ESV Reader’s Bible: a review

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Don Johnson's picture

But it's not for everyone. I'd be interested in the impressions of others who have used it.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

But it's not for everyone. I'd be interested in the impressions of others who have used it.

Why is it so big?

My ESV fits in my hand and it has all the chapters and verses

Don Johnson's picture

It is printed on the kind of paper you would find in a quality paperback, also formatted for easy reading, wide margin, largish font.

It is meant for personal reading, not for church use. You would have a real hard time finding your spot if the preacher called out a passage.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Andrew K's picture

Fully agree about the section headings. That's a deal-breaker for me, since I consider them more distracting than the chapter/verse divisions.

Don Johnson's picture

I suppose I should clarify that there are only some headings. Quite a bit less than in traditional chapter and verse Bibles. For example, in Genesis, there are these headings

Creation and the Fall
Noah
The Tower of Babel
Abraham and the Beginning of the People of God
Isaac
Jacob
Joseph

In some books I think there are fewer than that. It just seemed somewhat incongruous to put in the headings in a "text only" Bible.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

pvawter's picture

Don,

You mentioned in your review that you prefer to read the Bible chronologically. Care to share how that is structured? We're just about finished reading through the Bible as a family, and I'm thinking about starting a chronological plan with them next.

Paul

Don Johnson's picture

I've cobbled together my own. I have a copy available in PDF on my church website, not sure if it is the latest edition. I find that I make little adjustments each time I go through. There are portions where we are simply guessing, the chronology markers are not always clear. I will check later today and send a link.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

dgszweda's picture

I have been meaning to get this. I have read from this set, and from a reading perspective, I feel that it puts Scripture in a whole different light.  I agree, I wouldn't use this in worship or preaching, but in terms of just reading, I would recommend everyone to try it.

John E.'s picture

For me, the reader's Bible helps me read larger chunks of Scripture in one sitting. I had previously been unaware of how much the chapter and verse divisions slowed me down. In fact, prior to first reading my ESV Reader's Bible, I scoffed at a friend who told me that I would find that to be true.

This is one of the things were different people are going to respond differently as readers to different things. I appreciate Don's honesty and humility with his review. 

I'm waiting to be in a group setting (Sunday school, Bible study, etc.) where someone brings a reader's Bible. I will then spring an impromptu Bible Sword Drill on the group. 

Bert Perry's picture

I'm not sold on the notion of thicker paper being helpful--I've got a number of Bibles that I've read through multiple times, and it's the binding that gives way, not the paper--but I wonder whether it would be nice to eliminate the chapter and verse for reading.  I do know that, absent those things in ordinary books, I can read hundreds of pages at a sitting.  Maybe it would be the same with God's Word.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John E.'s picture

A friend of mine is a paper snob. He's very picky about the paper, binding, and ink used in Bibles. He's explained to me what's wrong with the paper in my single volume ESV Reader's Bible. I didn't listen close enough to tell you what's wrong with the paper, though. 

Don Johnson's picture

I wrote a blog for our church people with various plans, you can find it here. My 2018 Chronological plan is there, it is my most current version. I'll do an update in December to publish a 2019 plan. 

I also have links to some nice alternate plans provided by the Navigators, and Murray M'cheyne's plan also.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Paul J's picture

I have a NIV set-up in chronological order to be read in a year which I read though periodically.  We did it as a church a number of years ago with a blog talking about what we were reading each day.  I've enjoyed the complete Bible some years and others I've dug into things more and not covered that much ground.  This Readers Bible is intriguing to me.

Don Johnson's picture

The more believers read the Bible, the more I recommend new approaches. We can get into a rut of just reading. Our chronological schedule is the fruit of a church project where I preached through the Bible chronologically while we were all reading the same thing. Two year program. One of the most profitable periods in our ministry.

your mention of the NIV chronological Bible prompted me to check CBD. There are several options available.

I might try one of those out. I'll probably argue with some of their chronological choices, no doubt!

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

josh p's picture

Thanks for the review Don. I’m interested in the reader’s Bible but I can see how I would start identifying chapters as I read which would be distracting. I am in John but when I get finished I am going to try out the chronological approach. That sounds like it would be really helpful.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I don't have the ESV Reader's Edition, but I did make it a point to get a single-column ESV. It's laid out in paragraphs, much like a "normal" book. The verse numbers are very, very small (you easily forget they're there). The chapter numbers are somewhat prominent, but it's pretty much like reading a normal book. I think the standard, double-column layout is odd and I don't know why Bible publishers keep using it.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

The reason for 2 columns in Bibles is classic typesetting--the jigs that held the type were limited in size, so old, classic, worthwhile books are often printed this way.  So if you want to convey to a lot of customers that what's in there is classic and worthwhile, you go with Gutenberg, more or less.

Might change over the next few decades with Kindle reading and such, but for historical reference.

For my part, regarding paper, I'm just glad that the paper they used for a lot of books when I was growing up is gone--the stuff that would turn brown after a few years because they hadn't gotten the acid out that the paper mill used to dissolve the lignin in the pulpwood.  Yes, I love other sources of cellulose for paper, like cotton/rag paper, but for me, the fact that nobody uses anything but acid free paper anymore is such a blessing.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Don Johnson's picture

Doesn't two columns allow more text per page also? It seems so to me.

for preaching, I prefer the verse by verse set up, although these days I find myself putting most of my passages on the screen via PowerPoint, then reading from the screen. There are pluses and minuses with this, of course.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Bert Perry's picture

Think about it, Don; two columns has space in the middle, one does not.  So if you're using the same font, you get less text per page, all else the same, with two columns.  

There might be the possibility of ease of reading, but obviously that would be disputed, too.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

A PowerPoint!? You Convergent, you!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

Yeah, well... my wife likes it. (and she's older than me!)

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

pvawter's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

I wrote a blog for our church people with various plans, you can find it here. My 2018 Chronological plan is there, it is my most current version. I'll do an update in December to publish a 2019 plan. 

I also have links to some nice alternate plans provided by the Navigators, and Murray M'cheyne's plan also.

Thanks Don!

Paul J's picture

I'm late back to this conversation but did a search on YouVersion searching reading plan using the word chronological and see a whole list of Chronological reading plans, some one year other shorter and I see one divided up into 90 segments.  I forget about how vast of a resource YouVersion is.

Paul J's picture

As an addition to this conversation I received a sample of Immerse, The immersion reading Bible from Tyndale today.  It is Ephesians and is set-up similarly to what Don reviewed. I've been using 5 different translations for my personal reading switching back and forth, not always using the same ones each year.  Over the past 13 years I have enjoyed reading the NLT which is what Tyndale is using for this.http://immersebible.com/

Don Johnson's picture

Paul, the website says they have no section headings at all, have you noticed any?

Interesting project, they seem to be taking an innovative approach to book order, somewhat chronological, and also "apostolic origin" orientation. You would have to look inside "Book 1" on their site to see what I mean.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Paul J's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Paul, the website says they have no section headings at all, have you noticed any?

Interesting project, they seem to be taking an innovative approach to book order, somewhat chronological, and also "apostolic origin" orientation. You would have to look inside "Book 1" on their site to see what I mean.

That's interesting Don.  I had only looked at the sample they sent to me.  As you said it is more in themes then chronological.

Regarding section headings I do not see any of those.  In the sample of Ephesians they have nothing just the book title and then into it. The first two verses separated as stand alone. Having the 2 sentences of verse 1 separated, the first describing and defining Paul and the second explaining who he is writing to. Then verse two alone. for before getting into the text at what is verse 3 Other then the paragraph breaks it has three districted breaks. The first after verse 2 and then the second after Paul's prayer at the end of chapter 3 and the last in chapter 6 between verses 20 and 2, between the body and the close.  The whole book Ephesians is 8 pages.  I see they have a lot of sample readings you can do on the site.