Saturday, 27 December 2014

Holman Bible

 A good friend, of long standing, gave my wife and I a lovely copy of the Holman KJV Study Bible (henceforth the HB) for Christmas. I spent a pleasurable evening last night looking up various verses in the extensive notes just to see what line the particular commentator took. It will become apparent that the following is not a proper review. You can get all the details of the various advantages of owning the Bible here. The following are just a few informal and first thoughts as I run my  eye over the comments. I already own a few study Bibles - some of which I use only occasionally (Dake, Bullinger, Henry Morris) and some of which I use every day (1599 Geneva Bible). I have Scofield on my e-sword, but he yields me very little help.

I get the impression from the HB that they are trying to keep as many people on board as they can. True, they keep to the Fundamentals of the faith, but within this rather large constituency, I detect that some of the comments are kept as wide as possible. Dake and Bullinger above do not seem to have this goal in mind. Henry Morris almoxst uniquely comes at the Bible with a scientist's questions looking for answers. The Geneva Bible annotaters do what Calvinists generally do - expound the text and don't mince the bits that deal with the sovereignty of God for softer palates. They that wear soft clothing live in king's houses... 

Any comments here are just observances and as I somewhat casually read the situation. Please don't read this review like a legal document. Maybe if you read the same notes, you would come to a different conclusion. As said, I get the feeling that some of the comments are worded to keep as many folk on board as they can. Often we tend often to look at the Bible through the lens of controversy. We read the creation story and start thinking about the evolution debate. We read Romans 9 and think about Armininians, Hebrews 10 and start blasting the mass etc. 

CREATION AND EARLY PART OF GENESIS: The term "24 hour days" is not used either to confirm or attack the length of days in Genesis 1. A question mark is placed beside the suggestion for a date for the creation and the flood. Which drives us back to the naked text. The gap theory is mentioned with reasons why it is not necessarily so. Three interpretations are listed as to the identity of the sons of God in 6:2. Notes favour (correctly) the straying Sethites. No argument for or against the global aspect of the flood. Which, leaving it to the bare text, (IMO) affirms it.  Parallels are drawn between Melchisadek and Christ.

VIRGIN BIRTH: In Isaiah 7:14, the Hebrew word is said to be of a young woman of marriagable age and often has the implication of a virgin. However, it points out that the Greek word parthenos leaves no doubt and so Mary's virgin birth is secured. This is affirmed again in all of the relevant notes in Matthew and Luke. BTW: The introductory note refers to the Book of Isaiah as having but one writer. No mention is made of the modernist notion that there were two writers sharing the same name. 

CALVINISM: IMO, not openly affirmed, but sounds Calvinistic enough round the John 6/Romans 9 regions. 1 Peter 1:2 is said to be more than foreknoweldge, but predestination. 1 Peter 3:9 is applied to the elect and the world in 1 John 2:2 is rightly taken to mean "all nations". In Ephesians 1:4, election is described as "God's sovereign initiative in bringing persons to faith in Christ." Eph 1:11 states the elect come to faith in Christ "not by choice, coercion or unaided choice, but by the enabling of God's Spirit." Maybe some Arminian (type) could brazen it out and say that is what he holds to, but his Adam's apple bobbing up and down gives him away ;o) #MyTuppenceWorth. In Hebrews 6, in the apostacy verses, four interpretations are listed. The annotater runs with the idea that the warning speaks of a "hypothetical possibility rather than a reality." In Romans 9:1-3, Paul is seen to be willing to forsake his own salvation to rescue his fellow Jews. 

In Acts 2:23, the annotator (rightly) declares the matter to be a paradox on the divine sovereignty and man's responsibility on wicked hands carrying out God's decree.  Worth comparing this with the notes of the Geneva Bible which makes no mention of any paradox, although does not deny it. 

2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and {p} foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked {q} hands have crucified and {r} slain:
    (p) God's everlasting foreknowledge, which can neither be separated from his determinate counsel, as the Epicureans say, neither yet be the cause of evil: for God in his everlasting and unchangeable counsel appointed the wicked act of Judas to an excellent end: and God does that well which the instrument does wickedly.
    (q) God's counsel does not excuse the Jews, whose hands were wicked.
    (r) The fact is said to be theirs by whose counsel and urging on it is done.

Actually, both sets of notes have it right. That said, the Geneva Bible readers of 1599 just got on with it. The Geneva men didn't seem to think balancing acts were necessary.

JAPHETH'S DAUGHTER: Was offered as a burnt sacrifice (Judges)
TONGUES: In Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14, the tongues are seen to be foreign languages. That will hardly satisfy the Charismatics, but there you go. 

BAPTISM: Acts 8:38 "suggests immersion" which is an interesting way of putting it.

PETER THE ROCK: In Matthew 16:18, although it is modified somewhat. At least, they don't go off about Peter being the Pope etc. 

ROMANS 7: Gives various interpretations. Annotator settles for that which he associates with Augustine and Calvin etc., i.e. that it is the sanctified struggle of a regenerated soul. 

JESUS WAS CRUCFIED ON GOOD FRIDAY: In the sign of Jonas in Matthew 12:39-40, it acknowledges the Thursday and even Wednesday position, but at least implies Friday. (I covered this ground here)

HE WHO LETTETH IN 2 THESSALONIANS 2:7 Taken to be the Holy Spirit. 

WRITER OF HEBREWS: Rules out Paul the Apostle. 

WINE IN JOHN 2: No mention as to whether or not it was alcoholic. 


PROPHESY: Hard to tell. Would need to study it a bit more.

SEVEN CHURCHES IN REVELATION: Do not represent seven supposed ages in church history. Good! Let's put that one to bed with a hot water bottle.

TEXTUAL CRITICISM: Although the text is KJV, yet the notes cast some doubt on those disputed passages on the basis of the W&H texts. In Mark 16:9-20 the W&H are just described as "oldest MSS" and caution is urged with the suggestion that no doctrine be built on these texts without support from other Scripture.  Darn! There goes the snake handling... In John 7:53-8:11 again doubt is registered, but only that the verses formed part of John's orginal work. However, it is admitted that they "might be authentic" which is just enough doubt to make some think twice. BTW: I preached on the woman taken in adultery a few months ago. Just go for it. In 1 John 5;7 we are told that the important words "are missing from nearly all Greek MSS" (which is true) and that the unified Trinity is affirmed elsewhere.  

So that's it. Worth getting? Why not? My guess is that you will it more helpful than otherwise.

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