Cox, W.E. – The Bible Without Comment

The Bible Without Comment
By William E. Cox*

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
(Pro 30:5-6 ESV)

This single chapter work is an excellent criticism of the first version of the Scofield Reference Bible, being a leveling of adding opinions and comments to actual text of the Bible, making a semi-canonical type of presentation. Indeed many people today consider Scofield’s Notes almost as inspired as the original Scriptures. This is a definite read for every Christian.


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2 thoughts on “Cox, W.E. – The Bible Without Comment”

  1. The article begins with the implication that the author is against all study Bibles.

    He concludes with the fact that he is only against dispensational/Scofield study Bibles because he believes dispensational theology is wrong.

    Given the opening paragraphs of his article, would not a Reformed Study Bible be Romish?

    • I would totally agree that the author’s (Cox no relation to me) would seem very bias. On the one hand, I think his criticisms against “study Bibles” like Scofield are not valid because he “beef” is really against dispensationalism, and that angle (attacking Scofield study Bible) would not be direct and to the point. Having said that, I grew up in a Fundamental Baptist environment all my life, and truly his criticism of some people “adoring” of Scofield’s notes is what is good in his article. Some good people seem to confuse the difference between a Bible note, and the actual Scripture. Two very far apart things. On the issue of dispensationalism, I do hold to a dispensation point of view myself (though not extreme, and I don’t see putting Adam and Eve under a dispensation of works either). I feel his work has some valid because of its alarmist view as to exalting the Scofield study Bible above Scripture. I don’t do that. I like my Scofield Bible by the way. I don’t know that it is always a good recommendation for a new believer (nor MacArthurs, Nelson’s, etc). Frankly, I stopped marking my Bible in high school, because I marked up my Scofield Bible so much that I couldn’t read the Bible for all the underlining and notes (mine and Scofield). I felt that when I read the Bible, I personally prefer something without any notes at all. When I study, I get out the notes, but for Bible reading for thinking, meditating, and survey of the Scriptures, there is nothing like a “clean Bible” to read from. In that aspect, I think W.E. Cox does make a good point that I would recommend to others. Thanks for the note Dave.

      Concerning your last statement about a Reformed study Bible being Romish, I think Cox’s point is that the mixing of Scripture and non-Scripture is a dangerous practice. I would probably agree with Cox on that one. Having said that as my general viewpoint, I think he is a little bit extreme when it comes to all of this. Most people who are mature Christians understand the difference between a Bible footnote or cross reference, and they understand that these are “aids”, so I think that the practice is sometimes dangerous if we don’t remind people of the non-inspired status of these notes and helps and aids (thus we are very different from Catholics because they reinforce the inspired nature of their extra-biblical material). I think balance is best, and having pointed out the dangers (especially to new Christians) of these aids, I think it is a stretch in general to say that the practice is unbiblical. Somewhere Christian liberty has to enter in, and we can give advice, and people can ignore our advice and not sin.

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