The ESV translation has quickly become the hot new Bible translation amongst the neo-‘Reformed’ crowd. It is more likely than not that the ESV will eventually topple the current king of the Bible sales mountain – NIV. Crossway, eager to capitalize on its success, and John MacArthur, seeking to carve out a larger niche in the ‘Reformed’ study Bible market have joined forces to produce a potential market smash – the MacArthur Study Bible in ESV. For a long time, MacArthur has been a devoted loyalist to the unappealing and awkward sounding NASB, but with the undeniable popularity of the ESV, he seems to be looking to expand his horizons.
By pressing on the Resources button you can download a PDF copy of the book of Romans. A quick scan through the Romans notes indicates pretty typical Dispensational fare. He defines Israel as simply Abraham’s descendants through Jacob. Covenant is defined as a legally binding promise, agreement, or contract. The six Biblical covenants are listed, but their ultimate fulfillment in Christ is not. There is no discussion of the the theological covenants. The root of the olive tree in Romans 11 is the patriarchs and the branches are the descendants of the patriarchs. He then moves away from the logical conclusion of Gentile branches and spiritualizes the text by stating that Gentiles become ‘spiritual heirs’ of the covenant blessings, by being graffed in. He defines the olive tree as ‘the place of divine blessing’? Sadly, he interprets the blessing of salvation comming upon all who believe, during the New Covenant dispensation, irrespective of race, but doesn’t handle the lesser physical blessings in the same way. This inconsistency makes the study Bible of suspect worth in my humble opinion. I will be curious to evaluate more of the study notes as it hits store shelves this Fall.