The Benefits of Reading a Bible Sans Study Notes


Are you in the market for a new Bible? There are a lot of options out there. You could go with the popular ESV Study Bible or the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible or the The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible or the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible. And that’s just some of the adult Bibles out there, not to mention the many good ones designed for students and children.

It’s amazing the variety of Bibles available for purchase. I recently purchased a ESV Classic Reference Bible. No frills, no study notes, just the biblical text. My choice was more than a mere avoidance of the seemingly impossible choices created by the above. It was strategic.

One of the goals of my life is to immerse myself in the Bible as much as possible. I want to read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, live it and teach it to others. I’ve been using Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System for a couple years now. I love that the Horner’s plan balances my daily intake of the Bible. It’s forgiving if you miss a couple days (or weeks) and it lets you read some sections more frequently.

For example, I read through Proverbs and Acts once every month, the Gospels and the rest of the NT about four times a year, the wisdom literature and Psalms twice and the historical/prophetic books at least once. In each of these sections, I read just a chapter a day. I agree all Scripture is beneficial, but there are some sections I want to read more frequently. Horner’s plan lets me customize what I really want to focus on at given times throughout my life.

That being said, I’ve noticed my study bibles are not good for this plan. They are big and bulky. They take up lots of space with introductions, articles, illustrations and notes. These are all great for study but slow me down when I’m reading. I just want the text when I’m reading. The ESV Classic Reference Bible is perfect for this.

I’ve also decided this will be a kinda legacy Bible for me. I’m going to track how many times I read through it over the next years and, Lord willing, one day pass it on to a child or grandchild. I want them to know that I loved God’s Word and read it a lot. I want to show it to them and tell them this book has been God’s regular communication into my life. I want it to lay open on my desk in the hour of my death, worn out from years and years of use, but dust free.

I admit if felt weird buying a Bible without all the bells and whistles, but sometimes to see the Bible’s bells and whistles, you have to ignore some other bells and whistles. For my daily reading, just give me the text!

4 thoughts on “The Benefits of Reading a Bible Sans Study Notes

  1. Great post! I agree wholeheartedly; the only difference is that my preferred translation for reading is the NLT. Hope you don’t think me a heretic. 🙂 P.S. I love my Keurig too!

  2. Pingback: Sola Scriptura from another angle | WiseReader

  3. I’m trying to find an NIV Bible with only reference maps and cross-reference; I don’t even want any section headings. Can you recommend one? Thanks!

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