ESV Preaching Bible Verse-by-Verse Edition

The ESV Preaching Bible Verse-by-Verse Edition from Crossway was designed for preaching for those who prefer to preach from a single-column verse-by-verse layout, It has a wide outer margin for notes. It’s ideal for preaching, study, and note-taking. This is the 2016 edition of the ESV and comes in a sturdy two-piece box. It’s available in black goatskin, ISBN: 9781433572067, made in China.

Crossway provided this Bible in exchange for an honest 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)



and many local Bible bookstores


Video Review

Cover and Binding

The cover is black goatskin with a cowhide edge-lined liner. It doesn’t have a deep grain, but it does look pebbly and elegant. The leather is thin and extremely flexible. This makes it a touch more difficult to hold than I prefer. It does lay open well on the pulpit. It has perimeter stitching. Nothing is printed on the front. The spine includes 4 thick raised ribs and HOLY BIBLE, the ESV logo, ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION, and the Crossway logo stamped in gold.

The leather liner has a gold gilt-line around the inside. The block is Smyth sewn, but the edge-lined tab is a touch stiff so you’ll see some extra curving in Genesis where the tab doesn’t bend easily.

The overall size is 6.6 x 9.8 x 1.75 and it weighs 3 lbs, 1.3 oz. This is a good size for a Bible for pulpit use. It’s about the size of a regular study Bible, which is slightly thinner than the ESV Study Bible. It has two black ribbons.


The paper is 36gsm and it’s coated. It’s off-white in color and it’s extremely opaque. It actually feels slightly thinner than 36gsm to my fingers, but I found the pages fairly easy to grab and turn. There is no glare under direct light, which is crucial for using it in the pulpit. It’s not as thick as the Large Print Wide Margin (which is my favorite ESV for notes), but it is good paper for highlighting making notes. The page edges are art-gilt. Unlike the paragraph ESV Preaching Bible, I did not have to separate the pages.

It has 10 regular Bible pages in the back for notes. They’re left blank, so you’ll need to place a lined page behind them if you want some sort of guidelines when writing your notes.


The text is presented in a verse-by-verse, single-column layout with a wide outer margin. It does not have a poetic setting. The header shows the book’s name, chapter, and verse in the outer margin, and the page number in the center. The translator’s footnotes are in the footer. Section headings are semi-bold in italics. Verse numbers are indented and have extra space between them and the text. The verse numbers are slightly larger than normal for most Bibles from Crossway. I find them easy to find quickly, which is ideal for preaching. Verses that continue the sentence from the previous verse start with a lower-case letter. I prefer this because it does help with readability. Paragraphs are marked with pilcrows. Several verses even have pilcrows within the verse.

The type is a black letter 9.75-point Lexicon. It’s dark and easy to read. It averages around 14 words per line. I personally prefer around 12 words, but it has a good amount of space between the lines that I don’t lose my place. This improves readability and it’s also good for underlining. It’s printed with line-matching (meaning that the lines on both sides of the page are printed in the same location on the page), which does help with readability. Show-through is most noticeable where the verses are short, such as those in Ezra 2, or at the end of the book (each book starts on a new page). Even then, the show-through isn’t bad.

The outer margin is 1.25″. The inner margin is around 3/4″, which is large enough for very small notes, but it’s mostly to bring the text out of the gutter to keep it on the flat part of the page. It works. The text never bends out of view. I wouldn’t mind if it had a little more inner margin space.

The footnote keys in the text are small letters in italics. They’re much lighter than the rest of the text. I found them easy to ignore for preaching (which is important to me). The downside of this is they can also be difficult to see. The footnotes are very small and would be difficult to read for anyone that needs large print.


In the back are 8 standard Crossway maps printed on thick semi-glossy paper. They’re printed in full-color earth-tones that look clean and are easy to read. They include distance, topography, borders, routes, rivers, kingdoms, etc. It doesn’t include an index to maps but they’re labeled well and they’re easy to use.

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


Here’s how the ESV Preaching Bible Verse-by-Verse Edition compares to the ESV Preaching Bible, ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible, and ESV Topaz.

ESV Preaching Bible

Top: Paragraph; Bottom: VBV

The ESV Preaching Bible is the same size and has the same size font. The text uses more pages. It has the same number of words per line. The space between the lines might be a touch smaller on this one, but it’s hard to tell. The paper is 36gsm in both, but this one has a slightly rougher texture. It doesn’t include a concordance, but it does have the same maps. The leather is slightly thicker on the paragraph edition.

ESV Verse by Verse Reference Bible

The ESV Verse by Verse Reference Bible is a verse-by-verse reference edition with a double-column layout. References are placed under the last column on the page. It doesn’t have a poetic setting. It has a 9-point font, 80,000 cross-references, concordance, and maps. The paper is thicker but the text is lighter. They also make a single-column edition version.

ESV Topaz

The Cambridge ESV Topaz is one of the few verse-by-verse ESV’s available. It’s also a large print reference edition but it’s presented in a double-column layout. The references are placed in the outer margins to keep the text on both pages together. The font is noticeably larger and darker. It’s a red-letter edition. The paper is 28gsm Indopaque, which has titanium pigment to improve the opacity rating for its thickness. It feels to be about the same, but it has more show-through because of the darker font.


The ESV Preaching Bible Verse-by-Verse Edition is an excellent Bible to preach from. I would normally find a Bible with 14 words across to be a touch difficult to preach from (I tend to lose which line I’m on when the line is too long or bends into the gutter), but the extra space between the lines makes it easy to keep my place. The quality isn’t at the same level as the older Royal Jongbloed Bibles from Crossway, but it’s not bad. The goatskin is thin, but it does look and feel elegant. I love the paper and print quality.

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $249. I feel that this is too high for a Bible of this quality made in China. This is the same price as those made in the Netherlands with higher quality materials. Fortunately, it will be priced much lower than this on most online shops, and it is a fine Bible. With this in mind, I recommend the ESV Preaching Bible Verse-by-Verse Edition to anyone that prefers single-column v-b-v editions for preaching.


This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)



and many local Bible bookstores


Crossway provided this Bible in exchange for an honest 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 Comment

  1. Larry

    Thanks for this good review…it could be on my list. Looking for a premium ESV.
    I wished it came in more than black…
    Nice work


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