RD (Rachel Davies): So what makes your Bible different from the NIV Study Bible? What is “Adventist” about it?Here Jon Dybdahl notes the Adventist slant to the study Bible comments. It has an Adventist slant and all contributors are Adventists so it sees things through the Adventist lens but it is not sectarian? What does he think sectarian means, he has pretty much defined the work as sectarian and then says it is not sectarian.
JD (Jon Dybdahl): The theme index at the back definitely has an Adventist slant, highlighting parts of the Bible that Adventists have always seen as important. All the contributors are Adventists, so obviously you can see the influence of that particular lens on the themes that are emphasized and in the notes. But this was not an effort to be sectarian. Adventists need to look at the Bible as it is, just like everyone else.
The American Heritage dictonary defines the adjective sectarian as:
- Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect.
- Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.
- Narrow-minded; parochial.
Another of the questions and answers:
RD: People who hear that a new “Adventist Bible” has come out will naturally think back to The Clear Word. Recently, the NKJV Remnant Study Bible was also released by Remnant Publications. How does the Andrew’s Study Bible compare to these works?
JD: We’re really quite a bit different from those two Bibles. The Clear Word is like a new paraphrase or translation of the Bible text itself. We have notes down below referring to the text, but that’s quite a bit different. We have not touched the text at all.
The unique feature of the Remnant Study Bible is that it highlights Ellen G. White quotes in connection with various biblical texts. Ellen White is not mentioned in the Andrews Study Bible so that people can use it evangelistically while studying with others.
It seems to me a very poor practice to use any sectarian Bible in studying with others. They may not be using Ellen White quotes but Ellen White as a co-founder of Adventism and someone who heavily influenced Adventist doctrinal views, someone who is considered an authority by the Adventist church is naturally going to be a component of the comments of a fully Adventist commentary by only Adventists who view the Bible through the Adventist lens.
In other words this would be a poor Bible because of its sectarian views to use to study with others. For personal study if you don't want to consider ideas outside of Adventism it would be perfectly appropriate. Why anyone would only want to consider Adventist commentary I am not too sure. It strikes me as upholding the incorrect idea that the Adventist church is the remnant and that the church holds all the truth so that we only need to study what other Adventists have said.
The final question and answer I will deal with is:
RD: How would you respond to those uncomfortable with the idea of putting out any kind of “Adventist” Bible?
JD: The committee deliberately chose the title Andrews Study Bible instead of the "Adventist Study Bible" because they were sensitive to that issue. I suppose some people will start to call it the "Adventist Study Bible," but we were very intentional about not calling it that simply because we didn’t want to have that confusion. As I mentioned before we wanted to be faithful to the text but honest about our Adventist perspective.
As I noted this is a reaffirmation that this is a sectarian commentary but it also notes that the choice of a name which is often an indication of the ideology of the commentary. They don't say Andrews University Study Bible which may make some wonder what Andrews is referred to; is it J.N. Andrews, is it similar to say a Darby Study Bible? Is it some other person by the name of Andrews? I suppose at some place in the introductory pages there is an explanation which I would love to see but I have not seen the Andrews Study Bible yet and there are not preview pages on the Andrews site where you can purchase the Bible. I would love to review the commentary but I don't suppose that will happen any too soon. As I probably won't buy the Bible since I don't particularly like the New King James version in the first place. Though with the sectarian nature of the Bible and certain peculiar Adventist interpretation I understand why they would choose a King James based version.