Orthodox Study Bible

Orthodox Study Bible
Full name Orthodox Study Bible
Abbreviation OSB
Complete Bible
Textual basis

NT: the NKJV, from the Textus Receptus, a part of the Majority Text family of 94% of all Greek manuscripts. High Correspondence to the Stephanus 1550 edition of the Textus Receptus.[1]

OT: St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint
Translation type Formal Equivalence
Version revision New King James Version
Publisher Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Copyright Copyright 2008 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Religious affiliation Eastern Orthodox Church
In the beginning God made heaven and earth. The earth was invisible and unfinished; and darkness was over the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The Orthodox Study Bible (OSB) is an Eastern Orthodox study bible published by Thomas Nelson. It features an English translation of the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint for the Old Testament and utilizes the New King James Version for the New Testament.


The OSB's Old Testament (2008 edition) is an eclectic text combining elements of the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew Masoretic Text. One important feature of the OSB is that all New Testament quotations of the Old Testament are identical in wording between the Old and New Testaments (e.g. Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7-8; 1 Cor 6:16; Eph 5:31). Although the Orthodox Church does respect the Hebrew Old Testament, it also believes the Septuagint tradition should be studied by the church, out of respect for both the New Testament writers and the Eastern Church tradition.

The Old Testament was prepared under the auspices of the academic community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, using clergy and lay scholars. The overview committee included fourteen archbishops, metropolitans, and bishops from various Orthodox jurisdictions, as well as eight priests and seven lay scholars. The Old Testament includes a new translation of the Psalms by Donald Sheehan of Dartmouth College.

The New Testament is the New King James Version (NKJV), which uses the Received Text, representing 94% of Greek manuscripts. The Byzantine text-type is the textual tradition preserved for liturgical use in the Eastern Church.

The original edition of the OSB, released in 1993, included only the New Testament and Psalms, both NKJV. The NKJV text of the Psalms were replaced in the 2008 edition by the Psalms of the new OSB translation of the Old Testament.

Study materials

The translations of the Old Testament and New Testament are accompanied by commentary from the Orthodox viewpoint. Articles provide guidance and support for many facets of the Orthodox faith which can be confusing or unknown to those who did not grow up in the Church. There is a comparative of list of contents, side-by-side with the Roman Catholic canon and the generally accepted Protestant canon. The OSB addresses such questions as: Why is the Mother of God essential to the Faith? Who were the 70 Apostles? How is an Orthodox understanding of the Bible different from a Roman Catholic or Protestant understanding? In addition, the OSB provides basic daily prayers, a lectionary for personal use, and reproductions of icons in its pages.


The work had never had a special approval, nor the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was not produced on the advice by any of the old orthodox Patriarchates. For this reason, the present publication can not be seen as an official text of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The work has received positive endorsements from such prominent bishops as Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America), Metropolitan Phillip (Antiochian Orthodox Church) and Metropolitan Theodosius (Orthodox Church in America).[2]

Among the work's critics, Archimandrite Ephrem, writing in the Orthodox Christian journal Sourozh, has stated that the commentary "feels far too much like a piece of evangelical propaganda decked out in the trappings of Orthodoxy."[3] Priest Seraphim Johnson has written in The Orthodox Christian Witness that "the Study Bible reproduces the whole textual apparatus of the NKJV, including many of the doubtful decisions of modern non-Orthodox biblical scholarship."[4] (Both of these reviews review the 1993 edition of the Orthodox Study Bible, which included only the NT and Psalms.) Some of the issues raised in these reviews have been addressed in the 2008 edition.

See also


  1. The Comprehensive New Testament notes that this is an accurate translation of the Koine (Received or Ecclesiastical) Text, instead of the modern "reasoned eclectic" Alexandrian text base in Nestle-Aland/UBS (based on three ancient manuscripts representative of a small part of Christian tradition, Codices Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus).
  2. Endorsements of the OSB by Orthodox hierarchs
  3. Archimandrite Ephrem. "Book Review: The Orthodox Study Bible". Orthodox Christian Information Center.
  4. Priest Seraphim Johnson. "Review in The Orthodox Christian Witness, Vol. XXVII, No. 18(1273)". Orthodox Christian Information Center.
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