Devotional books are a popular resource among women who desire to draw nearer to the Lord on a daily basis, but often these books are lacking in theological content, focusing more on the emotional aspects of women's faith. What can result is a daily reading that leaves you feeling really good about life, but has ultimately done little to enlarge your view of God, his redemptive plan for humanity, and where you fit into that plan.
But what if you could combine the emotional and helpful resource of a devotional with the very Word of God? And what if you could focus the devotional content on theologically rich topics that gave you a greater vision for God's glorious gospel as it has been revealed throughout scripture? And what if this resource pulled on some of the most respected and faithful authors available to make it all possible? Well then, you would have the new ESV Women's Devotional Bible.
When I received this new Bible from Crossway I was delighted to see the amount of resources it offers to women who are looking to deepen their understanding of God and his Word. Let me run through a few of them with you.
This Bible is not a study Bible, which means it doesn't contain a running commentary explaining the meaning of each verse. However, each book does begin with a helpful introduction containing key facts to help you understand its unique context and purpose.
There are 365 devotions spread throughout this Bible's pages with at least one in every book. They do not focus on particular topics or themes, but rather on the biblical passages they accompany. If seeking to read the entire Bible in a year, you could read these devotions along with your daily reading assignment, providing a helpful means of application and further meditation. For those who are limited on Bible reading time, simply reading the section of scripture the day's devotion relates to and then the devotion would provide a marvelous overview of the entire story of the Bible! No book would be untouched and the focus of God's redemptive plan throughout history would become all the more clear in your mind.
Also spread throughout the ESV Women's Devotional Bible are small descriptions of important men and women God has used throughout history to bring his redemptive plan to fruition. It is especially encouraging to see a large amount of women from the history of our faith focused on in this way.
Theological and Practical Articles
An unexpected and incredibly valuable resource in the ESV Women's Devotional Bible, is the Articles and Resources section in the back. It contains 16 articles from trusted authors on topics such as a woman's identity in Christ, caring for children with disabilities, missional living, and emotional health. Women in all stages and stations of life will find these resources helpful. Also in this section is an extensive dictionary of key terms used throughout the devotions and articles in this Bible.
My Thoughts on this Bible
This devotional Bible is beautifully done. Aesthetically, it is lovely and feminine while not being overly "girly." The devotions and articles are very well done. Authors such as Kathleen B. Nielson, Lydia Brownback, Nancy Guthrie, Jen Wilkin, Gloria Furman, Luma Simms make for delightful and informative reading. Their exegesis is trustworthy and their gospel focus is paramount. I would feel confident giving this devotional to a friend knowing that it would draw them deeper into the Word while keeping their focus on Christ. If I had one critique, it would be that the pages are rather thin, causing the lovely embellishments and text on each page to be visible on the reverse side. This can be rather distracting for the reader.
This Bible would make an excellent Christmas gift for any woman in your life. Pairing it with Jen Wilkin's Women of the Word would be an added bonus!
You can purchase the ESV Women's Devotional Bible here.