I have lots of Bibles. Many of them are called "study" Bibles. Some of them are self-described as being for couples, teens, or kids. But none of them are designed for and capable to assist the reader in actual study like the new ESV Student Study Bible from Crossway. This is a Bible I would have loved owning and using back in my younger days as a student. But, quite honestly, even though Crossway is aiming it at the younger generations, this Bible can be a valuable resource for "students" of any age.
DESIGN - The overall design and color scheme of this Bible is really nice and is very appealing and easy on the eyes. Yes, there is color throughout, not just in the back where the maps are located. The use of color has been quite effective in distinguishing the different parts of the Bible, such as the character profiles, "Did You Know" facts, maps, illustrations, and commentary headings (more on the profiles and facts in a moment). In essence, the layout and design of this Bible invites the reader to keep reading.
CONTENT - I found myself comparing this new ESV Student Study Bible to my uber ESV Study Bible to see what the former was missing. But as much as the ESV Study Bible contains, even it doesn't have some of the resources of the Student version, such as the 120 character profiles and almost 900 "Did You Know" facts that can be found from Genesis to Revelation. The profiles and facts give some great additional insight into what the student is reading. These just may be my favorite new features of this Bible. The Student Study Bible does contain a lot from its much bigger brother, which is what makes it such a valuable resource for studying the Bible, such as the more than 80 full-color maps and illustrations that can be found throughout. The book introductions are concise yet detailed, and the visual timeline at the head of each introduction helps give the reader an idea of when the things in a particular book are taking place.
STUDY NOTES - The commentary of a study Bible is really what matters when it comes to whether or not that Bible is worth getting, and it is because of the notes in this new ESV edition that makes me like it so much. I have compared many of the study notes from this new Bible with the ones in the ESV Study Bible, and I found something quite interesting. It appears that a lot of time and effort has gone into not just paring down the notes in the ESV Study Bible to make them fit the new edition, but actually re-writing them for use in the new Student Study Bible. The study notes say the same thing and give the same commentary, but they are condensed. That a publisher would do something like that tells me they are not interested in just getting a new version of the Bible out to market for sale, but that they are genuinely concerned with producing a Bible that honors God's Word with resources that truly will benefit the reader. That impresses me.
CONCLUSION - The ESV Student Study from Crossway is a must-have for anyone who is or wants to be a serious student of the Word of God. Get this Bible. You won't be disappointed.