Over the years I have owned a number of devotional bibles. Some were focused on men’s issues, some on women’s issues, some on marriage, others were devoted to children, and still others addressed numerous matters of life and faith. The typical approach with a devotional style Bible is to insert a few short articles intended to share some pick me up style thoughts on whatever it is that particular devotional Bible is addressing. From my experience, the quality of devotional Bibles is a bit hit and miss with unfortunately the missing being more of the reality.
I am a bit picky when it comes to bibles. They can be very expensive and beyond that, I want to ensure that what is being promoted either in the overall approach or the specific articles, footnotes, and other study guides is in alignment with sound biblical teaching. I often shy away from devotional Bibles because as I noted earlier, I have found most of them to be lacking in quality content.
Recently, Crossway Books released the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible and I had the pleasure of taking a look at it. After spending some time reading the various devotional articles inserted throughout, I have to say I am very impressed with this devotional Bible.
For starters, the men who contributed the articles are individuals I highly respect. They are known for their perspicuity on men’s issues and their devotion to sound biblical teaching. I have confidence that when I am reading their thoughts for instance on issues such as marriage or parenting, what I am about to encounter will be faithful to the biblical text, applicable to daily life, and practical in its approach. They avoid happy go lucky thoughts intended on providing nothing more than a daily “buzz” and instead share thoughts in a devotional manner that truly will assist men in their walk with God.
Second, the articles stay true to the intended focus on this devotional bible, namely on helping men deal with and think about issues related to them. Not only are there specific articles that deal with issues men face on a daily basis, there are also some excellent discussion articles throughout dealing with textual matters. For instance, Colin Smith shares an article on dealing with discouragement that is rightly placed in the book of Nehemiah, specifically the section where Nehemiah encounters hecklers. The encouragement to stand firm, pray, and to press on with the work God has called you to do is relevant to the text and highly important in a world where men so often face discouragement.
Finally, unlike other recent Bible releases I have encountered of late, the overall size of the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible is not prohibitive from it being carried around and used on a daily basis. Some study Bibles and even a few devotional Bibles feel like they weigh a ton and thus many might shy away from purchasing them, either due to cost or sheer size. The ESV Men’s Devotional Bible can fit comfortably under your arm on your way to church or with a notebook as you sit and study Scripture on a daily basis.
I highly recommend this Bible for all men. The articles are timely, important for men to read and contemplate, and most significantly, they are biblically sound. If you are in the market for devotional Bible, I encourage you to give this one consideration. In fact, I would encourage churches to stock their bookstores with this bible. I know I will keep it quite handy as part of my daily Bible study.