The Holy Bible – ESV

English Standard Version

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Old Testament

1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Song of Solomon

New Testament

1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John

Explanation of Features Included in this Edition

Cross-Reference System

The ESV Digital Edition includes one of the most extensive and useful cross-reference systems available. The ESV cross-reference system is based on a comprehensive system developed more than a hundred years ago by a team of Bible scholars from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. As far as possible this system also included the cross-references used in the original King James Version of 1611. The resulting cross-reference system was first used in the English Revised Version (RV) and has been highly regarded around the world for its effectiveness in showing the internal interrelationship of the text throughout the Bible.

The cross-reference system as it appears in the ESV Digital Edition has been adapted as needed from the RV system for use with the ESV text. In some cases, therefore, the specific wording of the reference passage may differ, although the underlying meaning and relationship to the referenced text is normally the same.

Because the ESV is an essentially literal, word-for-word translation, the ESV is especially suited for cross-reference study of key words and concepts throughout the Bible.

Using the ESV Cross-Reference System

An alphabetical superscript, preceding a word or phrase, is used to indicate each word or phrase that is cross-referenced. Numerical superscripts, however, which follow words or phrases, refer to footnotes at the bottom of the page. See, for example, the word “psound1” in Titus 2:1, where the letter superscript “p” preceding the word refers to the cross-reference, while the number superscript “1” refers to the footnote at the bottom of the page.

Types of Cross-References

3zWhat if some were unfaithful? aDoes their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4By no means! bLet God be true though cevery one were a liar, as it is written,

d“That you may be justified in your words,
  and prevail when you eare judged.”

3zch. 10:16; Heb. 4:2 a[ch. 9:6; 2 Tim. 2:13]
4bSee John 8:26 cPs. 62:9; 116:11; [ver. 7] dCited from Ps. 51:4 (Gk.) e[Job 9:32]

The ESV cross-reference system includes several types of cross-references, some of which are illustrated here from Romans 3:3-4. These include:

  1. References to Specific Words or Phrases. References to words and phrases within the same chapter appear as, e.g., “ver. 7”; within the same book, as, e.g., “ch. 9:6”; in other books of the Bible, as, e.g., “Heb. 4:2.”
  2. Comparative References. These references direct the reader to passages with the same theme and are indicated by square brackets, e.g., “[ch. 9:6; 2 Tim. 2:13].” In this example the theme of God’s faithfulness as found in Romans 3:3 is cross-referenced with the same theme found later in Romans 9:6 and in 2 Timothy 2:13.
  3. References to Collections of References. These references direct the reader to verses that contain a collection of cross-references on a specific word, phrase, or theme. They are indicated by the word “See” when it is paired with a specific verse, e.g., “See John 8:26.” In this example the reader is directed to John 8:26, where a cross-reference on the phrase “he who sent me is true” lists other verses that contain a similar phrase.
  4. References to Longer Parallel Passages. These references point to longer passages that closely parallel the current passage. They indicate the length of both passages using the phrase “For . . . , see . . .” For example, a cross-reference at the beginning of the parable of the sower in Matthew states, “For ver. 1–15, see Mark 4:1–12; Luke 8:4–10.”
  5. Less Direct References. These references direct the reader to longer passages that share a similar theme or provide explanatory context. These are indicated by the word “See” when it is paired with a verse range. For example, a cross-reference on “turned their rivers to blood” in Psalm 78:44 says, “See Ex. 7:17–24,” pointing to the passage describing when God turned the waters of Egypt to blood.
  6. Quoted References. These references indicate both where a verse or phrase is quoted elsewhere in the Bible and, in the case of such a quotation, its original source, e.g., “Cited from Ps. 51:4.”

The notations “(Heb.)” and “(Gk.)” indicate that the reference is clearer in Hebrew or Greek than in English. “(Gk.)” in New Testament citations of the Old Testament indicates that the reference is most clear in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament.


Several kinds of footnotes related to the ESV text are provided throughout the ESV Bible to assist the reader. These footnotes appear at the bottom of the page and are indicated in the ESV text by a superscript number that follows the word or phrase to which the footnote applies (e.g., “Isaac2”). Superscript letters that precede a word (e.g., “cIsaac”) are used to indicate cross-references (see cross-reference explanation above).

The footnotes included in the ESV Bible are an integral part of the text and provide important information concerning the understanding and translation of the text. The footnotes fall mainly into four categories, as illustrated in the examples below.

Types of Footnotes

  1. Alternative Translations. Footnotes of this kind provide alternative translations for specific words or phrases when there is a strong possibility that such words or phrases could be translated in another way, such as: “Or keep awake” (see Matt. 26:38); and “Or down payment” (see Eph. 1:14). In such cases, the translation deemed to have the stronger support is in the text while other possible renderings are given in the note.
  2. Explanation of Greek and Hebrew Terms. Notes of this kind relate primarily to the meaning of specific Greek or Hebrew terms, as illustrated by the following examples:
    1. Notes about the meaning of names in the original languages, such as: “Isaac means he laughs” (see Gen. 17:19); and “Simeon sounds like the Hebrew for heard” (see Gen. 29:33).
    2. Notes that give the literal translation of a Greek or Hebrew word or phrase deemed too awkward to be used in the English text, such as: “Greek girding up the loins of your mind” (see 1 Pet. 1:13).
    3. Notes indicating that absolute certainty of the meaning of a word or phrase is not possible given our best understanding of the original language (e.g., Hebrew words occurring so infrequently in the Old Testament that their meaning cannot be determined with certainty). Such words are identified with a note stating that “The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain” (see, e.g., Josh. 17:11).
    4. Notes that indicate the specialized use of a Greek word, such as: “brothers,” translating the Greek word adelphoi (see, e.g., the extended note on Rom. 1:13, corresponding to the first occurrence of adelphoi in any New Testament book, and the abbreviated note, e.g., on Rom. 7:1, corresponding to subsequent occurrences of adelphoi in any New Testament book); and “sons,” translating the Greek word huioi (see, e.g., Rom. 8:14). See also the discussion of adelphoi and huioi in the preface.
  3. Other Explanatory Notes. Footnotes of this kind provide clarifying information as illustrated by the following examples:
    1. Notes clarifying additional meanings that may not otherwise be apparent in the text, such as: “Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13.”
    2. Notes clarifying important grammatical points that would not otherwise be apparent in English, such as: “In Hebrew you is plural in verses 1-5” (see Gen. 3:1).
    3. Notes clarifying when the referent for a pronoun has been supplied in the English text, such as: “Greek he” (see, e.g., Mark 1:43).
    4. Notes giving English equivalents for weights, measures, and monetary values.
  4. Technical Translation Notes. Footnotes of this kind indicate how decisions have been made in the translation of difficult Hebrew and Greek passages. Such notes occasionally include technical terms. For an explanation of these terms the reader is referred to standard Bible study reference works. See further the section in the preface on “Textual Basis” for an explanation of the original-language texts used in the translation of the ESV Bible and how the translation of difficult passages has been resolved.

Permission Notice

Crossway’s Standard Use Guidelines allow for the ESV text to be quoted in print, digital, and audio formats, up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of Crossway, provided that the verses quoted do not amount to more than one-half of any one book of the Bible or its equivalent measured in bytes, nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted.

Notice of copyright must appear as follows on the title page or copyright page of works quoting from the ESV, or in a corresponding location when the ESV is quoted in other media:

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated into any other language.
Users may not copy or download more than 500 verses of the ESV Bible or more than one- half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

When more than one translation is quoted in printed works or another media, the foregoing notice of copyright should begin as follows:

“Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from . . . [etc.]”; or,
“Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from . . . [etc.].”

The “ESV” and “English Standard Version” are registered trademarks of Good News Publishers. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Crossway.

When quotations from the ESV text are used in non-saleable print and digital media, such as church bulletins, orders of service, posters, transparencies, or similar media, a complete copyright notice is not required, but the initials (ESV) must appear at the end of the quotation.

Permission requests that exceed Crossway’s Standard Use Guidelines must be submitted to Crossway via

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

The ESV Bible and related resources are available for free access online and on mobile devices everywhere worldwide at

This publication contains the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. ESV Text Edition: 2016. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited.

The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

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