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ESV Classic Reference Bible Hardcover – April 7, 2011
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I'll lay out what I wanted and then indicate with a yes or no whether this bible fit the bill.
ESV - Yes
Lined margins for journaling - Yes
Verse cross references - No
Off white page color - Yes
Large font - No (it's only a 7, I should have held out for the large print version coming out in March)
Single column - Yes
Ribbon marker -Yes (although I would have liked to have 4 ribbons instead of just one)
A thicker page to prevent bleed through - Yes
NOT a compact version - Yes
Attractive Cover - Yes (I am very pleased with the appearance, it's nicer than the photo portrays)
Lies virtually flat when open - Yes (even from the very first time I opened it)
Hardcover - No (I had wanted a hardcover, but none I found had enough of the features I wanted. However, after receiving this one I am very happy with the soft cover and am glad I did go with a hardcover. This one feels nice in your hands and lays nicely in your lap when curled up on the sofa.)
Sturdy binding - Maybe (It seems pretty secure and I can lift it by just the cover without worry. I don't know how it would hold up over time if toted around. I plan to keep this one at home for personal study time.)
Given all of the above, I am very happy. Although, as previously mentioned, I really should have waited for the large print version of this very same bible to be released in March. The font is very small and a bit difficult to read with my over 40 eyes. If you need a larger font and can wait 2 months, I strongly recommend that. If small font doesn't bother you, buy it today.
I deducted one star because there is a section of about 50 pages that had been obviously folded over during the binding process. They were unfolded and laid back flat prior to it being packed (probably by someone on a quality control line). This is all fine and it isn't anything that I would have returned the book over.
The print is very small, so be aware of this. I mean, it has to be in order to fit the whole Bible into a compact form. The pages are thicker than I expected - I use a gel-ink pen to underline and write in margins. You can still see it through the page, but not as bad as I thought (see photos).
As far as the ESV translation goes, I love it. It reads smoothly in our modern English language, while preserving the accuracy of God's word.
Sence it was free I was just expecting a Bible that I was going to have to search though forever to find what I wanted, but that was not the case. Just go to the table of contents click the link for the book you need, then click the link for the chapter you need and with just a few presses of the next page button you will be at the verse you need, great for a Wensday night Bible study.
I was also happy that it has all the links for the foot-notes and cross-reference systom.
As for the traslation itself it is not as choppy as the NASB, and it is much eaiser to read then the KJV and NKJV (I don't like either of those bibles). Is it enough to make me stop reading my NLT and NIV? No, but I will add it to the list of translations I will use from here on out, it really is a great Bible, if you've got a Kindle you should download it right away, if you don't buy it you won't be dissapointed.