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ESV Gospel Transformation Bible

af ESV Bibles by Crossway

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Produced out of the conviction that the Bible is a unified message of God's grace culminating in Jesus, the Gospel Transformation Bible is a significant new tool to help readers see Christ in all of Scripture, and grace for all of life.
  1. 20
    Holy Bible - Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) af Wartburg Project (lhungsbe)
    lhungsbe: My go-to version of the Bible. No additions or deletions. Easy to read.

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The Gospel Transformation Bible is not a Study Bible, at least in the traditional sense. A team of scholars and pastors have joined together under Bryan Chappell’s and Dane Ortlund’s editorial direction to answer two questions: (1) How is the gospel evident in all of scripture? and (2) How does the gospel of grace bring about our transformation? Each of the books of the Bible have a brief introduction which describes authorship and date and how the gospel is illuminated (how it fits into the larger story of salvation). The notes on the bottom of each page, continue this dual focus on God’s larger plan of redemption and implications for our life. Sometimes the notes are as detailed (particular books have more expansive and detailed notes). Some passages are passed over without comment (i.e. certain narratives in the Old Testament historical books do not carry much comments). The reason for this is that the notes are focused and so do not attempt to untangle every difficulty in the text (like a Study Bible would).

What is the gospel that contributors describe? It is focused on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as God’s plan of redpemption for humanity. But Jesus did not come in a vacuum. The Bible tells the story of God’s relationship to his people and the First Testament anticipates Christ’s coming. Thus the contributors to this volume, read the Bible Christologically (yet sensitively).

Some great scholars and interpreters have contributed to this Bible. Among them are Michael Horton (Joshua), V. Philips Long (1-2 Samuel), Bruce Ware (Psalms), Graeme Goldsworthy (Jeremiah, Lamentations), Bryan Chapell (Daniel), Frank Thielman (Matthew), R. Kent Huges (1-2 Timothy) and more. Because some of the scholars are more scholarly and others more pastoral, there is a lack of consistency from book to book. Each of these individual interpreters give their particular spin on the gospel implications of a passage or book, though they share a broad agreement on the gospel.

Scot Mcknight argued in The King Jesus Gospel (Zondervan 2011) that certain evangelicals have reduced the gospel to the message of personal salvation, rather than describing how Jesus fulfills the hopes of Israel. In general I would say that most of the interpreters in this volume are not guilty of McKnight’s charge. They have attended to the wider biblical story and not just the ‘order of salvation.’ However there are occasional lapses. For example, Daniel Doriani’s notes on James reduce the book’s gospel value to illustrating our inability to enact ‘true religion,’ driving us back to the grace of Christ. I would say that James carries social implications (care of widows and orphans) which make the gospel manifest. The gospel in James should not be reduced to the level of personal sin (only). But this is one example. At other points, I think the notes are brilliant and illuminating.

Another feature I appreciate about this Bible, is the use it makes of the ESV cross-reference system. Following these cross references sheds light on particular themes and I find that helpful. Purchasing the Bible in print gives you access to the Bible online (it is easier to access cross-references if you don’t have to flip through pages for every verse). This makes this a very practical choice for personal study.

In general I am pretty happy with the quality of this Bible. The notes are not always perfect (some interpreters are more perfect than others), but the inspiration of the Bible does not extend to marginal notes. I appreciate how well executed the final product is. And I absolutely loved finding Phil Long’s contribution (on Samuel). Long was my professor for two classes of Exegesis at Regent College (neither of which focused on Samuel, but because it is an area of some expertise I heard plenty of Samuel examples). From Phil I learned to read Old Testament narrative sensitive to its narrative craft, its historical value and theological import. I like having some of his practical insights in print form.

I give this Bible 4 stars and would recommend it for personal study. I am not a huge fan of ‘study Bibles,’ but the unique features and perspectives of this Bible make it a valuable contribution.

Thank you to Crossway for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
About a month ago I received a copy of the Gospel Transformation Bible from Crossway. This new study Bible, edited by Bryan Chappell (General Editor) and Dane Ortlund (Managing Editor), contains hundreds of notes appended to the biblical text, each seeking to help readers see the central message of Scripture: the grace of God manifested in Jesus Christ. As I used this Bible everyday for a month, I asked myself two questions:
- What purpose would this Bible serve in the church?
- How helpful are the notes to the reader?
In the rest of the review I hope to provide my perspective on the Gospel Transformation Bible through the lens of these two questions.


The Gospel Transformation Bible is unlike any other study Bible I have used before. Others--like the ESV Study Bible and the Ryrie Study Bible--provide notes to explain each verse in-depth. These type of study Bibles can almost become commentary-like, helping explain the cultural or biblical background for the reader.

The Gospel Transformation Bible, on the other hand, does not try to explain each and every verse. Instead, the purpose of this study Bible is to show readers how God's redemption plan--culminating in the cross of Jesus Christ--can be found in every passage. This purpose is best expressed in the tagline for this Bible, found printed on the hardcover versions: "Christ in all the Bible. Grace for all of life."

Each of the 12,000 notes (written by over 50 different pastors & scholars) seeks to show how a passage fits in God's redemption plan. This is immensely helpful for new believers--especially those without a church background--as it shows the reason for reading the Old Testament and some of the hard-to-read, harder-to-understand passages. In other words, the notes in this study Bible are trying to explain what each passage means for followers of Christ today.


The layout of this Bible is one of the underrated features of this Bible. The ESV text is in two columns, with the notes and cross-references appearing below the text. This is a big advantage for me; while I love cross-references, I can get easily distracted by them when they are situated between the columns of biblical text. These cross-references, however, are situated out of the way enough so as not to clutter the biblical text, but close enough to not be inaccessible. This format can be seen better in this sampler PDF.

A remarkable feature of this Bible is the Topical Index. Found in the back of the book (in front of the Concordance), the Topical Index is a list of relevant topics covered in the notes. At 30 pages long, this is a sweeping list covering all the major--and minor--characters, themes, and images in the Bible. I could see this index being a great introduction to biblical theology, helping readers see the unity of the Bible along certain subjects.

I received the black hardcover edition to review. This cover is perfect for studying while at the desk or at a table. However, I am not used to a hardcover Bible, so it felt awkward using it in the sanctuary during the worship service. Again, this is my personal preference, but if you are like me, there are several Tru-Tone and leather options available.


After spending one month with the Gospel Transformation Bible, I am impressed by it. All the notes--focusing on God, his redemption plan, and the Gospel--are helpful in devotional reading. At times the notes read more like sermonettes, making me say to myself "That will preach!"

The folks at Crossway have produced a very nice study Bible, perfect for new believers or those looking to supplement their devotional reading. I will likely use this Bible in that manner: as the first thing I grab to read in the morning. This will also become the go-to study Bible I give away to those students and adults I am discipling. I would encourage pastors and church leaders who are already using the ESV Bible to purchase a case of these Bibles for giving out to new believers.

I received a complementary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  njvroom | Dec 6, 2013 |
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Produced out of the conviction that the Bible is a unified message of God's grace culminating in Jesus, the Gospel Transformation Bible is a significant new tool to help readers see Christ in all of Scripture, and grace for all of life.

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