ESV Preaching Bible

The ESV Preaching Bible from Crossway was designed with preaching in mind for those who prefer to preach from a single-column paragraph edition. In reality, it’s a larger print single-column edition with a wide outer margin that’s great for anyone that needs something larger than an ESV Legacy at a slightly lower price. It’s ideal for both reading and note-taking. It’s currently only available in black goatskin, ISBN: 9781433562280, made in China. It comes in a nice two-piece box.

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 leather is black goatskin with a cowhide edge-lined liner. It has a beautiful grain. The leather feels thinner than the Heirloom editions and it’s more flexible. I find the extra flexibility to be slightly more difficult to manage than other large goatskin editions such as the ESV Study Bible. It’s perimeter stitched. The liner has a gold gilt-line around the inside.

There’s nothing printed on the front. The spine has 4 thick raised ribs and HOLY BIBLE, the ESV logo, ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION, and the Crossway logo stamped deeply into the leather and printed in gold. It’s Smyth sewn and lays open out of the box better than most goatskin Bibles I’ve seen.

The overall size is 6.6 x 9.8 x 1.75 and it weighs 3lbs, 0.7oz. It has two black ribbons. As a preaching Bible, I can see the advantage of having even more ribbons.


The paper is 36gsm coated. It has a slight cream tint and it’s extremely opaque and it’s excellent for public reading. It has no glare under direct light. The pages are easy to grab and turn. This is good paper for notes.

The page edges are art-gilt. The pages did need to be separated but it wasn’t difficult to do.


This is a single-column layout with a wide outer margin. The header includes the page number in the center and the book’s name, chapter, and verse in the outer margin. It has section headings within the text and the translator’s footnotes are in the footer.

The font is a black letter 10-point Lexicon. It’s dark and easy to read. It has enough space between the lines to improve readability and to allow for underlining.

It averages 12-14 words per line. It has a good amount of leading (space between the lines) to help make the text easier to read and keep your place. Poetry looks great with this word-count. It’s printed with line-matching. Show-through is mostly noticeable in poetic settings, but even then it isn’t enough to stand out.

The outer margin is 1.25″. The inner margin isn’t really large enough for notes, but it is large enough to bring the text out of the gutter.

The idea is that verse numbers are larger so they’re easier to find for preaching. They’re not as large as I expected (I had the Large Print Wide Margin in mind), but they are slightly larger than most ESV’s from Crossway. They seem to be enlarged in the same proportions as the text. They stand out just enough to see when preaching without standing out too much for reading.

The text also has footnote keys. They’re letters in italics, and they’re printed much lighter than any other text. They’re easy to ignore (something I always appreciate), but they can also be difficult to see if you need large print. Of course, the footnotes themselves are small and would also be difficult to read for anyone that needs large print, but this does help to place the focus on the text.


In the back are 8 maps printed on thick non-glossy paper. They’re full-color in earth-tones. I’ve always like these colors for maps. They include distance, topography, borders, routes, rivers, kingdoms, etc. It doesn’t have 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 compares to the ESV Heirloom Legacy, Large Print Wide Margin, ESV Verse by Verse

Heirloom Legacy

Preaching Bible on the right

Preaching Bible on the right

The Heirloom Legacy is a single-column paragraph edition with wide margins with the section headings moved to the margins. It has thinner paper with more show-through (but it’s actually the more expensive paper), a 9-point font with more words per line, a concordance, and maps. It has about the same footprint, but it’s thinner.

ESV Verse by Verse Reference Bible

The ESV Verse by Verse Reference Bible presents each verse as a separate paragraph in a double-column layout. It doesn’t include a poetic structure or indented letters. It has a 9-point font, 80,000 references, concordance, and maps. The font is not as dark and the paper isn’t as nice, but it is easier to find the verses quickly. They also make a single-column edition.

Large Print Wide Margin

The ESV Large Print Wide Margin is a large print edition in double-column paragraph. It has thick paper and it’s great for preaching. It’s a better choice for those that actually need larger print or larger verse numbers.

Does it Work for Preaching?

For those who prefer double-column verse-by-verse for preaching, this Bible probably won’t convert them. Although, I think it has a better chance than the Legacy. I think they would be better off using the Verse-by-Verse ESV in either single or double column, or the Large Print Wide Margin, which is in double-column paragraph but it has extra-large verse numbers that are easier to see at a glance.

Some have asked me why it’s not in verse-by-verse for preaching. The reason is that Crossway has mostly focused on paragraphing, even for preaching, in order to help retain the context of Scripture. This isn’t surprising as even their ESV Pulpit Bible is in paragraph. A lot of preachers do use Crossway’s paragraph editions for preaching. Crossway would rather improve navigation in paragraph, even just slightly, than disrupt readability. It wasn’t a matter of navigation vs readability. They wanted to do both.

For those who prefer to preach from single-column paragraph, I think this edition is one of the easiest to preach from. It’s much easier than the Legacy and I think it’s a better choice. It has fewer words per line, more space between the lines, a larger font, thicker and more opaque paper, and the verse numbers are just large enough to stand out.

I preached from it a few times and I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. I regularly preach from both verse-by-verse and paragraph editions in both single and double column. I found this one to be one of the easiest paragraph editions in either single or double column layouts. Of course, it does take an extra second or two to find the verse numbers, but they were never difficult to find. The paper is easier to turn than I expected. The print is dark and easy to read from the pulpit. The low amount of show-through makes it a joy to read from. I don’t write my sermon notes in the margins, but if I did then I think I’d want larger margins. I think it’s good for smaller notes.


The ESV Preaching Bible is the best single-column edition that I’ve preached from. For me, this edition isn’t too difficult to preach from but it might take a few sermons to get used to it if you’re used to vbv or double-column. The quality isn’t at the same level of Royal Jongbloed and Heirloom editions, but it’s not far behind. The goatskin is nice and I love the paper and print quality.

Don’t let the label of “Preaching Bible” keep you from using this Bible for other uses or if you’re not a preacher. There’s really nothing that sets it apart specifically as a preaching Bible. There are no ruled pages for sermons, no sermon helps, etc. It’s just a large print single column Bible that has a little more space around the verse numbers, which as slightly larger than normal. This is a great choice for those who prefer single-column paragraph layouts. It’s also great for reading.

I recommend the ESV Preaching Bible to anyone that prefers single-column paragraph editions for preaching, or to anyone that’s interested in a large print single-column paragraph Bible for reading, highlighting, or taking notes.


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.


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