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New translation’s study Bible to carry Blackaby notes, input

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The man whose “Experiencing God” discipleship course has helped Christians search for God’s will for their lives is now working on a study Bible featuring the new Holman Christian Standard Bible translation.

Henry Blackaby is working with Broadman & Holman Publishers, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, to produce the study Bible. The project will be released simultaneously with the entire Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), expected to be completed in 2003, said David Shepherd, senior vice president and publisher for Broadman & Holman.

Part of a seven-year, $10 million project, the HCSB New Testament recently made its debut, and work is continuing on the Old Testament.

Broadman & Holman President Ken Stephens said some elements from the Experiencing God Study Bible, now out of print, will appear in the new study Bible.

“Some of the notes from Experiencing God will be carried over,” he said. “It’s good material so we don’t want to just let it go.”

Blackaby said he is enthusiastic about the upcoming project because of his admiration for the new translation, particularly the way his notes were included in the recently released “Experiencing the Word New Testament.”

The headings over each Blackaby notation catch readers’ attention and help point to answers in the Scripture. And thus far Blackaby said he has received overwhelmingly positive reaction to the new version.

“The thing I try to do is write for the ordinary person,” said Blackaby, a longtime Southern Baptist discipleship speaker and author now leading an Atlanta-based interdenominational ministry.

While aiming his work at the person in the pew, Blackaby said he also believes the HCSB New Testament will be popular with clergy members.

It is accurate, readable and laid out in an attractive manner, he said. He likes the wide margins — a feature he recommended for the Experiencing God Study Bible — and the large print used in Experiencing the Word.

“To me, it’s a very friendly Bible,” Blackaby said. “I love to go to it because you can find your way around. It’s got the helps you need, and I think it’s going to be a well-accepted translation.”

As for people fond of other translations, he recommends they try the HCSB for a week along with their favorite version. Those who especially like the King James Version will discover the HCSB is similar, but much easier to comprehend, he said.

The word study feature doesn’t appear in many other Bibles, and it will help users to delve into the Scripture to gain more understanding, he said.

“I think it will cause people to do Bible study a little more seriously,” said Blackaby, who uses several versions for personal devotions.

Blackaby plans to involve sons Richard, Mel and Norman (all with doctorates in church or Bible-related subjects) in the project. Another son, Tom, is studying for a doctorate in ministry and also may play a role in the study Bible.

Among the features Blackaby would like to incorporate into the study Bible are notes on the harmony of the gospels, various helps on topics like the Pharisees or the synagogue and a list of key words that are essential to biblical understanding.

A good concordance and atlas also may be included so readers can approach the Bible study without needing a variety of other materials, he said.

Blackaby said he envisions a study Bible that will be easily understood and have enough resources so that those who use it will look forward to spending time in God’s Word.

“That would be my desire.”

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  • Ken Walker