If you frequent the New Epistles blog, you know that I feel the NRSV is one of the best formal equivalent translations today, along with the ESV. In 2008, Westminster John Knox Press (WJKP) has now come out with the NRSV Discipleship Study Bible with Apocrypha. It is supposed to be the first NRSV study bible published in five years. This study bible tries to tie together an understanding of the biblical texts and life application. This is unique for an NRSV bible, and mainline Christians who are attracted to the NRSV translation may find this a novelty.
WJK Press is not known as a bible publisher, and to my knowledge, this is the only bible currently being published by WJK Press so kudos to WJKP. According to WJK’s description:
The annotations in this study Bible give particular emphasis to discerning scriptural guidance for living together in community. Such living encompasses but is not limited to personal piety. The biblical text has an inescapable social dimension and this study Bible demonstrates attentiveness to the public and communal meanings and implications of the biblical text, including the social justice and social witness dimensions of Scripture.
The Discipleship Study Bible will provide:
• a focus on discipleship that is based on the scholarship and inclusive language of the NRSV.
• a concentration on social justice – acts of Christian care and concern for all God’s people and God’s entire world.
• a concentration on personal piety – Christian acts of personal response to Scripture.
The Discipleship Study Bible will include:
• the complete text of the NRSV, including the Aprocrypha
• extensive introduction and annotations for each biblical book, including the Apocrypha, from a group of distinguished biblical scholars.
• essential historical, sociocultural, literary, and theological issues valuable in understanding each biblical book.
• annotations for each biblical book that address the whole range of the Christian life — spiritual and social, personal and communal.
• a concise chronology of events and literature in and surrounding Ancient Israel and Early Christianity.
• a concise concordance.
• color maps.
Most NRSV study bibles out there try to concentrate on the biblical text from a critical perspective. This one is different because it comments on Christian living and personal piety. It will definitely not be anywhere close to being similar to a combination of a Life Application Study Bible and an NRSV HarperCollins SB or NOAB. However, it does bring to the reader’s attention some of the social justice issues familiar to liberal mainline churches, e.g., socio-political, economic and environmental. With the study notes, its page count comes in at 2198 pages, which is quite considerable.
Most conservative readers may likely not go for this type of study bible but if you are a mainline or evangelical who is concerned about some of these social issues, it would certainly be a bible worth looking at. For personal piety and Christian living, not many bibles out there can beat the Life Application Study Bible; however, the NRSV Discipleship Study Bible may have the corner on social justice issues.