Hendrickson’s ESV Fire Bible Review

Hendrickson’s Fire Bible (an improvement of the Full Life Study Bible / Life in the Spirit Study Bible) is a popular study Bible with a Pentecostal focus. This Bible has been produced in several translations over the years and is now available in another popular translation – the English Standard Version (ESV). In this review I’m taking a look at the softcover edition, ISBN: 9781619701519, made in China. This edition uses the 2011 ESV text.

Hendrickson provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

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This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-a-Million

Nest Learning

Thrift Books

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Cover and Binding

My review copy is paperback with a glued binding. It does lie open to any page, and even the the glued spine stays flat the text doesn’t get lost in the gutter. The leather editions are better choices, especially if this will be a Bible that you use daily, but the softcover is a good option if you just need a Bible without spending much money. It’s a good choice for trying it out, for obtaining the information in it, for something you’d just use every now and then, or if you need to take it on a trip and you don’t want to take a more expensive edition. The overall size is 9.5 x 6.5 x 2″.

Paper

The paper is white with no glare under direct light. To my fingers it feels like 30gsm or higher. It has a slightly rough texture that makes it easier to separate and turn. This would be good paper for highlighting (using highlighters made specifically for Bibles, of course). It has 2378 pages.

Typography

The text is presented in double-column paragraph format with references in the inner margin and footnotes under the last verse on the page. A line separates the text from commentary, which is located at the bottom of the page. In-text maps are placed under the commentary. The header shows the book name, chapter number, and verse number in the outer margin and the page number in the inner margin.

The font is 10-point with a generous leading. This is a red-letter edition. Both the red and black letter is dark, just how I like it. Reference and footnote keys (letters and numbers) are large enough to read but small enough to ignore if you want. Verse numbers are bold, making them much easier to find quickly. Section headings are also bold.

It has around 40 characters across with most lines having 7 words. The words are never crowded and many lines have extra space between the words. The text portion appears to be line-matched on both sides of the page, however there are so many notes, and the notes are a smaller font, that many pages can’t have line-matching for half of the text. The paper is opaque enough that I don’t find this distracting.

Book Introductions

Book introductions are highly detailed and take around 3-5 pages. They include a detailed outline, author, theme, background, purpose, survey, special features, boxes to mark your reading, and ruled lines for notes. Some include information about interpretation principles.  They point to other study resources throughout the Bible such as in-text maps, charts, articles, Scripture references, etc. The background portion includes historical information and provides dates, events, etc. They’re very informative and provide lots of information from a Pentecostal perspective.

References and Footnotes

The references are placed in the inner margin. This helps bring the text out of the gutter. They includes reference for specific words and phrases, comparative references, less direct references, and quoted references. There are a lot of them, making this an excellent choice for study and sermon prep.

Here are some example references 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 – 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; Isa 9:14; Mt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:25; Is 22:2; 28:2; 10:21; Dt 10:17; Neh 9:32; Jer 32:18; Ps 45:3
  • Matthew 17:20 – John 11:40; Matt 6:30; 21:21, 22; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6; Matt 13:31; 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; Mark 16:17; John 14:12
  • Mark 12:29 – Luke 10:27; 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; 1 John 1:2; John 17:5; Phil 2:6
  • John 2:19 – Matt 26:61; 27:40; Mark 14:58; 15:29; John 10:18
  • Acts 2:38 – Acts 3:19; 20:21; 26:18, 20; Luke 24:47; Acts 22:16; 8:12; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 8:16; Mark 1:4; Acts 10:45; Acts 8:15, 20; 11:17; John 7:39
  • 1 John 1:1 – John 1:1; 1 John 2:13, 14; Acts 4:20; John 19:35; 1 John 4:14; John 1:14; 2 Pet 1:16; Luke 24:39; John 20;27

Footnotes are placed under the last verse on the page and are keyed to the text with numbers. They cover translation difficulties, alternate translations, explanations of Greek and Hebrew terms, clarifying additional meanings, technical translations, weights and measures, etc. They’re excellent for shedding light on the original languages.

Study Material

The study material is Pentecostal in nature, meaning it takes a continuationist view where the writers believe the Gifts of the Spirit are for us today. It also follows the view of Creation without evolution and the pre-trib rapture view. Even though it leans toward those views (bias, doctrinal slant, or whichever words you prefer – I use them interchangeably) it does include multiple views. For example, it doesn’t take a stance on literal days vs ages for Creation but provides information about both views.

I found the notes well-written and good for study. This is one of the Study Bibles that I use for study and sermon prep. Even if you’re not Pentecostal there are a lot of notes that would apply to most groups. Like always, I recommend you use the notes for reference and do your own study, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

Notes – These are the verse-by-verse notes at the bottom of almost every page. There are five categories of notes: expositional, theological, devotional, ethical, and practical. They provide the chapter and verse number, and a portion of Scripture they apply to. They include lots of references and are highly detailed. They also point to the articles for further information. Some of the notes include multiple views. This is one of the major features of this Bible. They’re well-written and informative.

Articles – There are 77 articles on many Pentecostal topics. Many take multiple pages. There’s an index in the front. Topics include the godhead, salvation, creation, end-times, gifts of the Spirit, fruit of the Spirit, godly living, worship, leadership, and lots more. They provide a key verse and break the topics down into smaller portions and include lots of Scripture. They also include word studies from the original languages.

Charts – charts are placed throughout the text, and sometimes between books if they’re extra large and take several pages. They include topics like Passion week, the ministry of Jesus, miracles of the Apostles, miracles of Jesus, parables of Jesus, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the last days of history, etc. These are great for study.

Themefinders – This is a topical study that covers 12 topics. An icon representing the topic is printed in red in the margin at the beginning of the passage. A red line is drawn to the end of the passage where the next reference is printed. Topics include baptism of the Holy Spirit, Gifts of the Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit, healing, faith, witnessing, salvation, second coming, victory over Satan, overcoming, praise, and walking in obedience. There’s an index in the back. The study does not include commentary, so it’s Scripture interpreting Scripture and it provides the complete context rather than just pointing to small portions of Scripture. They don’t get in the way of reading.

Table of Weights and Measures

This is a one-page table that provides weights, measures, and monetary units. It shows the biblical unit, approximate American and metric equivalent, and biblical equivalent. This is a simplified table. Most are explained in the footnotes.

Subject Index

This is a 17-page topical index with three columns per page to help you find where topics are discussed within the notes and articles. The primary topics are printed in red and is followed by subtopics and references or article names. I’ve found this index to be helpful in study and sermon prep. Example entries include:

  • Christ – 119 plus articles
  • Faith, Healing – 3
  • Faith, Saving – 63

Reading Plan

The reading plan can be used as a one year or two year plan. It provides an AM and PM reading for each day, listed under each month. Each day includes both an OT and a NT reading. You can read AM and PM for a one year plan or AM the first year and PM the second year for a two year plan. Each book has check boxes within the book introduction so you can mark what chapters you’ve read.

Concordance

The concordance is 56 pages with 3 columns per page. The entry is printed in red in all-caps and stands out perfectly, making it easy to scan for what you’re looking for. Here are a few example entries with their number of references to help you compare:

  • Christ – 16
  • Christ’s – 4
  • Christian – 2
  • Faith – 32
  • Faithful – 11
  • Faithfulness – 7
  • Faithless – 1
  • God – 52
  • Godliness – 5
  • Godly – 3
  • Gods – 2
  • Praise – 21
  • Praised – 4
  • Praises – 3
  • Praising – 4
  • Pray – 10
  • Prayed – 3
  • Prayer – 11
  • Prayers – 6
  • Praying – 3

Maps

It has 16 colorful maps on thick glossy paper. The colors are bright large patches of one shade. In web development I’d call this flat design. They include distance, dates, routes, boundaries, locations for events, and topography. It doesn’t have an index.

One of the possible routes for the Red Sea crossing uses a possible location for the Sea of Reeds. Another uses Biter Lake. It doesn’t show a route across the Red Sea.

Maps include:

  1. The Middle East in the Time of the Patriarchs
  2. Exodus and Conquest of Canaan
  3. Distribution of Canaan Among the Twelve Tribes
  4. The Empire of David and Solomon
  5. The Divided Kingdom
  6. The Middle East in the Time of the Assyrian Empire
  7. The Babylonian and Persian Empire
  8. Jerusalem at the Time of David and Solomon
  9. Solomon’s Temple
  10. Jerusalem at the Time of Hezikiah
  11. Jerusalem at the Time of Nehemiah
  12. The Roman Empire at the Time of the New Testament
  13. The Temple at the Time of Jesus
  14. Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus
  15. Life and Ministry of Jesus
  16. First Trips of the Apostles
  17. First and Second Missionary Journeys of Paul
  18. Paul’s Third Missionary Journey and Journey to Rome
  19. Physical Map of the Holy Land

Final Thoughts on The Fire Bible

The Fire Bible is one of my favorite study Bibles. There is a lot of study material in this Bible. I find the commentary, subject index, theme finder, and articles useful for study and sermon prep. Like all study material I recommend using it for reference and do your own study. It’s good to see this edition available in the ESV. I especially like the typeface in this edition. The 10-point font is easy enough to read. I recommend the ESV Fire Bible to anyone interested in a study Bible from a Pentecostal perspective.

_________________________________________________________

This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-a-Million

Nest Learning

Thrift Books

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Photography by hannah C brown

Hendrickson provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All 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.

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