ESV Literary Study Bible

Litesv_2I've spent some time with the Literary Study Bible and am really enjoying it and highly recommend it. 

I generally don't enjoy study Bibles.  I think they can distract Christians from reading and discovering the meaning of Scripture for themselves by encouraging people to read Scripture in a choppy way: verse or two, check the study notes, verse, cross-references, study notes, another verse, etc.  Study notes can be very helpful if used correctly, but I've never seen a Christian use them in a way that I've found very helpful.

The ESV-LSB removes those bold section headings and cross-references and instead gives a shaded box with brief guidance before each chapter or two, or section or pericope of Scripture.  So you start with some guidance concerning the genre, literary structure, techniques, symbolism, whatever.  Then you read the passage (single-column) without distraction.  That means the emphasis isn't on finding your favorite verse or cheating to get the meaning through headers or notes.  The emphasis is to read it yourself and focus on getting the gist of larger sections of Scripture.

The ESV-LSB provides notes before each book of Scripture, which is in pretty much every study Bible.  These are really well done.  What I liked the most was the section in each book introduction describing how the book fits into the larger "story of the Bible."   Brilliant.  So you aren't just getting the understanding of larger sections of Scripture, or even whole books.  You are also gaining understanding of how the books work together in the storyline of Scripture. 

Ryken This Bible also has wider margins for your own notes and their own Bible reading plan at the end.  It's easily my favorite study Bible and I hope many of you pick it up.  And by the way, one of the editors of the ESV-LSB is Dr. Leland Ryken who has produced many great books including two favorites of mine: The Christian Imagination and The Liberated Imagination.  Even more reason to love this study Bible.

To see it for yourself, check it out for free online for 30 days. Very helpful.

Other stuff to check out...
Literary ESV is Unapologetically Complementarian
Interview with Dr. Leland Ryken
Internet Monk's Glowing Review