Tag: ESV

ESV with Creeds and Confessions Review

ESV with Creeds and Confessions Review

 

 

Additional Photos

 

The Crossway ESV with Creeds and Confessions is everything I have come to expect from Crossway, who, incidentally, sent me a copy in black trutone free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one.

 

Initially, I was actually surprised to find that this particular Bible did not blow me away. It is not a Bible that I dislike. It’s everything I have come to expect, sewn binding, good paper, etc. I like it and I enjoy using it but I don’t feel the same excitement that I get when I reach for other Crossway products such as my Literary Study Bible, Systematic Theology Bible, or the ESV Preaching Bible. HOWEVER, with more and more use the ESV with Creeds and Confessions has grown on me, so much so that I have recommended it several times to Christians who are new to what is commonly called Calvinism and are looking for a new Bible.

 

This Bible is very reserved, muted even. This does not surprise me as the most conservative Calvinists lean puritan and do not want a “flashy” Bible to take into the pulpit.

 

General Format

Essentially, the ESV with Creeds and Confessions is a large print ESV Bible, the back of which has the Reformed/Evangelical Confessions of Faith coupled with the Ancient Ecumenical Creeds. The font and layout are incredibly well done although it was not the layout I expected. (See next section)

 

What I Would Change

The original ESV with Creeds and Confessions was done by Schuyler Bibles a few years ago-it was an enlarged version of the New Classic Reference Edition with the Creeds and Confessions added in. I actually would have returned to that format. I would also move the Creeds and Confessions to locate them either in the front matter or between the testaments.  I would also add some lined notes pages. One could argue that this Bible is geared toward pastors and seminary professors so the lack of notes pages puzzles me. I would also remove the concordance, it seems a trifle unnecessary here-most of the people who would be picking up this particular Bible will most assuredly have plenty of other resources for in-depth topical study of the Bible.

 

Cover and Binding

The cover and binding are not unusual for Crossway. (I have the black trutone, which is Crossway’s polymer based imitation leather and includes a sewn binding. ) The TruTone Imitation Leather continues to get more and more convincing as Crossway continues to hone their craft.

 

It may surprise you to learn that, in many cases, I recommend Crossway’s TruTone before I recommend a genuine leather. I know a number of pastors who are on the go rather frequently and you don’t always want a more premium leather in your every -day carry Bible.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

Again there is nothing unusual here. The paper is bright white which works well with the black letter text. The text is laid out in double column paragraph format, approximately 12-point font. Crossway uses the Lexicon font family and continues to do so.

 

I think the Lexicon Font Family is more readable than most other Bible fonts on the market. I wear bifocals and frequently find ESV Bibles easier to read than other Bibles of similar size and font types.

 

The Creeds and Confessions

13 historic creeds and confessions are placed in the back, including the Apostles Creed (ca. 200–400), the Nicene Creed (325), the Athanasian Creed (381), the Chalcedonian Definition (451), the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Articles of Religion (1563), the Canons of Dort (1618–19), the Westminster Confession (1646), the London Baptist Confession (1689), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) Introductions to each of the 13 creeds and confessions written by historian Chad Van Dixhoorn were included.

 

First and foremost, I am a Baptist so seeing the London Baptist Confession is major for me. There is a bias (No way around it) in the Reformed Community which suggests that Baptists are not really reformed. This is grossly inaccurate and pejorative so seeing the LBC included was a major win for us.

 

You will also note that the 3 Forms of Unity are included. The Three Forms of Unity is a collective name for the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism, which reflect the doctrinal concerns of continental Calvinism and are accepted as official statements of doctrine by many of the Reformed churches. In short, these are foundational documents to Reformed Theology.

 

Our Anglican Brethren will also be glad to see that the 39 Articles of Religion are included as well. Many do not often think of the Anglicans as being reformed but they were an integral part of the Reformation in the United Kingdom.

 

Final Thoughts

The ESV with Creeds and Confessions is perfect for the modern day puritan. You will find it to be a very well made Bible but that is what defines Crossway- incredibly well made Bibles at very affordable price points.

 

My niggling little gripes aside, the ESV with Creeds and Confessions is a prime example of what makes Crossway the first choice in Bible for a host of people, especially the “Reformed Pastor.

ESV Story of Redemtion Bible

ESV Story of Redemtion Bible

 

Redemption…It’s the greatest story in history, the centerpiece of the entire Bible, and this time, it is beautifully displayed in the ESV Story of Redemption Bible. (Note: This Bible was given as a gift. Crossway has not asked for this review and my opinions are my own.) In this review, we are looking at the jacketed hardcover edition.

Features

  1. 9.25-point Milo type (Bible text); 8.5-point Milo type (notes)
  2. Single-column, paragraph format
  3. 897 notes written by pastor Greg Gilbert interspersed throughout the full ESV text 
  4. All-new introductions to each book of the Bible
  5. 80+ maps, illustrations, and timelines
  6. Generous 1.25 inch margin space
  7. Premium cream-colored paper
  8. Smyth-sewn binding

 

Cover and Binding

A jacketed hardcover is the perfect choice for the student of Scripture who finds himself on the go frequently. It will hold up really well going into and out of a backpack or laptop bag. It works very well in the classroom and even in the sanctuary  on the pulpit. Ordinarily, a hardcover does not excite me and yet Crossway makes their hardcovers special. A Crossway hardcover almost always feels more durable than competing products, most probably because Crossway sews the text block in almost every Bible they produce.

Speaking of sewn bindings…A sewn binding from Crossway is a very special sewn binding-they are generally sewn tighter than other publishers products and, the biggest advantage is the lack of a cockling sound. Sewn bindings last almost forever and this hardcover is no exception.

Margins, Paper, Layout, and Font

I am happy to see that Crossway has finally made one of my wishes come true, wide margins in a study Bible and not just wide margins but very generous ones at that. A wide margin is where the amazing happens in a Bible because it is where  you notate your experience with the Bible and the illuminations which the Holy Spirit brings to your mind.

The combination of the paper and font is amazing. The Milo font family tends to be one of the most reader friendly fonts that I have encountered in any book; it is accentuated by being on a lightly cream colored paper.

The single column paragraph format, presented here, has become a Crossway signature. The layout is more akin to a traditional book so that a reader will spend more time with the Bible.

Story of Redemption Notes & Helps

The Notes and Helps begin with Book introductions, each of which shows the main events of Redemptive History which are recorded in the book. This, naturally, gives the reader a better idea of how each book in the Bible comes together in the unified Story of Redemption.

There are approximately 900 notes interspersed throughout the text. Each of these notes shines a light on redemption as the overarching theme of the Bible.

At the end of the text, you will find a fold out timeline/overview of the Story of Redemption. This timeline is quite beautiful and provides a stunning glimpse at how God has worked through the ages to bring about His plan to redeem us unto Himself.

Could you preach from the Story of Redemption Bible?

Yes. I might add that the Story of Redemption Bible has a virtually identical layout to the ESV Preaching Bible, the differences being a slightly larger font and no notes in the Preaching Bible. Both have exquisite 1.25 inch margins for your own personal annotations, cross references, diagrams, etc. Because I am not used to using a single column paragraph format in the pulpit, it did pose some functional challenges for me. However I am confident that it will not be an issue for most people/

Who should buy the Story of Redemption Bible?

I would recommend this Bible for parishioners (people in the pew) than for pastors. As pastors, we should be intimately familiar with the overarching Story of Redemption that is in the Bible and be able to communicate it effectively. Many Christians may be coming from a background that does not effectively communicate the overall story of the Bible and this edition is ideally suited to help them to learn the unified theme of the Scriptures, the Story of Redemption.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this has been a highly enjoyable study Bible and I think that any disciple will be blessed by it. I hope that you will find it in your library and reference it regularly; maybe you will even call this edition your main Bible.

 

The Pastor’s Quad: Brief Comparison of the Preaching Bibles

The Pastor’s Quad: Brief Comparison of the Preaching Bibles

There are 4 Bibles chomping at the bit to be your new preaching Bible. I have reviewed them individually and today I want to compare them for you. They are ESV Preaching Bible (Crossway), CSB Pastor’s Bible (Holman), The Preaching Bible, NKJV and KJV (Thomas Nelson), and The Preacher’s Bible (GTY/Steadfast Bibles)

Let’s dive in…

ESV Preaching Bible

Translation English Standard Version

Cover and Binding Pebble grain goatskin, leather edge-lined

Font 10-point

Margins 1.25”

Format Single Column Paragraph

Stand Out Feature(s) Most liturgical sounding of the 4. Bolded verse numbers for ready references. 36 gsm paper, ideal for writing.

Drawbacks None

Well known pastors who use ESV John Piper, Allistair Begg

Why should you choose this Bible? The experience of using this Bible is unlike any other I have ever used (see my review). The translation coupled with generous margins and very heavy grade paper makes this a perfect choice for the Reformed or Reformed leaning Expositor.

Aside from the translation, I would say the paper is the top reason to choose this Bible. Many pastors, especially those of us who lean reformed, have a tendency to make marginal annotations (pictures, word study, cross references) and this paper is quite nice for doing just that. {Note: Alaways test your writing instrument on a page in the back first}

Nelson Preaching Bible

Translation King James and New King James Version

Cover and Binding Ironed Calfskin, leather edge lined

Font 11-point

Margins Non-existent

 Format: Double column, verse by verse

Stand Out Feature(s) Only Bible in the group that offers references

Drawbacks Tiny margins

Well known pastors who use NKJV Phillip DeCourcy, David Jeremiah, the late R.C. Sproul, Voddie Baucham, Mike MacIntosh

Why should you choose this Bible? Thomas Nelson has been producing KJV Bibles for nearly half the time the KJV has existed and, in honoring that legacy, also produce the New King James. These are the only Bibles in the group that offer the original translation (NKJV, which to date has not been revised/updated/or otherwise tinkered with). Nelson has the utmost in quality offered here and if you are looking for the most conservative of the translations available, these are it.

NKJV and I are the same age, both having entered the world in 1982 and we have a special connection. It has been with me so often that I had not even realized it was my go to Bible; I thought I was the NASB guy. That, though, is your ultimate goal in choosing your Bible- it needs to be so comfortable and so familiar that it is not just a tool in your hand but it is an extension of you. 

 

CSB Pastor’s Bible

Translation Christian Standard Bible

Cover and Binding Ironed goatskin with paste down liner

Font 10.5-point font

Margins 1”

Format Single column, paragraph

Stand Out Feature(s) Pastoral helps section for various services. Old Testament quotations in bold print.

Drawbacks Thin paper. Paste-down liners are less than flexible. Newest translation in the group.

Well known pastors who use CSB  Ed Hindson, JD Greear, Robby Gallaty, David Platt, Professor David Dockery

Why should you choose this Bible? CSB is almost a perfect blend of literal and readable. It offers and excellent balance of academic and devotional reading. This is ideally suited for age diverse congregations or congregations whose members primarily have English as a second language.

 CSB is growing at an extremely rapid pace. Formerly the Holman Christian Standard Bible, it is in its 3rd iteration and has been very well received by many. A number of smaller churces use the CSB as their main teaching Bible. The age of this tranlation seems like a problem at first, but when you read it you will see that it is sound, accurate and readable. If it were possible for the fastidiously literal NASB and the incredibly readable NIV to produce offspring it would be the CSB.

The Preacher’s Bible

Translation New American Standard Bible (1995 Updated Edition)

Cover and Binding Pebble grain goatskin, leather edge lined

Font 11-point

Margins 1.5”

Format single column, verse by verse

Stand Out Feature(s) 65 gsm paper, heaviest currently available in a Bible. Designed by John MacArthur, largest margins of the 4.

Drawbacks Largest Bible currently in production weighing in at nearly 5 pounds.

Well known pastors using NASB John MacArthur, Charles Swindoll, Steve Lawson, HB Charles, Charles Stanley

Why should you choose this Bible? The Preacher’s Bible carries the heaviest paper on the market, virtually guaranteeing no bleed through. With the largest margins in the group and generous spacing between lines, this is the ideal choice for the pastor who loves to write notes in the margins.

This is a juggernaut of a Bible and it isn’t easy to carry. This Bible is for you if you want to keep it on your desk, you pulpit, and not many other places. I am actually using this not as a preaching Bible but to create a Family Legacy Bible. Notes and passages marked from 3 generations of my family are being transferred/recorded here so that if the Lord tarries, I will leave it behind to the pastor who steps into my place when I pass and I will leave him a robust legacy of a strong faith. 

Is there a clear winner?

I am forced to declare a tie between Nelson and Crossway. Crossway looked deep into my soul and created the perfect Bible BUT I have realized that over 80% of my lessons over the last 22 years have been from NKJV (My most heavily marked up and used Bible is NKJV). Habit, more than anthing else, will keep the Nelson Preaching Bible in my briefcase and on my pulpit. Aesthetic appreciation will keep the ESV Preaching Bible right next to the Nelson in my briefcase and on my pulpit. Why choose? Both are perfect in their own right.

The truth of the matter is this: When you choose your preaching Bible, the translation should be your primary choice. It needs to be faithul to the original languages and as acccurate as possible. The choices represented here offer the best English translations available. Beyond that, for a Bible that you will take into the pulpit, less really is more. Your essentials are a large enough font to read from without eye strain and as few distractions in the text as possible. I happen to be peripatetic at times so I also look to be able to carry the Bible in one hand as I move about behind the pulpit. 

I commend to you any of the 4, but especially the Crossway or the Nelson. I would encourage you to try both. Be advised, both Bibles are so excellent that you may find yourself in the same boat as me and not able to choose.

Choosing A New Bible

Choosing A New Bible

On, at least, a weekly basis, I am asked for help in choosing a new Bible. Today, I would like to answer that question for you. There are certain criteria that should factor into your criteria.

Translation Choice:

The most important consideration for your new Bible is the English Version/Translation that you will use. The translation should be easy for you to understand but it should also be accurate to the original languages. I won’t get into the differences between form based (word-for-word) and meaning based (thought-for-thought) translations but I would like to recommend 4 English Versions for you.

NLT: My 1st recommendation is the New Living Translation. The NLT is the Bible that we preach from at Abounding Grace Baptist Church. The English is very easy to understand as it is translated at or near a 6th Grade reading level. NLT is the ideal choice for the disciple who has never read a Bible before and for the disciple for whom English is not a native language. NLT is a meaning based translation that endeavors, quite successfully, to capture the the thought of the original scriptural author.

CSB: Christian Standard Bible is what is called a mediating or optimal translation because it is pretty well in the middle of form based and meaning based translations. It reads at or near 8th Grade. CSB is perfect for the intermediate level disciple who wants to go deeper in their study and it is a great choice for academics. If you are enrolled in/considering a Christian School, at any academic level, I would highly recommend the CSB.

ESV: English Standard Bible is the translation taking the conservative community by storm. Reformed Christians of all stripes love ESV for its accuracy, its word-for-word rigor, and its liturgical feel. Listening to the cadence of an ESV being read aloud, you can tell it was designed with pastors in mind. ESV read’s at or about a 9th Grade level. When I am preparing my lessons, ESV is my normal study text in parallel with NLT.

NKJV: New King James is a perennial favorite of many excellent teachers, not the least of whom are David Jeremiah and the late Dr. R.C. Sproul. Like the ESV, NKJV is very word for word yet still easily readable. I would also rate it at 8th/9th Grade. NKJV is an ideal translation in almost any situation.

Now here is my secret: I love all 4 and use all 4 regularly. I could not choose just one so I use all 4 in different scenarios.

If I were to be pushed into making a choice of only one, it would be the NLT; I have found none better for my one to one discipleship efforts.

Helps:

There are several helps that you may want to consider, only one of which I would deem essential and we will talk about it first.

References:

There are two types of references available, end-of-verse and center-column. Center-column references are the feature that I would consider to be essential. We believe that Scripture interprets/explains Scripture and center column references are the best way to experience that. By following references, you will be able to follow the thought patterns/themes of Scripture.

Commentary

There is a class of Bible called a “study” Bible. The study portion stems from the fact that they include commentary on the Scripture; some even include introductory materials for each book and an outline of each book. These features are not bad, per se, but I would encourage you to do the work yourself. My 4th grade teacher, Miss Cortell, told me that, “you must hunt, search, and dig, for what you want to know. Knowing is your payment for doing the work of learning.”

Concordance

A topical concordance is a very useful tool to have. It will help you to follow what the Scriptures teach on a host of topics. Some concordances are more in-depth than others but almost every Bible has one. I highly recommend that you use the one in your Bible.

Wide-margins/Journaling Paper

Wide margins are one of the best features available for a Bible today. It is a wide margin Bible that you make truly yours because you fill in your own notes and references. Some even go so far as to add drawings and charts etc. to help with memory aids.

Choosing a new Bible is very important, perhaps the most important choice you will make in your life as a disciple. I hope the materials above will help you to choose your new Bible. I congratulate you on your decision to answer Christ’s call and become a disciple. I pray that your new Bible will help you to grow in your knowledge of Christ.

ESV Pastor’s Bible Review

ESV Pastor’s Bible Review

 

If there is one organization that is committed to resourcing the local church, and especially pastors, it is Crossway. Crossway publishes dozens of different editions of the ESV Bible, Commentaries and other academic texts. Now, they have brought to the market, in a single volume, the ideal resource for the minister who is always on the move, the ESV Pastor’s Bible.

Note: Crossway provided this Bible for review free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

A word from Crossway about the ESV Pastor’s Bible

“About the ESV Pastor’s Bible

A pastor depends on the wisdom of Scripture for all aspects of ministry. What truths can be relied upon in seasons of celebration and in those of sorrow? What does the Bible have to say to us about marriage, sickness, and death? The ESV Pastor’s Bible was designed to help pastors draw wisdom from God’s Word for specific situations requiring pastoral care, such as baptisms, weddings, hospital visits, or funerals. In the front matter, back matter, and throughout the text, the Pastor’s Bible contains excerpts written by pastors offering practical help for crafting a sermon, planning a special service, leading congregational prayer, conducting premarital counseling, visiting the sick, and resolving conflict within the church. Compiled under the guidance of seasoned pastors R. Kent Hughes and Douglas Sean O’Donnell, this substantial but portable edition is a great all-in-one resource for the on-the-ground pastor.

Features:

  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • 2 daily Bible reading plans
  • Excerpts from experienced pastors
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: Slipcase”

I am reviewing the cloth over board edition. Admittedly, I find the existence of this version to be a little odd; I almost never see a pastor carrying a hardcover Bible. I suspect this edition is offered for bi-vocational pastors who may be on a tight budget and it is good that Crossway is considering the pastor who needs an excellent resource but may have limited dollars to commit to gathering resources.

Paper, Font, Readability

I am quite impressed with this Bible’s readability. The font is a generous 9-point and is considered by some of Crossway’s competitors to be a large print font. The Pastor’s Bible finds itself in between the ESV Thinline Reference Bible (8-point) and the Large Print Thinline (10.5-Point). Overall, it is very comfortable on the eyes.

 

Part of the ease of use comes from the paper, it is just a little bit off-white and very opaque. Add to that the fact that Crossway’s printer uses a very deep and rich black and you get one of the easiest text blocks to read. Circling back for a second, the “off-whiteness” of the paper plays a very important role in why this Bible is so easy to read- there is no glare. Here in Arizona, the afternoon sun is very bright and severe which makes reading crisp white pages a bit of a challenge and with the particular paper in use, here, I wonder if maybe someone from Crossway has spent some time in the Southwestern U.S.

Binding, Ribbons, and Cover

There are 3 cover options available: Genuine Leather, Cloth over Board, and TrueTone. Because of the sewn binding, and one of the 3 cover options should last for a very long time.

Crossway provides two ribbons, one for Old Testament and one for New

Minister’s Helps

Located in between the New Testament and the Old, you will find a section of Pastor’s helps. Essentially, what Crossway has done is to take a Minister’s Service Manual and put it right into the middle of the Bible. There are sample weddings, sample funerals, baptisms (infant & believer’s), communion services, etc.

Here is a list of the helps you will find:

Invocations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prayers of Confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Announcements of Assurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Historical Christian Creeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Baby Dedication. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Infant Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Believer’s Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Communion. . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . Wedding Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Funeral Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graveside Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Benedictions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

It would be hard to overstate how useful theses resources are. In addition, you will find helpful articles for pastors covering such topics as praying for the sick and cultivating discipling relationships.

 

Overall Thoughts

I really like the ESV Pastor’s Bible. I think it is one of the more useful tools Crossway has produced and I highly recommend to any pastor.