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Review: ESV Prayer Bible

Crossway’s new ESV Prayer Bible (2019) is designed to be a simple devotional Bible that allows readers to join in the prayers of past saints who read the same text. Rather than being filled with study notes, this Bible includes an occasional prayer, written by Christians from the Church Fathers to the twentieth century.

The single-column, lay-flat design lends itself to an uninterrupted, devotional reading experience. The prayers are delineated in centered, sans serif font and are not overly distracting. Perhaps most useful in this edition is an author index, with illustrations and brief biographies of the prayer authors, along with the references and sources for their prayers. It appears that the desire to retrieve ancient spirituality is gaining popularity, as this follows Thomas Nelson’s Ancient-Modern Bible (2018) and similar books.

By itself, this is not an overly special Bible. It is a basic, cloth-bound Bible with the occasional prayer. But I can see how its use can allow readers to intimately engage with the text. It would make an excellent gift Bible or devotional accompaniment to silent the growing din of study Bibles. I recommend this on the bookshelves of believers—not because of its scholarly contribution, but because of its spiritual potential.

(A complimentary review copy was given in exchange for an honest review.)

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