Book Review: ESV Reader's Bible
Reading Level: Leisure
*Reviews of Bibles will depart from other reviews. They will include first person. They will address the feature content as it pertains directly to my theological positions.*
In the wake of the popular “Bibliotheca” kickstarter, attention to “reader Bibles” has skyrocketed. These Bibles are designed to present the Scriptures in a style that is closer to its original form. Therefore, these “reader Bibles” have removed section headings as well as chapter and verse markers. All of this is done to decrease the distraction of uninspired elements typically contained in modern publication of the Scriptures. In this new movement, the ESV Reader’s Bible from Crossway provides an affordable and stylish edition.
First encounters leave an impression and this hardback edition is no exception. It is a rather impressive and stylish specimen. An elegant, two-tone cloth style with two ribbon markers, the ESV Reader’s Bible presents itself as a beautiful, practical Bible for reading the Scriptures as a story. On the inside, the single column text is clear to read. There are small indicators of chapter number alongside the text (the only exception being the book of Psalms) as well as general reference indicated at the top of each page. With respect to format, the ESV Reader’s Bible differs from Zondervan’s offering by retaining the standard book divisions and order. Though this does not accurately reflect the original uniformity of certain books (e.g. 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah) it does present the more common and useful order for general readers. There are no introductory commentary between sections and books (a pro). However, there are no seamless transitions between chapters within the books of the Bible (a con). Each chapter is clearly delineated with a paragraph break and an innocuous red chapter number. This small detail is noticeable throughout but stands out particularly during narrative books and New Testament epistles.
In conclusion, Crossway’s ESV Reader’s Bible is both stylish and reasonably practical. Neither of these things can be undervalued. The Scripture flows wonderfully with absolutely no extra material. Tack on the common book order and the ESV Reader’s Bible is the most accessible Bible for the average reader.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.