Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Uncategorized

A Review of the Crossway E.S.V. Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition.

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Crossway was kind enough to send me a copy of the Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling edition. This particular one is a burgundy colored, cloth over board, hard back, case bound Bible. It comes in an ornate slipcase that you should maintain for shelf storage to keep your Bible looking good, and to make it last.

We’ve all seen pictures or videos of books from the dark ages that have ornate drawings, and stylized artistic renderings of plant vines, leaves, fruits, and other various things on the covers, spines, page edges, and on the pages themselves. When a book has these features, it is said to be, “illuminated.” Imagine a monk in an abbey some place in Europe, bent over a page of vellum, (animal skin) using a quill, a dip pen, different colored inks, along with gold leaf, to decorate the page of a hand copied Bible. Books were not mass-produced back then. They were very expensive, and time consuming to make. The most valuable book of all time is the Bible. That is not up for debate.

In today’s era of mass-produced clones, it is nice to see something different, but the nagging truth comes back to ruin the illusion for me. This is a mass-produced Bible. It is a very nice mass-produced Bible, but it is mass-produced. The novelty of having all of the art inside, and on the cover is nice, and many people will enjoy this embellishment.

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The immense upside of having a mass-produced illuminated Bible is that everyone can afford to have one, and enjoy the word along with the supporting art. Even in today’s day and age, if you were to commission a one off Bible to be made to your desired specifications, retained an artist to do the work, and then had the thing printed and bound, you would be spending a small fortune. I can’t even estimate how much it would cost. This Bible can be had for less than sixty bucks.

Here is a link to the product page if you just want to look at the specifications. Here is a link to Crossway’s page about how it was made, and here is one about illumination.

For those of you who are still here, and didn’t skip out, I have some other information for you that isn’t on those pages. I’ve already told you about the slipcase. Now we’ll get into the details of the Bible. The artwork is done in what looks to be a gold colored foil stamping of some kind. It is very pleasing to look at.

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The spine has four raised decorative hubs. Between them we have, Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition, English Standard Version, and the Crossway logo at the foot. The flowers, leaves, and vines harken back to traditional illumination features. The cover is also decorated in a similar fashion. The burgundy colored cloth is pretty typical of cloth covered hardback books. This Bible has cream colored head and tail bands, as well as a burgundy colored ribbon marker. The page edges are gold gilt. The spine doesn’t look rounded. The corners are not either.

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There was an issue with some pages that the corners had folded into the text block during trimming. When that happens, they don’t get trimmed. When you unfold them, they stick out further than all the pages. I believe that would be covered under warranty, but I usually take care of it myself with a razor blade. You have to be very careful. If it is more than a couple of pages, you’re better off sending it back because those pages were not gilt if they were tucked in. Since this was only a couple pages, it wasn’t a big deal. It does happen from time to time though.

I know I shouldn’t like the end papers as much as I do, but I can’t help it. I assume the same artist, “Dana Tanamachi” did the art for them as well. This is a case bound, hard back, with paste down end pages attaching the text block to the cover. Two blank end pages precede the ornate presentation page. The sewn spine’s threads contrast with the darker presentation page, making them easier to see. The darker colors on the presentation page do remind me of some of the illumined books I’ve seen over the years. After that is a burgundy colored title page with gold stamped art. Then there is the publisher’s page, Table of Contents, About the ESV, and an Introduction for this illuminated edition.

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Each book starts with a full page of gold colored thematic art. There is a drop cap at the beginning of each book and full page artistic scripture quotes interspersed. The page numbers, chapter numbers, and address references at the head of the page are all in gold colored ink. The text is laid out in a single column, paragraph format. The font is a uniformly printed 9 point Lexicon type. This is a black letter edition. The page margins are approximately 2 inches wide. They are not ruled. There is art interspersed throughout in the margins as well.

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One of the more impressive features in my opinion is the 42 g.s.m. cream colored paper. It is easy on the eyes, and contrasts nicely with the text. Since it is so heavy it helps to reduce ghosting dramatically. In conjunction with the wide margins the paper is good for taking notes. With all of the bold lines in the art the paper can’t stop it from showing through from the other side. This is only distracting when it is the full page art at the beginning of the chapter as it is visible through the text on the opposite page when it is turned over it. At the end of the Bible there is an Index of Title Pages. It includes explanations of how the art expresses some of the themes found in the book. Finally, at the end there is a page with the names of the people who comprised the team that published this edition. There were also 4 blank end pages to write on if need be.

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I like this edition on an aesthetic level. If that were the only reason to buy it, I think I would probably hold off. If you are like me, that just isn’t enough to warrant the purchase, but when you consider the 42 g.s.m. paper, and the 2 inch margins, as well as the price, it start to make a lot more sense. Perhaps more art influenced thinkers would buy this solely because of the art? I’m sure you folks are out there, and probably already own this one. For some of the more curmudgeonly among us, add a little flair to your life while getting a solid translation along with great print quality, terrific paper, and a good value. You can see more pictures on my Flickr album for this Bible.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7099-5

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway

Review of the E.S.V. Bible with Creeds and Confessions

Crossway was kind enough to send me a copy of the, “E.S.V. Bible with Creeds and Confessions.” This particular Bible has a burgundy, Trutone cover. It comes in a handsome slipcase. I thought the design of the slipcase cross and surround, were excellent. Many people discard the case their Bible comes in. I would caution you not to. It is a very important piece of protective equipment. It stops shelf wear and works to protect your Bible during travel. Don’t waste money on a fancy, improperly sized Bible cases. They never protect as well as the original case, and they often do damage by allowing your Bible to slop around inside. They also tend to encourage people to put things inside them, with their Bibles.

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The case is not the most interesting thing about this edition. Forgive me for going on a tangent about the case 😊 The feature that makes this Bible special is that it includes most of the historic Christian creeds, and confessions in the back. Here are the included creeds and confessions;

“The Apostles’ Creed (ca. 200–400), the Nicene Creed (325), the Athanasian Creed (381), the Chalcedonian Definition (451), the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Articles of Religion (1563), the Canons of Dort (1618–19), the Westminster Confession (1646), the London Baptist Confession (1689), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647).”

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As you can see, this is a pretty good list for an overview of historic Christian beliefs. If you read all of them, you can see for yourself what doctrines we have always held to be true, and necessary. They can be traced through the history of the Church. We don’t exist separately from our Christian forefathers. If you are interested, and you would like to have all that information at your fingertips in one volume, this is the Bible for you.

You get the excellent English Standard Version. As well as the thirteen creeds and confessions with introductions to them written by Church historian Chad Van Dixhoorn. Also, an easy on the eyes 10.5 point Lexicon typeface font printed on 36 g.s.m. paper. The paper is also coated. This paper has an opacity of 85% Which is quite good for a Bible costing less than fifty dollars. Did I mention that the text is line matched? That means that the lines of text on a page are printed directly behind the lines of text on the other side of the page. This helps the legibility of the text. With a paper that is not completely opaque, you can see the text through the paper. When the printer uses line matching, this mitigates the muddying of the text. This reduces eye strain from reading and makes it more pleasurable.

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This edition has a burgundy colored, Trutone cover. The cover is perimeter stitched to keep it from coming apart. If you are not familiar with Crossway’s Trutone covers, they are a synthetic leather like material. It has been my experience that they are flexible, and durable. They look good for a long time, and do their job protecting the text block. There are five raised decorative spine hubs. “Holy Bible, with Creeds and Confessions, ESV, English Standard Version, and Crossway” is hot stamped in gold colored foil on the spine between the spine hubs. The inner liner is pasted down, brown paper. The inner liner is pasted to the end papers and connects the text block to the cover. The spine is rounded, as well as the corners. There are two burgundy ribbon markers. The page edges are gold gilt. This Bible’s spine is smyth-sewn. For those of you not familiar with what that means, it is when the pages are printed out in stacks, folded over into signatures (think pamphlets) and sewn to binding cord or ribbons in the spine, and also sewn to each other, until a text block is complete. This makes for a durable and flexible text block. This particular edition lays flat right out of the box. No break in time with this one folks!

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There are three end papers in the front. Then there is the presentation page, marriages page, births/adoptions page, and deaths page. These are not for extensive family records but suffice for immediate family.

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Next is the publisher’s page with copyright information. This edition was printed and bound in China. The table of contents is next, along with the preface and explanation of features. At the end we have a weights and measures page, a concordance, the creeds and confessions with an introduction, and eight pages of maps.

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This is a double column, paragraph format, black letter, edition with cross references, and foot notes. I find this volume to be superior in function. The flexibility of the cover, spine, and text block, aid in the holding, and reading of this Bible. The large 10.5 pt. font, the layout, the features, everything about this begs to be used. Considering the finite constraints of Bible design, I’m amazed at how much is packed into this Bible. Even with the large font, and the confessions and creeds this thing still manages to have some cross references, footnotes, a concordance, and maps. This is a great value, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it. You can purchase it directly from Crossway, or you can pick one up from Christianbook.com, Westminster Bookstore, or Amazon. If you’d like to see more pictures go to my Flickr album here.

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Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway

Review of the Jake Weidmann Artists Series Single Column E.S.V. Journaling Bible from Crossway.

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I hadn’t realized how long I had went in between reviews until recently. I hope to do more reviews, as I will be retiring from my full time job as a Corrections Officer in a few months. Someone I know wanted me to review this Bible, so here’s to you friend. I hope you enjoy the review, and thanks again to Crossway for providing this Bible for the review.

The Artist Series from Crossway highlights the talents of select artists to embellish Bibles. This one has had some line art from Jake Weidmann placed on the outer cover. This is a hardcover Bible. Here is an excerpt from Crossway’s information on the product page about their Artist Series. “The ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, Artist Series is a collection of journaling Bibles meant to celebrate the treasure of God’s Word through the artistic talents of his people. These Bibles feature commissioned cover artwork designed by Christian artists such as Peter Voth, Ruth Chou Simons, and Joshua Noom. Each artist offers a visual entry point focused on a particular biblical theme or passage, setting a tone of reflection as readers engage with the Bible.”

If you are interested in looking at the product page, here is a link. I haven’t written a review on the E.S.V. English Standard Version for a while, so let me reiterate, it is a splendid translation. It is one of my favorite formal equivalence translations. Beside the 1995 NASB, and now the Legacy Standard Bible, it is my next favorite translation. It remains accurate, without watering down the Word, or destroying the majesty of scripture.

This Bible arrived with a slightly dinged corner. I think that is due to the way it was packaged for shipping. It was not in a box with padding, inside another box. It was sent in a sleeve type box. I know this is popular these days, but keep in mind, if your Bible shows up damaged, you can send it back for an exchange. If this happens often enough, the publishers will need to go back to using more expensive packaging. This cost will be passed on to the consumer, but in my opinion, it would be worth it to make sure the customer is happy.

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Instead of having a clam-shell, or two piece box, this Bible is wrapped with a plastic, or cellulose band, that has some information about the Bible’s features, and a bit about the artist Jake Weidmann on it.

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When you open this Bible up, you’ll see a card with a picture of the artist on one side, and an explanation of the cover art on the other. As a fan of the German Bauhaus design philosophy, I was more concerned with the layout, typeface, paper, and other features than the cover art. That being said, the line art on the cover is not gaudy, or in any way excessive, or irreverent. Weidmann’s line art combines nicely with the sparrow. One doesn’t overpower the other.

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I asked a friend who was interested in this Bible due to their knowledge of Weidmann and his work to provide a short note about him. Here is what she had to say,

“Jake Weidmann is a master penman, one of only 14 in the world. He earned his Master Penman in 2011, well before the resurgence in interest in decorative calligraphy and the writing arts. He uses calligraphy in his artwork to “give both the words and the pictures more life and a stronger message”. He was fascinated with art, coloring and drawing by age 3. He was obsessed with making his handwriting beautiful and would take all the time in his classes to practice his handwriting. Even in college he didn’t think he would become an artist; he was getting his degree in psychology and when he applied for an art minor in college, he was told that his work wasn’t right for the department. Before he completed college he received requests for commissions of his work, and has been working as an artist ever since.

He uses single line calligraphy to make graphic images primarily of Christian theological themes, such as hymns, bible verses and portraiture. He notes that his work is a kind of iconography, writing a story in the form of a pictograph. He speaks to the heart of the viewer by layering different images, symbols and texts. They are meant to draw you in, to make you think and consider the image on a deeper level.Several videos have been produced of him creating an image, which can take hundreds of hours to complete. His work can be found on jakeweidmann.com and he has his own YouTube channel.” S. Eddy-Kissell

This particular Bible is a single column, journaling Bible. It is a black letter edition. The spine is sewn. That feature makes for a long-lasting, lay flat, Bible. There is a shiny blue ribbon marker. The ribbon’s blue stands out against the cream colored paper. The paper is a smooth, thin, and cream colored. The smoothness of the paper reminds me of the paper used in premium Bibles, although this one is printed, and bound in China, and sells for a value price. The font is 7.5 pt. lexicon typeface that appears to be line matched. These two features, along with the uniform, and consistent print throughout, make this edition easy on the eyes. If you have older eyes, you might want to think about something in a 10 pt. font, or getting some reading glasses if you want to read anything 8 pt. or under. The corners are square, while the spine looks rounded. There are blue and white decorative head and tail bands. The margins are two inches wide, and ruled. This should be splendid for note taking, or journaling.

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I don’t think the paper is thick enough to write on with a wet fountain pen. Using a fine, or extra fine tip might be alright, but if it is scratchy at all, it might damage the paper. I’d probably stick to pencils, or Pigma Micron pens for note taking, or journaling in this one. Your opinion may be different. If you are looking for a wonderfully laid out, single column, journaling Bible, at a value price, look no further. This Bible would work well in that role.

I have more pictures of this Bible on my Flickr page if you’d like to look at them. Here is the link. Besides being available on the publisher’s site, you can also purchase this Bible from Christianbook.com for a big discount. You can also find it on Amazon.com.

ISBN 978 1 4335 7266 1 list price of $49.99 U.S.

Book Reviews · Crossway · Uncategorized

A Review of the E.S.V. Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible from Crossway.

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Crossway, for a long time now has been manufacturing terrific quality premium, and value Bibles, as well as helpful Christian books. Oft overlooked are the study resources they publish. Today we are going to look at the, ” ESV Exhaustive Concordance.” If you’ve been a Christian for a while you probably already know what a valuable aid a good concordance can prove to be.

If you don’t know what one is, let me tell you. A concordance has every word in the Bible, no matter how small it is, listed in alphabetical order, along with every occurrence of that word, and where in the Bible it occurred. This one goes a bit further and includes Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek glossaries, with entries for those words in the original languages. There is also a list of the words followed by their scripture references only, so you can find every occurrence quickly.

If you aren’t quite sure what to do with a concordance here are a few suggestions; Do a word study. Check to see if the English word being used is translated from one or more different Greek words. Verify the veracity of someone’s claim. Trust me, once you start using a full concordance instead of the very abridged on at the back of some Bibles, you never want to be without one.

This concordance is well made for many years of use. It is a hardback edition. The spine is sewn, and rounded for easy use, and durability. There are black head and tail bands. The paper is 36 g.s.m. and opaque. I think it was about as thin as they could go without sacrificing legibility, considering the 6.5 Lexicon font. It strikes the perfect balance for a book of this size. The paper is white, and the type is clearly, and uniformly printed. Concordances, as you can imagine are not small books. This one is a hair thinner than my Strong’s. In the front of this concordance in the introduction you’ll find helpful diagrams of how to use this tome properly, as well as a Preface by Drayton Brenner who compiled it.

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You should always have a hard copy of your most important books. Electronic copies, and apps, are nice, and convenient, but they can be changed in one update overnight. Some apps make it difficult to browse to the information you want. Sometimes, it is just easier to look it up in a book. To that end, I encourage you to go out and pick up this concordance for your ESV Bible. You can purchase it on Amazon, Christianbook, or Crossway’s page. To see more pictures of this concordance please see my flickr album.

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Uncategorized

A Thinline Bible that Will Outlast You, the Crossway E.S.V. Thinline Bible , Heirloom Edition in Brown Cowhide Edge Lined Leather.

 

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I’ve handled quite a few different edge lined Bibles over the years.  Most of them have used something other than the same leather that was on the outside of the the Bible.  They use bonded leather, or some kind of synthetic polyurethane material.  The bonded leather concerns me because it is basically made from leather sawdust and glue.  The inner liner is also what makes the hinge on an edge lined Bible.  The repetitive opening and closing, over a long period of time, might cause the bonded leather to come apart.  The synthetics could stretch out of shape, or deteriorate at a different rate than the natural materials.

This Bible uses top grain cowhide leather for both the inner and outer cover.  Using the same materials ensures a uniform wear throughout.  The leather that Crossway chose for this Bible is not soft.  It doesn’t feel like it will snag and scratch easily like some of the goatskin leather covers.  What is the purpose of the cover after all?  It is to protect the text block and provide structure.  The cover on this Bible is very flexible, don’t get me wrong, but if you are looking for something soft like garment leather, you are looking in the wrong place.

The size of this Bible is another subjective quality.  Everyone has their own favorite size of Bible to read from.  I personally like smaller, personal sized Bibles, but I loathe the small font in most of them.  This Thinline is truly a Thinline Bible.  It measures in at approximately 3/4″ thick.
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This fact necessitates thinner paper and smaller font.  In most Bibles that translates to readability issues.  Not so much in this one.  Since Crossway always uses impeccable paper, and they employed an 8 pt. font, this Bible is very legible.

The size of this Heirloom Thinline lends itself to being held in several different ways to suite your comfort.  I prefer to fold one side over and hold it in one hand.  Other people might hold it at the bottom center.  While others might prefer to hold it in both hands, or rest it on the table.  Since the binding is sewn it will lay flat.

The hinge plays a big part in how the Bible opens and lays when being read.  On top of having a sewn spine, Crossway didn’t go hog wild with the binding tape.  Many of your lower priced premium Bibles that are edge lined, employ a lot of binding tape, that is thick and covered in adhesive.  They use it along the hinge of the Bible to join the cover and text block.  Sometimes they use way too much, or too thick of a binding tape that actually makes what should be a very flexible Bible into a very awkward one.  The rest of the cover and text block could be nice and flexible, but the inch or inch and a half or so, right at the hinge is all rigid and thick.  It pretty much negates the purpose of doing an edge lined binding.  They might as well simply just have done a case bound Bible instead.

Since Crossway did the right thing here by not using too thick a gooey binding tape in the hinge, and instead used the real leather liner, they avoid problems with adhesion and can make a nice durable and flexible hinge.(albeit not so flexible right out of the box)  The hinge will take a bit of breaking in, because it is made of leather, but it should last much longer.
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The leather hinge might take a bit more work, but that is why you pay a premium price.  This Bible is made to outlast you.  Many Bibles come with a lifetime warranty, and the publishers never expect you to use them, while fully expecting the Bible to fall apart in a few years.  The Heirloom Thinline ESV from Crossway will not.  It is called, “Heirloom” for a reason.  It will hold up and become a family heirloom.  I love the idea of having a Bible passed down to me or one that I can pass down to my children.  There is a tremendous sense of a family Christian heritage that can be gifted to the next generations.  All it takes on our part is an effort to do better, to make better Bibles, and to show our kids how much God’s word really means to us.(You don’t have to have a premium Bible to do that so don’t feel bad if you can’t justify the expenditure.  Crossway makes durable Bibles in all price ranges.)

The ESV Heirloom Thinline Bible in brown calfskin leather arrived at my home in perfect condition.  It was packaged in a white cardboard box for shipping.

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Inside the shipping box, the Bible was inside a black, two piece, presentation box, that should be retained for storage, should you ever put this Bible away for a while.
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The Heirloom is also wrapped in paper. I believe that was done to protect it, as the hide cover is more flexible and has a larger yap than other Bibles.
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Another nice feature is the perimeter stitching of the cover. Some people don’t like this, but I do. I like to know there is more than just glue holding the cover together.
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It is evident when you examine the inside cover at the corners that Crossway did an excellent job paring the leather down thin enough to make a nice corner. The perimeter stitching can also be seen well from the inside.
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There is also an attractive looking gold gilt line around the perimeter of the inner cover.
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Usually on thin Bibles they don’t bother rounding the spine. On the Heirloom it appears they rounded the spine and the page corners. I think that shows a bit more attention to quality. So does the art gilt page edges. Extra attention to details and added features are what we’ve come to expect from Crossway’s premium models.
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The front and back, outside covers are blank. The inside back cover has, “calfskin leather” printed on it at the bottom.
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The spine is decorated with 6 spine hub lines, and the words, “Holy Bible” at the head, “ESV” under that, the ESV logo towards the middle, “English Standard Version” and then the Crossway logo at the tail, in gold stamping.
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When you open the Bible up, you’ll notice there is a page that is glued part of the way up.  That is to keep the text block and cover from falling apart.

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In the front of this Bible is a Presentation page,

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Marriages, Births/Adoptions,

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and Deaths.

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On the copyright page you’ll notice that this Bible is not printed in China. It is printed in the Netherlands, by Jongbloed. (not indicated, but verified.)  Jongbloed is the premier Bible bindery and printer.  They are the the people you go to if you want to print a top notch premium Bible.  That is why Crossway used them to print their Heirloom Thinline.  This is the 2011 ESV. After that you’ll notice a Table of Contents, List of the books in alphabetical order, Preface, and Features section.

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The Books of the Bible begin with the name of the book in bold large print at the head of the page aligned to the center. The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format, with foot notes. The section headings are also in bold. The chapter numbers are in drop cap to set them apart. Page numbers are found at the top, center part of the page.

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The Heirloom Thinline also comes with head and tail bands, and two ribbon markers that match the color of the cover.

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This Bible is a black letter edition with 8 pt. Lexicon font.  It is printed uniformly with sharp contrast against the 28 g.s.m. PDL Indopaque European Bible paper.  The paper has an opacity rating of 79 which is pretty good considering the weight of the paper.
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In the back you’ll find, Weights and Measures, Abbreviations, Concordance, and Maps. The concordance is a three column format and pretty decent for a thinline edition.

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In the back there are 8 color maps.

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Here are some pictures highlighting the flexibility of this Bible.

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There is no reason this Bible should wear out in your lifetime, but if it does fail due to materials or workmanship, it has a lifetime warranty from Crossway.  I doubt you’ll have to use it.  This is a high quality, premium Bible.  The cover is flexible and so is the text block, due to the sewn spine.  Whether you are holding it, or reading it while it lays on a desk or table you won’t have to fight against the cover. (after the hinge is broken in.)  It is comfortable to hold due to it’s size and weight.  The font is big enough to read without undue eyestrain.  The opacity of the paper aids in the legibility as well.  The bottom line, if you are looking for a high quality, edge lined, thinline Bible look no more.  You can pick up a copy direct from Crossway, or purchase one from any of these online retailers, Amazon, Christianbook, or Evangelicalbible.  Make sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my Flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781433541602

 

 

Crossway · Uncategorized

A Review of the E.S.V. Reader’s Gospels in Black Top Grain Leather Over Board Hardback Edition.

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Alright folks, with the recent release of the ESV 6 volume Reader’s set, I thought you might like to read a review about this Reader’s edition of the Gospels.  It would be a less expensive way for you to see if you want to shell out the bucks for the entire 6 volume set.  Maybe you don’t want the entire set, just the gospels?  Whatever the case may be, I offer this review up for your information and pleasure.

The Reader’s edition is an interesting concept.  There are no chapter or verse numbers.  There are no cross references or footnotes.  The paragraph format is done according to where new paragraphs would start in English.  The books are typically arranged other than that.  The only way to tell where you are in a book, is by using the index in the back in conjunction with the page numbers.  All of this is to accomplish the mission of a reader’s edition, to remove obstacles or impediments for the reader.

I find that as I read, I lose track of my progress.  I tend to read more in this volume.  Some of it is due to the lack of chapter and verse numbers, as well as the lack of cross references and footnotes.  While some of the other design and layout features contribute to it as well.  For instance, Crossway utilized a high quality, cream colored, uncoated, heavyweight paper more commonly seen in hardback novels.  It is 80 g.s.m. and you can hardly see through it at all.  The font is 12 pt. in size.  It is sharp and clear.  It is laid out in a single column.  This edition is truly meant to be read through like a book.  There is nothing in between you and the text.  I could go on and list all of the cool features of this edition, and I will, but I want to make sure you understand what the point is.  Reading and experiencing the gospels in a more fluid and retainable way was the goal, and Crossway achieved it.  Bonus is that there is no eyestrain, or headache after a long reading session.

So now that you know how accessible this makes the gospel, let’s look at some pictures and hear about some features of the construction.

The Bible was shipped from Crossway, and well packaged.  It arrived undamaged.

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This volume comes in a nice heavy slipcase.  It is intended to be kept, and used for storing this volume in when not being used.

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Once it is out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is how soft the topgrain leather is.  If you don’t like leather over board, or if you want a Reader’s edition with a smaller price tag while retaining the same text block, you could get it with cloth over board.

Legatoria Editoriale Giovanni Olivotto or L.E.G.O. for short did a wonderful job printing and binding this book.  They are gaining some serious notoriety amongst quality book and Bible collectors here in the states.  Jongbloed in the Netherlands might have some competition in text block production if they don’t watch out 🙂

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Here is a good close up of the cover.

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You’ll notice the page edges are not gilt.  There are decorative head and tail bands in gold and black.  The spine has, “The Gospels” at the head, the ESV logo below that, “English Standard Version” after that, and the Crossway logo at the foot in gold.  There are also four ornamental spine hubs.

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Here is a picture of the inside of this casebound hardcover.

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The book names, headings, and drop caps are printed in an appealing red text.

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I took a picture of one page, separate from the others, and with light behind it so you could see how thick and opaque it is.  I’d never heard of Munken Premium Cream woodfree paper before, but after seeing it I’m sold.

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Here is another picture of the wonderful paper, 12 pt. font, and the crimson colored ribbon marker.

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From this picture you can also see the fat signatures with the ribbon laying on top of the page.

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Of course, like you’d expect on a high quality book, the spine is sewn.  This ensures a durable, and useable binding.

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Of course my favorite picture is the one where I am reading it.

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After reading from this edition, I am eager to purchase the 6 volume set.  I will probably get the cloth over board due to the price.  I am looking at getting the new Schuyler Personal NASB Quentel when it comes out this year, so I have to save my money 🙂  That way I can get both.  I would highly recommend getting this for anyone wanting to try a reader’s edition out.  It is one thing to know the concept, but another to live with it for a while.  Make sure to look at the rest of the pictures I took of this edition on my flikr page.  You can also read about more of the details on Crossway’s product page.  You can purchase your copy at Christianbook or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

ISBN-13: 9781433549823

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Uncategorized

Review of the Crossway ESV UltraThin in Black Top Grain Cowhide Leather.

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I purchased this Bible on sale from Christianbook.com  I was curious because it was listed as having a top grain leather cover.  I was glad I ordered it.  It turns out that it is now out of print.  So if you can find one, I suggest you purchase it.  I was pleasantly surprised by this less than a half inch thick little gem.  This UltraThin came in a clamshell retail box with a clear plastic window.  I retained the box for storage purposes.  Once you open the box up you smell the leather and not glue or dye.  The leather was very supple and soft to the touch.  The grain appears to be natural.  There is a nice perimeter groove and spine hubs.

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The hubs add to the ornamentation along with the gold letters stamped into it.  From the top of the spine down it reads, “Holy Bible, ESV, the ESV logo, English Standard Version, Then the Crossway logo.”

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The spine is sewn affording this very thin Bible with great flexibility for a paste down, case bound Bible.  In my opinion the cover offers a perfect compromise of flexibility, and structure.

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The head and tail bands are gold and black, complementing the color of the cover, and the gold page edge gilt.  There are two ribbon markers, even though the retail site only lists one.  The ribbon markers are narrow, but thicker than most employed in Bibles under $100.

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In the front of the Bible there is a presentation, marriages, births/adoptions, and deaths pages.  They are printed on a thicker matte finish paper that takes ink well.  Unlike higher gloss papers, these won’t crack or tear as easily.

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Then there is the copyright/publishers page.  Before Genesis begins the Old Testament we have the table of contents, preface, and explanation of features. DSCN5539

 

The text of this Bible is double column, paragraph format.  This is a red letter edition.  The red lettering is not too red or too light.  It contrasts well against the white paper and surrounding black text.  The main text is a 7.5 pt. lexicon font.  Line matching is employed to aid in reduction of, “ghosting” or the appearance of the text from the opposite side of the page showing through the paper due to the opacity allowing it.

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The paper’s opacity is pretty good considering how thin this Bible is.  At just under a half inch, it is one of the thinnest UltraThins I’ve seen.  I had assumed that they used a thinner paper.  That was not the case.  The paper is 31 g.s.m. 20# Thincoat Max.  This is not a thin or lightweight paper.  It looks like they made up for the thickness of the paper by not having any cross references.  There are some footnotes at the bottom of the pages.  This way they could fit the entire text into this UltraThin.

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So we have a nice, legible, well printed, and bound Bible in this truly UltraThin format.  It is also so soft and flexible due to the quality binding and cover, that I can fold it over itself.  It is almost as flexible as an edge-lined Bible. DSCN5688

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At the end there is a weights and measures page, and an abbreviations page.  A three column concise concordance follows.  Finished off with eight maps in color.  DSCN5550

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Make sure to check out the pictures I took of this Bible on my Flickr page here.  You can still purchase these on Amazon until they run out.  Then you’ll have to get them used. ISBN-13: 9781433538834 DSCN5524

 

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Uncategorized

Review of the Crossway E.S.V. TruTone Single Column Heritage Edition Bible.

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I purchased this Bible because it was on sale for 80% off.  I figured I could write a review, and then gift it to someone.  After receiving it, I might just keep it for a rebind project.  It arrived undamaged.  It was in a cardboard box with two other ESV Bibles, I ordered at the same time.  This one has a clamshell retail box.  If you need to store your Bible, it is always a good idea to keep the retail box.

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This Bible is the soft leather-look, TruTone brown/burgundy, with band design.  TruTone is a synthetic cover material that simulates leather.  It is one of the better synthetic covers on the market.  

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The inside liner is paper as this is a case bound Bible.
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The cover around the spine is ornamented with, “Holy Bible, ESV, the ESV logo, English Standard Version, and the Crossway logo” in gold.  

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There are brown head and tail bands, as well as one brown ribbon marker.  The spine, and corners are rounded.  The page edges are gold gilt.  
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There is a presentation page up front, along with the typical copyright/publisher’s information page.

 
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I really like the size of this little text edition.  It isn’t too big, or small.  It measures about 5.5”x7.5”  It is pretty portable, though not as much as a true compact, pocket size, thinline, or ultrathin.  
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Of course you would lose the font size and paper quality to drop down to those sizes.  I think this is a pleasing compromise in Bible design.  Since it is a single column text edition, it can afford to be smaller than a reference Bible.  It also utilizes a 9 point Lexicon font, which is a great choice for a Bible of this size.  Crossway also employed line matching, which greatly reduces ghosting. (being able to see the text from the opposite side of the paper)  The paper is 31 g.s.m. Thincoat Max, 1720ppi.

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Between the great paper, clear uniformly printed text, and line matching, this Bible is very legible.  
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The spine is smyth sewn.  

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This in conjunction with the soft cover, make this a very flexible Bible.

 
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I can fold it over on itself.  Then, hold it like a magazine in one hand.  This is my prefered way to read.  It also opens fairly flat. I don’t think it is suited well to pulpit duty as it is a paragraph format Bible.  It lends itself to devotional, and daily reading.  It would be perfect for that with one more ribbon marker.  There is not a concordance or any other helps or features except for some colored maps in the back.
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My overall impression of this Bible is favorable.  I think it fulfills the purpose for which it was designed in an exemplary manner.  It is a great value, legible, portable, durable, and flexible.  It is not so nice, that I’m afraid of hurting it.  It is a good value and should provide you with years of service.

You can pick up your copy at Christianbook.  Amazon also sells them.

Make sure to check out all of the pictures of this Bible on my Flickr page.
ISBN 9781433537370

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Uncategorized

A Review of the ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible, in Black Top Grain Leather.

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Crossway sent me this beautiful Bible for review.  It is a wonderful value.  You get so many great features with this Bible.  It is also a good multipurpose Bible.  Initially I thought the font might be too small for Pastors to use it from the pulpit, but I was wrong.  The verse format layout, terrific paper, and crisp clean print, make it well suited to serve as a preaching Bible.  It is a reference Bible, so it also lends itself to study.  The references and notes are out of the way at the bottom, so it also works good for reading.  If you are in the market for a new Bible to fill a few roles, keep reading.  I think you’ll be as impressed with this edition as I am.

The ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible was packaged in a small white cardboard box.  

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The Bible itself was inside the retail clamshell box.  Keep the box for storage.  This is not a Bible to be stood up on edge like a hardback book.  The Bible arrived undamaged from Crossway.  Inside the packaging the Bible was wrapped in clear plastic.

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Once removed, I was able to begin assessing the top grain leather.  It had a very supple feel to it.  It was nice and soft. There is also a perimeter groove on the cover.

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The inside liner seemed to be a bit different than the outside cover.  I e-mailed Crossway and asked them about it.  They informed me that it is Cromwell® bonded leather.  For those of you who are balking at that, keep in mind that Cromwell® bonded leather is not the same as the low grade bonded leather you are used to seeing in the past.  It is a far superior product and should last as long as the top grain leather cover, if not longer.  One of the bonuses of using this material as a liner is that it can be had in thin sheets.  This makes it possible for the bindery to get the cover mated to the liner with more precision and less bulges on the corners.

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This, being an edge-lined Bible, it is important to not use a heavier material that would reduce the supple feel of the cover.

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In my opinion, it was implemented quite well.  For the price, I would definitely recommend purchasing this edition over the ones with genuine leather or synthetic covers if you can afford the extra money.

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In the front you’ll find a Presentation Page, Publisher’s Page, Table of Contents, Books of the Bible in Alphabetical Order, Preface, and an Explanation of Features.  

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The spine is ornamented with four spine hubs, and gold lettering.

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The page edges are gold gilt and the corners are rounded.  There are also decorative gold and black, head and tail bands.There are two black ribbons that are decent quality.

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They are thicker than some less expensive ribbons.  For me two ribbons or more is a must.  Three ribbons is perfect in my opinion.  You get one for the Old Testament reading, one for devotional reading of Proverbs, and one for the New Testament.  Of course, two will suffice, and is certainly better than only one.  Four just seems supernumerary to me.

Of course where this Bible shines is the paper and print.  Crossway has done a good job utilizing superior paper compared to their competitors.  Rarely do you find Bibles in this niche with paper of the same weight and opacity.  Crossway is employing a 36 g.s.m. Apple Thin Opaque paper.  Keep in mind that many of their competitors call 28 g.s.m. paper top notch.  The print in this black letter edition is sharp and uniform throughout.  I haven’t run into any areas where the print fades or is smudged.  The font is 9 pt. in size and is Lexicon face.  At first glance it seems larger than it is, in my opinion.  I think that is due to the opaque paper, print, and line spacing, making it very legible.  It is easy on the eyes.  

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Preaching from the pulpit and looking down at a 9 pt. font in another Bible with lesser paper and more ghosting would be a bad idea, but with this Bible you could easily do it.  There is also a generous outside margin for some limited note taking.

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The drawback of course is that some of the type gets lost in the gutter.

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In some regards, like the paper and print,  I would rate this Bible up there with the premium ones.  Due to the lack of some of the more ornate features, like art gilt page edges, better ribbons, gilt perimeter lines, and better leather for the inside liner I can’t call it a premium Bible.  Of course the price on this edition more than makes up for what little quibbles I might have.  I’ve paid over $200 for an Allan.  This Bible can be had for a bit over $80.  That makes it an outstanding value.  The suggested retail is  $149.99.  Some publishers list a suggested retail that I would never pay.  This Bible is worth the suggested retail.  On some retail sites it can be found for as little as $84.99.  Other than the gutter complaint, the layout is great.  You get a double column, verse format, with approximately 80,000 cross references located at the bottom of the pages.  You also get a 76 page 3 column concordance, and 8 color maps in the back.

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At the start of each book is a brief introduction.  I personally love well written book introductions.

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You also get a smyth-sewn spine with this edge-lined Bible adding to the durability and flexibility.

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You would be hard pressed to find a Bible with all of these features even in a higher price range.  In my opinion, Crossway has hit the ball out of the park with this edition and set the standard for their competitors in the $80 to $150 range.

Make sure to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible on my Flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781433545689

Bible Reviews · Bibles

The (2015) ESV New Classic Reference Bible in TruTone Synthetic Cover.

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Let’s see what the 2015 New Classic Reference looks like, and compare it briefly to the edition it replaces.  I think you’ll find that there aren’t very many changes.  I ordered this Bible from Amazon.  It arrived in generally good shape.  It does not have a retail box.  Instead, it has a sleeve.  I prefer clamshell or two piece style boxes for storage. You tend to see clamshell style with premium Bibles, not value editions.  
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After tossing the sleeve away, I scrutinized the cover.  I like synthetic covers more than bonded leather.  If I can afford them, I purchase ones that are edge lined and covered in goatskin leather.  This synthetic cover was not bad.  It was soft and flexible.  I did get a crease in it by folding it over.  Once you get the paper liner creased it shows through the cover.  I don’t know how durable it will be.  I’ll get back to you on that on in a couple of years.  There is a good lifetime warranty on these Bibles.  I’m not worried about service should anything go wrong.  
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Here is the old edition in genuine leather
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Both Bibles have family records pages and presentation pages in the front

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One of the major qualities that I love about Crossway Bibles, is even their value Bibles use better paper than almost all of their competitors.  The paper in this thing is as good as some of the paper in the cost prohibitive premium Bibles.  It is very opaque and seems pretty heavy.  The old edition was printed on 24 pound (36 g.s.m.) Thincoat™.  The paper in the new edition is uncoated.  It remains the same weight.  It is whiter than the earlier edition which in comparison seems a little more off white.  It could be that since I’ve had the other Bible for a few years the paper has yellowed a bit, but I doubt it.  It is more likely that the coated paper of the earlier edition was responsible for the slight color difference.  

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Here is a look at the previous edition.
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There is a slight tradeoff when using a heavier paper.  The Bible, by necessity of finites becomes thicker.  That being said, I would much rather a Bible be thicker and very legible than be thinner and barely legible.  Ghosting is a real problem on thinner paper and can make daily reading a near impossible task.  The New Classic Reference is not too heavy or big.  It feels good to hold and read from.  The fact that it is a tad bit thicker doesn’t make it uncomfortable to use.  I find it to be subjectively, one of the most comfortable Bibles I’ve spent hours reading from.

Both the older edition and the new one, offer good contrast between the paper and the text.  The text is a modern setting of Lexicon font in 9 pt size.  It is sharp and crisp against the backdrop of the page.  This is a red letter edition with the words of Christ printed in red.  Some people like this feature and others think it detracts from the entirety of the word being inspired.  I don’t have an opinion either way.  If it is done well, I like it.  The red and black ink is consistent throughout.  

Here is the new one
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Here is the old one

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There are book introductions at the beginning of each book.  

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This is pretty helpful without adding the bulk that a study Bible would have.  The New Classic Reference is laid out in a double column, paragraph format, with center column references.  

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This is pretty standard, but again due to the paper quality, uniform printing, and smyth-sewn binding this Bible stands out.  I am thinking about rebinding it in goatskin leather.  It is an excellent candidate for rebind because of the low initial purchase price, paper, print, and the sewn binding.  If you couldn’t tell by now, this does have a sewn binding making it flexible and durable.  

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It has one ribbon marker that matches the color scheme of the Bible.  It is a pretty thin ribbon.  


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The spine has also been rounded.  

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The older edition has a flatter spine that doesn’t appear rounded.  

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The older edition was manufactured in the United States, while this one was manufactured in China.  As long as Crossway can ensure quality control, this shouldn’t be a problem.  Other publishers have not been able to, and have suffered the consequential negative effects to their reputations.

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An excellent three column concordance is included in the back with 32, color maps and illustrations.  

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The overall impression I got was that this is still the same reference Bible that so many people have loved over the years with some small changes.  The most important qualities have not changed.  It remains very legible, and easy on the eyes for long bouts of reading.  It wins, hands down over many other similarly priced Bibles due to the paper, print, and binding.  Throw in the formal equivalent English Standard Version (ESV) translation and you have a great reference Bible.

Make sure to check out all the pictures of the New Classic Reference here, and the old one here.

Here are the stats and info from the Crossway product page,

About the ESV New Classic Reference Bible

The ESV New Classic Reference Bible is a new edition of the first ESV Bible edition ever published in 2001—the ESV Classic Reference Bible. This practical and popular format combines the ESV text with a robust concordance and one of the most comprehensive and useful cross-reference systems available today—more than 80,000 references conveniently located in the center column on each page. This edition adds 32 pages of full-color maps of Bible lands and illustrations of historic biblical sites, structures, and objects for ready reference and insight. The ESV New Classic Reference Bible’s balance of helpful reference features and convenient size make it an ideal Bible for everyday use—at home, at church, at school, and on the road.

  • Size: 5.5″ x 8.4375″
  • 9.0-point type
  • 1,344 pages
  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • Words of Christ in red
  • More than 80,000 center-column cross-references
  • 32 full-color pages of maps and illustrations
  • Introductions to each Bible book
  • Extensive concordance
  • Ribbon marker
  • Presentation pages
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Lifetime guarantee

Specifications

Format: TruTone
Page Count: 1,344
ISBN-10: 1-4335-4557-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4557-3
Trim Size: 5.5 in x 8.4375 in
Weight: 31.8 ounces
Published: January 31, 2015
Type Size: 9.0
Page Layout: Double Column
Additional Features: Sewn Binding

Maps

Illustrations

Lifetime Guarantee

Cross-references

Concordance

Book intros

Ribbon

Gilded edges

Words of Christ Red

ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4557-3
ISBN-13: 9781433545573