Sunday, January 24, 2010

The ESV Study Bible - Book Review

Buzz this

As a seminary student, I have an appreciation for a good study bible, as well as a superior Bible translation.  I think I have found an exemplary combination of both in the ESV Study Bible, published by Crossway Bibles of Wheaton Illinois.

This Bible was created by a team of 95 evangelical Christian scholars and teachers.   These contributors come from 9 countries, representing nearly 20 denominations and more than 50 seminaries, colleges, and universities.  Among the esteemed team members is J. I. Packer, who holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, is a Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada and is highly esteemed as one of the foremost theologians in the world. 

In 2009, the ESV Study Bible (ESV stands for English Standard Version, by the way) won the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Christian Book Award for Book of the Year, the first time a study Bible achieved this distinction.

Primary features of this Bible are (these statistics comes from the inner book cover flap):

·   2,752 pages of teaching, explanation, maps, articles,  and Bible texts  
·   2 million words with 20,000 notes and other resources
·   200 full-color maps printed alongside the ESV text and notes 
    throughout the Bible
·   40 all-new illustrations including full-color renderings and architectural diagrams
·   200-plus charts providing concise summaries and key insights
·   Over 50 articles on essential topics of theology, ethics, and biblical teaching
·   80,000 cross-references and an extensive concordance

A bonus with the purchase of The ESV Study Bible print edition is an online edition of the print edition.  Features include the Bible in searchable digital form, interactive links to all of the materials, the ability to create personal online notes, the opportunity to listen to the audio ESV, as well as additional resources available only online.

I happen to enjoy and appreciate the English Standard Version of the Bible.  The intent of the translators was to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer, while taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages.   This translation is true to the original languages, while at the same time highly readable. 

Each book of the Bible includes an introduction which provides interesting information on, among other things, the author, the date, the theme, the timeline and literary features.  I found the numerous footnotes to be especially helpful.   The maps come in handy for putting yourself on site (if you don’t have the opportunity to personally visit the Holy Land).  There are maps throughout the Bible, as well as a large section at the end of the book.    There is also a very extensive Concordance.  Articles topics range from Biblical Ethics, Interpreting the Bible to Religious Cults, and The Bible and World Religions.  If you have any questions about anything in the Bible, you are highly likely to find it in this edition!

In summary, I would say that this Study Bible is invaluable for both the seminary student and the Christian who wants to learn more about the most important book that has even been written, and anyone else who wants to study at a deeper level.  I anticipate using this ESV Study Bible for the rest of my life, and would recommend it highly.

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