Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Why the Recovery Version Is My Go-To Study Bible

Recovery Version study Bible

With every book we explore, it helps to understand  the underlying thought or purpose behind it.  With study Bibles it’s no different. They all have their perspective.

The Recovery Version Bible is very focused. It has an underlying principle which points us to the living  Christ  revealed in the Scriptures for our experience of Him.

Then  by appreciating Christ, loving Him, and enjoying Him (Heb. 12:2, note 2) we’re able to enter into God’s heart and discover His eternal plan or purpose (1 Cor 2:9, note 3).

Simply put, the Recovery Version helps us to see  that God wants to make Christ everything to us so that we may become the church, as His living  Body for  God’s corporate expression (Eph. 1:23, note 1).

If such a perspective intrigues you, you may want to keep reading…

The text in the Recovery Version is very accurate and readable.

The Recovery Version is exceptionally true to the original Greek text. I’ve checked the New Testament against my interlinear many times and have found it to be incredibly true to the Greek text. Where there are some important issues related to text, it will indicate it in a linguist note. It will point out if there are different Greek words being used that could confuse the reader.

The text is also very readable. I can read verse after verse, chapter after chapter, without being confused by an obscure wording. If there is a word or phrase that needs explanation,  it will provide concise notes to make it clear so that you can easily continue your reading. I use it for both morning and evening reading and find it pleasant to follow along.

The notes in Recovery Version lead you to Christ.

For example , the first footnote in the New Testament, Matthew 1:1, note 1 says,

“The first name and the last name (Rev. 22:21) in the New Testament is Jesus, proving that Jesus Christ is the subject and content of the New Testament.

The Bible is a book of life, and this life is a living person, the wonderful and all-inclusive Christ. The Old Testament gives a portrait, in types and prophecies, of this wonderful person as the Coming One. Now, in the New Testament, this wonderful person has come…”

This is my testimony concerning  the Recovery Version. It has caused me to see and appreciate the Lord Jesus as never before. I hope it will also cause you to love Him, seek Him, open to Him and be filled with Him.

From my experience, many of the footnotes by Witness Lee will simply make you want to turn your heart to the Lord Jesus and pray.

For example, in John 5:39-40, the Lord Jesus said,

“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that  testify concerning Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Note 1 on verse 39 says,

To “search the Scriptures” may be separated from “come to Me” (v. 40). The Jewish religionists searched the Scriptures but were not willing to come to the Lord. These two should go together; because the Scriptures testify concerning the Lord, they should not be separated from the Lord. We may contact the Scriptures, yet not contact the Lord. Only the Lord can give life.”

When I read a passage like this and reflect on the notes, I’m spontaneously turned to pray and might say,

“Lord since the Scriptures testify concerning You, remind me to come to You every time I come to Your Word.”

This also reminds me of  my favorite hymn on coming to the Lord in the Word. You may also enjoy reading my post by that title and singing the hymn as well.

In addition, there are many more notes that zero in on the wonderful Lord Jesus revealed in the Scriptures. The following are a number of my favorites that I’ve really enjoyed over the years:

  • Matt. 1:1, note 1 – presents  4 main aspects of Christ as revealed in the 4 gospels.
  • Heb. 1:3, note 4 – points to various aspects of Christ revealed in nearly every book of the New Testament. Christ is really all-inclusive!
  • 1 Cor. 1:9, note 2 – points out at least 20 items of the riches of Christ in the book of 1 Corinthians.
  • Matt 15:26, note 1 – points out many items of Christ revealed in the book of Matthew.

The notes also focus us on our present experience of Christ.

Study Bibles have many kinds of notes. Some focus on external events (e.g. prophecy, history, etc.). And they may be very useful in that aspect. But the outstanding point to me in the notes in the Recovery Version is how they help me to concentrate on experiencing Christ.

For example, I like 1 Cor. 2:9 which says,

But as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man’s heart; things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Note 3 on this verse says,

To realize and participate in the deep and hidden things God has ordained and prepared for us requires us not only to believe in Him but also to love Him. To fear God, to worship God, and to believe in God (that is, to receive God) are all inadequate; to love Him is the indispensable requirement. To love God means to set our entire being—spirit, soul, and body, with the heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30)—absolutely on Him, that is, to let our entire being be occupied by Him and lost in Him, so that He becomes everything to us and we are one with Him practically in our daily life. In this way we have the closest and most intimate fellowship with God, and we are able to enter into His heart and apprehend all its secrets (Psa. 73:25; 25:14). Thus, we not only realize but also experience, enjoy, and fully participate in these deep and hidden things of God.

When I read such a verse and note I’m turned to pray,

“Lord Jesus, I don’t just believe in You. Lord I love You. As I come to Your Word, I set my entire being on You. Lord, I want to be occupied and lost in You so that You become everything to me in my daily life. Lord bring me into intimate fellowship with You so that I may enter into Your heart and apprehend all its secrets.”

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post on the Recovery Version Bible, I encourage you to share your interest or experience with it in a comment.

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet,  I hope you’ll buy the Holy Bible Recovery Version from Living Stream Ministry or get a  free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version from Bibles for America if you’re in the USA.  For those in other countries you may want to check out  www.rhemabooks.org.  It is mainly for Christian books. Also for a free New Testament in the UK, go to: http://www.amanatrust.org.uk/bibles/
You can also read the New Testament Recovery Version with footnotes online.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

43 Replies

  1. Probably my favorite study Bible too. Great notes, but I think the feature I find myself using the most is the outlines. Combined with the footnotes, the outline really helped me break down the book of Romans. It also helped me see the big picture in Matthew.

    It’s a good point that the notes generally focus on the experience of Christ. It doesn’t include a lot of notes that give historical context. For a more historical view, one might want to get an additional resource. I just got this one recently: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1418541753/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_7Ff5qb0GGSGWK

    1. Tom Smith

      Thanks for mentioning the Recovery Version outlines.

      They have been a real help to me as well. They provide a bird’s-eye view, bringing whatever passage we’re reading into its Scriptural context. Such a view has enabled me to receive more spiritual light in my reading, study, and prayer over God’s word.

      For example, I like the outline in the Gospel of John that divides the book into 2 sections: I. The eternal Word incarnated to bring God into man–1:1–13:38 and II. Jesus crucified and Christ resurrected going to prepare the way to bring man into God, and as the Spirit coming to abide and live in the believers for the building of God’s habitation–14:1–16:33. I just have to say, “Thank you Lord for coming and thank you Lord for going!” What a view!

      1. > “Thank you Lord for coming and thank you Lord for going!” What a view!


    2. Mark C

      I think you’re right clark, the author of the study notes said they are even more crucial than the footnotes.

  2. Although I have more than 40 English translations and occasionally look at a verse in some or all of them, the Recovery Version is the main Bible that I read and study. From the beginning I like the notes. I have shared the first paragraph of the first note with many people: “Jesus Christ is the subject and content of the New Testament.” I also like this note for going on to present the four aspects of Jesus Christ in the four gospels. Many years ago a group of us memorized Heb. 1:3, note 4 (mentioned above); portions of this still come back to nourish me.

    1. As a young one, I did not easily understand the Lord’s parables in the Gospels but every time I read the notes, I receive spiritual enlightenment. I thank the Lord for the ones who labored for it!

      1. Tom Smith

        Me too. Not only the parables, but many of the Old Testament types and prophecies are not easy to understand. The footnotes in the Recovery Version have been extremely helpful in making these and other matters very clear. Thanks for sharing your confirming experience.

  3. A very refreshing reading. Thank you

  4. Wonderful comment and intro on the best studying bible available now.

    1. Tom Smith

      Thanks for the confirming comment.

      It is sad to realize that there is such a small percentage (25%) of evangelical believers that read their Bibles in a weekly way. Barna research says, “American Christians are biblically illiterate.”

      I believe that if more would discover the Recovery Version, there appetite for God’s Word would grow and they would grow in Christ. May the Lord have the way to reach the hungry people in this country and all over the earth with the truth and life in His Word through the help of the Recovery Version as an opener.

      1. Ralph F Stone

        Is this version available with Old & New Testament?

        1. Tom Smith


          Yes, you can get the Holy Bible Recovery Version with both the Old and New Testaments from Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA. You can purchase the complete Recovery Version Bible online from the publishers online bookstore.

          May the Lord richly bless you in the pursuit of the divine truth revealed in His Word.


  5. Glenn

    At times I regret my poor start and lack of growth in my Christian life, but I truly thank God that He allowed me to discover the NT Recovery Version. The RcV is a treasure to me for at least four reasons: It opens up the Word and helps me to enter into the truth (John 8:32) in the Word. It ministers the rich supply of life (John 10:10b; 6:63)–there is plenty of water in the Word (John 7:39; Eph. 5:26 & notes). It solves the common and hard problems in the Bible so that I am not held back by lack of understanding. With the RcV every book in the Bible is open and inviting not opaque and discouraging.

    Every week I have the honor and blessing to present the NT Recovery Version to a number of individuals. My appreciation for this wonderful “gold b

  6. Glenn

    At times I regret my poor start and lack of growth in my Christian life, but I truly thank God that He allowed me to discover the NT Recovery Version. The RcV is a treasure to me for at least four reasons: It opens up the Word and helps me to enter into the truth (John 8:32) in the Word. It ministers the rich supply of life (John 10:10b; 6:63)–there is plenty of water in the Word (John 7:39; Eph. 5:26 & notes). It solves the common and hard problems in the Bible so that I am not held back by lack of understanding. With the RcV every book in the Bible is open and inviting not opaque and discouraging.

    Every week I have the honor and blessing to present the NT Recovery Version to a number of individuals. My appreciation for this wonderful “gold bar” just keeps growing.

    1. Tom Smith

      I heartily agree. The reasons you mentioned have made the Recovery Version a treasure to me as well: 1) I appreciate how it opens up the Word so that we can enter into the truth (For example, the topical directory in the illustrated guide that BfA gives out, points to verses with footnotes on many of these points of truth.) 2) I also treasure how the Recovery Version, by bringing us to touch Christ, who is the life, ministers the spiritual life supply to nourish us and 3) I can confirm that it really solves the common and hard problems in the Bible. In addition, I appreciate how it opens up each book of the Bible so we can conveniently study our way through without stops. It’s such a precious tool!

      The more we share it with others the more our appreciation grows. You make me more eager to present it to people I meet more often. Thanks for the confirming comment.

  7. My favorite footnote in the Recovery Version is note two for Hebrews 12:1 (although there are lots of notes that I really, really like). Note two says, “The wonderful Jesus, who is enthroned in heaven and crowned with glory and honor (2:9), is the greatest attraction in the universe. He’s like an immense magnet, drawing all His seekers to Him. It is by being attracted by His charming beauty that we look away from all things other than Him. Without such a charming object, how could we look away from so many distracting things on this earth?” What an awesome note! Without looking away to our wonderful Lord Jesus, how could we look away from so many distracting things on this earth? But we can, because He’s more attractive than everything else!

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. That is one of my footnotes favorites also. It’s the kind of note that causes us to appreciate and love the Lord Jesus more, and to pray to Him so that He can attract us by His beauty to look away form all the distracting things on this earth.

  8. one of the most popular verses in the Bible is John 3:16, and it is not until I read the Recovery Version that I discovered that it says, “whoever believes INTO Him”. Wow! The footnote also helps you to see how you need to believe into the Lord by being organically joined to Him, not just believing “that He exists”.

    The Recovery Version has helped me a lot in my relationship with the Lord to know Him more intimately, not only in the way of mental knowledge and apprehension but also in my practical daily walk with Him. It is definitely my go-to Study Bible!

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. I appreciate how you said “The Recovery Version has helped me a lot in my relationship with Lord to know Him more intimately, not only in the way of mental knowledge and apprehension but also in my practical daily walk with Him.” This study Bible, with all the notes, points us to this wonderful Person.

      I believe this word is a reminder to me and hopefully to all the readers of this post.

      Bible reading is not merely to gain a mental knowledge of Bible doctrines, it is to usher us into a living, intimate relationship with the Lord. It’s hard to experience much intimacy if we come to the Bible like were scan reading for some facts.

      We need to quiet our inner being to come to God’s Word to spend time with our Beloved. We need to realize that in every chapter and verse there may be a personal word He has for us that will draw us more deeply into Himself. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Kevin Lee Poracan

    The New Testament Recovery Version is truly a study-Bible guide which has extensive footnotes, cross references, detailed outlines, 8 pages of charts and maps, and historical information and there are also interesting translations in a few places. As a whole, the Recovery Version is a reliable translation. This has enable me to treasure God’s Word and help me to grasp the deeper meaning of the scriptures. This features also alone with accurate and readable translation in the modern English made this an excellent New Testament for both our personal and group Bible study. Furthermore. the RcV is a recent translation of the Bible from the revised 1990 edition of the Hebrew Scriptures, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, and the Nestle-Aland Greek text as found in Novum Testamentum Graece (26th edition).

    1. Tom Smith

      Thanks for sharing your appreciation for the Recovery Version. After reading it for many years, I continue to find more light and life supply. This is especially true when using the outlines and footnotes to usher you into the deeper meaning of the word. Many passages would remain obscure to me if I read only the text. But with the aid of the study helps, I’m enlightened to find more of Christ and God’s plan throughout the whole Bible.

  10. Cary Epaphras G. Bondoc

    Yes, recovery version is also my favorite bible because of its modern English context. And what I really like about this bible is that it focuses on Christ, I realized that even from the beginning without Christ we are nothing.

  11. rae alexander

    I’m glad you are here to share, and reply to the folks who are posting. I love the first thing I received from this version, somehow it was left with me, lol, anyways I’ve read Bibles til they fall apart, but back to my point I too was ashamed of how long it has taken me to really start to be a stone. And again this is my main point, I LOVE HOW IT LET ME KNOW I CAN ENJOY JESUS, PAPI GOD, AND THE HOLY GHOST NOW, HERE ON THIS SIDE OF GLORY, SO THAT I LOVE EVEN DEEPER THAN EVER HIM, MY LOVER OF MY SOUL., so I really thank you Tom that while I was trying to see if I could just look up an old testament scripture because I only have the new testament version, and for now that’s it. Well I found your pag. I think yoir are a real blessing, 2cor 9:8 thanx again. I love this version,my old favorite was the amplified. I love both, but this one is the most intimate, so since I’m in love with my Lord, wow!!!

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you found the Recovery Version such a blessing. You can also find the Old Testament Recovery Version (text only) online at: http://online.recoveryversion.org/

      I also enjoy how the Recovery Version helps me to love and experience the Lord more in my daily Christian life. Yes, “this one is the most intimate.” For example, check out 1 Cor. 2:9 and note 3 on “things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Just reading and praying over this verse with the appreciation in this footnote will inspire you to love Him more.

  12. Praise the Lord! Reading the Recovery Version Bible with footnotes is really enjoyable. But i only have New Testament Recovery Version Bible with footnotes. As of now, i can’t buy yet an Recovery Version Bible (Old & New Testament) with footnotes. I’m searching for an OLD TESTAMENT RECOVERY VERSION WITH FOOTNOTES ONLINE but i can’t find one.

    Anyway, it’s the best if we accompany our reading of the recovery version bible (w/footnotes) with the Life-Study Messages. It’ll help us a lot to understand the significance of every happening in the Bible.

    Let’s consecrate our time for reading the bible & may the Lord be gracious to us that we would be faithful until the end. Amen.

    1. Tom Smith

      I also enjoy reading the Holy Bible Recovery Version with the footnotes along with the companion study–Life-study of the Bible. You can find the Old Testament text at: http://online.recoveryversion.org/. Fortunately, if you’re doing a chapter by chapter study of a book of the Old Testament, you can find the content of the footnotes in the Life-study messages. You can read them online at: ministrybooks.org. (The Old Testament footnotes are synopsis of the crucial points in the Old Testament Life-studies.

  13. revathi

    Praise the LORD. Is there any link to purchase the bible using Indian rupees?

    1. Tom Smith


      First, the New Testament Recovery Version can be freely read online at the New Testament Recovery Version Online site. As far a purchase of the Bible using Indian Rupees, you would have to check with the publisher Living Stream Ministry You could probably download the electronic version using a credit card or inquire as to purchases and shipping to India by sending an email to:
      books@lsm.org. Keep enjoying the Word!

  14. Wendy

    Amen, Praise the Lord 🙂 I have really enjoyed this “version” of the Bible and also many other books that brother Witness Lee and Nee wrote 🙂 I found they took so much pressure off my self to be a “good Christian,” as there writings opened the eyes of my heart to see what the Lord’s real goal was 🙂 the eternal economy of God–God Himself dispensing himself into humanity, that we may become the church, His bride!

    1. Tom Smith

      Thanks for your confirming comment. As you say, the light through the ministry of these two servants of the Lord–Brother Nee and Lee helps us to see that the Christian life is not our trying to be a “good Christian,” but our allowing the Lord to live in us, as the Spirit in our spirit. As Paul said in Gal. 2:20, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” This is the secret of how God carried out His eternal economy, or plan, by dispensing Himself into all the parts of our being (1 Thes. 5:23). By such a dispensing we become the church, Christ’s Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all (Eph. 1:22-23), and His glorious bride for Him to come back for (5:27). May such a vision govern our daily living guiding us to live in God’s dispensing for the preparation of His bride!

  15. Waisiki Naqarase Kaitani

    Hi! Im from Fiji, a small group of islands in the middle of the South Pacific. I have been reading the recovery version with notes for the last 20 years. Wow, it simplifies the whole bible and while reading I am just unveiled concerning the truth in the bible! I would recommend this bible to any person who is seeking the lord!! Thank you lord for the labor of love through the brothers!!

    1. Tom Smith

      Great! So glad the Recovery Version has been such a blessing to you for 20 years. I agree that it really simplifies the Bible and unveils us to see the deep truth contained in it. So glad you would recommend the Recovery Version. Thank you for sharing your confirming comment

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