I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands on a copy of Crossway’s new Story of Redemption Bible, and I have enjoyed it for what it is. First, allow me to say that I appreciate Crossway not calling this Bible a study Bible. It seems that study Bibles come out so frequently nowadays and the standard for what constitutes as a study Bible has dropped significantly in recent years. Compare study Bibles published in the last two to three years with study Bibles like The Reformation Study Bible or The John MacArthur Study Bible, and there is no contest. So, to see Crossway depart from using the language study Bible was encouraging and clear for me as I approached this new Bible edition and opened it up.
Upon opening it, I noticed the single columns and the wide margins right away. This Bible was built for reading. There is no eye fatigue, and there is plenty of space for me to jot down notes as I read or listen to sermons on particular passages of Scripture. The next thing I noticed was the helpful short notes written by Pastor Greg Gilbert of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. Gilbert writes to help readers see the redemptive narrative of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. His heart is to demonstrate that the Scripture is one cohesive story building toward the person and work of Christ Jesus. These notes aren’t everywhere. I believe there are around 900 or them. This may sound like a lot, but when you consider the scope of Scripture, it isn’t too much. Gilbert’s notes aren’t at the bottom of the pages like one’s I’m used to seeing, but placed in an obvious, but not intrusive way in the periscopes of Scripture.
As far as recommending this particular edition of the English Standard Version, I think it depends on what you’re looking for. This is not a study Bible, and Crossway does not market it as such. So, if you’re looking for a study Bible, go elsewhere. If you are looking for a sturdy (not study!) Bible with a nice sized font, single column and the ability to take notes- look no further. This is the Bible for you, and it’s reasonably priced. If you’re a new believer looking to see the grand narrative of Scripture, this edition of the Bible can help you tremendously. If you’ve been a believer for a while, but need to be reminded of the continuity between the Old and New Testaments, this can help you.
I plan to use this Bible with my children in our family worship setting, and I’ll read Gilbert’s notes as a commentary for them. The notes are very accessible and very helpful. Enjoy the Story of Redemption Bible.
Joey Tomlinson (DMin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a husband, father, and pastor at a local church in Newport News, Virginia. He blogs regularly on broadoakpiety.org and hosts a weekly podcast called The Broad Oak Piety Podcast with another local pastor in the community.