As a Bible teacher, I have often looked to Spurgeon’s sermons for insight into the text I am teaching. He had a way of taking a particular truth an connecting it to life. That is a skill I wish I had. So when Holman publishers announced earlier this year that they were working with Alistair Begg on a study Bible that incorporated Spurgeon’s notes and sermon-I was stoked. Now, without having to do the work myself, Spurgeon’s commentary would be easily accessible. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.
The copy I received from the publishers is the hard cloth-covered edition. Personally, I don’t find it to be very aesthetically appealing. And if you ask me, the poor design continues inside. First, everything is green. Throughout the whole publication, the accent color chosen to highlight anything is green. The fonts, lines, backgrounds, whole pages…everything is green. The text of Scripture is not, it is black, as are the notes themselves, but green is everywhere! I don’t get it. The Bible is tan/brown, the leather editions are black or brown–so why green? I have no idea.
Furthermore, I mentioned in my last two Bible reviews that I appreciated how the pages in Bibles were becoming more clean looking. The “CSB Reader’s Bible” did away with the verse and chapter divisions, while the “She Reads Truth Bible” kept the notes and flourishments on separate pages from the inspired Scriptures. This Spurgeon Bible goes the other direction completely. So much so, that Spurgeon’s quotes are set out and emphasized as block quotes in the text portion itself. Not only is this distracting, but it subtly highlights His commentary. More than this, it is unnecessary to put them there because the quotes are merely repeats of the notes at the bottom of the page.
Are the notes valuable? Sure. Spurgeon was a great preacher and His work is immensely impactful. Could his writings be useful in the form of a study Bible? Certainly. Did this publication achieve that? I don’t think so. Considering I can purchase the notes themselves on my Bible Study software, without the distraction of the actual publication, I do think having this Bible in hand is worth it. In fact, I’m not sure that ole’ Charlie would have wanted this to be the final product.
*Disclaimers: I was given this Bible by Lifeway Publishers in exchange for my review. Any links to the products on Amazon.com are affiliate links.