Crossways ESV Pastor’s Bible Review

Crossway’s Pastor’s Bible provides pastors with an all-in-one resource providing them with tools for services, special services, hospital visitations, weddings, funerals, and more. It also serves as a devotional Bible for pastors with devotions that include prayers, quotes, and poems. The Pastor’s Bible builds on The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry by R. Kent Hughes. In this review I take a look at the cloth over board edition. ISBN: 9781433554544

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Binding

This edition is brown and gray cloth over board. The cover title and text is printed in gold. The word’s Pastor’s Bible is printed within a square border. The binding is sewn and has no issues lying open and flat. It includes 2 ribbons. The overall size is 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.25”. It looks great and the size and weight feels like an elegant book.

It comes in a nice slip case. The case is thick cardboard with an elegant look. It’s sturdy enough for regular use.

Paper

The paper has an off-white color and is highly opaque. I’m guessing it’s around 30gsm. It doesn’t have any glare under direct light. The pages are easy to turn. I haven’t tried it, but I think this paper would be suitable for highlighting.

The front includes a presentation page and family pages for marriages, births/adoptions, and deaths on thick paper.

Typography

The text is presented in two columns with paragraph format. The references are placed under the last verse on the page. Footnotes are printed in the footer. The header shows the book name, chapter, and verse in the outer margin and page number in the center.

It has a 9-point black letter font with generous leading. The text seems to be line-matched on most pages but not all. Even when it’s not line-matched there isn’t much show-through but it can be noticeable in the poetic settings. The font is decently dark and consistent throughout the text. The verse numbers are superscript, and they’re dark and easy to find.

It has around 46 characters across with 8-10 words per line. The text has lots of space so that it never feels cramped. The text never gets lost in the gutter. I found it very comfortable to read.

It has lots of section headings throughout the text. They’re slightly bolder than the text and are in italics. The cross references are keyed with letters and the footnotes are keyed with letters. They’re small, making it easy to ignore them completely, but they could be hard to see if you have trouble with small print. This keeps them from getting in the way for reading and preaching.

References

References are placed under the last verse on the page. They show the verse number they correspond to in bold. There are lots of references for study. Here are a few examples to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – Job 38:4-7; Ps 33:6; 136:5; Isa 42:5; 45:18; John 1:1-3; Acts 14:15; 17:24; Col 1:16, 17; Heb 1:10; 11:3; Rev 4:11
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Cited Mark 12:29; Isa 42:8; Zech 14:9; John 17:3; 1 Cor 8:4, 6
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Luke 2:11; John 3”16; ch 7:14; Matt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:25; ch 22:22; 28:29; 10:21; Deut 10:17; Neh 9:32; Jer 32:18; Ps 45:3; 72:17; ch 63:16; John 14:18; Ps 72:7; Eph 2:14; ch 11:6-9
  • Matt 17:20 – John 11:40, ch 6:30; 21:21, 22; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6; ch 13:3, ver 9; 1 Cor 13:2; Mark 9:23
  • Mark 11:23 – Matt 17:20; Ps 46:2; 1 Cor 13:2; Rev 8:8; Rom 4:20; 14:23; James 1:6; ch 16:17; John 14:12
  • Mark 12:29 – Luke 10:27; cited from Deut 6:4, 5; Rom 3:30; 1 Cor 8:4, 6; Gal 3:20; Eph 4:6; 1 Tim 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; 4:12; Jude 25; Matt 19:17; 23:9
  • John 1:1 – Gen 1:1; Col 1:17; 1 John 1:1; Rev 1:4, 8, 17; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13; Rev 19:13; Heb 4:12; 1 John 1:1, 2; ch 17:5; Phil 2:6
  • Acts 2:38 – ch 3:19; 20:21; 26:18, 20; Luke 24:47, ch 22:16; 8:12; Mark 16:16; ch 10:48; 8:16; Mark 1:4; ch 10:45; 8:15, 2; 11:17; John 7:39
  • 1 John 1:1 – John 1:1; ch 2:13, 14; Acts 4:20; John 19:35; ch 4:14; John 1:14; 2 Pet 1:16; Luke 24:39; John 20:27

Footnotes

Footnotes appear in the footer and are keyed to the text with numbers. They include alternate renderings, explanations of Greek and Hebrew terms, explanatory notes, technical notes, references for quotes, manuscript variations, etc. These are the standard footnotes for ESV and are great for deeper study of the text.

Reading Plans

It has two different reading plans:

Four-Part Reading Plan

This is a one-year reading plan with four different readings per day. It takes you through the entire Bible once and Psalms, Isaiah, Luke, and Romans twice. Some of the books are grouped according to author. This mean that the New Testament isn’t read in biblical order.

  1. Psalms and Wisdom Literature
  2. Pentateuch and History of Israel
  3. Chronicles and Prophets
  4. Gospels and Epistles

Sequential Reading Plan

This plan takes you through the Bible in one year in biblical order.

Pastors Helps

There are over 40 articles and tools and 44 devotionals for pastors. The article titles are printed in a deep red. I love this shade of red for highlights. It gives the articles an elegant look.

Some of these articles do include theology. As always I recommend you do your own study and simply use theological articles for reference.

Throughout the text

The devotionals are placed throughout the text. These are designed to help the pastor by providing wisdom, insights, and encouragement for daily pastoral activities. They are from other works and they include the citations for reference. They cover prayer, family worship, Bible reading and study, preaching and teaching tips, etc. There’s an index of these devotionals in the front.

In the front

  • Disciplines of a Godly Pastor
  • The Bible’s Use in Preaching and Public Worship

Between the testaments

  • Invocations
  • Prayers of Confession
  • Announcements of Assurance
  • Historical Christian Creeds
  • Liturgy for Baby Dedication
  • Liturgy for Infant Baptism
  • Liturgy for Believer’s Baptism
  • Communion
  • Wedding Service
  • Funeral Service
  • Graveside Service
  • Benedictions

In the back

  • Evangelist
  • Worship Leader
    • Sunday Worship Services
    • Singing and Music
    • Public Prayers
  • Shepherd
    • Church Discipline
    • Premarital Counseling
    • Weddings
    • Funerals
    • Pastoral Counseling
    • Hospital Visitation

As you can see they’re grouped according to purpose, making them easier to use. Lots more could have been included but these are probably the most important topics that most pastors will need at their fingertips.

Conclusion

The ESV Pastor’s Bible works great as a single reference Bible with basic pastor’s helps. It doesn’t have a concordance or maps, so if you need those tools this won’t be the Bible you want. This text is excellent for preaching and reading. The devotions are great for providing insights and encouragement. The pastor’s helps will be enough for most pastors. Some of the articles do contain theology, and as always I do recommend your own study and just use the articles for reference. Crossway’s ESV Pastor’s Bible would be an excellent Bible for any pastor that uses the ESV.

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Some photos by hannah C brown

Crossway provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.

4 Comments

  1. Brandon

    Thanks for this Randy, I was just looking at this Bible and wishing I could find a good review on it. I just received my ESV Thompson chain. I don’t know why, but for some reason it isn’t quite as amazing as I remember the Thompson being. I think having regular cross references is as valuable, or more valuable in a print edition than the sporadic topics in the TCRB. I have the Thompson in an electronic version and it works very well, not sure I need to carry the print edition around. Have you ever run across a Bible with cross references and good book outlines, but without study notes?

    Reply
  2. Dan

    Randy, this is a good review of the ESV Pastor’s Bible. I really appreciate your pictures and comments on the readability. Interesting that Crossway sent you a cloth covered hard cover edition. It is nice to see a focus on the interior of the Bible. Sometimes the soft leather cover so overwhelms that a reviewer can almost ignore the most important features. A few years ago you reviewed the HCSB Minister’s Bible. Maybe when you get some free time you could do a compare and contrast of the two.

    You have a good eye for detail and your work in this area is appreciated.

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks Dan! And… you’re reading my mind 😉

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