Since the English Standard Version translation of the Bible was first published in the early 2000s, it has quickly become a favorite for thousands of Christians. It’s among the most accessible translations to read and among the most precise available today.
Several high-quality, well-reviewed study Bibles now use the ESV translation. This gives readers more theological, historical, and literary insights to help them understand Scripture and apply it to their lives.
Best ESV Bibles: The Top 10
ESV Study Bible
The ESV Study Bible is a comprehensive study resource based on the English Standard Version (ESV) translation. It was first published in 2008 by Crossway, the same publisher behind the ESV translation.
The ESV Study Bible includes 50 full-length articles
The ESV Study Bible is published by the same company that produced the ESV translation, meaning many scholars who worked on the ESV translation itself contributed to this Study Bible.
It contains over 20,000 notes, has over 80,000 cross-references, and includes over 200 charts, 240 maps, and 50 full-length articles. The ESV Study Bible won the ECPA Book of the Year Award when it was published in 2008.
Also, the Study Bible Comparison Chart compares and contrasts dozens of volumes on one page.
ESV Archaeological Study Bible
The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is a specialized study resource that combines the text of the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible with archaeological insights and information. It is designed to provide readers with a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural context of the biblical world.
The ASB Study Bible won Bible of the Year in 2018
The ESV Archaeology Study Bible won the ECPA Book of the Year Award for Bibles in 2018. What’s so unique about the study notes and illustrations in this Bible is that a team wrote them of field-trained archaeologists.
The illustrations include maps, charts, and photographs. This study bible includes over 2,000 notes, 400 photographs, 200 maps, 15 articles, and four timelines.
The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible
The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible is a unique study Bible that focuses on the original languages of the Bible, specifically Hebrew, and Greek. It is designed to help readers deepen their understanding of the biblical text by exploring keywords and their meanings in the original languages.
A resource for those who want in-depth word studies
The “Key Word Study Bible” is a popular selection for readers who want access to the precise definitions of Hebrew and Greek words but can’t read the original languages for themselves.
The publisher explains, “The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible identifies the keywords of the original languages and presents clear, precise explanations of their meaning and usage.”
The New Inductive Study Bible
The Inductive Bible Study method is an approach to studying the Bible that emphasizes observing the text closely, interpreting its meaning, and applying it to one’s life. It is a systematic way of studying Scripture that encourages personal engagement and discovery.
An award-winning inductive study Bible
This edition of the Gold-Medallion-winning New Inductive Study Bible (over 700,000 sold) is now available in the trusted English Standard Version.
This Bible is based entirely on the inductive study approach, leading readers directly back to the source and allowing God’s Word to become its own commentary. Its many exceptional features.
- A 32-page explanation of the inductive study method, teaching readers how to observe, interpret, and apply the text to their everyday lives
- Four full-color pages with step-by-step instructions for studying and marking the text
- Individualized instructions for every book of the Bible
- 24 pages of full-color charts and maps and dozens of unique study helps
The John MacArthur Study Bible
Pastor John MacArthur is a prominent evangelical Christian pastor, author, and teacher. He has been serving as the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, since 1969. MacArthur is widely known for his biblical expository preaching and his strong commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.
The MacArthur Study Bible is one of the best-selling study Bibles
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He has written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides.
MacArthur serves as the president of the Master’s Seminary and Master’s University. The MacArthur study bible has been around for decades, but it was only recently made available with the ESV text.
Women’s Devotional Bible
A Women’s Devotional Bible is a specific type of Bible designed with features and content tailored to meet women’s spiritual needs and interests. It aims to encourage, inspire, and guide women in their faith journey and daily life.
The articles are written by and for women
The ESV Women’s Devotional Bible is designed to help women pursue a deeper, transformational understanding of Scripture through book introductions, character sketches, all-new daily devotions, and all-new articles written by and for women.
Also, see the Best Study Bibles for Beginners for more options.
Men’s Devotional Bible
A Men’s Devotional Bible is a specialized edition of the Bible designed specifically for men. It typically includes additional features and content intended to help men engage with the Bible and apply its teachings to their lives.
Over 50 Christian leaders contributed to this study Bible
Our world presents daily distractions that can easily displace Christ as the center of a man’s heart and life. The ESV Men’s Devotional Bible aims to strengthen and encourage men through the life-giving Word of God and sound devotional content aimed at nurturing godliness.
With 365 theologically rich and gospel-centered devotions drawn directly from the Bible, this all-new resource was created under the editorial oversight of Dr. Sam Storms with contributions from over fifty Christian leaders.
Introductions orient men to each book of the Bible, exploring its unique contribution to a man’s walk with God. Thoughtful and instructive articles address the importance of sound doctrine, life in the local church, leadership, the heart, calling, and a host of other relevant issues for today.
The Men’s Devotional Bible will strengthen men in their walk with Christ, helping them apply the gospel and the truth of God’s Word in their homes, churches, and workplaces.
ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible
Systematic theology is a branch of Christian theology that seeks to organize and understand the teachings of the Bible systematically and comprehensively. It involves studying and exploring various theological topics and doctrines, integrating them into a coherent and unified framework.
There are 25 full-length articles in the Systematic Theology Study Bible
The ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible is the culmination of the work of 26 scholars who desired to make Christian doctrine understandable to the average reader.
This Bible contains 25 full-length articles on Christian theology and over 400 succinct, in-text summaries, providing theological insight to the reader. It also includes introductions to each book of the Bible.
Gospel Transformation Study Bible
The Gospel Transformation Study Bible highlights the transformative power of the Gospel message throughout all of Scripture. It is designed to help readers understand how the Gospel shapes and informs every aspect of their lives.
Over 375,000 notes
The ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible is designed to help readers see Christ in all of Scripture and grace for all of life.
It features book introductions, gospel-centered study notes, and a series of all-new articles–written by a team of over 50 pastors and scholars.
This content explains passage-by-passage how God’s redemptive purposes culminate in the gospel and apply to the lives of believers today. Readers will be challenged to see how the message of the gospel transforms sinners from the inside out.
- Over 375,000 words of gospel-centered study notes
- Introduction that outlines specific uses for the Bible
- Includes five new articles on topics such as the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, the gospel in the Old Testament, the covenants, and more
- Book introductions
- 80,000 cross-references
Also, see Best Study Bibles for Couples to learn more.
Reader’s Bible: English Standard Version
The ESV Reader’s Bible is designed to enhance the reading experience by presenting the text in a simplified and reader-friendly format. The primary focus of the ESV Reader’s Bible is to encourage uninterrupted reading of the biblical text without distractions.
It reads like a novel with no verse or chapter numbers
Constructed with materials carefully selected to reflect the beauty of God’s Word, the ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set is designed for those desiring a cleaner, simpler Bible-reading experience.
Printed on European book paper with a premium cloth-over-board cover and packaged in an elegant slipcase. It’s in a single column of Bible text free of all verse numbers, chapter numbers, footnotes, and most section headings.
Also see How to Choose a Study Bible for more information.
The History and Impact of the ESV Translation
The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible is a popular and widely used English translation of the Bible. Its history can be traced back to the late 20th century, with its publication officially occurring in 2001. Here’s a brief overview of the history of the ESV Bible:
1. Background: In the mid-20th century, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) Bible was published, which aimed to provide a modern and accurate translation of the Bible based on the best available manuscripts. However, in subsequent years, there were concerns about the RSV’s interpretation of certain passages, especially related to gender language. This led to the desire for a new translation that would retain the accuracy of the RSV while addressing these concerns.
2. Formation of the ESV: In the late 1990s, a team of scholars and theologians began working on the ESV translation. The team consisted of a diverse group of individuals from various Christian denominations, including conservative evangelical scholars. The goal was to create a new English translation that would be accurate, readable, and faithful to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.
3. Translation Philosophy: The ESV was translated using the principles of “essentially literal” translation. This approach sought to maintain a balance between the literal rendering of the original languages and the readability of the English text. The translators aimed to capture the precise meaning of the original text while ensuring clarity and accessibility for modern readers.
4. Publication: The ESV Bible was first published in 2001 by Crossway, a Christian publishing company. Initially, it was released in various editions, including study Bibles, reference Bibles, and different formats. It quickly gained popularity among individuals, churches, and academic institutions.
5. Revisions and Updates: Since its initial publication, the ESV Bible has undergone some revisions and updates. These revisions primarily aim to improve accuracy, clarify wording, and address feedback from readers and scholars. Updated editions have been released, including the 2007 ESV text edition and the 2011 ESV text edition.
6. Reception and Influence: The ESV Bible has gained a significant following within evangelical and Reformed Christian circles. It is often praised for its balance of accuracy and readability, making it suitable for both study and devotional reading. The ESV has been widely used in churches, Bible study groups, academic settings, and personal study.
The ESV Bible continues to be a popular translation, and new editions, including study Bibles, reference editions, and digital formats, have been released to meet the diverse needs of readers. It has become one of the most prominent English translations of the Bible in the 21st century.
Also see What’s the Difference Between a Regular Bible and a Study Bible? to learn more.