ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible

ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible

 

Crossway has delivered some amazing Bibles, true works of art that make the Sacred Book a delight to read and to touch. I have owned a number of them and I have always been impressed but I don’t think any of Crossway’s Bibles have ever left me speechless…until now.

The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is, I think, the perfect reader’s edition. (Note: this review was not solicited by either Crossway or EvangelicalBible.com and neither organization provided a review copy.) This Bible is available in five colors, three of which are exclusive to evangelicalbible.com. The exclusive colors are Ocean Blue (I am reviewing today), Purple, and Green. Black and Brown are available from both Evangelical Bible and Crossway.

A little from the publisher and then on to the review:

“The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a special edition of the original ESV Single Column Legacy Bible. Based on the Renaissance ideal of a perfect page, the Single Column Legacy Bible features a simple, clear layout with generous margins.

As with Crossway’s other Heirloom Bibles, the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is printed in the Netherlands on high-quality European Bible paper and features art gilding, three ribbon markers, and an extra-smooth sewn binding. This exclusive edition is available in green, purple, and blue goatskin covers. The Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a fine edition that combines elegant design with the best production materials available. Features include (Your art gilding and ribbon colors will vary depending on color purchased.):

  • Black letter text
  • 9 pt. font
  • 28 gsm paper
  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • Concordance
  • Art gilding (blue under gold)
  • Three ribbon markers (Navy)
  • Leather lined in dark blue
  • Sewn binding
  • Raised hubs on the spine”

 

 

The Reading Experience Part 1: The Perfect Page (design layout)

When Crossway released the original ESV Single Column Legacy Bible in 2012, they stated that the design was based on the Renaissance idea of a perfect page. I have to say that they have achieved this goal; even the most untrained eye can see the care that has gone into the layout. Subject headings are shifted to the outer margin and the gutter, even with translation footnotes is more than generous. A 9-point font came as a bit of a surprise; it is sufficiently large enough for reading in large blocks of time without your eyes getting tired and small enough to keep this Bible from becoming a behemoth. The layout of this Bible is so perfect, in fact, that it has caused me to no longer care about the major complaint I had on the original, tiny verse numbers. I find myself getting “lost” in the text and I love it. As a teacher, I forget, sometimes, that the Bible is meant to be read and enjoyed and there is none better, in my opinion, than the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible. Simply look inside one and you will understand the joy that comes from reading the Bible. If I did not know better, I would swear that an ophthalmologist oversaw the design because it so perfectly caters to the human eye.

The Reading Experience Part 2: Paper and Font

The design layout is the most important feature of the Heirloom Single Column Legacy; it has to be because this a “Reader’s Bible.” I think we tend to forget that the Bible is literature. We know about its life changing power but we forget the literary experience of reading the Bible.

The Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is one of the best in the reader’s category. Two major factors affecting this are the paper and font. Crossway chose a cream colored paper for this Bible, in fact they use cream colored paper in a number of their Bibles. I cannot say enough about how smart this decision was. Reading this Bible outside in the Arizona sunlight was absolutely no challenge at all. I also read in my office with my bright overhead lights and did my bedtime reading with a softer white light. The bedside reading took about 90 seconds for my eyes to adjust but that is more an issue with my eyes than this Bible.

At 28gsm the paper is quite thin but the opacity is amazing; I do not think that I had to deal with any show-through at all.

Verse numbers are quite muted, so much so that I find it very easy to “get lost” in the reading. To the best of my knowledge, the Heirloom SCL uses a Lexington font which, I believe makes a frequent appearance in Crossway’s lineup. The font in crisp and clean in a rich deep black. While discussing this Bible with a colleague, I was asked if a red-letter edition is available and, thankfully, the answer is no. In some cases, I do not mind a red-letter edition. Here, though, a red-letter edition would prove an unnecessary distraction.

The goatskin

The feel of goatskin is unmistakable on a Bible and the feel of this goatskin is even better. The grain is pronounced but not overly pronounced. When I run my fingers over it, it feels like every nerve in my fingertips is awakened. In truth this is probably the same goatskin as on my Allan NASB Reader, or my Cambridge Concord, or even my Schuyler ESV w/Confessions a fact which would be due to the fact that they are all bound by famed Bible bindery, Royal Jongbloed. However, it feels just a little different and I can’t explain why. The best way I can describe it is to say that it reminds me of my grandmother’s rocking chair, it feels already broken in and ready for me but at the same time new and ready to be with me for ages.

Just the right amount of ribbons

3 ribbons are, in my estimation, just the right amount; you get one for Old Testament Reading, one for Psalms and Proverbs, and one for your New Testament Reading. It is true that there are other reading plans which require a larger number of ribbons but for this Bible I cannot complain. 2 ribbons would not be enough and any more than three would be too many.

Minimalist helps

There really are not a ton of helps/study tools in the Single Column Legacy Series. There are translation footnotes, subject headings in the margins, and a concordance. Don’t let that disappoint you, though, as this edition is more about the quality of your personal worship reading than your study and lesson prep.

Leaving a legacy of faith in your legacy Bible

With legacy in its name, I would be hard pressed to pass up mentioning leaving a legacy of faith to your children or grandchildren. This is not a traditional wide margin Bible nor is it per se a journaling Bible and yet there is room on every page to do just exactly that. One of the most unique features of the Bible is the fact that, even though they all have the same words on the pages, God creates personal relationships, with His people, through the Bible. Keeping records of that relationship is an ideal choice for using the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible so that, in the end, it will live up to its name and be an heirloom for your family.

How does the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Compare to others?

I do not wish to overburden you with a ton of comparisons, but there is one Bible that I would like to compare the Heirloom to, the Tyndale NLT Select Reference Bible. Both are single column and worthy of a place on your desk. The Select Reference features a slightly smaller 8.75-point font that is equally readable. Both Bibles feature exquisite goatskin from Jongbloed with a smythe sewn binding to ensure that they lay flat when opened.

The one “advantage” that is offered by the Select Reference would be the references in the outer margins, 40,000 in total but I’m not sure that really is an advantage. Both Bibles are spectacular and represent what I believe to be the pinnacle format from the respective publishers.

Why buy an Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible?

I am not even going to entertain the question of if you should buy, I think you should. Instead I want to summarize my thoughts as an explanation of why you ought to own an ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible.

  1. It is as perfect as you are going to get in terms of a reader’s Bible
  2. The craftsmanship guarantees that this Bible will live on in your family for generations.
  3. Using this edition will enhance your spiritual growth because you will consume larger portions of the Bible.

Overall Thoughts

If it is not obvious, I love it. Crossway offers a huge selection of Bibles, but for me this the best they offer. The ESV that I normally carry is the Schuyler ESV w/Confessions but I can say with confidence that this Bible will get plenty of use. As a matter of fact, I have been looking for a new primary translation for my audience and have narrowed the field to the ESV and the NLT and since I will be using both translations for different reasons, I think both the Heirloom Single Column Legacy and the Select Reference will end up being my main two Bibles for a while.

 

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