Crossway’s ESV Men’s Devotional Bible was designed specifically to strengthen and encourage men through Scripture, devotions, and articles to make a spiritual and moral transformation. There are over 50 contributors that include Christian leaders, pastors, and professors. It uses the 2011 ESV text. In this review I take a look at the hard cover edition.
This edition is hard cover with a dust jacket. It’s a minimal and elegant black with gold lettering on the spine. The dust jacket has a white section with the title and gold highlight. It was definitely designed to be masculine. I’m not a fan of dust jackets because I’m always adjusting them. My CDO (it has to be in alphabetical order) requires the dust jacket to always be perfectly aligned with the hard cover. I could remove the dust jacket, but if it comes with one then I must use it. That’s just the way it is. The dust jacket is clear of other writing (so the back is clear instead of including a book description). It’s also available in cloth over board and TruTone. I recommend the cloth over board because it has a ribbon and a slip case.
It’s Smyth sewn and lies open with no trouble. At 5.5 x 8.5 x 1.75 the size is perfect for carry and holding in one hand for reading.
The text is set in double-column paragraph format with poetry in stanzas. The poetic setting does have a lot of lines with just a single word. The verse numbers are bold and stand out just enough so they’re not too difficult to find. I like it when verse numbers are easy to find.
The font is 8.5 Lexicon. The typeface is black letter and has around a medium darkness that’s consistent throughout. The typeface for the devotions is lighter which helps place more emphasis on Scripture. This is an easy text to read.
The columns have between 40-43 characters wide. The text doesn’t feel cramped or crowded at all. The inner margin is wider than the outer margin. There’s enough inner margin to bring the text out of the gutter so the text never bends out of view.
Section headings, chapter numbers, header content, and article titles and footers are in gold. The gold highlight gives it an elegant look and feel. In some lighting they can be a little difficult to see.
It doesn’t have line-matching but it mostly doesn’t matter. The paper is very opaque and the only show-through that’s really noticeable is in the poetic settings. Due to the poetic setting (is stanzatic a word?), there’s going to be show-through there anyway.
The paper is 36gsm and is highly opaque. It isn’t shiny at all and I think it would be good for marking, underlining, highlighting, and making notes. Book introductions start on the right side, so if a book ends on the right side, the left page behind it is blank. This gives several pages for notes.
Rather than reusing book introductions from other Crossway Bibles they’ve chosen to write brand new introductions. They take a page or less and include:
- Author – If the author is known, the New Testament books talks about them and their specific situation.
- Background – this discusses the historical setting and situation of writing.
- Key Theme – it covers a key passage or topic and tells why it’s the key theme.
- A Man’s Heart – these talk about how it applies to men and covers topics such as leadership, relationships, attitudes, the effects of sin, and lots more. These can actually be considered short articles and can be used as devotions.
The ESV footnotes are included in the footer. They’re keyed to the text with numbers. They include weights and measures, manuscript variants, parallel verses, where something was quoted from, alternate renderings, meanings of words, textual explanations, and more. I like that these are included because they help with understanding of passages. They’re helpful in both reading and study.
There are 365 daily devotions that are tied to a text that was chosen specifically to help feed and strengthen men. Every book of the Bible has at least one devotional that’s based on the theme of the book. The devotionals are not tied to specific dates. For a yearly devotional you can start any time you want and in any book you want. You can read them from start to finish, as you read through a book, or skip around and read what interests you at the time.
The devotions give the title, range of Scriptures they refer to, and the page number for the next devotional. They discuss the situation of the passage and give examples of applications from other Scriptures and Biblical characters and their teachings. They leave you with a personal thought and application. They’re well written and mostly take up a page or less.
The devotions don’t feel like they’re trying to take the place of Scripture. The Scriptures are still front and center. They’re just there to enhance you’re understanding in a way that applies to men and the issues we face. The devotions take a page or less each and there are a lot of them throughout the text. They’re on their own page, so they’re separate from the text instead of interrupting the text, and can easily be ignored if you just want to use this as a reading Bible.
Articles and Resources
There are 14 articles that are designed to help men get closer to God and build their relationships with their wives, children, and Church.
- The Message of the Bible
- A Man’s Identity
- Communion with God
- The Gospel and Daily Life
- A Man’s Inner Life
- Life in the Local Church
- A Man’s Work
The articles are more substantial than the devotionals, taken from 2-3 pages on average. They’re designed to give you direction and guidance. They include lots of Scripture to make and strengthen points.
Dictionary of Key Terms
There’s a 15-page dictionary that discusses key Biblical words. There are a lot of theological terms and it does include some theological bias. This is a good tool to help in your own study.
Canonical Index of Devotionals
The index is just over 10 pages and sorts the devotions by book and author. It gives the reference, title, and page number. This makes it easy to find any devotion by any author.
The ESV Men’s Devotional Bible has a lot of good devotions and articles to help men strengthen their walk with God and their relationships with their families, wives, children, and Church. The helps are to the point and are helpful for men of all age groups. I found them useful, informative, and easy to read. It can also be used as a reading and carry Bible. I recommend the Men’s Devotional Bible to men as a devotional and as a daily reader.
You can see more at Crossway’s website: ESV Men’s Devotional Bible
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.