Why the ESV Student Study Bible for Our High Schoolers?

The short answer? It’s the best “teen” study Bible at our price point.

For the not-so-short answer, i’ll break it down into 3 sections.


The ESV (English Standard Version) “is an ‘essentially literal’ translation of the Bible in contemporary English. Created by a team of more than 100 leading evangelical scholars and pastors, the ESV Bible emphasizes ‘word-for-word’ accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning.”1

Crossway, the publisher of the ESV Bible, uses the phrase, “…to be transparent to the original text…” as a way of describing their translation philosophy for the ESV. What this means is that every effort was made to provide a translation for the reader to see the structure and meaning of the original text. The emphasis is on translating word-for-word whenever possible without compromising its readability.

No translation is perfect, but the ESV is a pretty good translation to use for both devotions and study. i have come to appreciate the ESV both in my personal times of devotion/study and also as my go-to translation to teach from.


The biblical text of the ESV Student Study Bible is the same as the text for all the other ESV Bibles. It’s the same translation for students as it is for adults.

Does this mean that our high schoolers won’t understand the text of the ESV?

Not necessarily.

Crossway provides a tool to gauge the readable of the ESV. Generally, the ESV reads at an eighth-grade level. To be sure, not all of the 66 books in the Bible read at this level. Some are higher (Ephesians reads at grade 11.7) while others lower (Nahum reads at 3.8).  But overall, Crossway markets the ESV as reading at an eighth-grade level. (Christian Book Distributors and Bible Gateway have the ESV at a tenth-grade level.)

In addition to its level of readability, the study notes and some other features (see below) are tailored more to the ears and minds of high school students.

Also to be appreciated is the clean layout. There are no distractions on the page stealing the attention of the reader. The star of the book is the biblical text.

Study Bible

The ESV Student Study Bible is an adaptation of the ESV Study Bible. The latter was the winner of the 2008 ECPA Book of the Year Award and the former followed suit by winning the same award for Bibles in 2012.

Impressive resume, but more important are the Bible study tools it comes with. Many teen Bibles do not come with all the bells and whistles of a study Bible. The ESV Student Study Bible does. Here’s a list of the features:

  • 12,000 study notes
  • Intro’s and timelines for each book of the Bible
  • 80+ maps/illustrations
  • 15 topical articles
  • 800+ “Did You Know” facts
  • 120 Bible character profiles
  • 80,000 cross-references
  • Concordance

The hope is to provide our students with an easy-to-use resource, equip them to use it, and to have them practice using it in our various youth Bible study times and also in their own personal Bible reading/study times.

May they delight and walk in the word of the Lord, forever and ever.


  1. About the ESV, https://www.esv.org/translation/.