Thinking Out Loud

December 12, 2010

The Real Reason for the ESV Bible Atlas

Let’s be honest for a moment…

The ESV Bible Atlas is not a book product, but an advertisement for a book product.   It exists not because we needed another Bible atlas in the market, but rather, to try to legitimize the ESV Bible by saying, “Look, there’s reference product that exists to support this particular translation.”

If they haven’t appeared already, you can also expect the following:  ESV Bible Dictionary, ESV Bible Commentary, ESV Bible Studies, ESV Bible Devotions… etc., etc.   This is the common path Bible publishers take.

And so, ESV devotees will buy the atlas, and the dictionary, and the commentary, and the small group studies, and the devotional book. Maybe they’re expected to. Maybe they feel they should.

I’m sure the ESV Bible Atlas has some nice features, and no doubt arose partly because of all the leftovers on the cutting room floor after the ESV Study Bible went to print.

I’m just a bit of skeptic when it comes to denominationally biased and doctrinally biased publishers feeling that — in addition to everything else — they also needed to create their own atlas.

If any group is ripe for a translation-exclusivity movement, such as ESV-only, I’d say it’s these guys.


  1. I really enjoy the ESV, find it clear and holding to a good English translation. I’m not going to trash it, just read it (and others) and believe God. English is just one of many languages, so plz try to keep the perspective on original meaning and active faith. If you have examples of words being mistranslated in context I would share them (in love) and seek to grow in your own knowledge while you are at it. Nice atlas too.
    Pastor Steve

    Comment by Steve — September 14, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    • There’s nothing wrong with what you’re saying here, Steve, except that I think you missed the finer nuances of this post. They felt it necessary to bring out the ESV Atlas. I mean really, why an atlas? What was wrong with all the other Bible atlases? Why pour time, trouble and scarce resources into re-inventing the wheel?

      Unless there’s some hidden agenda. Which there was. This product exists only to legitimize the ESV itself, and give people of a certain denominational perspective their own set of reference materials.

      Why not “The Catholic Bible Atlas” or the “Charismatic Bible Atlas” or any equally un-necessary product?

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — September 14, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

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