ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set With Chapter and Verse Numbers

Crossway’s original 6-Volume Reader’s Bible was made specifically with reading in mind. It didn’t include chapter breaks, verse numbers, section headings, footnotes, or references. It’s amazing for reading, but it can be difficult to use it for study, finding specific passages, or following along with reading plans. Crossway has found a way to add chapter and verse numbers back into this design while still retaining a high level of readability. The result is Crossway’s ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set With Chapter and Verse Numbers.

It’s available in cloth over board with cardboard slipcase (ISBN: 9781433565649) and cowhide over board in a hand-made walnut slipcase (ISBN: 9781433565656). I’m reviewing the cloth over board.

This edition doesn’t come with a nice booklet like the previous edition that tells about its materials. It does look to be the same. It was printed in China, but it looks and feels exactly the same as the other sets that were printed in Italy by L.E.G.O. (Legatoria Editoriale Giovanni Olivotto).

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.

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This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Christianbook

Amazon

and many local Bible bookstores

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Table of Contents

  1. Video Review
  2. The Six Volumes
  3. Cover and Binding
  4. Paper
  5. Typography
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Index of Chapters
  8. Slip Case
  9. Comparisons
  10. Conclusion

Video Review

Table of Contents

The Six Volumes

The 6 volumes present the books in the standard biblical order that we’re used to. The volumes include:

  1. Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy)
  2. History Books (Joshua – Esther)
  3. Poetry (Job – Song of Solomon)
  4. Prophets (Isaiah – Malachi)
  5. Gospels and Acts (Matthew – Acts)
  6. Epistles and Revelation (Romans – Revelation)

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Cover and Binding

These are hardcover editions with black cloth over board. The liner is black paper. The spine has intricate designs, the book title, ESV, volume number, English Standard Version, and Crossway printed in gold. The books are Smyth-sewn and include a black ribbon and gold/black head/tail bands. The ribbon is single-sided and just slightly thinner than the non-verse edition.

Their overall size is 8 x 5.5″ and range from 1″ to 1.75 ” thick. This set is .75″ thinner than the original (due to slightly thinner, but not thin, paper). This size is perfect for reading for long periods of time. The spine is slightly rounded, while the original cloth is flat. In this respect, it’s more similar to the cowhide.

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Paper

The paper is by no means thin paper, but it does have a slightly lower gsm than the non-verse editions. Those editions had 80gsm. I’d still guess this at 70 or higher. The main difference I can detect is this one has a creme hue in the gutter that the original doesn’t have. It’s extremely opaque and has a slight creme color. The texture makes it easy to turn. It has no glare under direct light. The page edges are not gilded. I love reading from this paper.

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Typography

The text is presented in single-column paragraph format with chapter and verse numbers, but no references or footnotes, and only a very few section headings. The header shows the book name in the left and right corner, or a section heading in the right corner. They’re printed in an elegant font. The first verse in a book or section has a drop-cap. Drop-caps, book names, and headings are in red.

Pagination is 99.99% identical to the non-chapter and verse edition. I’ve found very few sentences that have a single word difference, and that difference is usually made up so that the paragraph still ends on the same line on the page. It’s printed with line-matching (the lines on both sides of the page are printed back-to-back to improve readability). Poetry is the only place where the show-through is noticeable. Even then, it isn’t much at all.

The typeface is a 12-point black letter Trinité No.2 Roman font with a 15-point leading (the font plus the space between the lines). This gives the text a lot of white-space, making it great for reading. It has a wide enough inner margin to bring the text out of the gutter so it always lays flat on the page.

The chapters are marked with a red number in the margin. I still find them easy to ignore. I keep reading without relying on them to tell me to stop. The verse numbers are superscript. They’re small and light. I found them easy to ignore for reading. They’re not too difficult to find if you’re looking for them. It has a few section headings that break a book into 3-4 major sections.

It has around 12 words per line with 28 lines per page. This fits perfectly with my ideal 10-12 words per column to create the best balance between prose and poetry. It does have a few poetic lines that wrap a word or two to the next line, but I prefer this to having prose too wide. Like the non-verse edition, Psalm 119 keeps the English spellings of the Hebrew letters and prints them in red.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

A Table of Contents is placed at the front of each book. It shows which books are in that volume and the page numbers where they start. This is helpful for finding the books quickly.

Table of Contents

Index of Chapters

In the back of each book is an index of the chapters. This is held over from the original edition that didn’t have chapter and verse numbers marked in the text. It was needed in that set, but I don’t see it as necessary in this one. It doesn’t hurt to have it, though. It’s only a few pages.

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Slipcase

The slipcase is heavy cardboard covered in black. It has a fancy pattern printed on gold on both sides. This one doesn’t include the tracks that the non-verse edition has. In this manner it’s more similar to the walnut case design. This doesn’t provide support for the pages, but in my experience, this is better for the ribbons.

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Comparisons

From top to bottom (various volumes to show the spines) – cowhide over board without verse numbers, cloth without verse numbers, and cloth with verse numbers.

Here’s how the Crossway’s ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set With Chapter and Verse Numbers compares to the original edition in cloth over board and cowhide over board without chapter and verse numbers, and to the single volume ESV Reader’s Bible.

ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set in Cloth over Board

They look almost identical. The lack of chapter and verses are excellent for reading, but it’s more difficult to use with groups or follow standard reading plans.

ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set in Cowhide over Board

The cowhide doesn’t pick up lint like the cloth. It’s the one I recommend if you’re trying to choose between the two. The interior is the same as cloth, but this will give you an idea of what the exterior of the cowhide over board with chapter and verses would look like.

ESV Reader’s Bible

The single volume is handy, but of course isn’t as readable due to the denser text and thinner paper.

Table of Contents

Conclusion

I am a fan of reader’s editions. Without chapter and verse numbers they can be difficult to use for anything other than casual reading or using a reading plan made specifically for them. The ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set With Chapter and Verse Numbers does add the numbers back in, but it does so in a way that isn’t intrusive on the text. Even though the chapter and verse numbers are present, they don’t get in the way of reading.

The quality is outstanding. The paper is thick and opaque, and the color creates a perfect contrast with the dark font for reading for long periods of time. Everything about them draws me to read and study. I highly recommend the ESV Reader’s Bible Six Volume Set with Chapter and Verse number to anyone that wants a highly readable version of the ESV and still wants the usability of chapter and verse numbers.

Table of Contents

_________________________________________________________

This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Christianbook

Amazon

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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