As much as we love great books, we at Things Above Us hope to point you to The Book, the Bible, which is God’s Word. By God’s grace, there has been a renaissance of so-called “premium Bibles” published in the last five to ten years or so. Premium Bibles tend to come in leather covers, are printed on specially selected paper stocks, and include aesthetic features like raised spine hubs and art gilding. You can find some of our reviews of premium Bibles here, here, and here. Ideally, a premium Bible is one that should be used, cherished, and passed on to loved ones. Yes, many of them can cost upwards of $200 to $300, but I suspect many of us at this very moment hold small screens in our hands which cost three to four times as much and will be discarded and replaced in under a year.
As we noted before, Crossway has been one of the leading publishers to go all-in on producing premium Bibles. In this review, we have the privilege of looking at Crossway’s ESV Preaching Bible in beautiful black goatskin. The Bible under review was printed in a standard paragraph format (except when it’s not, as we will see) but Crossway has also now released a verse-by-verse edition of the Preaching Bible.
The ESV Preaching Bible boasts a soft (and fantastic smelling) black goatskin cover. The cover extends past the text block, into a half yapp. Like the Omega Thinline, the Preaching Bible‘s spine has four raised ribs or hubs and the words “HOLY BIBLE,” the “ESV” logo, “ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION,” and the “Crossway” logo stamped in gold along the side. The cover is flawlessly perimeter stitched. The binding is Smyth-sewn.
The pages are art gilded in a red, almost salmon color under gold. The paper is opaque with a nice cream color to it and, according to my research, comes in at 36gsm which will work well for underlining and note-taking. One of the few complaints I have about this Bible is the choice of ribbons. The two black ribbons included are on the thinner side. As I mentioned in my review of the Omega, thinner ribbons do not feel out of place on a thinner bible, but in the case of the larger Preaching Bible they appear a little flimsy and insubstantial.
Text and Layout
The Preaching Bible uses the 2016 ESV Text. The font is what Crossway identifies as a 10-point Lexicon type. Though the font could have been a little larger, it should be legible enough for anyone with decent eyesight or at least a pair of reading glasses. The biblical text is laid out in a single-column format and is line matched so that text on one side of the page overlaps with the text on the opposite side of the page. The Preaching Bible maintains a paragraph format throughout apart from poetic sections which switch to verse-by-verse.
Crossway has said that their Preaching Bible was designed with input from over 1,000 ministers who preach regularly. Though technically not a wide margin Bible, the Preaching Bible features ample space for taking notes on the top, bottom, and outer edges of the page. There is slightly less space on the inner margins towards the gutter but still enough room for those who can write small. The designers made the interesting choice to place page numbers centered at the top of each page. The textual notes and cross-references are minimal and appear at the bottom of the biblical text. All of these features add up to an uncluttered page, allowing the reader/preacher to find his place quickly when glancing up at the congregation and back down at the text.
The ESV Preaching Bible is another solid contribution from Crossway to the premium Bible market. The elegant black goatskin, art gilding, and generous font size all make this Bible a pleasure to use in service to the church or simply to read from devotionally. We look forward to seeing Crossway continue to respond to input and refine their Bible production. Highly recommended.
ESV Preaching Bible. Goatskin black ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway. $249.00.
A copy of this Bible was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.