A few years ago, I wrote a post about the different translations of the Bible. In the process of reviewing many books over the past few years, I considered different translations and the importance of what Bible I choose to read. I had read the NIV translation for years. Then, the ESV was published. The church we attended at the time switched over to the ESV.
When it was time to choose a Bible for my children, I was puzzled. I ended up choosing a NIrV Discoverer's Bible for my oldest daughter's first Bible when she was seven. Then, she grew into the Grow! Bible ESV translation. A year or two later, that Bible became my younger daughter's Bible and my older daughter acquired the ESV Seek and Find Bible. Both girls have enjoyed both. And for their needs and ages, these have been great Bibles. They're both the ESV translation that we read in church so they can follow along easily. But, both have notes and added information around the text that my children have enjoyed reading.
I have been reading the Reformation Study Bible ESV for several years. A lot of people I know read this edition. I have enjoyed it. There are cross references and notes below the text. This is the same edition that most of my friends who use the ESV have. But, I think that there is a new one I would recommend if you're thinking of getting a new Bible. It is the Gospel Transformation Bible, a new Bible being published by Crossway.
This Bible includes a commentary like others and cross references, but it is very different too. The goal of the contributors and editors of this Bible was to show Christ in all of scripture. The editors put the overarching goal well on the first page, "1) to enable readers to understand that the whole Bible is a unified message of the gospel of God's grace culminating in Christ Jesus, and 2) to help believers apply this good news to their everyday lives in a heart-transforming way." There's a wonderful introduction in the front of the Bible that goes on in more detail about the focus of the notes in the Bible and the thread--Christ. A different contributor wrote study notes for each of the books. The notes are different than ones I've read in other Bibles. The notes in this Bible connect together. I like that a lot! Interestingly, the notes are not all written by men. Four women did contribute notes for the Bible. I am glad for this.
If I had a friend whose faith was new and they were new to reading the Bible, this is a Bible I would give to them. It is a wonderful guide. The Word is easy to read because the notes and references are below the text not beside it. There is an easy to read introduction before each book as most Bibles have. The comments help explain the verses. The notes in this Bible remind me of Warren Wiersbe's Bible commentary--of his easy to understand and relateable style of writing. I read several of the passages that have caused me concern over the years but I had no issues with the commentary for these passages. You're probably wondering what passages I mean. One of them is the passage in the Ephesians 5:22-27 about wives submitting to their husbands and husbands loving their wives. The comment in this edition was very well put and addressed the whole passage.
On CBD, you can preview the text from Genesis and Mark and get a sample of the notes and how the text looks. On Amazon, you can preview the introduction, but the preview helped me to know I would never recommend the Kindle edition of this Bible! The notes are not with the text on the Kindle edition as they are in the hardcover print edition.
If you're looking for an ESV hardcover Bible with notes for yourself, I would definitely recommend this edition. And if you are looking for a gift for another, I'd definitely recommend taking a look at this one. I like it and plan on using it for my personal Bible study. I know that sounds very simple and straight to the point, but this isn't a fluffy scholarly review of a Bible translation. This is just me saying that I like this Bible. It's easy to read, the print is clear, and the notes are helpful. And that sums it up.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this Bible for review from Crossway.