I really have not seen a study Bible make such useful points like the NLT Study Bible. I am reading from the NLT Study Bible daily for my own personal benefit and for reviewing on this site, and I continue to be excited by the study notes. Consider Mark 11:12-14 and the corresponding notes:
The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12-14; NLT)
“11:13-14 it was too early in the season for fruit: Jesus did not curse the fig tree merely because it lacked fruit. Rather, he was performing a prophetic sign act like those of earlier prophets (Isa 20:1-6; Jer 13:1-11; 19:1-13; Ezek 4:1-17). Just as Jesus judged the fruitless fig tree, so too he judged the Temple and the worship in Israel, in which he found no fruit. This judgment was fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans.”
These are excellent notes. Mark 11:12-14 is a commonly misunderstood text. Many students do not understand why Jesus is cursing this fig tree. Some writers even suggest that Jesus was upset and cursed the fig tree out of anger because he was hungry. But this is far from the case. The NLT study notes hit on the head the exact reason for Jesus cursing the fig tree. The NIV Study Bible (which is very popular) is a complete let down, stating, “Perhaps the incident was a parable of judgment, with the fig tree representing Israel (see Hos 9:10; Na 3:12).”
Perhaps? Israel is represented by the fig tree throughout the Old Testament. Further, study Bibles refuse to make the obvious connection that the NLT Study Bible is willing to make. Jesus has declared Israel fruitless and worthy of judgment. That judgment occurred in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple.
Well done, NLT Study Bible.