Crossway ESV Large Print Compact Bible Review

One of the handiest Bible formats is the large print compact. This format typically doesn’t include a lot of extras. They don’t actually have large fonts. Instead, they’re small editions with a print that’s large for the size of the text-block. In this review, I’m looking at two such Bibles from Crossway. Both have the same text-block, but they have very different covers. I’m reviewing the Crossway ESV Large Print Compact Bible in both natural leather (ISBN: 9781433551598) and TruTone (ISBN: 9781433541551). Both editions have the 2016 edition of the ESV and are made in China.

Crossway provided these Bibles free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.


This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon – Natural LeatherTrutone

Books-A-MillionNatural LeatherTrutone

Barnes & NobleNatural LeatherTrutone

and many local Bible bookstores



Both Bibles have sewn textblocks. Both are stiff and will not stay open for several hundred pages. The overall size is 6 7/8 x 4 3/4 x 1″. Both are great for carry, holding, and reading.

The brown leather edition is a natural leather with a flap and leather strap. It has a paper liner. The leather doesn’t fold over on the edges, so the edge is rough-cut leather. The outside of the leather is smooth while the inside of the leather is rough. It does have a little bit of leather dust, but it isn’t much. The information on the spine is dry stamped.

You have to install the strap, but it’s easy to do. The instructions show to cut the strap shorter than I have it, but I like the longer strap. It includes a brown ribbon, brown head/tail bands, and the pages edges are not gilted. It has a pen/pencil holder inside the flap.

The TruTone edition is brown/walnut portfolio with a brown paper liner. It has a nice texture that looks elegant and is a good alternative if you just want a small inexpensive Bible to carry around.

It has a dark brown ribbon, dark brown head/tail bands, and gold gilted edges. I love the portfolio design. I’d like to see this design in leather.


The paper seems to be in the lower to mid 30’s in gsm. It’s white in color and is extremely opaque. The only place I notice the show-through is in the poetic settings, which is to be expected. It has no glare under direct lighting. It has enough texture to make it easy to grab the pages and turn them with one hand. It has 1364 pages.


The text is presented in double column paragraph format. Poetry is set to stanzas. It includes the standard ESV section headings. The header shows the book name, chapter, and verse number in the outer margin and the page number in the center. Footnotes are placed across the bottom of the page. Footnotes are tiny, so if you have trouble reading a small text you’ll most likely have trouble reading them.

The typeface is 8 point. It has enough space between the lines that it doesn’t feel cramped. I find that it’s easy to read for long periods of time. This is a red-letter edition. It’s a darker red than most Bibles. I like this red. The black letter is about a medium/dark. Both are highly consistent throughout. It includes italic numbers for footnote keys.

The text is printed with line-matching (meaning that the lines are in the same location on both sides of the page in order to improve readability). It has around 38 characters across and around 8 words per line. The words never feel too close together.


It has a one-page table that shows the biblical unit, approximate American and metric equivalents, and biblical equivalent. It’s short but helpful. Most of them are also found in the footnotes.


The concordance is 33 pages with 3 columns per page. The entries are large enough for me to read easily. I have to work a little harder to see the references. It has the same entries as the concordance as from the Large Print Thinline. This is a decent concordance for looking up major words on the go. Here are a few example entries with their number of references to help you compare:

  • Christ – 18
  • Christ’s – 3
  • Christian – 2
  • Christians – 1
  • Faith – 21
  • Faithful – 12
  • Faithfully – 3
  • Faithfulness – 6
  • Faithless – 3
  • God – 57
  • Godliness – 3
  • Godly – 3
  • Gods – 3
  • Praise – 10
  • Praising – 3
  • Pray – 8
  • Prayer – 7
  • Prayers – 2
  • Praying – 5


Here’s a look at how the ESV Large Print Compact Bible compares with Crossway’s Large Print Thinline and regular thinline editions. All three are similar in thickness. The large print is easier on the eyes if you prefer larger fonts. The regular thinline has a slightly larger font with a touch more space between the lines. The thinline is the thinnest of the three.

Large Print Thinline



This is exactly the kind of Bible that I like to carry. The text is large enough for me to read with my glasses, the overall size is perfect for holding in one hand, and since it’s a text edition with only footnotes and a concordance I’m not carrying tools I don’t need to have with me. I actually would like to trade the concordance for maps or just blank pages. It’s a decent concordance for on the go, but I’m more likely to use digital searching if I need to look up something.

The natural leather is my favorite of the two. I find that I don’t always wrap the strap around it when I place it back in its box unless I know I’m done using it for the day. Even the TruTone has a lifetime guarantee, so for the money it’s still a great choice.

Both editions are excellent Bibles for carrying in a backpack, briefcase, purse, satchel, etc. I recommend the ESV Large Print Compact Bible for anyone looking for a small, yet readable, ESV.


This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon – Natural LeatherTrutone

Books-A-MillionNatural LeatherTrutone

Barnes & NobleNatural LeatherTrutone

and many local Bible bookstores


Crossway provided these Bibles free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.


  1. DanO

    An interesting review and pictures. I always look forward to your reviews. Your pictures comparing this Bible with the Thinline are very helpful in seeing the differences.

    However, I am confused on how it is marketed as a ‘large print’ Bible with 8 point typeface. Such a designation should be used for at least 10 or 11 point. At Christianbook they offer ESV Bibles that are called ‘large print’ at 11-13 point. Though in their product description they identify 9 point text as ‘large’ (on Crossway’s website they seem to view 10.5 as ‘large’). I suppose ‘large print’ is a relative term.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks! You’re right about large print being relative. In this case it’s large print as applied to a compact format. It gets even worse when they start including the leading and then rounding up. That can make a 10 point font smaller than an 8 point font.

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