Book Review: ESV Concise Study Bible

In western society it is an abundant blessing to have ready access to God’s Word, with countless options based on translation, color, size, study notes, topic (i.e. apologetics, literary, chronological, etc). Yes, there is even a version called The Green Bible. You’ll have to look that one up sometime, it’s confusing, yet intriguing. As evangelicals, we hold fast to the truth that the Bible is God’s Word and is profitable as well as crucial for our discipleship. For many, however, the Bible can be difficult to understand at times. For this reason, it is helpful to a Bible with good study notes to help aid personal study. In an effort to provide another resource to help believers better understand God’s Word, Crossway has released the ESV Concise Study Bible (2021).

As has been stated regarding the ESV as a translation in an earlier review titled Book Review: ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible:

The English Standard Version (ESV) has stood the test of time as a reliable “essentially literal” translation of the Bible since 2001. In a day when many Bible readers prefer readability over accuracy, the ESV proves to be not only an accurate but highly readable translation solidly standing in the reformation heritage of Bible translations. It lends itself to personal study, memorization, and teachability. For this reason the ESV has been a preferred translation for many pastors, seminary students, and churches for the better part of two decades. The ESV has shaped the way a generation of disciples approaches, studies, and teaches the Bible. It will continue to be a trusted translation for many years to come (Posted May 10, 2019).

Over the years, Crossway has published several versions of the ESV that lend itself to different ways to approach the Bible. This was achieved primarily through their groundbreaking ESV Study Bible in 2008. Which begs the question, why do we need another study Bible? For almost a decade and a half, the ESV Study Bible has been a stalwart of biblical resources for the church. It has been the go to Bible for many, why a newer condensed version? That, I believe, is the answer exactly. The new ESV Concise Study Bible is just that, a concise version of the original ESV Study Bible. The original study Bible has a page count of 2,752 pages, whereas the new concise version has 1,552 pages. Coming in at just shy of half the size of the original. The difference comes mainly in the study notes, which are much more abbreviated and, well…concise. The original study notes went into much greater detail on certain passages. The concise version of the study notes do not go into as much detail. In addition to the study notes, content is also trimmed with the maps, illustrations, and articles.

The ESV Concise Study Bible is an excellent resource for personal growth and discipleship. Its sleeker design allows it to be much more portable than the original ESV Study Bible. It is perfect for use at school, church, and small group. It would also be an excellent resource for a new believer, as it provides the essence of the original study Bible in a much more approachable format. You have heard the anecdote that asks “if you were on a remote island and could only have one (fill in the blank) what would you choose”? If the question was if you were on a remote island and could only have one Bible which one would you choose? The ESV Concise Study should be the answer.

For a list of additional Bible recommendations click here.


Editor’s Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.