Many of you know that I’ve been on the quest for the perfect reading Bible. What I mean by “reading Bible” is a Bible I can sit down for long periods of time with, sans distractions, and simply soak up the text the way I would a good novel. Study Bibles and ultra compact editions are automatically out (although they have their purpose). Unfortunately editions suited for this kind of reading are relatively rare. So far my favorite candidates have been the ESV Personal Size Reference Bible, the KJV Clarion, and the NRSV Standard Bible. All are solid reading editions, but none were quite what I was looking for. In a perfect world, I’d have just the text of the Bible, in the English Standard Version, attractively presented with absolutely nothing else (no verses, chapters, headings, etc.).
The ESV Single Column Legacy from Crossway may be as close as I ever get to my ideal, and thanks to the generosity of my family, I was able to obtain one for my birthday!
The ESV Single Column Legacy truly is a Bible designed from the ground up for reading, and reading only. No cumbersome cross references, introductions, double columns, etc. This is simply the text of Holy Scripture, presented cleanly and with few distractions.
The text is set up in a single column, like, you know, every other book that’s meant to be read. Double columns are cool and all because you can pack more text on a page, but they’re just not as comfortable for lengthy reading sessions. the 9pt font is super comfortable to read. Additionally, the layout is proportioned according the Renaissance “perfect page” ideal, so there’s plenty of space for your eye to actually rest on the text. The paper is the most opaque Bible paper I’ve seen, and the “line matching” feature that ensures the print aligns on both sides of the page really works to reduce “ghosting” (show-through).
There’s the standard ESV Concordance in the back, and some maps. The top grain leather edition includes two ribbon markers (thank you, Crossway!), classic-looking raised bands on the spine, and it smells really nice. All editions have sewn binding.
The ESV Single Column Legacy Bible is hands-down the most readable ESV edition on the market. At $30 for the TruTone edition, you can get this beautiful Bible (guaranteed for life by Crossway) and you may never need to buy another reading Bible again.
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More on this edition from the Bible Design Blog: