The ESV Literary Study Bible arrived on my doorstep a short while ago. Here are some initial thoughts:
- As Study Bibles go, this one seems light on the notes–which is not necessarily bad. One complaint I’ve heard about Study Bibles is that they lead people to read the notes rather than the Bible, but in this case the notes don’t seem as plenteous as in other Study Bibles. Most of the space on the page is taken up with the actual text of the Bible, which I think is very positive. Reading all the available notes would not keep you from reading the actual words of the Bible for very long.
- There are no cross references. None. This is an advantage if one is looking for an unencumbered “read straight through” kind of text, but it is not so helpful for more detailed study.
- There are no maps. None. This is a little surprising to me since maps take up very little space, and even works of literature such as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings come with maps!
The particular strengths of this Study Bible, from my initial soundings, seem to be as follows:
- Clear and helpful structural overviews at the beginning of each book.
- Brief orienting comments interspersed throughout the text.
- Consistent focus on where a particular narrative fits in the story of the whole Bible.
- Attention to the twists and turns of the story, with all its suspense and drama.
- A nice glossary of literary terms that help us classify and describe the contents of the Bible.
Crossway has provided a text-interview with the father and son general editors, Leland Ryken and Philip Graham Ryken, here.
Justin Taylor gives these details on the online version:
The Literary Study Bible is now online for browsing. Here’s how it works:
You can browse the notes free for thirty days.
If you own (or have ordered) a print copy of the Literary Study Bible, you get free access for six months.
Once your free trial period has expired, you can buy continued online access for $19.99, or $9.99 if you own a print Literary Study Bible.
The Westminster Bookstore has the print version of the Bible (hardcover) on sale for $29.99 (40% off of retail).