I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a new Bible, there are definitely some thoughts and emotions that go through my mind. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible was no exception, and it did not disappoint!
First thoughts? “Wow. This is quite a tool!” It’s got some features that I’ll get to in a moment that really help the Archaeology Study Bible feel solid. It feels weighty in my hands, but not heavy.
The two textures on the hardcover feel unique and assembled well. Opening the cover, I can see that it is well made, equally if not better than other hard cover Bibles. The glue holding the cover page to the inside cover is cleanly and thoroughly applied, and without any peeling or over-gluing.
Opening to the title or presentation page, I need to apply a little pressure to keep open to that page, but thanks to the superior binding, it takes very little effort to open the Archaeology Study Bible flat to even the earliest of pages. When I open just a few pages further to the Contents or the Contributors page, the Smyth-sewn binding becomes more apparent as the book lies open and quite nearly flat without any effort on my part.
Needless to say, when you open to Genesis chapter 1, you can open the ESV Archaeology Study Bible flat and get busy checking out some of the most amazing content you’ll find in any study Bible.
The Amazing Features
The first thing that you should take note of is the fact that this is an Archaeology Study Bible with content that is written by contributors who are actually archaeologists, unlike some of the other archaeology themed Bibles available today.
Every one of the 15 contributors have extensive academic and on-site field experience among numerous archaeological excavation sites.
The result is a study Bible that is dependable, accurate, and credible while still remaining approachable and understandable.
Each book introduction as well as the study notes have a focus on a Biblical archaeology theme, as should be expected. The full color maps and photos bring more light and understanding to the theme of archaeology, and the articles and sidebars are another area where the ESV Archaeology Study Bible really shines.
More Features of the
- More than 2,000 study notes
- 200+ maps and diagrams
- 200+ informational sidebars
- 400+ full-color photos
- Ancient text chart
- 4 timelines
- 15 extensive articles
- Book introductions
- Trim size 9.5″ x 6.5″
- Smyth-sewn binding
Readability of the Archaeology Study Bible
The pages of this Bible are crisp, white, and remarkably opaque. They feel good in the hands while turning pages, and the thin coating is helpful to avoid pages sticking together. The page layout is 2 column and the text is 9 point font. The text is black letter, including the words of Christ.
Just below the text are references, with the study notes just below that, separated with a horizontal line and written in an 8 point font.
Maps and photos in this Bible are brilliant and in my opinion, quite beautiful. They are easily readable and understood, adding tremendous value to the context of the Scripture.
The margins are standard width without room for writing, though I found the spacing within the text plus the white space in the margins to contribute greatly to the readability of the ESV Archaeology Study Bible.
Studying With the ESV Archaeology Study Bible
The real treat with this Bible is actually studying with it.
One of the first things I did was turn to a favorite passage. (I chose Habakkuk 3:17-19 in case you really want to know). Using a black and a yellow Pigma Micron pen, size 05, (affiliate link) I highlighted the text with both colors. That’s the actual page from my Bible below, and you can open that in a new window by clicking on it to see that beautiful paper.
Turning back a page, I was excited to see no bleed thru from the yellow, and very, very minimal to virtually unnoticeable from the black.
The articles and information sidebars are actually quite useful and not simple snippets here and there. They’re well written and in-depth pieces that are useful for learning and are more than meaty enough to be used for teaching and sermon prep.
In fact, the ESV Archaeology Study Bible would have been an immensely welcome tool when I was studying for my Masters degree, not to mention how useful it would have been when I wrote a Bachelor’s thesis on The Dead Sea Scrolls as Archaeological Evidence for the Authenticity of Scripture!
That is to say, this Bible is appropriate for anyone with an interest in understanding how archaeology and ancient cultures relate to Scripture. It’s also perfect for those in Seminary, and for anyone in any teaching capacity in the church, including pastors preparing sermons every week. I admit, I wouldn’t likely preach from this Bible, but will most definitely use it in study and for teaching in classroom situations, and for sermon preparation.
My Recommendation of the ESV Archaeology Study Bible
This is a very well thought out Bible. Throughout it’s pages and features, it stays true to the subject of Biblical archaeology. I would like to have seen wider margins, or more writing and note taking space on the pages, but that’s just my own preference. There isn’t anything else at all that I would take away from or add to this Bible.
The ESV Archaeology Study Bible comes with my deepest recommendations for anyone and everyone who has even the slightest interest in Biblical archaeology.