'Calvinistic interpretation' evident in Bible study notes, says prof

Friday, June 8, 2018
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

Bible in lap (black-and-white)A Baptist seminary professor suggests that those who aren't big fans of reformed theology may not be too happy with a study Bible published last year by LifeWay Christian Resources.

Dr. Adam Harwood is associate professor of theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In analyzing the Christian Standard Bible (released January 2017), Harwood focused only on the doctrine of salvation – one of his teaching specializations – choosing some key scriptural texts in his examination of the study notes. 

"Of the six that I chose – Acts 2:23, Romans 8:29-30, Ephesians 1:3-9, 1 Timothy 2:4-6, 2 Peter 3:9, and 1 John 2:2 – all six of those a Calvinist could affirm; only half of them, a non-Calvinist would affirm," he tells OneNewsNow. "So the conclusion was that the study notes seem to lean in the direction of a Calvinistic interpretation of scripture."

Book cover - Christian Standard Bible (CSB)Baptist Press reports the CSB is a revision of the 2010 Holman Christian Standard Bible. According to Harwood, many of the study notes in the CSB Study Bible come from the HCSB – leading him to conclude that the same Calvinistic leanings evident in the new study notes could probably be found in the older version.

Why is this significant? Even though the CSB is published for a broadly Christian and evangelical audience, the professor says it's connected to "the Southern Baptist brand" – and he argues that readers could be led to assume, incorrectly, that the theology in the study notes reflects the views of all in the Southern Baptist Convention.

"The challenge is that Southern Baptists are comprised of some people who are Calvinists and some people who are not Calvinist and then others who don't necessarily choose to identify with one or the other of those views," he explains. "And those two traditions both exist today in the Convention of churches that comprise Southern Baptists."


Harwood concludes: "My point isn't to argue for or against Calvinistic theology; it's simply to identify a theological leaning in this particular resource. So those who affirm Calvinism will be pleased with the study notes – [and] those who don't affirm Calvinistic interpretations will probably want to find a different resource."

Harwood's website offers a detailed theological review of the CSB study notes. His review clearly states that he's addressing the study notes only, not the text of the CSB – and only one doctrine: salvation.


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