The ESV Archaeology Study Bible (Crossway, 2017) is a great addition to any Christian’s library and especially to those who want to help non-Christians understand the mountain of evidence for the truth of Christianity.

[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]

First, let’s look at the translation. The ESV (English Standard Version) is held in high esteem among Bible scholars and students. If you have an ESV Bible, you know its value. Being able to have a version you enjoy plus the amazing study notes, images, maps and other content makes this a great purchase.  If you don’t have an ESV Bible, the Archaeology Study Bible would be a good place to begin.

I say that because of how important archaeology is and has been to supporting the credibility of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Speaking personally for a moment, archaeology played a key role in my journey from atheism to theism and Christianity. It will be a great source for you as you learn about the great evidence that has been found in various parts of the world as attested to in the pages of the Bible.

It will also give you a strong understanding of how to use the findings of archaeologists to share with non-Christians who doubt the credibility and historicity of the Old and New Testaments. The excellent notes on every page will help you see the reality of real life during Bible times.

Crossway did an excellent job with both the content and quality of the hardcover Bible. The introductions to each Bible Book shares the theme and authorship, contributions from archaeology, outline for understanding, and a map of the locations listed in the Book.

The pages of the Bible are also filled with photos of archaeological digs and finds,  along with great articles like –

  • Daily Life in Israel in Old Testament Times
  • The Hebrew Calendar
  • Old Testament Timeline
  • Judea-Palestine in the Time Between the Testaments
  • Intertestamental Events Timeline
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Roman Empire and the Greco-Roman World
  • Daily Life in Judea-Palestine in New Testament Times
  • New Testament Timeline
  • Doing Archaeology
  • Archaeology as an Academic Discipline
  • Expository Preaching and Archaeology
  • Archaeological Dating
  • Biblical Geography and Archaeology
  • A Short History of Archaeology in the Near East

I highly recommend the ESV Archaeology Study Bible to you and your friends. It is both a wonderful tool for your own study and one to help Christians have more confidence in their beliefs and non-Christians to see how the Bible’s history is rooted in reality and truth.

From the Publisher

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible roots the biblical text in its historical and cultural context, offering readers a framework for better understanding the people, places, and events recorded in Scripture. With editorial oversight from Dr. John Currid (PhD, University of Chicago) and Dr. David Chapman (PhD, University of Cambridge), as well as contributions from a team of field-trained archaeologists, the Archaeology Study Bible assembles a range of modern scholarship—pairing the biblical text with over 2,000 study notes, 400 full-color photographs, 200 maps and diagrams, 200 sidebars, 15 articles, and 4 timelines. These features bring life to the ancient texts, helping readers situate them in their historical context while recognizing the truth that the eternal God became flesh entered human history at a specific time and in a specific place.

  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • Cross references
  • Footnotes
  • 2,000+ study notes
  • 400+ full-color photographs
  • 200+ maps and diagrams
  • 200+ informational sidebars
  • 15 articles like “The Bible and History,” “Archaeology and Preaching,” Major Biblical Finds,” and “Daily Life in the New Testament Era”
  • 4 timelines
  • Book introductions
  • Presentation page
  • 4-color printing
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: L-Card

Editorial Reviews

“The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is a valuable combination of archaeology and text, sure to be a great help for understanding the archaeological, historical, and cultural background of the Bible. So much of this cultural background is lost to the modern reader, but the Archaeology Study Bible brings the text alive with its helpful articles, comments, and color photographs, all based on the most recent archaeological discoveries. I highly recommend this wonderfully illustrated Archaeology Study Bible that is paired with the ESV translation of the ancient texts of the Bible.”
David E. Graves, Assistant Professor, Rawling School of Divinity, Liberty University; author, Biblical Archaeology; The Location of Sodom; and Jesus Speaks to Seven of His Churches

“Crossway, together with the scholarly editorial team for the new and distinctive ESV Archaeology Study Bible, is to be commended and congratulated for producing this first-rate reference tool. The articles and notes, written by a skilled team of biblical interpreters and archaeologists, bring insightful illumination to the historical context and meaning of biblical passages, events, and themes. It is a privilege to recommend this important work, which will serve students, pastors, church leaders, and teachers well in the years to come.”
David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“The events and teachings of the Bible occurred in time and space, and a proper understanding of these helps give perspective to the text. Archaeology and cultural studies provide important controls to guide the reader to an appropriate contextual and exegetical study of Scripture. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible will help foster a deeper and richer appreciation of God’s revelation for humanity. The volume’s use of photographs in conjunction with Crossway’s outstanding collection of maps, which are supplemented with explanatory notes, helps facilitate one’s appreciation of the richness of God’s Word for antiquity as well as its implications for today.”
Dale W. Manor, Professor of Archaeology and Bible, Harding University; Field Director, Tel Beth-Shemesh Excavations; author, Digging Deeper into the Word and A Heart to Study and Teach

“The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is an excellent resource for archaeological and historical information on the biblical text. Basic data can be found in the margin of the particular passage itself, with nearby boxes containing additional material on the immediate or related subjects. The maps and graphics make the Bible attractive and user-friendly. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible will make an invaluable first stop for students of the Scriptures seeking information on biblical backgrounds.”
Paul Ray, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Old Testament Studies, Andrews University; author, Small Finds; coeditor, Critical Issues in Early Israelite History

“While the Bible is unchanging, our knowledge of the context of the Bible is ever-changing. The best new information that can be brought to the Bible is from archaeology, which, as a science of discovery, is constantly engaged in unearthing historical and cultural evidence from the world of the Bible. In the hands of skilled biblical interpreters, this knowledge can corroborate, clarify, and add local color to the biblical text. Crossway’s first-rate team of archaeologists and biblical scholars has produced a much-needed resource that will inform biblical students about the context of Scripture with a beautifully crafted format that is essential for communication in a visual age.”
Randall Price, Distinguished Research Professor, Liberty University; Codirector, Qumran Archaeological Project

“Everyone who wants to understand the Bible better will welcome the ESV Archaeology Study Bible. This marvelous resource will help readers visualize the people and places of the Bible and appreciate the importance of archaeology for a deeper and more accurate understanding of Scripture. All of us are indebted to editors John Currid and David Chapman.”
Craig A. Evans, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Baptist University

ESV Archaeology Study Bible (Crossway, 2017)

[We received an electronic review copy from Crossway]

And Jesus Said (Part Six) Faith & Self Defense

This episode is also available as a blog post:
  1. And Jesus Said (Part Six)
  2. Book Review: Christian Apologetics Second Edition
  3. Tough Questions From Christian Teens – What About Old Testament Sexual Laws? (Part Three)
  4. Revival – To Live Again (Part Two)
  5. And Jesus Said (Part Five)