What’s the Point of a Big Black Bible?

We own a Big Black Bible.

We purchased it a year ago. I’m surprised how much I like it.

Big black Bible, why own such a large book? Martin Luther, Lutheran Study Bible, gloss of text, notes at the bottom of the BibleThe connotation, of course, is of an enormous, threatening leather-bound book that could hurt someone.

Alas, ours could, but that’s not why I wield it.

I read it because of all the notes.

It takes a big black Bible like my Lutheran Study Bible (English Standard Version) to contain them.

What notes?

This Bible is filled with notes about the text.

Big black Bible, why own such a large book? Martin Luther, Lutheran Study Bible, gloss of text, notes at the bottom of the BibleThey’re at the bottom of the Bible–what my friend Gary likes to call “Bob”–and explain passages of the Bible.

I read them all the time, checking to see if my understanding of what a verse says is what “experts” agree it says.

They’re especially important for me while teaching Bible study, because this is a Lutheran study Bible.

What makes it a Lutheran Bible and why is that important?

The fact it’s Lutheran is important to me because I didn’t grow up in a Lutheran household.

Most of the women in my Bible study not only grew up Lutheran, but they were confirmed Lutheran and they’re familiar with the traditions.

They also read the Bible through a Luther-centric eye.

I find it very helpful to read what Martin Luther and the editors of this version have to say about the passages.

Big black Bible, why own such a large book? Martin Luther, Lutheran Study Bible, gloss of text, notes at the bottom of the Bible

Luther as a young monk

Since October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 93 theses to the Wittenberg Church door, Lutheran belief has stood the test of time.

For the most part. Some of Luther’s “earthy” comments are questionable.

His exegesis (explanation) on the Bible and its applicability, however, is spot on, even 500 years later.

Here’s Luther’s introductory explanation to 1 Corinthians, for example:

“In short, things got so wild and disorderly that everyone wanted to be the expert and do the teaching and make what he pleased of the gospel, the sacrament and faith. Meanwhile, they let the main thing drop–namely, that Christ is our salvation, righteousness and redemption–as if they had long since outgrown it. This truth can never remain intact when people begin to imagine they are wise and know it all . . .

“Therefore St. Paul most severely rebukes and condemns this shameful wisdom, and makes these connoisseur saints out to be fools.

“He says outright that they know nothing of Christ, or of the Spirit and gifts of God given to us in Christ, and that they had better begin to learn. It takes spiritual folk to understand this.

“The desire to be wise and the pretense of cleverness in the gospel are the very things that really give offense and hinder the knowledge of Christ and God, and create disturbances and contentions.

“This clever wisdom and reason can well serve to make for nothing but mad saints and wild Christians.”

It goes on, but you get Martin’s point . . .

This version is filled with helpful information and insight.

Final reason

I don’t anticipate hitting anyone over the head with this Bible–indeed, I don’t take it out of the house.

Big black Bible, why own such a large book? Martin Luther, Lutheran Study Bible, gloss of text, notes at the bottom of the Bible

My first Bible.

But it’s big enough I don’t have to worry about losing it or breaking it!

Which given what happened to my first, paperback Bible, is probably just as well.

A book filled with stories of God’s love is important and should be easily found.

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