ESV Pastor’s Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2017. 1,360 pp. $39.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for much less.
It is no secret that I prefer the English Standard Translation of the Bible as evidenced by the number of reviews I have written on this particular translation. It is no secret that I am a study Bible junkie. This Bible, however, is not a study Bible per se.
A pastor depends on the wisdom of Scripture for all aspects of ministry. What truths can be relied upon in seasons of celebration and in those of sorrow? What does the Bible have to say to us about marriage, sickness, and death? The ESV Pastor’s Bible was designed to help pastors draw wisdom from God’s Word for specific situations requiring pastoral care, such as baptisms, weddings, hospital visits, or funerals. In the front matter, back matter, and throughout the text, the Pastor’s Bible contains articles written by pastors offering practical help for crafting a sermon, planning a special service, leading congregational prayer, conducting premarital counseling, visiting the sick, and resolving conflict within the church. Compiled under the guidance of seasoned pastors R. Kent Hughes and Douglas Sean O’Donnell, this substantial but portable edition is a great all-in-one resource for the on-the-ground pastor.
Obviously, this Bible is not going to be one every Christian will want to purchase for themselves as it is designed to be a resource for the pastor.
Unlike many Bibles today, there are a few pages in the front to keep record of marriages, births/adoptions, and deaths. The contents include the 2016 text edition of the ESV Bible in addition to a number of articles and guidelines for various services that a pastor may be asked to officiate.
One of the lead articles is from Kent Hughes, one of the two editors of this Bible along with Douglas Sean O’Donnel, about the disciplines of a godly pastor. This was adapted from his seminal work, 10 Disciplines of a Godly Man. This article is definitely worth the consideration of the man of God who has been called and set apart to shepherd the people of God.
Between the two testaments, the editors have included some 40 pages worth of outlines for various services like weddings and funerals as well as elements of the usual worship service like invocations, communion, benedictions, baptisms (both infant and believer’s), and benedictions.
All of the articles interspersed throughout the text of the Bible are drawn from previously written material from the likes of Charles Spurgon and John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson and J.C. Ryle. These all serve as excellent reminders and great resources of encouragement for the pastor.
If you are a pastor, especially, a young pastor, I would highly recommend you consider this particular Bible whether you use the ESV translation or not. If you know someone who will be ordained, this would make a perfect gift for his ordination. The Smyth-Sewn binding makes this a Bible that will stand the test of time.