Crossway’s Gospel Transformation Bible – Review

Gospel Transformation Bible 005

The Gospel Transformation Bible from Crossway is unique in study Bibles in that its notes are purely focused on personal application and transformation. Its goal is to help reader’s understand the Bible in its unified message and apply the gospel to their everyday lives.


  • Notes geared toward application
  • Includes access to online edition
  • Premium calfskin is amazingly soft and flexible
  • Large print
  • Topical index


  • No charts or maps within the notes


  • 2011 ESV
  • Premium calfskin leather
  • Leather lined
  • Perimeter stitching
  • Smyth sewn
  • 9 point font
  • Black letter text
  • 80,000 cross references
  • Topical index
  • 8 maps
  • 2 ribbons
  • 36 gsm paper
  • 82 page concordance
  • Daily reading plan
  • Printed and bound in USA by R. R. Donnelley & Sons
  • 1878 pages
  • 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.75
  • ISBN: 9781433537950
  • ~ $120

Cover and Binding

The edition I’m reviewing is the premium calfskin. This is the softest cover I have even seen on a Bible. It is leather lined and parameter stitched. The liner looks like the same calfskin as the cover. It is edge-lined. There are four raised hubs on the spine. The binding is sewn. It has no trouble lying flat.

Paper and Print

The paper is 36 gsm. It’s not the most opaque, but it’s good enough. The show through is minimal. It’s more obvious in the book introductions where there is more blank area. The print is very nice. It’s a digital font that is very readable. It’s a 9-point font. There is a lot of leading (space between the lines). The text is spacious and sharp. This is a black-letter edition. The notes are an 8-point font. The text is keyed to the references and notes with the standard letters and numbers. Most pages seem to have line-matching but there are a few pages that do not. The print is consistently dark throughout.


The layout is unique for a study Bible. The text is presented in two columns on the top half of the page and everything else is presented on the bottom half of the page. Most study Bibles keep the references on the top half with the text, but this one has the references with the notes. For pages that don’t have very many references this leaves the space for writing your own notes. Translation notes appear between the text and the notes. There are section headings within the text. These are presented in a bold font.

Book Introductions

Bok introductions are one to two pages and include the author and date, the gospel in that book, and an outline. Some include audience. Multiple books (1 and 2 Kings, etc.) have one introduction that covers both books.


The notes cover passages rather than individual verses, so a note might cover a whole chapter or just a few verses. They focus on practical application more than doctrine (although there is some doctrine). The major theme throughout the notes is how the gospel will transform our lives and how to receive it into our hearts to apply it and obtain that transformation. Like all study notes I urge readers to perform their own study with a prayerful and open heart.

Topical Index

The topical index covers the major themes that the notes touch on. It’s 212 pages and includes many topics. I like this feature because I do a lot of topical study. This lets you compare Scripture with Scripture, which is my favorite type of topical study.


The concordance is 82 pages and has quite a lot of entries. It’s presented in 3 columns per page. It also includes a page to show the book abbreviations that are used in the concordance.

Daily reading Plan

The daily reading plan takes you through the Bible in order from Genesis to Revelation in one year. It covers about three chapters a day on average.


There are 8 pages of maps. They are colorful earth-tones, which I like a lot. The names of places are large and easy to find. I would like to have seen an index to maps.


There are two ribbons. They are the standard size ribbons but they’re long enough to be useful.

Online Gospel Transformation Bible

This Bible comes with free access to the online edition. This is a very helpful tool to use in daily Bible study.


The Gospel Transformation Bible is a different take on the traditional study Bible. It’s focus in on application. Its unique layout is fresh and makes it easy to just read without distractions or use the study notes. The notes are geared toward applying the passage to our lives rather than just giving facts and doctrinal points, making this a good Bible for devotions and a good tool in developing sermons.



Crossway proved this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review.

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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.


  1. norm

    Thanks for the review and pictures Randy. Since it’s called the Gospel Transformation Bible do the notes attempt to trace Christ through the Old Testament? Very nice looking cover and liners and I’m glad to see Crossway went with the perimeter stitching, which is one feature I like about their true tone editions. Nice touch with the references at the bottom beside/below the notes, although the first page of Genesis is not very appealing being mostly notes with very little text. It would have been more appealing to me if they would have split the text and notes up a little better, at least on the first page of the books. Randy, I was informed the paper was 24 lb./36 gsm Thin Coat Plus and identical to the paper that is in their Verse by Verse Reference Bible, which is fair/good paper. The paper in the Crossway Legacy I think is 27 lb./36 gsm, which currently is some of the best paper I’ve seen in a bible. And from what I understand Crossway has the Transformation Bible available in different bindings at various price points. I’ve seen listings for two different hardbacks, one white and another with a black cover and I’ve also read the black edition has red liners. Great looking bible and at a very good price point for the materials used, however I’ll probably start out with one of the hardbacks and take it from there.

  2. Glen

    Best to stay clear of Crossway Bibles. Binding is awful as well at the paper. Very poorly designed, uses cheap everything.

    • norm

      Glen the paper in this particular bible is 24lb./36GSM, which is the same weight/gram paper that is used in the Crossway Legacy, not many bible publishers use paper this heavy. Most of the Crossway editions are sewn and the text
      blocks/paper are the same in their more economical bindings as in their more high end bindings. Crossway has recently released three bibles with premier bindings. The Omega and the new Heirloom Thinline Edition in Goatskin and calfskin, available in brown or black.


  1. Crossway's ESV Daily Devotional New Testament - Review - Bible Buying Guide - […] through reading the entire New Testament in one year. The devotionals have been adapted from the ESV Gospel Transformation…

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