Thursday, November 14, 2013

ESV Study Bible Web App Available for Free (2013 November)
Click on graphic above to get the app

As part of their 75th anniversary as a Bible resource publisher, Crossway is making The ESV Study Bible available for free as a web resource through November 2013. (It is unclear to me whether it is free just for November of if you can obtain it for free and continue to use it.)
The ESV Study Bible Web App includes the study notes, maps, charts, illustrations, and theological articles found in the print edition—all integrated into’s easy-to-use interface.
Though I have reservations about the ESV as a translation (particularly its decisions about inclusive language), it is basically a literal translation in the tradition of the KJV, ASV, and RSV. Since its initial publication in 2001, the ESV text has been largely given away for free, a decision that made it very popular on the web. With the publication of The ESV Study Bible, Crossway demonstrated how giving away the text could create a viable market for selling the Study Bible.

While I also have reservations about The ESV Study Bible, there is much to commend. (Click on that link for more info.) It forthrightly claims that it was "created by an outstanding team of 95 evangelical Christian scholars and teachers." One should not be surprised, then, that it leans toward 'conservative' readings and positions regarding authorship, dates, and harmonizations. On the other hand, it provides a nuanced introduction to Genesis and the creation story. It provides evidence for both the early and late date of the Exodus. It recognizes the difficulties of reading the Gospels in order to set the specific year of Jesus' crucifixion. More significantly, in addition to the information and background it provides in its running commentary, it is quite remarkable for its illustrations, maps, diagrams, and charts. These are really fantastic, and they are why I am commending this study Bible to my students.

As for the web app, it should be noted that it really is not an "app" but a well organized and linked web site. Here's how it looks:
Easy navigation via the top left icons. Biblical text is in the left column, and each page is a biblical chapter. Footnotes in the text appear in hover-over popups or links at the bottom of the page. In the screenshot above, you can also see that I have turned on the GreekTools Preview providing basic lexical information and gloss for words in the Greek NT. (There is a GreekTools module that provides more resources in connection with the NA27 Greek NT.) The resources of the study Bible are provided in the right column with linked materials opening in new windows.

There is not a mobile app, but since this is all web based, it is possible to use it on a mobile device's web browser. Here's what it looks like on my Galaxy Note 2.
The GreekTools Preview even kind of works but with font limitations. The study Bible resources must be opened in a separate window.

BOTTOM LINE: The ESV Study Bible web app is a fine resource that is surely worth getting for free! Thank you to Crossway for making it available. Click on the graphic at the top of this post or HERE to get it free through November 2013.

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