Crossway’s ESV Student Study Bible is an adaptation of their ESV Study Bible. Designed specifically for students, it provides lots of tools for Bible study in an edition that’s easy to carry, manage, and use. This is a hardcover edition that’s available in orange, purple, blue, green, and grey. In this review I take a look at the grey. ISBN: 9781433548055.
Cover and Binding
The colors for the hardcover editions are solid with white lettering. Some of the colors seem to focus on different age-groups or genders. To me the grey seems sophisticated and serious. I love the color. The text-block is Smyth sewn and easily stays open to any page. The overall size feels perfect: 5.75 x 8.5 x 1.5.
Paper and Print
The paper is 30gsm Apple Thin Opaque, and it is very opaque. It isn’t shiny at all (which I very much appreciate). It does not have line-matching, but it’s opaque enough that the print isn’t too much of a distraction. It would improve the readability though. The font is Meta Serif OT and is about an 8-point. The notes are Gotham Narrow. I’m guessing they’re 5-point, but don’t hold me to that J. All of the fonts are sharp and readable. Crossway consistently has some of the best print quality in the business and this one is no different.
One thing I love about Crossway’s design is that references and footnotes are not squeezed in around the text. The text is front and center, allowing you to focus on what’s important. The text gets its own area of the page.
References are placed under the last verse on the page, under all of the commentary. They have bold chapter numbers so they’re easy to find. There are 80,000 cross references, so there’s plenty here to help with personal study and sermon/class prep. Here are some references that are given for a few key verses:
- Gen 1:1 – Job 38:4-7, Ps 33:6, 135:5, Isa 42:5, 45:18, Jn 1:1-3, Ac 14:15, 17:24, Col 1:16-17, Heb 1:10, 11:3, Rev 4:11
- Mat 17:20 – Jn 11:40, Mat 6:30, 21:21, Mk 11:23, Lk 17:6, Mat 13:31, 9,1 Cor 13:2, Mk 9:23
- Jn 1:1 – Gen 1:1, Col 1:17, 1 Jn 1:1, Rev 1:4, 8, 17, 3:14, 21:6, 22:13, 19:13, Heb 4:12, 1 Jn 1:2, Jn 17:5, Phil 2:6
- 1 Jn 1:1 – Jn 1:1, 1 Jn 2:13, 14, Ac 4:20, Jn 19:35, 1 Jn 4:14, Jn 1:14, 2 Pet 1:16, Lk 24:39, Jn 20:27
Footnotes are placed under the text, just before the study notes. They contain manuscript variations, alternate renderings of the Hebrew and Greek, weights and measures, definitions of technical terms, and information to shed light on difficult renderings.
Introductions and Timelines
Each book includes an introduction with a timeline. They include information such as author, date, recipients, theme, overview, key themes, outline, maps, charts, the setting, etc. They give some good useful information that helps in the study and understanding of the book.
There are 12,000 study notes. They include commentary on key verses, explanations of doctrinal points (contains bias), information about events, cultures, people, etc. The notes are scholarly from over 100 contributors and are useful for personal study and sermon/class prep. Like always, I recommend that you do your own study.
Maps and Illustrations
There are more than 80 maps and illustrations throughout the text. This is one of my favorite features. They’re drawings within the text, often taking two pages, of interesting places such as the Tabernacle, holy utensils, Solomon’s Temple, Jerusalem in the time of Jesus, etc. Charts are usually much smaller and include information such as genealogy in Genesis and a chronological timeline of the flood of Noah.
There are 15 topical articles. Articles include:
- God’s Plan of Salvation
- The Importance of the Church for Growing in Christ
- The Authority and Reliability of the Bible
- How to Read and Understand the Bible
- How to Apply the Bible in Daily Life
- Important Christian Truths: Doctrine
- The Word of God: The Doctrine of Scripture
- The Person of God: The Doctrine of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- The Work of God: The Doctrine of Creation, Salvation, and Consummation
- Living Theology
- The Bible an Christian Living: Ethics
- Issues: Personal Ethics
- Issues: Local Church
- Issues: Social Ethics
Obviously some of the articles will have more theological bias than others (but that is what they’re for). As always I recommend you do your own study and not just rely on information from resources outside of Scripture. My favorites are the articles about the Scriptures. Being able to defend the Bible as the inerrant Word of God is extremely important in this day and age and even more so for students that will face opposition from friends, family, and teachers. This is especially true when most schools have an agenda to turn students away from God’s Word. These sections should be memorized.
There are almost 900 “Did You Know” facts. They’re placed in brown boxes and include lots of fascinating information about the text, culture, historical accounts, science, agriculture, names, places, and lots more. They’re short but informative, and they don’t get in the way or become a distraction. Sometimes they include historical references, other times they include references to other Scriptures. This is one of my favorite features.
There are 120 character profiles. These are placed in brown boxes and includes around a paragraph of information. They cover some key points about the character with several references to those points. They also give a key reference that sums up their character.
There is a 15 page glossary that gives definitions for theological terms and concepts. Some example entries include:
The concordance is 56 pages with 3 columns per page. Some example entries include:
- Faith – 31
- 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
There are 15 maps in the back on 16 thick pages. They’re the same maps from the regular edition. They’re colorful, but not bright. They lean more toward the earth-tones. There isn’t an index, but at least they are annotated well and easy to use. Maps include:
- The Middle East Today
- The World of the Patriarchs
- The Exodus from Egypt
- The Tribal Allotments of Israel
- Israel Under Saul, David, and Solomon
- The Kingdom of Israel and Judah
- The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
- The Persian and Greek Empires
- Israel Under the Maccabees (C. 164-63 BC)
- Palestine Under Roman Rule (C. 37 BC – AD 66)
- The Apostles’ Early Ministry
- Paul’s First and Second Missionary Journey’s
- Paul’s Third Missionary Journey and His Voyage Home
- The Spread of Christianity in the First Two Centuries
ESV Student Study Bible Online
Buying this Bible gives you free access to the online edition, which is an excellent way to do online study.
The ESV Student Study Bible provides a lot of good resources in a manageable size. It has the right kind of information in a size that feels right. Although it’s marketed for students, I think it would be a good study Bible for all age-groups. Like any study Bible it does contain bias. However, it also has a lot of helps that are valuable in study and it’s easy to recommend for anyone interested in an ESV study Bible in a size that’s easy to manage. I found the tools helpful in general study, reading, and sermon or classroom prep.
Crossway provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review.