Esv Study Bibles

5 Popular ESV Study Bibles and 10 Unique Ways to Use the Bible

Has your relationship with God recently bloomed? Would you like it to? Reading the Bible is an excellent way to grow in your faith. In this article, we will look at the different ESV study Bibles. 

ESV stands for English Standard Version. This version of the Bible IS a word-for-word translation and reads much easier than some of the more traditional versions of the Bible, in my humble opinion. 

Of course, the most important thing is for you to be able to understand the Bible. If you cannot read the words that are on the pages, how will you know what God is speaking to you about, who He truly is, and what all He has done for us?

If you have never owned an ESV study Bible, you are in for a real treat, as we will point out the features of these Bibles. This information is quite reliable since we own all of the Bibles featured in this article. Additionally, we’ll go over some unique ways to use a Bible! Let’s dive in!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our Privacy Policy for more information.

How the ESV Study Bible Differs From Other Bibles

When you think of the ESV, what do you think of? It actually stands for the English Standard Version. It is a word-for-word version based on the original Greek and Hebrew languages. This is especially important if you are verse mapping or analyzing the Scriptures in-depth.

While other versions of the Bible might be easier to understand, a word-for-word translation is imperative when trying to get to the point when studying the Bible. An example of this would be with a word study or following something like the Inductive Bible Study Method.

Be sure to follow the Lord’s guidance when picking a Bible translation. You can also use more than one translation! If you do not have the funds for multiple Bibles (each with a different translation), you can use the YouVersion application to see the various translations.

Esv Study Bibles

What is the ESV? Is it the Best Bible Translation?

The ESV is an adaptation of the NASB (New American Standard Bible), which is another word-for-word translation. For more information on the various translations and which one you should choose, check out the article – Which Bible Translation is Best to Use?

Also, you can see this in depth in this Bible Translation Guide. Some Bible translations are word-for-word, and other transitions are a bit more like commentaries. The key points here can be seen below.

#1. Do not judge.

Be careful not to judge or “correct” others based on which translation they are using. Another version might serve a new Christian better, and you don’t want to stifle their enthusiasm, so aim to not be judgmental. 

It might be appropriate down the line to give them your insight, but always remember that we are told not to judge others lest we be judged by God (Matthew 7:1-5).

#2. Do not assume that you are right and everyone else is wrong.

Do not think you know the right way and that everyone else is wrong. This is also known as being too prideful, and it goes hand-in-hand with judgment (Proverbs 8:13). 

Take caution here. Even if you are right, what does your attempt to change another person result in? It’s likely not to be what you had hoped for.

#3. The ESV Study Bible is a word-for-word translation of the Bible.

The ESV Bible is a word-for-word translation, as are the NASB and KJV. To see the official chart on all translations, use the Bible Translation Guide above.

#4. Start with a version of the Bible YOU understand.

It is best to find a version of the Bible that you understand before dipping your toes in a word-for-word translation. I fell in love with the Bible when I read the CEV (Contemporary English Version). 

While it might not be the best when studying in-depth, it helped me when I was led astray. Here is my favorite CEV Bible.

#5. Sometimes, it is best to use a word-for-word translation.

If you are a Bible scholar who wants to study the Bible word for word (try a Bible Word Study), consider using a word-for-word translation, as these are more accurate than adaptations. Refer to the Bible Translation Guide (above) for which to choose from.

Esv Study Bibles

#6. Do not let others judge you or spend too much time debating the issue.

Do not allow others to “bully” you into using only the KJV. There are reasons, which you can research, that some verses are different from others. 

When facing a difference of opinion, think of what Jesus would do in the situation and show love for others. You can stand your ground, but do not spend time debating which translation is best. As Christian leaders, we are told not to get into arguments with others.

#7. Ask God to reveal to you which Bible translation is best for you.

Connect with God if you are unsure about this topic. Ask Him to reveal to you which version of the Bible would serve you best. You might even include a prayer in the front of your Bible – one that you can refer to each time you open your Bible to study.

In such prayer, ask God to help you understand the words that you are about to read and apply them to your life with accuracy. Pray for wisdom and guidance along the way.

5 Popular ESV Study Bibles

If you have landed on the decision to use the ESV, how will you know which ESV study Bible is best for you? There are quite a few out there. You can also purchase or use a regular ESV Bible and add notes, such as sticky notes, to it in order to make your own ESV study Bible.

#1. The ESV Journaling Study Bible

As far as I have researched, this is the FIRST Bible that is both an ESV study Bible and an ESV journaling Bible. A journaling Bible is just a Bible that has wide margins for you to take notes in. Typically, there are no notes at the bottom. This is likely because of limited space.

The ESV journaling Bible, according to Crossway, came out in 2023. It can be very handy if you’d like to have study notes and room on the side for your own notes. Most Bibles have one or the other, which is why this Bible is so unique.

On my last birthday, my husband purchased for me an (engraved) ESV Journaling Study Bible. It is just beautiful, and the quote outside is uplifting. It says the title of a beautiful song by a man who suffered much – “It is Well.”

While I could not utilize it for the purposes I wanted because I felt the pages were too thin, I have found a use for it – Sermon Notes! It works nicely for that purpose using pens that write fairly small

#2. The Hebrew-Greek Keyword ESV Study Bible

The Hebrew-Greek Keyword ESV Study Bible is mostly used by scholars and those who really want to study the Bible in-depth. Much of the information found in these study Bibles can be obtained online using resources like the Blue Letter Bible.

However, don’t toss this idea aside before hearing about its other fine features. When studying a foreign language, you must keep in mind that they use different words for different things. We might have one word in English for something that they have 10 words for.

When a word has multiple meanings, I often cannot find the exact information for that verse or word online. Instead, I use my ESV Keyword Study Bible to help me locate which example corresponds with my verse.

In the back of the Bible, there are two dictionaries – one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament. The Old Testament was written in mostly Hebrew, while the New Testament was written in Greek. 

In these dictionaries, you can locate the verse you are looking up (much of the time, not all of the time) and determine which meaning was meant in your specific verse or word. 

Generally, the online resources work well for this and all that you need when doing a word study, but when searching for in-depth information, use this Bible!

Esv Study Bibles

#3. The NEW Inductive ESV Study Bible 

If you are currently enjoying the Inductive Bible study method, you should grab one of these Bibles. Each New Inductive ESV Study Bible has a thorough instruction book in the front of it and plenty of other timelines, color maps, and even a concordance.

Some of the items found in the beginning of the Bible include:

  • How to Use the New Inductive Study Bible – This walks you through the Inductive Bible Study Method and gives you an idea of how to mark the text (color-code it so that you can determine which words are keywords).
  • A Timetable of the Spiritual Life of Israel – This is an invaluable tool when trying to understand how the Bible is a historical story of the people of Israel.

Throughout the Bible and in the back of the Bible, you’ll see charts, maps, illustrations, tables, and other useful “Bible Study Helps.” 

Before I ever knew how to use the inductive method, I purchased one of these Bibles and just followed along with the instructions before a few of the books of the Bible that I knew well. It was more fun than a big old birthday party!

Yes, all 66 books of the Bible have introductions, a list of things to do as you study them, general instructions, things to think about, and an at-a-glance chart to complete. On these charts that are found at the end of each book, you’ll get a list of keywords to use.

Plus, there is room for you to complete the theme of the book, the author, the date, the purpose, and a few other things as you study the book and its chapter themes. It’s pretty fun!

If you don’t want the whole Bible and would prefer to have the at-a-glance charts alone, you can purchase Discover the Bible for Yourself. It has all of the at-a-glance charts for all books of the Bible.

Esv Study Bibles

#4. The ESV Study Bible

Crossway has an ESV Study Bible, which has all of the bells and whistles you could ever need in a study Bible. It is my favorite. Unfortunately, I have the student version with the personal size, so the font is really hard to read at my age! However, I’ve spent hours with this gem!

Colored maps, plenty of footnotes and study helps, an overview of the entire Bible, a walk through the history of salvation, information about the time between the two testaments, rulers, and timelines are just a few of the reasons to get lost in this study Bible for days!

If you are still not won over by this Bible, check out the back of the Bible. There are so many articles that I truly do not know where to start. It is pretty full of information, including answers to any question you’ve ever had about your faith.

Like most study Bibles, the ESV Study Bible has charts, diagrams, maps, a large concordance, and weights and measures. This one has quite a few supplements to the maps, including the Middle East Today, Jerusalem, The Apostles’ Early Ministry, and The Exodus from Egypt.

esv study bible

#5. The Digital ESV Study Bible 

There are several options for reading the ESV Study Bible free online or via your smartphone. The YouVersion Bible application mentioned above is probably my favorite smartphone application. However, when I’m on the computer, I typically use Bible Hub’s tools.

Unfortunately, these options are not quite the same as a study Bible. When I use YouVersion, it is usually so I can highlight or mark the text or in order to switch between Bible translations. YouVersion’s Bible application also has thousands of FREE Bible reading plans you can follow.

If you want more detailed notes, as what you get in the ESV Study Bible, consider some applications that are available online. The following list is just a drop in the ocean. There are many FREE Bible applications available for the public.

Bible Gateway

Bible Hub

Blue Letter Bible

The applications available for your smartphone are quite numerous as well. For this reason, I typically stick to the ones listed above. 

There is an Inductive Bible Study application that is similar to the Blue Letter Bible since it helps you look up words in the Bible in Greek or Hebrew and mark the text if you wish to do so.

The Inductive Bible Study application does not have all of the applications that you will find with the Blue Letter Bible, but it does walk you through the Inductive Bible Study Process and give you lots of Bible studies to do when waiting in line and playing with your phone!

They even have Bootcamp to help you learn the Inductive Bible Study Method! It was pretty enjoyable!

Esv Study Bibles

10 Unique Ways to Use the Bible

You do not need to purchase more than one Bible. However, some of us have inherited Bibles or purchased different ones to try out different translations or styles of Bibles. If you have multiple Bibles, here are a few examples of different ways you can use a Bible fruitfully.

#1. Create a Reading Bible.

A Reading Bible is what it sounds like – a Bible that you only read from. You might try highlighting or color-coding the Bible, but the chief purpose of this Bible is to read. Add a printable copy of the current Bible reading plan that you are following.

#2. Make a Prayer Bible.

With a Prayer Bible, you pick topics that you’d like to pray about. With each topic, you use a flag or tab to mark where in the Bible you have highlighted each verse. You might want to try doing only 3-5 different colors so that your Prayer Bible stays manageable.

#3. Turn Your Bible into a Topical Bible.

With a Prayer Bible, the purpose of the different topics is to pray over them. The Topical Bible is really the same idea, but you are just dividing the Bible into topics. Many Bibles have concordances in them, where you can pick different topics that you would like to study.

Esv Study Bibles

#5. Study with your ESV Study Bible.

Of course, doing a Bible study is high on the list of ways to use a Bible. You could just use the Bible during your Bible study time or take notes from your Bible study inside of your Bible (if there is room). You might want a journaling Bible for this, which has wide margins.

#6. Record your prayers (different from a Prayer Bible).

Many Christians write out their prayers rather than saying them aloud. Have you ever tried writing your prayers in your Bible? If you have a wide-margin Bible, you will likely have plenty of room to record your prayers and even list the answers you received from God.

#7. Journal your time with the Holy Spirit in your Bible.

One use of a Bible is almost like an “experience” Bible. You could list all of the moments when you KNEW God had taken over the situation because of the way the Holy Spirit appeared in your life. If you listen for God’s voice, He will speak to you. Why not record these experiences?

#8. Use your ESV Study Bible for sermon notes.

Using a Bible this way is pretty straightforward. You might not have room for every word of a sermon, but you likely can jot down the main points in a wide-margin Bible. If you decide to do this, record the date of the sermon or the date you are watching it for future reference.

Grab your FREE Sermon Notes Printable if you’d like to write them out in another way..

Esv Study Bibles

#9. Intertwine notes to make a Preaching/Teaching Bible.

If you have been called to be a preacher or teacher, you know that having an organized, easy-to-read Bible is critical for success. Consider making one of your Bibles relevant for your sermons and notes only. This will help you stay focused when at the podium.

Read more about your Spiritual Calling.

#10. Be artistic with your ESV Study Bible.

Many people love coloring or decorating their Bibles. Some Bibles come with black-and-white images that you can color in. Other Bibles have them already colored in for you! If you purchase a huge Bible with plenty of space in the margins, you can be as creative as you want.

Recommendation: The NLT Prayer Bible

Esv Study Bibles

Concluding Thoughts on ESV Study Bibles

Did you like the ideas on ways to use your ESV Study Bible? Do you use it for a purpose not listed? Have you picked out your next ESV study Bible already??

When picking out an ESV Study Bible, keep in mind the size of font you need, the margin size for taking notes, and whether you wish to have a hardback or leather version.

If you are building a Bible library, be sure to check out our article on the topic! We hope this article was informative and assisted you in your next purchase!

God bless you!!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.