June 16, 2010

Savoring the Word

2010 1517 page18 capore than three years in the making, the recently published Andrews Study Bible marks a milestone in Adventist publication. Under the leadership of Andrews University president Niels-Erik Andreasen and the Andrews University Press, the project moved from vision to reality in record time—especially considering the complexity of working with an international team of contributors, as well as numerous editors, designers, and proofreaders. Jon Dybdahl, Ph.D., professor of biblical studies emeritus of Walla Walla University, served as the general editor, guiding the team of contributors efficiently. Members of the church’s Biblical Research Institute, as well as several church vice presidents, widened the circle of scholarship and support for this pathbreaking project.

From the outset the editorial team was given an important challenge: produce a study Bible that is academically credible, theologically sound, and practical in size and cost for mass distribution in public evangelism. While not designed as a Bible commentary, the ample study notes, introductory materials, charts, and maps in the Andrews Study Bible open a window on the biblical world—so far-removed from ours—and provide helpful links that connect individual texts within the larger picture of Scripture. These materials truly “connect the dots.” In the following pages the Adventist Review introduces this innovative tool for profound (and exciting) Bible study—communicating something of that wonderful flavor that helps us savor the Word.—The editors.

Follow the Bible Again
Editor’s note: Adventist Review interviewed Andrews University president Niels-Erik Andreasen and spoke with him about the recently published Andrews Study Bible.

How-to? Discovering the power of in-depth Bible study

Related articlesHow did the Andrews Study Bible project begin?
It began in earnest with conversations in the spring of 2007. We received encouragement from the General Conference Biblical Research Institute Committee and discussed it with leaders of the General Conference. They supported it because, as they looked ahead to the new quinquennium, they wanted to encourage the work of the pastor, and emphasize the role of the Bible in the life of Adventists. The Andrews Study Bible is a fine complement to the “Follow the Bible” project in the world church.

Do you have a goal for where this Bible will go?
I would like to see an Andrews Study Bible in every Adventist home. That is my goal.

What translation was used for the Andrews Study Bible?
First, it should be clearly understood the Andrews Study Bible does not offer a new or an “Adventist” translation of the Bible text. It is popular these days to publish paraphrases of the Bible. But a paraphrase of the Bible is not a Bible. So we made sure we used a trusted, standard translation that anybody can buy in a bookstore. We used the New King James Version because there was a sense that, among English versions, it probably still has the widest appeal and acceptance among those who would want an Andrews Study Bible, particularly in North America. It’s possible that in the future other well-known English translations may be used for the Andrews Study Bible. We also hope the English version of the Andrews Study Bible can be used as the base of an Andrews Study Bible in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and so on.

Who are the contributors? Where are they from? Why was this team chosen?
The contributing team who prepared the Andrews Study Bible was selected from Adventist Bible teachers and scholars from just about every continent in the world. It was a very international team, with more than a dozen contributors working with the general editor, Jon Dybdahl. The project’s character has to be international because our Bible readers will be from around the world. They need to feel that someone from Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the Americas had a hand in this, shaping the notes and navigational tools to help the reader go through this Bible. The work of these contributors was read and edited by Dr. Dybdahl, with editorial review and consultation by the staff at the General Conference Biblical Research Institute and Andrews University Press. We wanted several sets of eyes looking at all this material to ensure it is balanced and trustworthy.

There are more than 12,000 original study notes in this Bible. How comprehensive is the Andrews Study Bible in addressing specific questions?
It should be understood that a study Bible is not a Bible commentary. After all, it has to be carried to church! So it can’t do everything. Rather, it explains the most obvious questions a Bible reader may have and helps the reader not to get stuck.

Why is it called the Andrews Study Bible?
Andrews University Press, our academic publishing house, is the place where the Andrews Study Bible was produced. John Nevins Andrews, the man whose name was given to Andrews University, has long been an icon in Adventist history as an outstanding student of Scripture. So the Andrews name, all by itself, strongly symbolizes the call to serious Bible study.

2010 1517 page18“This will quickly become your favorite Bible.”
John Nixon, senior pastor, Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists

“An all-star cast of Adventist scholars has written a superbly useful tool for students of the Bible in the present time.”
Raoul Dederen, former dean, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

“This is the finest gift to any serious Bible student. The Andrews Study Bible receives my highest recommendation.”
Derek Morris, senior pastor, Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church

“Amazing! Wherever the reader begins, the destination is always the truth about God.”
Robert S. Folkenberg, Sr., director, ShareHim

“The Andrews Study Bible aligns the best of scholarship with a fierce devotion to the sacredness of the text.”
Leslie N. Pollard, vice president, Loma Linda University

“I am delighted to use a study Bible that pays attention to the entire text of Scripture and highlights important landmarks of Adventist theology.”
Jo Ann Davidson, professor of theology,
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary