We talked about Bible versions and now I want to discuss study Bibles because many people are drawn to a study Bible in hopes of learning more about what they are reading.

The Geneva Bible was the first study Bible ever made and printed. As the reformers were trying to translate from the critical text to the English language of the day they were having difficulty in doing a word for word translation so they would enter footnotes that they used to describe what they were seeing since they could not use word for word. This is the best form of footnotes I could ever think of as it better avoids personal opinions. I say "better avoids" because as much as we try not to, we do add personal opinions and these opinions are based on
preconceived notions we have when we come to the text. They were no different than we are now.

Most all other study Bibles are actually filled with personal opinions of the person assembling the Bible. The Bible is an open sourced book which means anyone can copy the main contents of the Bible. John 3:16 and all the text around it is not copyrighted text. Everything else within the Bible is. All the notes, all the references, all the tips, everything other than the base text is copyrighted. This is because these added portions are the interpretation of the author of that study Bible.

If you were to purchase, say "The Life Recovery Bible" which I see in many prisons today, or a teens study Bible, or men's and women's study Bible, and especially evangelist study Bibles like the Joyce Meyer study Bible or Kenneth Copeland study Bible, what you're getting is the original text of the translation you purchased (KJV, ESV, NIV, etc) and authorized notes of the person who's name is attached as the "author". This can have bad implications due to preconceived notions of the author being introduced into the text when it should have never been there to begin with. The unfortunate thing about this is that you cannot discuss their understanding with them. Study Bibles merely tell you WHAT to believe rather than HOW to believe by learning how to study and find the truth within the text.

Let me give you an example with a Bible I have sitting here now.

While in a study with students last night, we were reading out of 1 John 5 and we got to verse 20 where there was a footnote.

"And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.* And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life." 1 John 5:20

When I looked at the footnote it reads:

"The NLT interprets the phrase "the true God" as referring to God, since the next phrase refers to his Son, Jesus Christ. John is also saying that Jesus Christ is the only true God."

While we understand that Messiah is God made flesh, there's more going on here than what the author of these notes is saying. The NLT had this portion correct and there really is no need for this footnote.

Messiah said that you can only get to YHWH through Him (the Messiah)(John 14:6). Even Y'shua knew the goal was YHWH and Messiah is the door to YHWH (John 10:7). That's what John is noting in this passage of 1 John 5. Through Messiah we can know YHWH, the true God. We live in fellowship with YHWH because we live in fellowship with Messiah. YHWH is the only true God and He is eternal life as Matthew 7:21 states of the many that will not make it because they didn't do the will of who? The with of the Father (YHWH). It's through Messiah we have eternal life (John 5:24; Romans 6:23; John 17:3; 1 John 2:23-25; etc). This study Bible perpetrates the long living mis-focus of people only ever looking to the Lamb rather than focusing on the Bringer of the Lamb; YHWH (See
Proper Aim).

This is just a small example of study Bibles if you use them as a main source rather than a tool. This study Bible took a proper translation and thought of the original author and twisted it to mean something that was different. I'm not saying not to use study Bibles. My warning is that when you read study notes, make sure to test those notes against Scripture itself. Never take the notes as a rock solid explanation or belief of the text. We need to make sure we put the Bible as central to our beliefs and not use the Bible to justify the way we believe. We can either stand over the text or kneel under it.