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Literary Study Bible Roundup

Here are links to all the blogs we could find that have substantively discussed the new ESV Literary Study Bible. The newest posts are at the top. We appreciate everyone who took the time to write about it; more importantly, we hope it’s helping you learn more about the Bible.

Word Alone. “Its commentary takes a literary perspective from a divinely-inspired literary perspective, and will feel like a breath of fresh air for those who may or may not have a deeper bible-reading background. This way of reading scripture makes the bible not only a useful book for instruction but also allows us to enjoy it as aesthetic literature. As far as I know, it has never been seen in study bibles before…. As a conservative evangelical who was taught at a young age that the bible is primarily useful for moral and religious instruction, this study bible will be like a breath of fresh air for me personally. I believe that this study bible will be one that many post-modern bible readers will enjoy reading in future decades. Although I am not a regular ESV reader, it may actually help pique more interest in me to start reading from the ESV translation as part of my staple diet.”

Henry Neufeld. “Regular readers of this blog (that imaginary group every blogger hopes he has!) will know that I am not a fan of the ESV…. Thus I was not immediately attracted to ESV, The Literary Study Bible despite the very attractive title. I think literary study of the Bible is one of the key elements that is lacking in Bible study by many Christians. Besides the specific benefits of the various literary disciplines, simply relating Biblical material to the metanarrative can improve one’s memory, if nothing else. I’m reminding of a lady who was in a study group I led. After about six months she suddenly got an expression of wonder and surprise in the middle of a session and announced, ‘I finally see it! It’s all connected!’”

The Far Green Country. “Primarily, they are telling you about the literary form of the text – its genre, its format, etc. “Editorial” comments are kept to a bare minimum. The idea, according to the preface, is that the notes should drive you into the text – rather than trying to be the lens through which you view the text. In my limited experience thus far (I’ve only had it for a week or two), the method works…. Overall, then, I’m a big fan of the ESV-LSB. In my opinion, it’s the best edition yet of the best English translation of the Scriptures. If you’re thinking about the ESV but have not yet picked up a copy, you might want to check out this edition before purchasing.”

Adrian Warnock. “I am very impressed with the introductions they offer to every passage in the Bible. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Too many Christians think that the literary study of the Bible necessarily implies that we do not believe it is inspired by God. This is, of course, not true. The Bible is, after all, a book. You will almost certainly find the comments in this new work totally different to those you have read in any other study Bible. As far as I know, this is the first truly literary study Bible.”

Relentlessly Biblical. In our class on interpreting the Bible, we have talked a little bit about study helps, among which are study Bibles. As I mentioned on Sunday, Crossway has just released the ESV Literary Study Bible. I do not have one, so I have not been able to evaluate it personally. The response I have seen, however, has been fairly positive…. It looks to be a good investment, and any investment in understanding the Word of God is eternally worthwhile.”

Seasonal Soundings. “I waited patiently. It arrived. I love it. But I have no time to use it. Yet.”

Fearing God in a Hebel World. “Over this past week, I have been reading segments from Job, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes. My initial reactions have been positive. While this is a study Bible, it is not the same as other study Bibles that I have used…. Like other study Bibles, ESVLSB contains a commentary on the biblical text; however, what is different is that ESVLSB places its comments as headnotes rather footnotes. In addition, the headnotes do not focus on the types of comments other study Bibles have, but rather on giving the reader reflective notes about the genre of a given text and its structural unity, as well as developing other significant rhetorical features.” The rest of the post, from a seminary professor, provides a number of comments on the three books he’s read.

Wiser Time. “[I]t gives a great road map of each book, and it helps us guard against reading the Bible like a collection of unrelated verses, rather than the beautiful, unified work of literature that it is. Its less-is-more approach highlights the text of the Bible itself, making it great for daily reading with a little help along the way. Maybe most importantly, the editors are able to show the literary features of the text while affirming its entire truthfulness. We have to see both if we are to marvel at God’s Word as we should.”

Sunday in the South. “WOW! Edited by Leland Ryken (Wheaton College) and son Philip Graham Ryken (Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA), the ESV Literary Study Bible fills a void in the Bible translation world, (as if you thought there might be one somewhere.)”

Coffee Blog. “Well, I’ve been using the Literary Study Bible for a few weeks now, as I’m teaching through Isaiah and preaching, on-again, off-again on Ecclesiastes. It’s been incredibly helpful in seeing how ideas flow through text. We take much for granted when we read scripture. Digging into Ecclesiastes forces some of those assumptions to be cleared, since most don’t fully understand the culture or practice of many of the ancients.” (Also see his initial thoughts about the Literary Study Bible.)

Hey! (Greg Steward). “This new study Bible, just released in September 2007, is different from any other study Bible that I have used. There is a website where you can learn more and even view the study Bible on-line (free for 30 days).”

Irish Calvinist. “Last week I received my much anticipated ESV Literary Study Bible in the mail. And so far I am really enjoying it. I like the helpful book introductions, the succinct chapter previews, the single column reading format, and the more than ample space in the margins. I have enjoyed just reading through it devotionally and using it for family Bible reading. The Rykens and the folks at Crossway have served us well in this edition.”

Soli Deo Gloria. “What impresses me about this Bible is that it gives just enough background information on each book along with a theological overview. Unlike most study Bibles, this one doesn’t contain study notes on a verse by verse setup. (This is good as it will challenge the reader to actually read the Word of God and not the notes at the bottom of the page!) If and when you need a commentary you’ll need to refer to one. This added bit of work on our part I believe causes us to meditate more on difficult passages.”

Intersect. “This past Wednesday at my church I gave the ESV Literary Study Bible some free publicity. I typically don’t begin our Wednesday night’s doing commercials of new books or Bibles, but I made an exception in this case…. Study Bibles usually come and go, but the ESV LSB is in a place that no other study Bible is. I have recommended it to my people and some have said they have already made the move to get it.”

Reformed Chicks Blabbing. “I got it yesterday and I really like it. I like that the Bible isn’t broken up into columns but is laid out like a book. I also like the way they do the notes — they’re overviews and not individual verse notes. Those can be very distracting.”

For His Renown. “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.”

Canvas of Constancy. “About a month ago I heard rumours (Fleetwood Mac anyone?) of a new bible that Crossway was putting out called the Literary Study Bible (henceforth referred to as the LSB). The LSB has now been released and due to an abundance of gift cards I should be getting mine any day now.”

One Eternal Day. “I’ve been using the ESV for several years now. I like its readability, but I also very much like the fact that it reads well aloud. It is an excellent translation for use in worship: for unison and responsive readings and readings from the pulpit. It is good to know that so many other resources, like this one, are being made available using this version.”

Internet Monk. Michael Spencer gives “Ten Reasons to Love the ESV Literary Study Bible.” Number 1: “The editors are the same people who wrote the best Bible Handbook I’ve ever used: The Ryken Bible Handbook. I reviewed this book here at IM and I continue to use it with my students. The helps are specifically tuned for a literary appreciation of the text and to create Bible students who interpret books, sections and chapters with competence and appreciation of genre.”

Fundamentally Reformed. “If you are like me you have 2 or 3 study Bibles filed away on a bookshelf somewhere. They rarely get used; and when they do, they aren’t much help. I don’t know why, but study Bibles always seem better on the bookstore shelf than they actually are. But I’ve found a study Bible I would actually use. It’s the new ESV Literary Study Bible by Leland & Phillip Graham Ryken.”

Scott Freeman. “I have been preaching and teaching from the ESV for about the last 4 years. I appreciate its literal translation and allegiance to the original Greek while being highly readable.”

A Spacious Place. “I love this idea. When I was in college and learning critical theory of literature, and we studied parts of the Bible in that way, it opened up a whole new way of looking at God’s Word and I was just fascinated by it. So I was thrilled to hear about this version of the Bible. Plus, it’s an ESV translation, which is even cooler.”

Westminster Bookstore Blog. An interview with Leland and Philip Graham Ryken.

Alex Chediak. Part one. Part two. An interview with Leland Ryken.

Shepherd’s Scrapbook. Review. Audio interview with Leland Ryken. Roundup. From the review: “The premiere benefit of the LSB is viewing Scripture as literature, without reducing Scripture to the level of mere literature. In Leland Ryken fashion, rebuttals are given to show that viewing Scripture as literature (1) does not show a liberal bias, (2) reinforces Scripture’s view of itself as literature, (3) does not reduce Scripture to fiction, (4) does not reduce Scripture to another mere piece of literature, (5) nor deny the inspiration of Scripture. In fact, the editors argue that an accurate interpretation of Scripture first requires an understanding of the many literary features of Scripture.”

Dead Theologians Society. “In the next week or two, Crossway Publishers will release the ESV Literary Study Bible. Unlike other study Bibles, this one is not driven by study notes at the bottom of page explaining phrases or words. Instead, this Study Bible is designed to drive readers into the text with souls panting for the Word of God.”

Theoblogian.org. “I got an ad in the mail today for the newest study bible: a literary study bible based on the ESV. A literary study bible? Seriously, how many study bibles do we need? It actually doesn’t look too bad, and the ESV is a very good translation, but I get a little cynical of study bibles after awhile…. There is a clear danger about study bibles that we can learn from church history.”

For His Glory. “When I took my Old Testament class in seminary one of the many great things I learned was that we need to read the Bible as literature since that is the primary medium God has determined to use to convey His message to use. When we begin to see the Bible as literature, albeit divine literature, we will begin to better see the message God is conveying to us.”

October 29, 2007 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:39 am | (5) Comments »


  1. My review of the ESV Literary Study Bible got mentioned on the official ESV bloghere. From now on, you must all refer to me not merely as a “blogger”, but as a nationally syndicated blogger. (Yes, I’m joking. Sort of.)…

    Trackback by The Far Green Country — October 30, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  2. The ESV blog provides a roundup on the recently released ESV Literary Study Bible.

    Trackback by ESV Literary Study Bible Roundup — November 6, 2007 @ 7:55 am

  3. 2007_04_literary_exterior_2 I’ve collected Bibles for many years, but hadn’t made any new additions for a long time–until recently. Although I’d read quite a lot about the ESV Literary Study Bible before its release, I hadn’t been too…

    Trackback by The ESV Literary Study Bible — November 17, 2007 @ 7:50 am

  4. I received yesterday my copy of the The ESV Literary Study Bible. So far I am very pleased with it. I have not yet used it enough to provide a review but here are some reviews that might be helpful. The following is from the website:…

    Trackback by The ESV Literary Study Bible — November 17, 2007 @ 7:50 am

  5. I was surprised to find my short review of the ESV Literary Study Bible posted on the official ESV blog. (ESV stands for English Standard Version.) An acquaintance of ours, Henry Neufeld, in Pensacola, FL, is also quoted….

    Trackback by Review posted on ESV blog — February 1, 2008 @ 7:42 am

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