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Crossway Omega Thinline Reference Bible Heirloom Edition ESV – Review

Crossway’s ESV Omega Thinline Reference Bible is a beautiful Bible. It has a large form-factor with double-column paragraph layout that’s great for reading, study, carry, and preaching. It’s now received the Heirloom treatment from one of the world’s top printers- Jongbloed in the Netherlands. This beauty features supple goatskin leather, ivory paper, art-gilt edges, and four ribbon markers. It’s meant to be elegant and really is.

Cover and Binding

The cover is black goatskin. It’s edge-lined with a high quality luxurious bonded leather (I think). It has an elegant gilt-line that stands out nicely. It’s sewn around the edges with a very fine stitching pattern. There are four hubs on the spine with gold lettering. It’s sewn and has no trouble lying flat. The hinge is a little stiff at first so it does take some break-in to lay flat in Genesis 1, but it will lay flat. The black and gold head/tail bands look great against the black goatskin and art-gilt edges.

Even though this cover is floppy, it’s still just firm enough that I can hold it open in one hand. I personally prefer this to a cover that I have to use two hands. This makes it easier to carry and read from it in public. The overall size (from my measurements) is 6 5/8 x 9 ¾ x 1 1/8.


The paper is high quality European paper that’s thin and opaque. Its color is in the ivory range. To my fingers it feels around 28-30 gsm. Being a thinline I wouldn’t expect it to be extremely opaque. It’s actually more opaque than I hoped. The lines on the back of the page are noticeable, but I can ignore them easily (which says a lot for me).


The font is 10-point black letter Lexicon. It’s bolder than average, which is the right amount of boldness to my 40-something year old eyes (I would tell you how old I am but I would have to stop and count). The print quality is consistent throughout the text. The text spacing is just right. Words have enough white-space around them to not feel cluttered. There’s enough inner margin to bring the text out of the gutter. The columns are 45 characters and have between 7-8 words. I didn’t have any issues finding the verse numbers.

Of course this is a double-column paragraph format. It makes good use of the column width by placing the references under the last verse on the page – within the column of text. Footnotes are in the footer.

Section headings are slightly bolder and are in italics. They stand out nicely but can be ignored. Books start on a new page. I don’t think I would write on this paper, but this does give you some writing room if you want to use it.

In the front there is a presentation page and pages for marriages, births and adoptions, and deaths all printed on thick paper. In the back is matching pages for notes.

This text and layout is a joy to read and the font is easy to read from the pulpit.


There are over 80,000 cross-references. The reference are a little small (5.8 font). I can see them, but a little larger wouldn’t hurt my feelings. They’re placed under the last verse on the page which is a great design feature that allows more of the page width for the text. They are keyed to the text with letters.

Here are some samples for comparison:

There are plenty of good quality references for study and sermon or class prep.


Footnotes are placed in the footer and are keyed to the text with numbers. The footnotes are larger and easier to read than the cross-references. They cover alternate renderings for Hebrew and Greek, manuscript variants, some explanations of words and word usage, alternate spellings for names, etc. They’re easy to find quickly and provide relevant insights on the text. I’m very glad they are included.


The concordance is 60 pages with 3 columns per page. It has 2400 entries with 10,000 references (I know this will come as a surprise but I didn’t count them).

Here are some sample entries and the number of references given:

I like this concordance. It’s easy to use and it doesn’t take up a lot of space. There’s plenty enough here to do some good study and sermon or class prep.


There are 8 pages of maps printed on thick glossy paper. Glossy paper isn’t my favorite because of glare from lights but they do look good on this paper. The colors are earth-tones. There isn’t an index but they are annotated and labeled well. They include routes (even a possible Red Sea crossing) and topography.

Maps include:

  1. The World of the Patriarchs
  2. The Exodus from Egypt
  3. The Twelve Tribes of Israel
  4. Israel Under Saul, David, and Solomon
  5. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus
  6. Palestine in the Time of Jesus
  7. Paul’s First and Second Missionary Journeys
  8. Paul’s Third Missionary Journey and His Voyage to Rome


I prefer a Bible to have four ribbons. That can be difficult to pull off – especially in a Bible this thin. To make it work they’ve used thin ribbons. They fit the size of this Bible and don’t get in the way of each other at all. They’re long enough to pull them to the corner and still have something to hold onto. I love the colors: black, dark brown, mahogany, tan. That might not be their real names but you get the picture.


If you’re a fan of the large print thinline format then you’ll like this one because it gets everything right. It’s a joy to read, study, preach and teach from, it’s great for carry and holding, and it really does embody the word heirloom. The leather looks and feels great to the touch and yet isn’t too stiff. The paper is the right amount of off-white. The print is excellent for reading. The tools are top-notch. The size feels right. It’s a great Bible for all-around use and it’s made to last a lifetime and you can pass it down to a few generations.

If you’re looking for a 2011 ESV as a gift for a pastor, seminary student, any kind of ministry, or someone that loves quality Bibles, Crossway’s Omega Thinline Reference Bible Heirloom edition is a great choice. This is a Bible to be proud of. It’s the ESV equivalence of the Longprimer. Speaking of Longprimer, here are some comparisons.

Crossway provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own.

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