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ESV Single Column Legacy Bible Review

Crossway’s ESV Single Column Legacy Bible has a beautiful layout with the design philosophy of the perfect page. It has wide margins, thick paper, and a large font. Made with readers in mind, Crossway has set a new standard in page layout.




Where to buy

Christianbook: ESV Single Column Legacy Bible, Pocket Cover, TruTone, Brown/Cordovan, Portfolio Design

Amazon: ESV Single Column Legacy Bible (TruTone, Brown/Saddle, Timeless Design) (Esv Bibles)

Cover and Binding

The cover a two-tone brown TruTone (a soft imitation leather) with a paper liner. I was able to curl it around in any shape I wanted and it went back to lying flat. To me, it feels like calfskin. I love the look and feel of the grain. The cover is sewn around the edges, adding strength. The cover is very flexible. The binding is Smyth sewn, so it lays flat. It does take some breaking in before it will lay flat in Genesis.



The paper is 36 gsm (grams per square meter) Thincoat Plus. It feels very thick. I kept trying to separate the pages, thinking I had two pages when I actually just had one. It is smooth and not at all shiny. Although it is opaque it does have more show-through than I expected for the page thickness. The paper is very white.

Text and Layout

The font is 9-point Lexicon with a 10.75 leading, giving lots of space between the lines. It is a black-letter text and is sharp and readable. The text is printed with line-matching, so the lines of text line up with the text on the backside of the page. This improves contrast which greatly helps readability because there is no text showing through between the lines of text. The print is consistently dark.

The layout is the real star of the show. It follows the renaissance concept of the perfect page, with roughly a 2:3 ratio page geometry, and looks great. It is unique for a Bible with section headings. This is a wide-margin edition, but instead of the section headings placed within the text, they are placed in the margins. This helps in readability. I was able to read without any distractions or disruptions between paragraphs. Since they are in the margin, they do take up some of the writing space. Moving the headings to the margins in order to improve readability was the purpose of the wider margin. The margins are great for writing, but they’re also great for leaving clean.

This is my favorite layout for wide-margin editions. I like the writing space on the outside margin because inner margins are too difficult to use. I badly want Crossway to make a KJV edition of this Bible.

The top outer corner of each page shows the page number, book name, chapter number, and verse number of the first verse that starts on that page.


This edition doesn’t have cross-references, but it does have translation notes. The notes are located at the bottom of the page and are keyed to the text with numbers. This works, but I could also see a benefit of the notes being in the margin next to the verse. I think that would make the headings blend in too much though. The text for the notes is small. I’m guessing it’s a 5-point font.


The concordance is 72 pages and in double column. The text is small but readable, so there are lots of entries. The primary word is in bold and the verses are offset with each verse on its own line. I found it easy to use.


There are 8 color maps. These are the same maps that are standard in other Crossway editions. My only complaint or suggestion is there needs to be an index to the maps. This would make the maps much easier and faster to use. The maps are labeled well, so they’re not hard to use. I just think an index would be nice.


This edition has one ribbon. It’s brown and very long. I think it’s too thin, but making it wider would increase the cost. For its price it’s fine.


This is one of the most readable layouts I’ve seen in any Bible. Moving the headings to the margin and the overall page design makes this a Bible I want to read for long periods of time. The size feels right too- not too big or too small. The wide margins are great for taking notes and adding references or just leaving blank. The paper is nice and the print is amazing. Crossway seeks to set new standards with the Legacy. They’ve done a great job. I highly recommend Crossway’s ESV Single Column Legacy Bible.

Wanna know how it compares to the Clarion? Yes? Then it’s a good thing I took Clarion/Legacy comparison photos…


Where to buy

Christianbook: ESV Single Column Legacy Bible, Pocket Cover, TruTone, Brown/Cordovan, Portfolio Design

Amazon: ESV Single Column Legacy Bible (TruTone, Brown/Saddle, Timeless Design) (Esv Bibles)


Crossway Publishers provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review.

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