ESV Omega Thinline Reference Bible: Goatskin, black. Wheaton: Crossway. $249.00.
A “Premium Bible”?
In the not too distant past, we saw the rise of “e-reading” platforms like the Kindle (first edition in 2007) that some book lovers were convinced would bring about the death of the printed page. It made sense at the time. Everything online, electronic, and digital was the future and everything printed on physical paper represented the past. It was just too expensive and slow to keep producing newspapers, magazines, and books with paper and ink.
But then something strange happened. Printed books did not die out. If anything, the digital world actually made physical books more available and far-reaching thanks to online shopping. Which brings us to Scripture. Printed editions of the Bible have also flourished, and now we have the rise of “premium” bibles with carefully selected leather covers, paper, and printing. Specialty imprints like Schuyler, Cambridge, and Allan have been around for some time, but now major publishers like Crossway and Thomas Nelson have begun producing their own premium bibles.
The ESV Omega Thinline
If you have been following Crossway, you know they have gone all-in on the premium Bible market and their Omega Thinline is a great example of what they offer. Before getting to the materials and layout, I have to point out the very nice presentation. The Omega comes in an elegant black box with gold lettering, similar to the bible itself. Open the box, and you find the bible wrapped in a black felt-like material. The publishers also include a card, pledging to replace the Omega if the buyer experiences any defects in printing or if the binding fails during normal use.
The Omega Thinline boasts a very supple black goatskin cover. The cover extends just beyond the text block, to what Crossway calls a “generous half yapp.” The spine features 4 raised ribs and the words “HOLY BIBLE”, the “ESV” logo, “ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION”, and the “Crossway” logo stamped in gold along the spine. The cover is perimeter stitched and could I not find a flaw anywhere in the work. The pages are art gilded in what appears to be salmon under gold.
There are 4 ribbons included (black, dark brown, mocha, and light brown). I was aware of complaints about Crossway’s choice of ribbons on their bibles, but in my estimation, the color and size of the ribbons go well with the aesthetics of the Omega Thinline. I could be wrong, but I failed to see a problem with slightly thinner ribbons on a thinner bible.
The Omega Thinline was produced using the 2016 ESV Text. The font is a very readable 10-point Lexicon type. The biblical text is laid out in a double-column format. The text of Scripture is “line matched”, meaning that text on one side of the page overlaps the text on the opposite side of the page.
As this is a reference bible, there is slightly more to the page than just the text of Scripture, but not too much. References are laid out in the lower right corner of the page, with brief textual notes along the bottom. The extra-biblical material is printed in a much smaller font, keeping it from becoming a distraction. If you are interested in devotional reading and concentrating on the inspired words themselves, the Omega will do nicely.
Thinline bibles like this one serve an important purpose. Smaller than a full-sized bible but larger (and more legible) than a pocket bible, they strike a good balance. After years of lugging around massive study bibles, I came to appreciate the ease of carrying the Omega Thinline. I had the opportunity to teach through the Letter of James with this bible and wondered how it would function. I knew I would be reading from the text, looking up at the class, and then back down at the text. How easy would it be to find my place again? To my 40-ish eyes, the 10-point font could have been a little larger, but it was always legible and I never lost my place. To be clear, the Omega is not advertised as a Preaching Bible, but in my limited experience it functioned surprisingly well as a “Teaching Bible.”
The ESV Omega Thinline Reference Bible is a beautiful presentation of God’s Word. Crossway has given us a thinline that balances premium materials, size, and functionality well. This is a bible that can be used for reading devotionally as well as teaching or preaching from, and has been crafted to last as an heirloom to pass on to future generations.
A copy of this Bible was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.