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Gospel Transformation Bible (ESV)

ESV Gospel Transformation Bible

Gospel Transformation Bible Published by Crossway

Do we really need another Study Bible?  Apparently, Crossway Publishers didn’t get the message.  But, thankfully, they did assemble a great team of editors to work on this new study bible called the Gospel Transformation Bible.  Rather than focus on arcane details, the goal of the Gospel Transformation Bible is twofold: “to enable readers to understand that the whole Bible is a unified message of the gospel of God’s grace culminating in Christ Jesus and (2) to help believers apply that good news to their everyday lives in a heart-transforming way” (Introduction, vii).  The aim of the Bible is to provide a robust biblical theology that is Christ centered all the while maintaining an eye towards on the ground transformation for everyday believers.  How is this done?  For one, Crossway through the editorial leadership of Bryan Chapell and Dane Ortlund chose a diverse number of pastors, scholars, speaker/teachers to include study notes on the individual books of the Bible.  With at least 16 pastors, 4 women, and a host of excellent evangelical scholars, the study notes in the Gospel Transformation Bible are profound yet challenging. 

What makes this Study Bible different?
The Christological center of the Gospel Transformation Bible makes this Study Bible unique in its own right.  How is it different?  The editors seek to elucidate how all of Scripture (The Prophets, Psalms, Wisdom Literature, Pastoral Epistles, etc.) points to Christ.  For example, Graeme Goldsworthy, in commenting on Jeremiah 9:23-24 about boasting, writes, “How can this be?  It is because God provides our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption – ultimately in Christ.  The boasting that Jeremiah urges as a consequence of one’s knowledge of the Lord (and not one’s own qualities) anticipates the gospel” (973).  Christ’s acceptance by the Father through his work on the cross insures our standing before God.  Boasting in the Lord is a consequence of God’s prior action on our behalf, in the Old Testament through promise and fulfillment, in the New Testament through Christ.  At just about every point in the Old Testament, the editors seek to draw forth the anticipatory murmurings of the gospel through promise, covenant, and faith.  Why is it so important to understand the Bible Christologically?  For one thing, God’s plan of redemption at every point had Christ in mind, from the Day of Atonement to the Suffering Servant, from the blood of the sacrificial system to the heir of David’s throne. 

Secondly, the Gospel Transformation Bible is decidedly encouraging and practical for every Christian.    Dr. Robert A. Peterson, my old Systematics professor penned the notes for the Book of Hebrews.  On Hebrews 12:1-4, he writes, “We are to draw courage from Jesus’ steadfast example of honoring God matter the cost.  And we too must be willing to pay the ultimate price: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (v.4) (1672).  Although many Christians in the West will never face persecution on the scale of the Hebrew Christians or other persecuted believers, the struggle to honor God should be held up and esteemed by every Christian.  Dr. Peterson goes onto mention that all other believers should bow in admiration and gratitude for the suffering and martyrs of Christ around the world.  This kind of practical sense of supporting and showing gratitude for suffering believers is an exemplary idea.  The practical nature of the study notes lends itself toward encouraging a broader audience of people and building up believers from every stripe.

I am really impressed with the Gospel Transformation Bible and recommend it to any believer wanting a good Bible.  The only drawback I found which a drawback of most study Bibles is that some notes of key passages were left out.  I know this might have been an issue of space.

Thanks to Crossway  for the copy of the Gospel Transformation Bible in exchange for an honest review.


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