|A12 : by Tony Garland |
Yes, I have used this study bible by Spiros Zodhiates. It is available both in the King James (KJV) and New American Standard (NASB) translations. It has far fewer study notes than the other study bibles I mentioned previously, but the notes it does have are indeed dispensational in their understanding of Scripture. The main strength of the Key Word Study bibles is they make it easier for people who do not know Greek or Hebrew to study the meaning of the Greek or Hebrew words behind the English translation. Word study lexicon for the most significant Hebrew and Greek words.
Strong's Hebrew and Greek dictionaries.
Within each verse, the most significant words appear with the associated Strong's number over them (as well as indicators of the tense/voice/mood of verbs). The back of the study bible contains several study aids which are keyed to the Strong's numbers in the main text:
So the bible is much like having several different books all combined into one:
- KJV or NASB Bible
- Strong's Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries
- Abbreviated lexicon for significant Hebrew and Greek words.
As you might guess, this approach is very useful for people who want to look at the Hebrew and Greek words behind the English text. The only weakness I'm aware of (which is hardly a criticism) is that not every word in every verse is marked with the Strong's number. Sometimes, a word that you are interested in is not one they happened to "key" with a Strong's number so you can't look it up in the Bible. (That is when you are forced into going to an Exhaustive Concordance for the KJV or NASB and finding it there.) But for a single bible, it is probably unmatched in providing a means to learn more about Hebrew and Greek words for those who have not studied the languages directly.
As for the KJV or NASB translation—they are both excellent translations for bible study. Personally, I have more confidence in the Greek texts which contributed to the KJV (the Majority Text) than the manuscripts below the NASB (the critical or Alexandrian texts). But both are great translations and neither one will lead you astray. I think the NASB does a better job of translating individual words from Greek to English, but I think the KJV/NKJV has the better Greek text behind it. In the end, a student who is not going to learn Greek himself is probably best served by having both KJV/NKJV and NASB and looking at both in passages where deep study is involved. The Key Word Study bible is available in both of these translations.
Another Bible I should mention which is excellent for study of the original languages (short of learning to read Hebrew and Greek directly) is The Interlinear Bible by Jay P. Green and published by Hendrickson publishers. This is somewhat like the Key Word Study Bible except it gives the Strong's number for every word in both OT and NT. It also shows the actual Greek and Hebrew, along with the KJV and the author's Literal Version (LITV) translation.
So each verse has four lines:
- KJV text
- Strong's numbers for each word.
- Hebrew (OT) or Greek (NT).
- LITV (literal) translation—which is an excellent translation and is much more literal than either KJV or NASB.
The negatives of this particular Bible is that it is a bit unwieldy. You can get it either as a multivolume set or as a single book, but in 8.5 x 11" format and tiny print. It does not include the Strong's dictionary or lexicons—so you need them separately. Neither does it include a concordance nor any Scripture cross-references.
As you can see, every Bible has various trade-offs and it all depends on what you are trying to emphasize in your studies. I think that two of the most fruitful areas of study are Scripture cross references and word studies. The Key Word Study Bible will give you both of these with a minimum of extra commentary to "spin" your thinking.
One last resource I'll mention since we are on the topic of detailed Bible Study: the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledgea (more recently titled Nelson's Cross Reference Guide to the Bibleb) by Jerome Smith. In my opinion, this is an absolute must have. It contains some 500,000 cross references to related passages of Scripture. So it is like a "reference Bible" but much more meaty. If I was stuck on a desert island and could only choose three books, they would be (in order):
- A word-for-word literal translation of Scripture (LITV, KJV, NASB).
- An exhaustive concordance with Hebrew and Greek dictionary (Strong's or NASB Exhaustive Concordance).
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge — the ultimate cross-reference tool.
All of these are also available in digital format within computer study packages, such as www.logos.com.
If you have a specific question I haven't addressed in my musing on study Bibles, please let me know and I'll try to address it.