Apr 7, 2017 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at Interpretation Bible Studies

Church Bible studies remain the heart of discipleship and religious education. The Sunday morning sermon may get all the attention and spotlight, but often it’s the small group Bible study where believers start to gain in-depth understanding of the Scriptures as related to their own faith. The Bible study offers opportunity for questions to be immediately answered and for those serendipitous moments of discovery.

However, putting together a good Bible study can be hard work when done right. I’m definitely not referring to the kind of Bible study with no preparation on anyone’s part where we sit in a circle and ask, “What did that verse mean to you?” No, real Bible study takes the kind of preparation that few have the time to invest on a regular occasion. There’s always curriculum and dozens of various Bible study series out there, but most of it is geared toward a very general or beginner audience.

This is where the Interpretation Bible Studies really shine. This series raises the bar on average Bible study literature by delivering content that while not requiring too much previous knowledge, doesn’t insult the intelligence of participants. This series provides depth and often asks hard questions which won’t be satisfied by the regular “Sunday School” answer. Interpretation Bible Studies don’t end with the parting of ways as they offer further places of study for the participant who wants to learn more.

Interpretation Bible Studies

Click/tap the image above for a larger view of the Interpretation Bible Studies (NRSV text sold separately).

Covering 10 Old Testament books and 12 from the New Testament, the 19-volume Interpretation Bible Studies are fantastic tools for taking group Bible study to the next level, although they can be used individually as well.

As stated in the Series Preface,

IBS helps readers not only to learn about the history and theology of the Bible, understand the sometimes difficult language of biblical passages, and marvel at the biblical accounts of God’s activity in human life, but also to accept the challenge of the Bible’s call to discipleship. IBS offers sound guidance for deepening one’s knowledge of the Bible and for faithful Christian living in today’s world.

This series holds to three primary convictions:

  1. The Bible is the church’s Scripture and stands in a unique place of authority in Christian understanding.

  2. Good scholarship helps readers understand truths of the Bible and sharpens their perception of God speaking through the Bible.

  3. Deep knowledge of the Bible bears fruit in one’s ethical and spiritual life.

Each volume of the Interpretation Bible Studies features 10 studies (or think in terms of 10 weekly meetings) that together give overview to the entire book being studied. Each study contains engaging commentary of the passage, often making connections to contemporary movies, literature and events. To offer a better understanding of the passage, the reader will also find maps, photos, and definitions of key terms. There are a handful of reflection questions with each study, including some questions that might not have any “easy” answers. These will make for excellent discussion during a group time. And for the really ambitious participants, each study contains a list of resources for further study.

For the leaders of Bible studies using this series, a handy leader’s guide is included at the end of each volume. Also, page numbers are included in the Accordance editions, which is helpful for a mixed group using both Accordance and print editions. Although this series can be used independently from the Interpretation Bible Commentary Series, the addition of the commentary allows the Bible study leader to be even more prepared.


Interpretation Bible Studies Bundle (19 volumes)
List Price $247
Regular Price $189

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