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It would be difficult to overstate my excitement about Crossway’s forthcoming ESV Gospel Transformation Bible (coming in September 2013). Bryan Chapell serves as the general editor, with Dane Ortlund as managing editor.

The video above allows some of the contributors to explain what they are seeking to accomplish in this unique resource. You can also download a sample and sign up for email updates about it.

I am unaware of anything quite like it.

Note the following from Bryan Chapell’s introduction:

Faithful application typically answers four questions:

  1. What to do?
  2. Where to do it?
  3. Why to do it? and
  4. How to do it?

Previous application-focused study Bibles have emphasized the first two of these questions.

The Gospel Transformation Bible, while not ignoring the first two questions, seeks to be a primary resource for the latter two. Contributors’ notes indicate how the unfolding gospel truths in any given passage of Scripture motivate and enable believers to honor their Savior from the heart—in short, how grace transforms them.

Our goal is to make plain the imperatives of God’s Word, while undermining the human reflex to base God’s affection on human performance. Contributors have therefore indicated how the indicatives of the gospel (i.e., the status and privileges believers have by virtue of God’s grace alone) provide motivation and power for God’s people to honor him from the heart.

You can find out more about the contributors and the editions here.

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16 thoughts on “The Gospel Transformation Bible: Christ in All of Scripture, Grace for All of Life”

  1. RP says:

    Why are there so many translations of the Bible in the first place? Apart from this new version, which one is better to start with? Any suggestions?

    1. BH says:

      This is not a new translation. This is a new study bible.

  2. Bob in IN says:

    So this sounds like the “Bible-that-includes-commentary-and-questions-that-lazy-seekers-need-to-ask;-questions-that-they-should-be-asking-but-are-too-lazy-to-do-on-their-own-and-want-only-one-place-to-go-for-their-questions-about-God” Bible. OK, probably really needed. I’ll check it out.

    1. Michael says:

      (IMHO) This is not a matter to be smug about, but to shed tears and pray. Yes People have lost their ability to read, except tweeets and paragraphs. They do need help to connect the dots. This is why we have churches full of people that “love the Lord!”, read their Bibles, and then go out to live life in disobedience to the clear commands of the Bible. They read it, but totally miss the implications for their lives. It also plays into the situation, that today’s preaching is softened to get the crowds in, to get the money in, to pay for the staff and the buildings. This is a very sad situation, and if a few people understand the Bible from this tool rejoice!

  3. ScotT says:

    Yet another title that makes absolutely no sense. Why not simply call it “The Transformation Bible”? Why do you have to use the word gospel in the title? The whole movement comes across as a marketing gimmick.

    1. Justin Taylor says:


      I disagree that the title makes no sense. I think it’s fairly clear, and I don’t think it’s a marketing trick.

      An adjective gives an attribute to a noun. It can describe what it is.

      There are different forms of transformation. One can strive for physical transformation, behavioral transformation, social transformation, financial transformation, etc. One adjective that could have been chosen would be “biblical.” Now “biblical” is not itself a . . . biblical term, but it’s understood to mean “according to the Bible.” Similarly, the adjective “gospel” means “according to the gospel.” Paul uses such a prepositional phrases in places like Romans 16:25 (“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel…”) If he had use the phrase “gospel-strengthening power” I don’t think it would be a gimmick or unintelligible. It indicates the source and orientation and goal of the power.


  4. Andrew Terry says:

    I for one am excited about this coming study bible. This will be a great devotional for me worked right into my bible reading. I pray it will keep my eyes focused on the gospel everyday. Even as a pastor I can loose focus on what is important. This is why I believe we see books like this, and books like The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson also from Crossway. As pastors we too need the gospel.

  5. John Reid says:

    I will never understand why Crossway publishes so many Black Letter versions of the ESV. Everyone I know prefers Red Letter, if for no other reason than “eye indexing” if you will. I can locate portions of scripture much more quickly when skimming because of the Red Letters. After a while one actually memorizes the indexing provided by the contrasting colors.

    I’ve heard the rationale for black letter so as to not overemphasize some text over other parts, but honestly, I think that’s just silly. The words of the Lord ARE more important than any others in the Gospels. No Red Letter, No sale.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      A lot of people complain about red-letter editions, finding them harder to read. Others have a theological problem with them. Crossway tries to offer both.

      I disagree theologically with the idea that the words of the Lord are more important than the other words. All of Scripture is God-breathed.



      1. John Reid says:

        JT and AT, I get what you’re saying, theologically and theoretically…. In my mind, Jesus words are salvific and eternal, the black letters of all others mostly facilitate the narrative. Both are needed and “God breathed” but there is no life change possible with non-Messianic black letters. The Word of the Lord lasts forever. To each his own, that’s why you have different formats. All the best!

    2. Andrew Terry says:

      The red letter bible phenomena is an American invention. Other Christians around the world prefer the black text only. I am all for having red letter additions of the Bible, I have a few, for exactly the same reasons you have minus one. The words in red are not more important then the words in black. God the Father’s words are less important? The words before and after “Thus saith the Lord…” are second tier to Christ’s words?

      Red letter addition does not make sense in a bible that is geared towards finding Christ in all the scriptures. It would be counter intuitive the purpose of this project.

  6. MikeCarrell says:

    It may interest you that the OT and NT are written in an invariable, teaching, literary form in the Greek language. I have found that the NRSV of the Bible captures the essence of that literary form better than all of the other English versions. I give a tutorial on the literary form at my blog with one example from the John gospel. Blessings on your Study Bible.

  7. Bob Sukkau says:

    I have been a Christian most of my life and have read the Bible during that time in many different translations, but have never owned an ESV version. Which would you suggest I get first, the ESV Study Bible or the Gospel Transformation Bible?

    1. Ted says:


      Thanks for your comment! I work for Crossway’s social media team so I thought I’d address your question. The two resources serve slightly different purposes.

      The ESV Study Bible has a broader scope in terms of the information it communicates, while the Transformation Bible seeks to show Christ in all of Scripture.

      That said, if I had to pick one, I’d pick the ESV Study Bible, it’s a great all around resource.

      I hope this is helpful!

      -Ted C.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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