Today we are reviewing the ESV bible with Creeds and Confessions put out by crossway. I have broken this review into sections so that readers can look for the information they want quickly. See the video below for a more personal look.
The ESV bible is a formal equivalent translation, which means that it seeks to be more word for word in relation to the original languages. While the ESV is formal, I have found it to be far more readable than the “competing” formal translation of the NASB (New American Standard Bible). In terms of readability and translation, ESV has consistently remained my go to.
The textual basis of the ESV is what you would expect in a modern translation. For the Greek text, the Nestle-Aland 28th, and United Bible Societies 5thedition. For the Hebrew text the ESV uses the Biblia Hebracia Struttgartensia, 5thedition.
Physical appearance and feel:
The edition I have is the goatskin black and so I’ll be speaking to that, but this bible does come in trutone black and brown overboard, which, crossway has consistently put out as solid binding options.
It is worth noting that this is the first premium bible I have received and so while some other reviews have noted a lesser quality in the leather, I have not noticed nor found any complaint with the leather. One of the most appealing parts of this bible, is the appearance and feel, no doubt. It flops open extremely well at nearly every page and you really just don’t want to put it down. To be honest, I’ve enjoyed this bible so much that I’ve kept the box for storage when I’m not using it. I took it out to bible study to have a more full experience to review and it felt like taking a Ferrari mudding, but nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed having it with me.
It is your standard double column format, with cross refences and footnotes. One thing I noticed and liked about this edition was that the cross references, while I needed to adjust to them, are separate from the footnotes in a section below the right column text. The type size is said to be around 10.5, but I perceive it to be a little bigger, but this could be because I’m used to 8pt font in my bible. Regardless, I was really pleased with the text size and found myself enjoying the feeling of more comfortable reading. The pages are a little thin, but feel like a higher quality than your standard thinline. One thing that I really wanted to mention is that I was really impressed with the ghosting. Ghosting, seeing the text from other pages from the page you’re on, is a big thing for me. I expected this bible to have bad ghosting honestly, and really, I have found it to be quite minimal which made me extremely happy.
A small note about the physical attributes of this bible, which is probably my only negative point, is that you are given two ribbons. This is really a small thing to focus on, especially since ribbons can be added very easily, but in my mind I would expect a bible with additional features that you would be reading in to provide that extra ribbon. For me I will likely add a ribbon so that I can have one in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament, and one in the confessions section.
This ESV includes a concordance and those gorgeous maps, but the additional feature of this bible, the inclusion of creeds and confessions, are what make it stand out and worth purchasing. Not only does it include some creeds and confessions, it includes all of the post reformation confessions you would want in a collection. This bible includes the full text of four creeds and definitions from the early church along with six confessions and three catechisms that came about from the protestant reformation. Prior to each of the documents there is a historical and theological introduction by Chad Van Dixhoorn (read more here). Each document has their corresponding scripture proofs, which I’m glad were not neglected.
The Apostles Creed (ca. 200–400)
The Nicene Creed (325)
The Athanasian Creed (381)
The Chalcedonian Definition (451)
The Augsburg Confession (1530)
The Belgic Confession (1561)
The Articles of Religion (1563)
The Canons of Dort (1618–19)
The Westminster Confession (1646)
The London Baptist Confession (1689)
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563)
The Westminster Larger Catechism (1647)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647)
One of the reasons I liked the Reformation Study bible was the inclusions of creeds and confessions, in fact, I liked that aspect so much that I didn’t get the condensed edition because it excluded it. I would much rather have the creeds and confessions over and against commentary. Here ESV delivered exactly what I was looking for so that I don’t need to carry around a supplemental means of reading a confession with my bible readings and I can have reference to historical positions with me in my ESV bible. The only negative that I have to include regarding this feature of the ESV has to be the translation in the apostle’s creed of “Hell” over and against Hades. While this is a moot point, I found this to be a missed opportunity to make a distinction that many English translations miss that can cause confusion with our theological presuppositions.
A last an important feature, that should be highlighted, of this ESV is the lifetime guarantee for both the trutone and leader editions. The card that comes with this bible states, “Because of its quality materials and expert craftsmanship, this ESV bible is guaranteed to last for as long as you use it. If you should experience any defect in its printing or failure in its binding during normal use, we will replace it with a Bible of equal or greater value.” That is something we all want to hear when putting our wallets towards a bible.
To wrap up my review I will say this, I have had my ESV thinline since a few years after my conversion and so it has some miles on it. I have invested in highlighting, cross referencing, and writing notes in it as much as I could. Through the years I have picked up several beautiful bibles that I’ve used for a bit thinking they could replace the sentimental ESV thinline I have had. None of them have exceeded, until I got this particular edition with the creeds and confessions. While I will find a purpose for my thinline, there was no doubt in my mind that this ESV with the creeds and confessions had become my default bible.
I highly recommend this bible whether in trutone or the goatskin, and I definitely believe that the goatskin will be a solid investment for you if you’re looking for a more long-term bible of higher quality.
See the video below for a more personal look.
*Note the amazon link is an affiliate links meaning that I receive a small commission when these books are purchased through these links.