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How I’m Using the ESV Journaling Bible

by Joe Thorn on November 29, 2011 (original post here)

As a new Christian the Bible was entirely new to me. I didn’t know who the Apostle Paul was, nor well-known stories like that of of Cain and Able. So, I was hungry for the Scripture and read it fervently and frequently. For the first years of my Christian life I always had my bible. Of course I had a few Bibles, but my bible was the one I read and wrote in most of the time. (Here’s a peek at a page from the NIV Bible I was using as a young Christian in 1992.) By the late nineties I wound up just grabbing whatever Bible was close by. It didn’t matter which one I used since I kept all my notes in a journal. Well, maybe it’s just me but along the way I really missed having a special go-to Bible that was well-read and marked up.

In July 2006 Crossway released the ESV Journaling Bible featuring 2 inch ruled margins. I wanted one immediately, but wasn’t sure I would use it. After all, I am one of those Moleskine guys. Well, I finally purchased one this fall and just love it. For the first time in years I have my Bible again. For those who like to take notes in their bibles I think this is the best option around.

For a real review of the Bible you can check out Tony Reinke’s post from 2007 (while you’re at it, get his new book, Lit!). Here, I’m just going to tell you how I’ve been using those wide margins in the ESV Journaling Bible. I mean, you finally have a Bible with s p a c e. What do you use it for? I mostly do three things.

Using the Margins

1. Summation, Connection, and Implication.
I often write out a summation of certain truths, arguments, or passages that make things clear for me. Distilling things down to their essence helps me to see the big picture, or main point, and then return to the pieces. I also like to lay out some of the connections between the truth, promise, or command in the passage I am currently reading to truths, promises, etc. in other portions of Scripture. And, I also note some of the implications of those truths/passages I’m currently reading.

2. Cross references.
Some people won’t like that the ESV Journaling Bible doesn’t have cross refernces, but I like that I get to add my own. It forces me to work my brain (or a concordance), but then I add only the most relevant texts.

3. Quotes.
I’m even throwing helpful quotes from other writers/theologians when helpful to me or those I may wind up teaching.

An example.
Last week I was reading Proverbs 27 and verse 7 really caught my attention. “One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.” I used the margins to note that the rich forget their privileges, the comfortable forget their ease, but those who suffer savor even small graces. And, that I need to take note of my afflictions while savoring God’s present graces and gospel promises. Later I came across Matthew Henry’s comment on the passage and quoted him in the margin as well. He was explaining how the poor have a better relish of their enjoyments than the rich, and then wrote, “Hunger is the best sauce.”

Pen or Pencil?

If you’re going to mark this bad boy up, what will you use? I favor writing in this Bible with a pencil because I sometimes write down the wrong verse and would like to erase something rather than scratch it out. But I went onto Twitter last week and asked what people are using to write in their ESV Journaling Bible, and here are some of their answers.

Pigma Micron 005 (by Sakura)
Zebra F-301 0.7 mm Fine Point
Pilot Hi-Tec
Pilot G-2 0.38 Fine Point
Staedtler Mars Micro 775 Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm
Pentel 0.5mm pencil

Joe will be giving away a copy of the ESV Journaling Bible later this week. Check out his blog for details. Joe Thorn is the Lead Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in Saint Charles, IL, and author of Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself. (Photos by Joe Thorn).


November 29, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 2:16 pm | 1 Comment »

Who in the World is Using the ESV Study Bible?

As a Christian publisher, we believe it’s our primary task to get the right resources into the right hands, all for the glory of God. We don’t always hear about the books and Bibles that end up with those who need them around the world, but it’s deeply encouraging when those stories make their way back to us.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely surrounded by a wealth of content that can grow your faith: books, specialty Bibles, websites, blogs, sermons, podcasts, conferences, and classes. This is certainly not the case everywhere in the world. Pastors in many areas faithfully disciple their congregations and share the gospel in their communities, all without access to any formal training or much in the way of printed resources. Yet the work they’re doing is critically important, and occasionally we’re able to find specific ways to support them in their ministry.

One such example is The Global Leadership Institute, an organization that provides training for African pastors and promotes church-planting in North and West Africa. Pastors attend two-week training seminars in Bo, Sierra Leone, each year for three years. Since GLI’s inception, Crossway has had the privilege of providing each pastor with an ESV Study Bible. Long-time readers of the blog may remember our first post on GLI in 2009.

In a very real sense, you’re partnering to make these sorts of initiatives possible anytime you buy a Crossway book or ESV Bible, or through our missional rewards program, Crossway Impact.

And this week, we wanted to create a fun way for you to join us in giving thanks and sharing with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.  We’re calling it simply “Give Thanks, Give Bibles.” This Thanksgiving week, for every “like” of Crossway’s Facebook page, we’ll put $1 towards distributing Bibles to Christians in the Global South.

Thanks for helping us spread the Word!

Below: pastors in Sierra Leone receive ESV Study Bibles at a Global Leadership Institute seminar.


November 23, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,ESV Study Bible,News | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 1:00 pm | 0 Comments »

The ESV Grow! Bible Has Arrived

The ESV Grow! Bible is in now in Crossway’s warehouse and is available for order. A brand new edition for kids ages 8–12, the ESV Grow! Bible contains the full Bible text with lots of colorful “helps” that not only comment on the passage, but more importantly encourage your kids to read the Bible for themselves. Here are some of the features of the Grow! Bible, with examples of each included:

  • “W Questions” answer the who, what, where, when, or why of a text.
  • 90 “4u” sections explain a passage from Scripture, applying it to the lives of kids.
  • 45 “Cross Connections” show how specific passages in the Bible point to Jesus and his gospel.
  • Articles, charts, maps, and book introductions are featured in full-color and engagingly written.

We’re excited about this new Bible for kids, because its emphasis is consistently on the Word of God. An animated sampler of the ESV Grow! Bible, including the full book of Genesis, is included below.

Available in three editions: a hardcover, a blue TruTone®, and a purple TruTone®.

Download a pdf of the excerpt

October 13, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 12:00 pm | (3) Comments »

Video: The ESV Around the World

Rev. Dr. Miller Milloy is the former General Secretary of the United Bible Society, an organization that works with dozens of Bible societies around the world to distribute God’s Word. He currently is serving as a global ambassador for the ESV translation, leading efforts to help Bible societies publish the ESV in their own editions. At the recent ICRS Crossway banquet, Dr. Milloy detailed some of the exciting projects happening around the world with the ESV.

If you missed our previous posts on the ICRS banquet, be sure to check out the dramatic reading of Scripture by Marquis Laughlin and the presentation by John Piper.

September 2, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News,Video | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 6:00 am | 0 Comments »

Video: Marquis Laughlin’s Dramatic Reading of the ESV at ICRS 2011

Crossway hosted a banquet at ICRS 2011 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, its legacy, and its influence in the development of the ESV translation. Just before John Piper spoke on “7 Reasons Why the Word of God is Infinitely Valuable”, Marquis Laughlin did this powerful dramatic reading of Scripture:

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August 16, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News,Video | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 8:27 am | (5) Comments »