The ESV Study Bible is here!

I often get the question—a very good question—“When I read my Bible, is there something I can also read alongside to help me better understand certain things I’m reading?” It’s an important question because the Bible is such an ancient text—written in such ancient languages anywhere from 1,900-3,400 years ago, depending upon which book of the Bible you’re reading. The Bible is a collection of 66 ancient smaller books written by about 43 different authors on three different continents. So it’s not always straightforward what such an ancient author meant when he wrote to his ancient readers, all of whom had in common languages and cultures and customs that are so uncommon to us today. So it’s a very legitimate question—“How should I understand what this ancient Bible is actually saying?

Up until now, my answer was to purchase and use an NIV Study Bible or the TNIV Study Bible. I think for the average Christian who is starting out in reading their Bible on a more committed basis, these are excellent Bible translations with very informative and helpful study notes alongside (actually below) each page of the biblical text. I still think these two translations are the easiest to understand for the less biblically knowledgeable (i.e., it is loose enough of a translation to read like very common English), while also being translations that are faithful to the ancient biblical Hebrew or Greek text. They are very fine study Bibles indeed.

But this week something new has just arrived—a study Bible I’ve been anticipating for a while now. It’s the ESV Study Bible.

First, a quick word about the ESV vs. the NIV/TNV: The English Standard Version (ESV) is a fairly recent translation by a very well respected team of gospel-believing biblical language scholars, and their goal was to have a less “loose” of a translation than the NIV or TNIV, while also keeping an easy enough to read, contemporary feel. The ESV tends to be the Bible translation I use for personal reading and study, while I tend to preach and teach using the NIV or TNIV, because it’s usually easier for the average person to understand.

I’m particularly enthused about this week’s arrival of the ESV Study Bible because, while being a good contemporary English translation, the study notes on the bottom of each page are written by many of the teachers and scholars who are the seminary professors that have influenced us pastors at The Crossing the most. In other words, said plainly, the theological and biblical teaching of the notes on each page of this study Bible are very much in line with our teaching as pastors at The Crossing. Many of these scholars either taught the classes or have written the books and Bible commentaries that have contributed to our own understanding of the Bible the most. So this is a study Bible that we’d very enthusiastically recommend to you for your own reading and study of the Bible.

In addition to these helpful notes and introductions that accompany each book of the Bible, the ESV Study Bible also includes more than 60 articles on important biblical and theological topics that will be a significant resource for the more serious Bible student. And again, the list of authors of these articles is a very impressive list. They are the pastors and seminary professors that have written the books and Bible commentaries we use as pastors at The Crossing.

Plus, one huge plus for the ESV Study Bible is that, after you purchase your own copy, you are given a code to use to allow online access to all of its content, including the study notes, charts, and articles. I was even able to access all this from my iPhone! But be sure not to throw away your code. It’s a scratch off at the right bottom corner of what looks like an advertisement brochure in the back leaf of your new Bible.

I really do think that this ESV Study Bible will be the kind of resource that is a “must-have” for any and every member of The Crossing desiring to become more biblically and theologically knowledgeable. That’s why starting this Sunday, we will have many copies of this ESV Study Bible available for you to purchase at cost. We have several different bindings available at different prices (from $30-$60): hardcover, Trutone, and genuine leather in brown and black. Personally, I purchased the hardcover because that way I can have it open in a coffee shop without looking like I’ve got the big, black, family-sized, leather King Jimmy out. But that’s just my own hangup. So visit our bookstore in the Lamppost Café at The Crossing this Sunday and pick up an ESV Study Bible for yourself.

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