Preface: Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible



Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible

The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible is a major revision and expansion of an earlier publication entitled The New Geneva Study Bible (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995). Returning to the original contributions of numerous highly respected biblical and theological scholars, a team of editors reviewed, updated and expanded these contributions into their present form. Like its precursor, this study Bible represents an orientation toward Scripture characteristic of that branch of the Church known as the Reformed tradition. These study notes and theological articles build on the Reformed doctrine of Sola Scriptura, an affirmation of the unquestionable authority of the infallible and inerrant Old and New Testament Scriptures as originally given by divine inspiration. The notes and articles also remain faithful to the system of theology contained in representative confessions and catechisms of the Reformed tradition.

The title, The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, reflects three central convictions that have guided this effort. First, we look back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century as a momentous work of the Holy Spirit in the church. At a time when the church had fallen into many seriously false teachings and practices, the Protestant Reformers reaffirmed the authority and clarity of the Bible. This work of God's Spirit returned the people of God to the central truths of genuine Christian faith. For this reason, this study Bible draws attention to classical expressions of Reformed theology by including in appendices the full texts of several early confessions and catechisms: the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Larger Catechism and the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The study notes also incorporate a reverse index to all Scripture references contained in these documents.

Second, we recognize that the Holy Spirit has continued to bring reformation to the church. Through the Spirit's illumination, many helpful insights into Scripture have come to be widely endorsed by those who have remained faithful to the central doctrinal perspectives of reformed theology. In line with the claim that "the Reformed church is always reforming," this study Bible reflects many of these developments.

Third, it is our firm conviction that the Holy Spirit continues to reform the church today as his people devote themselves to faithful study and application of the Scriptures to all areas of life. For this reason, this study Bible has been designed to aid church leaders and lay people in their reading of the Word of God. Attention has been given to the historical backgrounds, major theological themes and literary qualities of each book of the Bible. This information not only guides readers toward an understanding of the original meaning of each portion of Scripture, but also points out ways in which the Scriptures are relevant for Christian life today.

Our sincere prayer is that followers of Christ will find The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible to be a useful tool, but we also hope that no reader will ever confuse the fallible notes and confessional documents contained in this publication with the Scriptures themselves. We publish them all under one cover for your convenience, not to place Scripture and human interpretations on equal footing. Only the original sixty-six books of sacred Scripture deserve our unqualified acceptance, for they alone are "God-breathed" (2 Tim 3:16).

Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
General Editor


Richard Pratt, General Editor. Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2003.

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Copyright, Authors, and Theological Editors of the SORSB

Answer by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.

Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr. is Co-Founder and President of Third Millennium Ministries who served as Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary and has authored numerous books.