After a midnight escape from hostile Jews in Thessalonica, Paul and Silas arrived in Berea and encountered a synagogue of Jews who were more receptive to their message that Jesus is the Christ. This is where we find the well-known verse, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). This verse (and Col. 4:16) provides the inspiration for the brand new Berean Standard Bible (BSB).

What is the Berean Standard Bible?

The Berean Standard Bible (also known as the Berean Study Bible) is a “modern English translation, effective for public reading, memorization, and evangelism.” The translation philosophy for the Bible is more “dynamic” and finds itself closer to a word-for-word translation than a thought-for-thought translation. The result is an accessible, understandable, and memorable translation of the Bible.

The challenges of translation are widely recognized, but the approach the advisory committee for the translation took was unique. Instead of keeping the translation process “in-house,” they opened their translation tables up to the public for comment, input, and feedback. The Berean Standard Bible is the product of collaboration between laymen in the church, academic scholars, and hundreds of believers in-between. The committee continues to model this approach by sharing all its resources with the public online.

What are some of the features of the Berean Standard Bible?

Paragraph Headings

One of the features of the Berean Standard Bible is the uniqueness of the paragraph headings. Most paragraph headings in the different translations of the Bible are placed in similar places and sound pretty much the same. However, the paragraph headings in the Berean Standard Bible are refreshingly different and assist the reader in seeing familiar passages in a new light. For instance, instead of just labeling John 17 as the high priestly prayer, the Berean Standard Bible breaks it down in three sections. Here’s how it looks in the Olive Tree app:

Jesus’ prayer for himself, his disciples, and all those who would believe in him through their message is clearly highlighted by the headings. If you’re reading or studying the Bible, these headings can help increase your understanding of the Bible’s message.

Cross References

There are two ways the Berean Standard Bible utilizes cross-references for the benefit of the readers. First, topical cross-references are included in the paragraph headings as parallel passages. This feature includes references to the New Testament from the Old Testament, to the Old Testament from the New Testament, and within both testaments respectively. For example, Paul’s warning to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 10:1-13) includes references to the first generation of Israelites rescued out of Egypt in Numbers 16:41-50; 25:1-5. Check out how this looks in the app.

The reader is informed of the passages Paul is alluding to in his warning to the Corinthians. Isaiah’s message in chapter 59 includes references back to the Psalms and forward to Paul’s description of mankind’s sinfulness in Romans 3:9-20 (notice, too, the capitalized pronouns when God is the referent):

Second, the cross-references located in the footnotes indicate where Scripture is quoting Scripture. For instance, the footnotes for Isaiah 59, accessed in the pop-up window by clicking on the asterisk, show several references in the NT where these verses are cited.

By restricting the use of cross-references only to where Scripture cites Scripture, the reader is not bogged down by referencing similar words, allusions, or themes that show up elsewhere. The cross-references help the reader stay in the flow of the text. They also help the reader see how the parts of the Bible relate to the whole. No matter where you find yourself in the text, by looking back or looking forward, you can see how the Scriptures fit together into one cohesive plan of salvation.


In addition to these refreshing features, the Berean Standard Bible includes some helpful and enlightening footnotes on the original languages. Twelve textual sources from the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic languages are referenced when differences in readings exist. For instance, look at the footnote in the pop-up window for the so-called “Johannine Comma” (1 John 5:7-8a).

At 5:7, it says, “TR and GOC three that testify in heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that testify on earth:” The footnote tells you there is not only an alternative reading, but the manuscripts in which the variant reading shows up. In this case, the note refers to both the Textus Receptus and the Greek Orthodox Church New Testament. This helps us see both the language sources behind the translation and the specific manuscript collections collated by scholars that contain these readings. Here is the full list of the twelve textual sources in the Berean Standard Bible found here:

Add the Berean Standard Bible to Your Library

The Berean Standard Bible is a welcome addition to the library of anyone looking for a readable and memorable translation of the Bible. It assists the beginner with helping them connect the parts of the Bible with the whole and the more advanced studier with information about the textual sources behind the translation. And it is available on Olive Tree for free! Pick up your copy today and start examining the Scriptures like the Bereans, to see Jesus as the Christ from all the Scriptures (Acts 17:11; cf. 17:2-3).

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