Let’s face it. There are two major benefits to the Crossway’s ESV Study Bible. First, it has an overwhelming amount of references, notes and resources. Second, you can get a hardcore workout simply by toting it around.
The ESV Study Bible is big in both ways. It is superb for study (surprise, surprise). However, it is not all that superb for travel. If you do a lot of preaching, then lugging the load can be quite strenuous. Believe me, I know.
If you are like me, then one thing you try to do is preach with the same Bible you read. This is probably true for your personal study as well. The highlights and notes you make in the Bible make it easier for you to recall on the road.
I don’t like to jump from Bible to Bible. My markings are important to me. Although I’ll use a few translations and study notes in my actual study time, changing Bibles after years of investment in one makes me a grumpy old man. It is like changing your vocation to a totally different trade. So, the change must be careful so that it will last.
The search begins.
This new Bible needs to have those things that I am now accustomed to. For example, I don’t want the comments, but I do want the references. The single column and paragraph style is preferable as well. It needs to be thinner than the one I now have but larger than the pocket sized ones. (I could be wrong, but suspect that my eye-sight will not get better with age.)
Then, there is the question of longevity. Will the Bible cover and binding endure the rigorous use of my studies and travels? The hardbacks, though my favorite kind, were not lasting 2-3 years. Their binding was breaking. It would have to be a softcover. Will it be TruTone, leather, or premium leathers?
All of these questions drove me bananas. I was indecisive. However, one thing was for sure. I was going to purchase an ESV translation from Crossway. So, rather than spend tons of money on experimentation. I went straight to Crossway myself. I shot an email.
The respondent was really helpful in finding me the right Bible. She suggested that I try the Personalized Size Reference Bible. It has the single column, references, and paragraphs. It was exactly what I wanted. And, it was available in every kind of cover.
If you do a quick spin around Google, you will find numerous opinions on pleather, leather, calfskin, and other types of bonded covers. I had a hard time discerning which was true. But Crossway set the record straight:
“All of our leather and TruTone Bibles are guaranteed for a lifetime. TruTone is made of polyurethane and is very durable. I personally would say that TruTone is more likely to last than bonded leather. However, it will not age as nicely as genuine or premium leathers.”
I am content at this moment with the response. I assume that the producers of the Bible would know most about what they produce than anyone else. So, I settled on a TruTone Bible and will likely purchase the Lambskin when it is made available – just to compare.
What is your experience with Bibles? What has held up for you? I wonder.
For further reading on this subject, I suggest reading a couple of articles by my friend, Matthew Blair (The Foolish Galatian):
- ESV Single Column Reference Bible Review
- My thought on our bibles and how we interact with them.
- The best highlighter for your Bible.
Also, visit the Bible Design Blog.