Review: ESV Study Bible

Resource: ESV Study Bible
Publisher: Crossway
Resource Type: Study Bible
Rating: ●●●●● (Excellent)


A couple years ago, a new, highly-anticipated study Bible came onto the scene that seemed to raise the proverbial bar for all other study Bibles. That Bible was the ESV Study Bible. In addition to including the full text of the English Standard Version, (a 2001 update of the 1971 Revised Standard Version), it had the mother load of study helps, including notes, cross-references, maps and numerous helpful diagrams. The hardcover version is over 2 inches thick and totals more than 2,700 pages. Here’s some of what you’ll find inside:

  • Section summaries that provide an overview of each main section and correspond to the outline shown in the introduction for each book.
  • Over 200 full-color maps printed throughout that make events and places in the Bible come to life.
  • Over 25,000 notes focused especially on understanding the Bible text and providing answers to frequently raised issues.
  • Over 80,000 cross-references that provide easy access to key words, passages, and themes throughout the Bible.
  • Numerous diagrams that bring fresh understanding to key places and events in the Bible, based on the best, most recent historical and archaeological research.
  • Over 200 charts providing concise, “at a glance” summaries of important themes and teaching.


  • The notes section of this Study Bible is extensive, providing translation explanations of key Hebrew/Greek words, as well as exceptional “cultural context,” (see example below); cumulatively contains more comment material on individual verses than many single-volume concise commentaries.
  • The maps are clear and fairly detailed; ranks among the best of any Study Bible or concise commentary.
  • As with any study Bible, you must first find the translation to your liking. (The English Standard Version page on wikipedia describes it as “a translation that is more literal than the popular New International Version, but more idiomatic than the New American Standard Bible.”) If you like the ESV translation, you’ll simply love this Study Bible.
  • The ESV Study Bible notes are available for both Logos Bible Software and WORDsearch Bible Software, as well as numerous other desktop and mobile software Bible formats.
  • The hardcover version is very affordable, (about 25 bucks from CBD).
  • You can find out more about the translation and even preview the Study Bible at


Bible Text
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1 (ESV)

Study Notes
12:1-2 Paradigm for Exhortations: Total Dedication to God. These verses summarize the response to God’s grace and serve as the introduction for all of 12:1-15:13. They encapsulate what it means to live in a way that pleases God.

12:1 Therefore points back to the entire argument from 1:18-11:36. mercies of God. Christians are to give themselves entirely to God because of his saving grace, as shown in 3:21-11:36. Sacrificial language from the OT is used to denote the new life of Christians, and this means that the word bodies here refers to Christians as whole persons, for both body and soul belong to God. They are a living sacrifice, meaning that they are alive from the dead since they enjoy new life with Christ (6:4). “Living” also means that they will not be put to death as OT animal sacrifices were (see notes on sacrifices in Leviticus 1-7), for Christ has fulfilled what was predicted by those sacrifices. Whereas OT worship focused on offering animal sacrifices in the temple, Paul says that spiritual worship in a broad sense now includes offering one’s whole life to God (cf. Heb. 13:15-16). Elsewhere, however, the NT can also use the word “worship” in a narrower sense, to speak of specific acts of adoration and praise (Matt. 2:2; John 4:20; Acts 13:2; 1 Cor. 14:25; Heb. 12:28; Rev. 11:1).

(Source: Lane T. Dennis, ed., ESV Study Bible, The: English Standard Version, Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles, 2008).


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2 Responses to Review: ESV Study Bible

  1. Pingback: Monthly Recap: July 2011 | God's Word was Written to be Understood

  2. Pingback: Study Bible Deals for Kindle and Nook | God's Word was Written to be Understood

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