Looking for a read-through-the-Bible Bible?

Each January Christians renew their commitment to read the Bible from cover-to-cover. It’s an admirable goal for such a large and ancient book.

For my money, the best suited Bible for this goal is the ESV Literary Study Bible (Crossway, 2007). I appreciate this Bible because the editors–Leland and Philip Graham Ryken–have written brief notes to help the reader along at a pace of about one note per chapter of Scripture. Those little notes set the stage for what the reader is about to encounter in their reading. And a daily reading plan in the back of the book provides readers with a thoughtful annual reading plan. Readers are encouraged to read daily from four different portions of the Bible: (1) the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, (2) the Pentateuch and History of Israel, (3) Chronicles and Prophets, and (4) the Gospels and Epistles. And in the plan, four major books are read twice in the year (Psalms, Isaiah, Luke, and Romans). Added to this, the wealth of information you will learn about the literary features of the Bible is also quite stunning.

So if you are looking for the kind of a Bible you can read from cover to cover, I recommend the ESV Literary Study Bible. It is available in two editions: hardcover ($30) and TruTone ($39).

Back in 2007 I sat down with Leland Ryken in his office at Wheaton to discuss the ESVLSB. You can learn more about the Bible in my interview with Dr. Ryken here.

Blank Bible featured in Seattle

tsslogo.jpgStephen Smith serves as both editor of the ESV blog and Crossway’s Director of Information Services. This past weekend he presented a lecture at the BibleTech08 conference in Seattle on “The ESV and Bible Usability.” In his presentation he cited the Blank Bible “phenomena” started right here on The Shepherd’s Scrapbook. In his presentation he says,

The typical physical features of a Bible are familiar: its type size, physical size, layout, and binding. Also important are any extra features in the Bible—from maps to notes to cross-references. But just as important are things that people do to customize their Bibles. Some people buy a cover for their Bibles; some people decide to re-cover their Bibles; and some people want so much more space for note-taking that they take a printed Bible, slice off the binding, insert empty sheets of paper between the Bible pages, and rebind their Bible more to their liking. The result is what’s called a “blank Bible.” A number of people have created these Bibles; I like to link to them from the ESV blog because it shows how people can get really invested in their Bibles. I get the feeling that we’d value our Bibles a lot more if we had to assemble and bind them ourselves.

You can read more of Stephen’s presentation here, and download a PDF copy of his presentation slides (see slide 31).

And of course you can see our very own Blank Bible Index to find information (and motivation) to create one of these Bibles for your own use and growth.

Happy slicing, punching, and binding!

QA: ESV Literary Study Bible alternatives?


“I already own the ESV Classic Reference edition and find it difficult to also purchase this LSB edition. Does Crossway plan on carrying an ‘only-the-notes’ version of this study Bible?” – Hanz


Hello, Hanz! I doubt Crossway will release the notes independently. Here’s why.

The ESV Literary Study Bible found its conceptual origin as a 2005 book release known as the Ryken’s Bible Handbook by Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken and James Wilhoit (Tyndale: 2005). Much of the content in the LSB was taken from the Ryken’s Bible Handbook. The LSB goes further in applying the structure and content of the Handbook to each section/chapter of Scripture specifically.

If you can buy the Bible, buy the Bible. But if you want to use materials from the Ryken’s but cannot afford the LSB (or cannot justify buying another Bible), I would start with Ryken’s Bible Handbook. You will be very impressed by the content. So that’s my advice. And if you want a peek into the handbook, Tyndale offers a PDF download of the first chapter (click here for download).

Great question, Hanz. I hope this helps. Tony
Further notes on the ESV LSB

It’s worth noting that Monergism Books now sells the ESV Literary Study Bible for $29.99. Also, I suppose this is a good place to let you know I today posted a transcript of the TSS interview with Dr. Leland Ryken over at Monergism and you can read it here (the original audio interview can be accessed here). Our full review of the LSB is here. And for those who have already purchased and received their ESV LSB in the mail, we want to hear from you! Give us your feedback on what you think of the LSB here.