Friday, March 29, 2019

Bible Review: The ESV Preaching Bible from Crossway

The new ESV Preaching Bible is a flagship edition from Crossway geared to the preacher and pastor laboring week after week in the pulpits of our churches. Meaning, Crossway has focused on creating a product of very high quality and durability with design features that cater to the Word proclaimed. I think they have succeeded marvelously. In fact, meet my new preaching Bible.

Here's the description from Crossway (which captures the design philosophy behind the Bible):
Created from the ground up with input from pastors and church leaders, the ESV Preaching Bible was designed with the preacher in mind. The primary vision behind this innovative edition was to create a Bible specifically tailored to the task of preaching. To that end, this edition features highly readable 10-point type in a single-column format, enlarged and bolded verse numbers to make it easy to quickly locate verses on the page, extra-wide margins for notes, high-quality paper, a durable smyth-sewn binding, and a goatskin cover befitting a preacher’s most valuable tool.
As a 43-year old preacher <ahem> who has recently needed to switch to progressive lenses in my glasses, the 10-point type with beautiful, radiant white paper, is very easy on my eyes. Bleed through of text from the other side of the page is minimal and not distracting (something Crossway has been great at "dealing with" in their Bibles - thank you!

The single-column format with wider margins makes it easy to look up and preach and then look back down at the Bible and not lose your place. Some of the features unique to the ESV Preaching Bible are numbered in the following photograph: section headings, single-column format, goatskin cover, large chapter numbers, wide margins, textual footnoting to assist the reader (sometimes very helpful for on-the-fly textual variant comments!), gilt edging, maps, two ribbon markers, and Smyth-sewn binding.

One of the more important features of a great preaching Bible is the weight, which can make or break a Bible suited for the purposes of preaching. Frankly, a preaching Bible needs to be large enough to see easily but light enough that you're not getting too much of a workout while preaching (a problem, for example, with the NASB preaching Bible released last year by 3:16 Publishing in collaboration with John MacArthur). The ESV Preaching Bible weighs in at a little over 3.5 pounds — a great weight for a preaching Bible!

Also, the ESV Preaching Bible is covered in black goatskin leather which is both rugged and supple. Honestly, it's beautiful and likely will wear very well.

The hinges are a little stiff right out of the box, but with minimal breaking in, the Bible lays flat even when opened to Genesis or Revelation, which is impressive!

Maps are included in the back, but there is no concordance (something not needed when preaching). In fact, one could argue the maps are not needed either. Also, thankfully, the words of Christ are in black. I appreciate this because we have given our churches the sense that the "red words of Christ" are the most important, as if, all the other words of the Bible were not inspired by God! All the words are inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

In the end, the ESV Preaching Bible is a legacy Bible, one that will serve the working pastor well for years and years to come. I am happy to recommend it if you are looking for a very high-quality Bible designed especially for the preacher. Buy one. You will thank me later.