ESV Study Bible — Details Released

Major update today at the ESV Study Bible site, including specifics on the October 15, 2008 release date, the various editions that will be available, and sample page spreads. From what I can see, it looks beautiful. The design specs are impressive — and they apply to all editions, from the bottom to the top of the spectrum:
Printing and Binding Specs—All Editions

Pages and size—Pages: 2,752; trim size: 6 ½ × 9 ¼ inches.
Paper—Printed on high-opacity, high-quality French Bible paper from Papeteries Du Luman (PDL); this is widely considered the finest paper in the world and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), having been made from forests that are managed to preserve and sustain forestlands.
Typesetting—Set in highly readable, 9-point, single-column type for the Bible text, and 7.25-point, double-column type for the notes.
Printing—Full-color throughout, printed on high-speed web presses created especially for the high-quality demands of Bible printing.
Binding—All editions are Smyth sewn, which is considered the finest Bible binding method and is designed to last a lifetime.

From the get-go, the ESV Study Bible will be available in eight editions — a hardback, two TruTones (black and brown), two bonded leathers (black and burgundy), a genuine leather (black) and a premium calfskin (black). Someone asked me recently why the ESV Study Bible has been so long in coming, and based on the details released now, I’d say the explanation is, they were determined to do it right. I’m looking forward to the release.
I should also add that I’m impressed by the level of disclosure Crossway has provided. It’s often difficult to get specifics about a Bible, particularly the unglamorous details of design and binding. Knowing in advance about font size, layout, paper quality and binding is a real pleasure.

30 Comments on “ESV Study Bible — Details Released

  1. Also according to the Crossway site it is black letter! That combined with with single column layout makes it a must have for me. I just hope that the paper is really opaque.

  2. Ted, the paper used is a high-opacity, high-quality French Bible paper. It is about the best Bible paper available


  4. Thank you Mark! I visited their site and it seems an amazing Study Bible.
    A question, what do you think of NIV Study Bible? I know Cambridge will release one edition in June.
    Thank you.

  5. Unlike the Single Column Bible now available from Crossway, the Study Bible appears to be paragraphed (at least according to the sample page)! And what a statement by Crossway; to publish ALL editions with these outstanding specs. How can one not support such an undertaking. I am also excited they are not producing a cordovan calfskin edition — it will make it easier to purchase the tru-tone edition!

  6. I have several study Bibles, including the NIV study Bible which is the one I use for my weekly Bible study group. I do like this Bible a lot and was considering upgrading to the Cambridge when it is released; but lately I have been getting away from using a study Bible in favor of using a more literal translation, usually the ESV or NASB, without notes. I never thought I would be considering yet another study Bible! However, this release looks like a must have for me. Now to decide which one…!

  7. Kyle: “I am also excited they are not producing a cordovan calfskin edition…”

    The “ordinary” calfskin isn’t tempting enough? Now *that’s* picky!


  8. Hmmm, I guess the Allan ESV in Tan won’t be the last bible I buy. This looks like it’s going to be a great study bible.

  9. Just one thing, if you live in the UK you cannot click through on the ESV Study Bible web site to purchase at the pre release discount.
    I have emailed Crossway today and I am waiting to see what they advise.
    Great Study Bible and whatever happens I will be buying one…..Genuine Burgandy for me I think. I would love to go to the next one up but funds are limited.

  10. I’m still planning on R.L. Allan’s upcoming tan ESV, so I’ll probably pick this one up in hardback. I generally prefer a study bible as hardback if I use one at all. This is welcome news and I hope other Bible publishers take notice.

  11. I was looking forward to the details of this Bible, hoping that it would have updated its scholarship and given us a different theological angle than the current options. Instead we get more Reformed + Baptist scholarship that we find in the old NIV Study Bible.
    Presently, it feels like we’ve got the Harper-Collins, Oxford, and NIV Study Bibles to choose from. The H-C and Oxford editions come from far to theologically muddy traditions for me to pursue with much sincerity, and the NIV’s study Bible seems to have been written exclusively by moderately Reformed dispensationalists (i.e., it’s a pretty ‘Baptist’ commentary). Those are all fine and good for those traditions.
    But what if you’re somewhat theologically more “post-conservative”? What if I’d rather be reading N.T. Wright, Stanley Hauerwas, Scot McKnight, and John Goldingay than Wayne Grudem, John Piper, and Millard Erickson?
    I’m eager for a Study Bible for someone in the quasi-emergent, critical-realist flux. That’s, for some reason, what I was hoping for in the list of contributors. And who knows, maybe that’s what I’ll get. But for now, I’ll be a bit wilted over it all. Hopefully October 15 will surprise me. 🙂

  12. threegirldad,
    I thought the whole point of this blog was being picky! 🙂 I currently own ESVs in Allans highland goat, thinline cordovan calfskin, and personal reference genuine leather — and the ESV is not my translation of choice. I have justified in my mind that I need one more, however, because it appears the publisher is really listening and trying to provide what the customers (at least the picky ones on this blog) want. Service like this deserves my business — but not $150 worth of business! Anyway, I could not have resisted the price of another one of those cordovan calfskin Bibles. The cordovan is one of my favorite bindings.

  13. Well, that’s brilliant news. I was going to pick up a copy of the ESV this summer, but I’ll definitely hold off a bit longer for this. The usual questions, of course, apply:
    – Will it include the Apocrypha?
    – Will it be available in an Anglicized edition?
    Even if the answer to both is negative, this looks pretty amazing. The list of articles and contributors is quite impressive. You can also see, if the sample notes are any indication, that they’re paying attention to grammar and post-biblical history – two of my favourite topics, which happen to be lacking in many current study Bibles. (Arius? The nominative case? Franciscan monks? Bring it on!)

  14. It looks good, but what’s with the orange triangle? I love all the other details, but I would be very distracted by the triangle.

  15. Okay, call me crazy. I am coming to accept the triangle. The brown TruTone will work unless they come out with a cordovan calfskin edition. Call me crazy again, but I would have liked to see more choices for this Bible than for the Classic Reference or Compact Thinline editions.

  16. You are crazy. I would have liked to see the PSR come with these options…

  17. That would have been nice too. I am glad that they ONLY put the translation name on it twice. Are they discontinuing the use of the round ESV seal of quality and accuracy?

  18. Brian Fox said:
    It looks good, but what’s with the orange triangle?
    It’s the easy button. 😉
    You guys are cracking me up.
    The brown TruTone looks to be ahead in all the polls, but if the option for the cordovan is announced then it would be the front-runner. I too agree that the cordovan needs to be used on more editions!

  19. “We’re sorry. We can’t ship the following item to Great Britain and Northern Ireland due to licensing restrictions.”
    nooooooo – what is that about?

  20. So what they are saying is that I can buy them from amazon and sell them on ebay to ship overseas due to licensing restrictions.

  21. Yeah, I can’t decide whether I like the brown or black better. The real question is, which will look better in another ten years?
    The United Kingdom thing probably just means that Collins will be publishing it over there. Bit odd, though, considering that other books from Crossways are available through

  22. I will add my vote for the brown Trutone! It is not a volume I will be carrying around a lot. I will use it as a reference. I am not able to get over my enjoyment of flipping through the chain references in a TCRB. I have purchased a limited centennial edition in goatskin that feels and looks great. Eventually I will send Mark some pics.

  23. Folks —
    Not to be a wet blanket or anything, but I would wait until the edition actually appears before becoming emotionally attached to it. Crossway has a bit of a reputation when it comes to poorly made Bibles…., and the sample pages given are not sufficient to judge the quality of the notes.

  24. The quality of Crossway’s Bibles has been steadily improving in my opinion. I recently held a classic reference in cordovan from their most recent run and the paper is much improved; smooth to touch and opaque while being slightly thinner. There was very little of the wrinkling that was common with their earlier releases. I think they are finally getting it right.

  25. I like hardcover for study Bibles due to the fact that I normally don’t lug them around, and prefer that my church/preaching/travel/preaching Bibles be smaller and text or text/references only. As a result I will purchase this Bible in the hardback, and will save my coin for an ESV Pitt-Minion and possibly to have my Personal Reference rebound.

  26. Now you’ve done it. You’ve cost me money. I’ve finally opted to plunk down some dollars on the goatskin version of the ESVSB. Now that the order has gone through I have to twiddle my thumbs until October.

  27. I have purchased a limited centennial edition in goatskin that feels and looks great. Eventually I will send Mark some pics.

  28. Brandon Rhodes: I got the ESV Study Bible (ESVSB). Like you, I’m probably a “post-conservative” of the NT Wright kind. The ESVSB has great features: the maps, the diagrams and so on. But the commentary really is skewed to the fundamentalist end of the spectrum. The articles at the back are really, really conservative. So I quickly found that this Study Bible was not for me. It must be said that it does try to represent other views, but it is obvious that most of the contributors are fundamentalists. This comes out rather clearly. Just as an aside, as someone enquiring into Eastern Orthodoxy, I can say that the ESVSB article on Eastern Orthodoxy is not totally accurate. It says the the Orthodox have the same view of heaven and hell as the evangelicals. This is absolutely false. The Orthodox believe that heaven and hell are in the same realm and are experienced differently by the saved and the lost. This has two aspects that make it totally different to Evangelicalism: 1) it is not God that punishes, rather it is the choice of mankind that confines themselves to misery or bliss when God becomes “all in all”. God’s love is experienced as rest and comfort for the saved and torment for the lost. And 2) because God becomes “all in all” there is no place where he is not. There is no literal place called hell. This is a vast difference from Western Christianity, particularly Calvinism which most of the ESVSB contributors are aligned with.
    An alternative study bible that might be worth looking into is the NRSV Study Bible. The translation is literal and the commentary is a little bit more reasonable. I’ve had a brief look at it and it seems a lot better for someone who is not a fundamentalist, but isn’t a liberal either.
    Hope this helps

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