A new Study Bible combines the wit, charm, pastoral insight, and wise biblical counsel of well-known pastor, teacher, and award-winning author Chuck Swindoll‘s (@chuckswindoll) more than 50 years of ministry with the complete text of the Bible to help readers better understand the meaning of the scriptures.
In this Q&A, Chuck talks about The Swindoll Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers, 2017), winner of the 2018 Christian Book Award®.
You’ve written a lot of books over the years. Why did you decide to do a study Bible?
Chuck Swindoll: That’s a great question.
The Bible is central to everyone’s faith. It’s sort of home base. It’s God’s very Word, and we must never forget that. So, in order for us to really put our faith together, we have to have a pretty good grasp of the Word of God. But, of course, the Bible is more than information. It’s written to change our lives, not simply to satisfy our curiosity.
The desire on God’s part is that we would learn his Word so that we might walk closer with Jesus. That’s what the Bible is all about, isn’t it? After all, that’s why God has communicated his Word to us—so that we may become like his Son, Jesus Christ, who is the central figure of this Book.
I wanted to share my love for the Bible, and what I’ve learned along the way. My primary focus in ministry has been teaching biblical insight for living . . . for genuine life change.
For more than 50 years, I’ve ministered to people, and I’m still as involved as ever. There are so many things through the years that I’ve included in my study but have not put into books. They’ve found their way into this study Bible. This Bible is the product of all of those years of study, research, teaching, and preaching.
There are lots of study Bibles available today. What makes your study Bible different?
Chuck Swindoll: My Bible is realistic, and its practical. God’s Word is relevant. I don’t attempt to make the Bible relevant. I’ve said that for decades. I help people realize how relevant it is. That’s always been my goal.
There are a lot of study Bibles out there. Many of them are good, truly reliable, and thorough, but what’s often lacking is the practicality. So my goal in putting together this study Bible was to help people see how practical God’s Word is. Not just relevant, but practical. That’s the way I think, so that’s the way I teach, and it’s the way I’ve written this Bible—for everyone to get something out of it.
I live in the same world you do, and I have the same struggles and face the same issues that you do. The Bible addresses life as it really is. It’s not theoretical. It deals with issues that we face. People are often amazed at that. I believe that my study Bible will help people to realize that the issues of the Bible are today’s issues and to face them head on.
There are book introductions to help you discover who wrote each book and when. What does it mean? Where did these events occur, and why does it matter? Most importantly, how can I apply this to my everyday life?
Some passages and ideas in Scripture just seem to bubble to the surface. I’ve included hundreds of full-page Application Articles to clarify and apply these to the real-world needs we have.
There are also thousands of Living Insights notes taken straight from my sermons. They’re all practical. My desire is to help people see the point of the author. He’s making a point and we want to understand what it meant in his day and what it means for us today.
Places are important too. There’s nothing quite like going to the Holy Land to see where the events of the Bible took place, imagining walking where Jesus walked. So I’ve included a Holy Land Tour. Each stop includes a photo, a map and, of course, a specific application regarding that particular place.
One of my favorite elements is the Prayer Moments. Sometimes prayer comes hard. The prayers I’ve included are intended to guide you in your own communion with God, each one based on the particular message in a particular passage.
Here’s what I’ve tried to do: I want to make the complicated simple—but not simplistic—so that anyone can grasp scriptural truth and deepen his or her walk with Jesus. That’s my goal, and that’s what you’ll find when you read The Swindoll Study Bible.
You are known for your storytelling. How does that come through in your study Bible?
Chuck Swindoll: Well, I do love stories. I think anyone who communicates needs to be a good storyteller, because stories relate to where we live. They always have a plot, there’s always some sense of mystery about them, and they lead into something where we can relate to them. The Bible is full of stories, and it is, of course, the story of God.
I’ve included numerous People Profiles throughout this Bible. I take a personal interest in the people of the Bible. I’ve learned that by looking at what God is doing in the lives of people in the Scriptures, we can see connections to our own everyday lives. The People Profiles give helpful, basic information, but more importantly, through them we see how God works with and through people.
Beyond the Profiles, my study Bible uses stories to connect the real world of the Bible to the real world of today. I’ve added lessons from my own life that tie in to stories from the Bible.
Who is The Swindoll Study Bible for?
Chuck Swindoll: This is a study Bible that anyone can use and understand. I think and teach practically, so my Bible does the same. It’s not elementary, but you don’t have to go to a Bible college or a seminary to understand it. All of it relates to life as we see it, as we live it. A teenager can get something out of it just as easily as someone in his mid-30s or her 50s or 60s. All the way through, you’ll nod your head in agreement: “I get it. I understand that.”
New believers who don’t quite grasp the flow of the scriptures will have no trouble when they get into this study Bible. Those who are growing and learning. People who are hurting and broken. Churched people who’ve gone through a toxic experience, who have been burned out or disappointed or sidelined by legalism and are not aware of the grace of God. I emphasize the value of grace all the way through this Bible. There’s information in here for all of us.
Why did you choose the NLT for your study Bible?
Chuck Swindoll: Let me say, first of all, that we live in a day in which people look for a reason not to read the Bible. I know that’s a strange way to put it. Every Bible should be read, but for that to happen it needs to be readable. The New Living Translation is a very readable translation; however, let me add that it’s also trustworthy. The scholarship is thorough. It’s in today’s language. You don’t have to spend a lot of time fussing around with the text: “Well, this really doesn’t mean this. The word really means that.” Or “Maybe you don’t understand what this word means.” There’s none of that in the New Living Translation. People understand what it’s saying, and therefore they’ll have an easier time understanding what it means.
Bio: Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and his grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as senior pastor to congregations in Texas, Massachusetts, and California. Since 1998, he’s served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church (@Stonebriar) in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends far beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living (@IFL_USA) airs in major Christian radio markets around the world, reaching people groups in languages they can understand.
Winner of the Christian Book Award Lifetime Achievement Award, Chuck Swindoll is the bestselling author of more than 70 books, 12 of which have won Christian Book Awards. His titles include Searching the Scriptures: Find the Nourishment Your Soul Needs, The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal, Faith for the Journey: Daily Meditations on Courageous Trust in God, The Owner’s Manual for Christians: The Essential Guide for a God-Honoring Life, The Grace Awakening: Believing in Grace Is One Thing, Living It Is Another.
Chuck’s extensive writing ministry has also served the body of Christ worldwide and his leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary (@DallasSeminary) has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.