ESV Study Bible Review

First Bible to Win the Christian Book of the Year Award

ESV Study Bible Review

Good News / Crossway

While the English Standard Version (ESV) translation of the Bible has been around for years and new study Bibles are being published all the time, the ESV Study Bible is really something special.

Released in October 2008, the ESV Study Bible won the Christian Book of the Year Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) for 2009, the first time a Bible has ever taken that honor. It also won its category for best Bible.

Consider this statement from the ESV Study Bible’s Introduction: "…the goal and vision of the ESV Study Bible is, first and foremost, to honor the Lord and his Word: 1) in terms of the excellence, beauty, and accuracy of its content and design, and 2) in terms of helping people come to a deeper understanding of the Bible, of the gospel, and of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior."

This is a Bible created by believers for believers, but any sincere seeker will find life-changing truths within its pages as well. Never condescending but thoroughly user-friendly, the ESV Study Bible will be appreciated by all who want to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ.


  • Footnotes expand your understanding of the text.
  • Supplementary articles apply to real life.
  • Charts simplify major and minor themes.
  • Literal, “word-for-word” translation.
  • Fascinating full-color illustrations throughout.
  • Innovative online version free to purchasers of the book.


  • Could use more illustrations.
  • At 2,752 pages, may be a bit heavy for pew use.

ESV Study Bible Review

The hardcover edition of the ESV Study Bible retails at $49.99 but online booksellers and some brick and mortar book stores offer it at up to 35 percent off. In addition to the basic hardcover, there are also TruTone, bonded leather, and calfskin editions.

I find the 9 point type on bright white European Bible paper very readable, with minimal show-through. The footnotes seem tiny to my 58-year-old eyes, but this is a 2,752-page book, and if they made the type larger, this Bible would be even thicker.

Speaking of footnotes, the ESV Study Bible footnotes explain Hebrew and Greek words and offer a couple of interpretations of theological questions, which I appreciate. I’m learning many things I didn’t know in 40+ years of Bible reading. More than 200 charts cover such topics as Abraham’s Timeline, The Rise and Failure of David, and The Work of The Trinity. Over 200 full-color maps appear throughout the text and in the back. There’s a solid Concordance, which is helpful.

The book introductions and articles are superb—challenging yet not stuffy. Articles cover such themes as the Bible’s authority and reliability, archaeology, theology, ethics, and personal application. This is by no means a bare-bones Bible with the usual basics. The 95 contributors come from 20 countries, representing nearly 20 denominations and more than 50 seminaries, colleges and universities.

First published in 2001, the English Standard Version Bible translation avoids archaic language but retains Scripture’s inherent literary beauty. Not only is it clear and understandable, but it seems to move along at a brisk pace.

An unusual feature is the ESV Online Study Bible, free to purchasers of the print edition. A registration code with each Bible lets you access the complete online version. You’ll be able to create personal online notes, research and follow links, view maps, charts, and timelines, and even listen to audio recordings of the ESV Bible.

The ESV Study Bible is a delight, pulling me in every time I read it. If you love God and his Word, you’ll want to investigate this exceptional resource.

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "ESV Study Bible Review." Learn Religions, Dec. 6, 2021, Zavada, Jack. (2021, December 6). ESV Study Bible Review. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "ESV Study Bible Review." Learn Religions. (accessed June 5, 2023).