal study Bible ever produced by a Seventh-day Adventist publishing house, the Andrews Study Bible was released to the public for sale on June 10. Three years in the making from concept to reality, it will be formally introduced to the world Church at the upcoming General Conference Session in Atlanta, Ga., June 24–July 3.
Using the widely accepted New King James Version of the Bible, the historic publication is a full-feature study Bible, with more than 12,000 original study notes written by an international team of Adventist scholars who represent the latest in faithful Biblical scholarship, according to Niels-Erik Andreasen, president of Andrews University. The volume includes navigational tools, articles, helps, cross-references, maps and notes, and a unique, linked reference system to highlight the great themes of the Christian faith. “All of this is to make Bible reading and understanding more accessible and easier—and it’s all within the cover of one reasonably-sized book,” says Andreasen.
The Andrews Study Bible project began to take root in 2007 when the General Conference Biblical Research Institute Committee and church leadership considered whether a tool, such as a study Bible, would promote Bible study throughout the church. Andreasen says, “They encouraged Andrews University to respond to this concern in the form of a study Bible, and the General Conference joined Andrews University in helping to fund the project.”
A Project Committee, chaired by Andreasen, was charged with supervising the development. Committee members included Mark A. Finley, vice president, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Denis Fortin, dean, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University; Ernő Gyéresi, business manager, Andrews University Press; Gerry D. Karst, vice president, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Ronald A. Knott, director, Andrews University Press; Juan R. Prestol, undertreasurer, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Ángel M. Rodríguez, director, Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Jon L. Dybdahl, professor emeritus of Biblical studies, Walla Walla University and general editor of the Andrews Study Bible.
Andrews University Press, the primary academic publishing house serving the world church, contracted with Dybdahl and the contributing editorial team of Bible scholars from around the world, bringing an international academic perspective to the Andrews Study Bible, according to Andreasen. The staff of the General Conference Biblical Research Institute provided editorial consultation.
The contributors, all well-established scholars from academic environments, clearly understood their job was to write for lay readers. Andreasen notes, “This is a practical study Bible the lay reader can really use to understand the depth of scripture. In fact, our tag line for the Bible is ‘Light. Depth. Truth.’ We’ve tried to bring light and depth to our understanding of the truth in God’s word.”
The results are being well received. Church leaders from across North America have been generous in their commendations. Tom Lemon, vice president for administration for the Mid-America Union Conference, says of the Andrews Study Bible, “This is a very practical tool for anyone wishing a deeper understanding of the Bible. But beyond usefulness, it is an outstanding example of what faithful, spiritual scholarship is all about.”
Ray Hartwell, president of the Pennsylvania Conference, says, “This is a study Bible whose notes take the word of God comprehensively, accurately and clearly, and do not attempt to explain away God’s word to fit human traditions. It is a tremendous asset to the ministry field worker and the home reader alike.”
“The Andrews Study Bible is an outstanding work with excellent study tools and is exactly what is needed at this time of earth's history” says Don Noble, president of Maranatha Volunteers International. “I would like to see every Seventh-day Adventist around the world have access to this wonderful resource.”
A key feature of the Bible is the linked reference system, focusing on the great themes of the Christian faith. According to Knott, “Readers will easily be able to study the foundational concepts of Bible truth, like Creation, Sin, Salvation, Assurance, the Sanctuary, the Second Coming. Key passages of scripture dealing with these and many other themes are addressed in the study notes at the bottom of the page.”
The Andrews Study Bible takes its name from Adventist pioneer John Nevins Andrews. Andreasen says, “Andrews was the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s first overseas missionary and was a renowned Bible scholar. It’s fitting to use the Andrews name for this study Bible because that name inspired the University and the University is now inspiring Bible study all over the world. Today, with the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in particular, Andrews is committed to providing theological education all over the world, and the church needs the Andrews Study Bible to go there, too.”
In the days ahead, church members will learn more about the Andrews Study Bible. The June 17 issue of the Adventist Review will carry a five-page cover feature about the work, and time will be given at the GC session in Atlanta to introduce the Bible to delegates from around the world. As of Friday, June 11, the Bible was available for purchase in many Adventist Book Centers across North America. It is also available online at www.andrewsstudybible.com.