Published on February 2nd, 2011 | by Chris
A Review of the Ryrie Study Bible
A hallmark of Charles Ryrie’s academic achievements is The Ryrie Study Bible. First introduced in 1976, it is now available in various editions (NIV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, Portuguese, and Spanish). Unlike The Scofield Reference Bible, which is theologically oriented, The Ryrie Study Bible is more exegetically oriented in that Ryrie seeks to illuminate verses for the reader through explanatory notes. These notes provide historical, geographical, grammatical, etymological, political, cultural, and theological information. While Ryrie remains firmly committed to his theological views, he explains other positions. In the introduction to the Book of Revelation, for example, he discusses different interpretive approaches to the book, though he clearly states that he holds the futurist view. Charitable toward opposing interpretations, The Ryrie Study Bible sometimes does not take a position where it could.
Like many of Ryrie’s other writings, the Study Bible has plowed new ground, providing the average reader with helpful introductory information on each of the books of the Bible (author, date, historical background, purpose, content, outline).
In one volume Ryrie offers a concise commentary, word studies, and doctrinal helps. The chain that had anchored the Bible to the pulpit, and that Martin Luther broke, has been broken further, giving the reader a clearer understanding of God’s Word.
Charles Ryrie has made a unique and important contribution to twentieth-century theology. His ability to communicate to the layperson undoubtedly stands without peer. Few theological volumes written in this century have communicated truth as effectively to the ordinary individual as have Ryrie’s works. Part of his legacy is his example of crystalizing and clarifying the complex topics of theology. Many Christians have been guided into an understanding of Christian doctrine through books like A Survey of Bible Doctrine and The Holy Spirit. Many more will undoubtedly be helped by his Basic Theology . Ryrie’s writings serve to clarify the teachings of Scripture “that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17 NASB).
Ryrie’s legacy also challenges the Christian reader to serious thinking about how biblical teaching relates to the contemporary world. He has grappled with how the Bible applies to the serious issues of the day: the role of women, divorce, legalism, the nature of the gospel, the charismatic movement. He has not necessarily arrived at popular conclusions, but he has drawn the reader back to the Scriptures. For Ryrie the authority is not society or experience, but the Bible. This engenders confidence in his writings as well as encourages average Christians to study the Bible on their own for theological answers. What could be of greater satisfaction to a theologian?