Review: ESV Reader’s Bible (Six Volume Set)

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There are few trends in more valuable and rewarding in the arena of Bible publishing than the Reader’s Bible. The days of old have been eclipsed with a renewed focus on making the Bible more enjoyable to read. There are many facets that collide together to make a reading experience pleasurable. The size of the book matters. Does it feel right in your hand or on your lap? The quality of the paper matters. Does the color and opacity of the paper invite the reader? Even the space between each line of printed text matters. This only begins to scratch the surface of the multifaceted process of providing readers with a purposeful experience that invites them to spend more uninterrupted time engaging with the Bible.

Now there have been many attempts over the years to strike a proper balance between all the variables involved to make Reader’s Bible an experience. Still, few have come close to the sheer beauty of the six-volume, cowhide-over-board, ESV Reader’s Bible by Crossway.

First, and probably foremost, it becomes quite obvious when you see this set in person, that Crossway has intentionally considered every aspect and detail of the ESV Reader’s Bible. I mean every aspect and detail. The unboxing experience is fantastically executed. The hand-crafted walnut slipcase is sturdy and spacious. Each volume is enclosed and protected, but there is still room to quickly remove a volume with one hand. The size of each volume is perfect (8” x 5.5” x 1”-1.75”). The cowhide-over-board cover offers an elegant and functional solution that will last a lifetime and look better with frequent use. The Smyth Sewn binding is flexible and allows the book to lay flat. The font is easy to read for long periods of time and contrasted well on the 80 gsm Munken Premier Cream uncoated paper from Sweden. This is only some of the considerations. Crossway has also removed all distractions from the text to bring the reader a smooth and uncluttered reading experience. There are no chapter or verse numbers, no references or footnotes, and minimal section headings. The typeface is a 12-point black letter Trinité No.2 Roman font designed by Bram de Does from The Enschede Font Foundry, and printed in Inkcredible Revolution Black ink. The 15-point leading gives the text enough white-space to breathe without making it feel like a giant print Bible. It’s a Reader’s Bible that’s actually made to read!

I absolutely love the six-volume ESV Reader’s Bible.It’s functional, fun to use, and looks amazing on the self. It’s a conversation piece that gets used daily.This is now my primary Bible to read through the Bible in a year. It’s certainly a pricey investment. But, the investment quickly outweighs the price. I now find myself “reading” the Bible more frequently. I’m looking forward to many more years of use before I hand this down to my kids. It comes highly recommended!

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