Currently, the Kindle editions of the New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (5th edition) and the Catholic Study Bible (3rd edition) are available for $9.80 each. The list price for the Kindle editions is near $28, and the current price is the lowest in the past 30 days. I have physical editions of both and use them regularly for Bible study. In light of the low price, I just purchased both Kindle editions for ease of reference while traveling. I occasionally bring one or the other of these study bibles with me when I travel, but they are bulky and take up valuable space (and weight) in luggage.
From brief usage of the Kindle editions so far, I would say navigation is acceptable, but not impressive. The hyperlinked notes in the Catholic Study Bible are almost always paired with a cross-reference hyperlink. This led me to multiple failed attempts to access a footnote, where each tap of my finger sent me to the cross-reference instead. Navigation works better in the New Oxford Annotated Bible, where tapping on a verse number leads me to the general section of the footnotes related to that verse. Both editions have links to the beginning of each biblical book in the table of contents, but not verse-by-verse links to look up an exact verse.
21 thoughts on “Kindle Sale on Oxford Study Bibles”
Heads up. I recently saw a contributor to a future NRSVue Study Bible from Westminster John Knox Press in some comments section saying it’s supposedly due out in Spring 2024. They seemed to also suggest that the NRSVue editions of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, the HarperCollins Study Bible, and all the other “academic” Study Bibles shouldn’t be too far behind, whether also in 2024 or not long after. Coupled with the new Nestle-Aland/UBS and the new NAB, I’d say 2024 and 2025 will be big years for academic Bibles and study resources.
Does the Oxford Catholic Study Bible have its own notes, or is it NABRE notes paired with Oxford essays? Or something else?
It has the NABRE notes combined with Oxford reading guides and essays. The reading guides are like mini commentaries. They approach the bigger, thematic picture of each biblical book and comment on the meaning of cohesive sections (groups of paragraphs that address a similar theme).
It’s also worth noting that the essays and reading guides were granted an imprimatur.
I do most of my reading on Kindle, but Study Bibles and other reference books are almost always highly inconvenient in that format, with rare exceptions the e-book is basically a PDF of the book, they are almost never well formatted, for example, allowing easy access to different chapters by having a table of contents so you can easily jump from one article to another, or allowing for easy cross-references by making them clickable links Instead, they are almost always formatted like a novel so you are forced to try to read it from beginning to end, which is not how any sane person uses a reference book.
Now that I’ve purchased the Kindle editions of both Oxford study bibles, I can say that they are both fully hyperlinked. It’s definitely possible to jump back and forth from essays to biblical books to notes to reading guides. The only thing lacking is being able to jump to a specific chapter or verse from the table of contents. But once you are reading the text, you can jump around from notes to text to reading guides. I find it a much better experience than reading a PDF copy would be.
Having a clickable Table of Contents so you can easily look up the commentary on a specific verse seems to make it a lot less useful. Because this is how most people actually use a Study Bible, you read somebody saying something about a specific verse and you think “Gee, I wonder what this book says about that verse”, you want to immediately go to that verse, not start at Genesis 1:1 and spend 30 minutes turning the pages until you get to, say, John 6:66.
And this is a problem with e-book Bibles in general, not just Study Bibles.
I have both the Catholic Study Bible and the Little Rock Study Bible and I haven’t been able to use them as much as I would like due to the awkward format.
Thanks for the post Marc! I purchased the Catholic Study Bible 3rd Edition for my Kindle. Verbum only has the 2nd Edition available.
I’d be extremely cautious in using the New Oxford Annotated Bible.
Just as an example, it uses BCE or CE instead of BC and AD, “which imply a Christian view of the status of Jesus of Nazareth.”
I think it’s a good example of what you should expect from the notes.
I recall someone who said he bought the New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV and then proceeded to cross out most of the notes. He just wanted a quality RSV with the Orthodox books and the NOAB RSV was the nicest option for that purpose. Still, at the end of the day, the NOAB is for two groups of people: those with no faith who accept the critical views without hesitation and those with strong faith who want to know what the critical views are so they can educate themselves to address them.
I have a stormy relationship with the New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB). I wholeheartedly agree that some of its notes are antagonistic toward faith. I have occasionally wanted to throw it against a wall in exasperation. But other times its notes are genuinely helpful for understanding the meaning of the text and its historical context. Ironically, I’ve also found it to be more academically humble and responsible in presenting its commentary than other study bibles which often are overly-confident in their assertions about the meaning of a text or the historical record. While other study notes confidently assert one scholarly interpretation as fact, the NOAB will more frequently use uncertain language or straight up say that the meaning is unclear. So, I’d add a third category of people who use the NOAB: those who keep it as a study resource, knowing that it sometimes is overly critical of faith but also provides useful information for understanding the original meaning and context of biblical texts.
For the print edition of the NOAB, I also truly enjoy the page layout. It’s the only NRSV I’m aware of that does not include any section headings in the biblical text. The font is clear and easy to read, and ALL the commentary (including section headings, which are interpretive) is located in the notes. Furthermore, there aren’t any symbols in the text that direct the reader to the notes. The notes are like a side-by-side biblical commentary which I can refer to if I want. But the page layout makes it a great reader’s bible, since it’s possible to read long stretches of text without getting distracted by headings, asterisks, etc.
What on Earth is wrong with the NOAB RSV notes? I’ve used it extensively, and the notes seem to me to be little more than brief explanatory notes, nothing particularly controversial. Granted, I’ve only used the edition written by Bruce Metzger, a commentator who was generally orthodox and not inclined to indulge in speculation without prefacing it by saying “this is speculation”. If there is a later edition by a different author I’m unaware of it.
In fact, Cardinal Richard Cushing granted an imprimatur to the RSV Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha in 1966! There’s an old article about it from Time Magazine here: https://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,835742,00.html
I was lucky enough to have a college library offering digital PDF downloads of the 4th edition NOAB for personal use, something like 27% of the book every 24 hours. So I took a couple days and a PDF stitcher and got the whole thing in one file. I do reference it from time to time, and it can be helpful for things not directly related to faith.
Here is a review of the NRSV Oxford Study Bible that might be helpful to get an idea about it: https://youtube.com/watch?v=UuW6fvHzIEs
RGJ is the best.
Question for Anonymous:
I must be out of the loop so I’m forced to ask what does the acronym RGJ stand for?
R. Grant Jones, the creator of the video linked.
The name of the YouTube channel linked to in the preceding post