ESVBible.org is a pretty cool website owned by the publisher Crossway. I had never heard of ESVBible.org until this past weekend, when I had the opportunity to work the Crossway booth at a professional meeting. I am not a rep for Crossway or anything, but I was given 2 books for working the booth. One of the books I chose was the UBS Greek New Testament (Reader’s edition), but I’ll talk more about that later, for students and teachers.

Useability:

ESVBible.org should be useful for minsters, ministry students, and Joe Christian who wants to learn more about the Bible. It has a pretty standard look to it. I say its standard because it looks a little like Bibleworks and Accordance on the surface. The difference of course is that this is a browser based tool, and does not reside on your computer. I consider that an advantage, as you can access it from any device theoretically. I tried it on an iDevice and an Android phone, and while it worked, it was pretty tough to see. ESVBible.org was a bit better on a larger screen tablet, like the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Features:

The program features the NA27 Greek text, in interlinear format with the English ESV translation (or not). It offers free trials of most features (the Greek text is one of those free trials). But, you have to pay for them after 30 days. You can access the Student Study Bible, which contains helpful maps and charts, with a good cross reference selection. You can also make use of the Literary Study Bible, with its concise introductions to each book.

Especially helpful for Joe Christian is the Literary Study Bible Notes tab, which gives brief interpretive comments on each section of the text.  It is a bit confusing that the LSB and the SSB notes are available separately, but I suppose that is because they are different products. The SSB notes are arranged verse by verse with 2 or 3 lines of explanation, while the LSB notes are arranged by the literary section and give a paragraph or more of interpretive comment. It seems that the SSB is aimed more at newer Christians and the LSB is aimed more at Christians who are trying to gain a deeper and broader view of the whole Bible.

Clicking on the “Devotions” tab will give the user access to a pretty standard selection of read through the Bible plans. Another pretty standard feature is the ability to make your own notes on each text, and save them for later.

Problems:

It seems this site was very recently launched and it shows. It is a bit laggy at times, but no more than a 3yr old PC would be with a desktop application. There are also broken links on the page – you are unable to actually purchase the content, and can only choose 30 day trial as of now. Because of this I am unaware of the pricing options for each feature. No Hebrew text or support.

Conclusion:

Use it! I’ll have to re-evaluate when the pricing is released, but as a free tool it is perfect for Joe Christian, or a student preparing for Seminary, and a Bible Study teacher. Pastors will want their favorite commentaries and Greek Lexiconsso they will likely not use this site too much.

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