My brief (succinct) review of the ESV Study Bible

The brown skin of some kind of synthetic animal and an orange triangle. Oh, and about 38 pounds. These are just some of the features of my new ESV (English Standard Version) Study Bible, available now from Crossway publishers. The ESV has been around for less than a decade and keeps popping up as the most accurate English translation without the wooden quality of the NASB. I’ve blogged about the ESV translation here on radblog before, so I won’t go into detail here because it’s late and I’m downloading an episode of The Office from iTunes, which always slows my internet down to a step above zero. Yes. My internet slows down to “1”. “1 what?” you might ask. And I would answer “One slow internet service!” Ba doom-ching.

Anyway, we’re here to blog about the big ESV Study Bible, a sure heavyweight in the Study Bible industry. I mean this literally… I am fairly certain that it would outweigh an NIV Study Bible, a Thompson Chain-Reference and yes, even a Strong’s Concordance (but certainly not a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, which is so big that Rhode Island keeps attempting to annex so that we’ll take our nation’s most adorable state a bit more seriously).

Have I mentioned that the ESV Study Bible is heavy? Please allow me to reiterate that again. It is heavy. But I have seen, after reading through Genesis (text and notes) that there is a good reason for it’s husky nature; it’s chock full of good stuff. The notes are relevant, clear, concise, and only occasionally veer Calvinist. I am very pleased thus far with what I’ve read, and am already on my way through the introduction to Exodus. The study notes, combined with the accuracy and readable ESV makes for a very handy study and reference tool.

One thing I was concerned about was the track record of super-thin pages from Crossway, which makes for very confusing reading and impossible marking and highlighting. The pages in this are as thick as a book’s pages should be, lending again to the overall bulk of the bible. Have I mentioned that it’s heavy?

Here’s my bible study strategy (or my study bible strategy): ESV Study Bible + NIV Study Bible + NLT Study Bible. The ESV for its reliability, the NLT for it’s readability and the NIV for it’s middle of the road virtue, popularity, and denominational endorsement.

I also like the NLT for it’s “aha” factor. This is something I’ll talk about in my review of the NLT Study Bible, which I like but not as much as the ESV. More on that later.

That thing is so heavy. I refer, of course, to the ESV Study Bible, or, “Bertha” as I shall call her.

About radamdavidson

When I'm not blogging, I'm hanging out with my family, pastoring a church, or listening to vinyl. I think and write about Jesus, music, communication, organizational leadership, family whatnot, and cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at, watch [RadCast], a daily 3 minute video devotional, or find me on socials (@radamdavidson). I also help Pastors in their preaching and public speaking (
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