A Well Bound Bible

As a person who marks up the Bible as I study it, I don’t want to switch to a new copy anytime soon. Once I have worked slowly through a text, my notations are invaluable for future readings and for answering questions in class. They’re also very helpful when teaching survey courses on the Bible, since it’s not always possible to re-read, for instance, 1 Kings the night before I lecture for three hours on the whole book .

For these reasons  I have been very frustrated with some copies of the Bible that I have marked up in the recent past. Why am I frustrated? For the simple reason that these Bibles have fallen apart. Genesis is ready to fall out of the copy of the Bible I have been using.

This has led me to wonder whether the people who publish these Bibles actually expect them to be read! A poor binding is no trouble if the thing isn’t going to be used. More likely, the assumption is probably made that people will just switch to a new copy every so often.

But I’ve recently acquired a new copy of the Bible, and I’m very pleased with this binding. It has the added benefit of being a Hebrew English diglot–Hebrew in one column, English in the next (NKJV). This is great for the OT, but unfortunately, the NT is also in Hebrew instead of Greek. Oh well. Nothing’s perfect.

What would make this one perfect? Well, there are no cross-references in the text. In my experience, the best set of cross-references comes with the ESV Classic Reference Bible.

So if I could blink three times, this Bible would have this fine binding, Greek as the NT Diglot text, and the ESV’s cross references.

NKJV 2 Thessalonians 3:1 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you . . .”

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  1. Yeah, our family Bible is a hardbound ESV Classic Reference Edition (the one that looks like a Koran), and it is falling apart! I only used it for a year, and it started falling to pieces.

    I disagree about the cross references. The NASB’s cross-references are much more extensive than the ESV’s. As a matter of fact, the Lockman Foundation should sell there cross-references so that other Bible translations can use them. If there’s anything I would change about the ESV, it would be to upgrade it to the NASB’s cross-references.

  2. I was highly disappointed in the Journaling ESV Bible. I am pretty young and a pilot and I still cannot read the text when I am teaching. I was looking for large print ESV with wide margins. It looks like they are about to come out with one. They also are coming out in Feb. with the “preacher’s Bible” that is single column, wide margins and each verse on a separate line for quick reference. (maybe I should work for ESV when this military thing stops)

  3. If you ever find the perfect copy of the Bible, but do not like the binding, you can get it professionally rebound. If everything else is perfect and you have comments all over it, you may find rebinding to be a huge help.

  4. Veering into another realm regarding Bibles and translations, I am interested to hear from you guys on a particular subject. The ones who comment here seem to be strong advocates of original languages and the importance of knowing those as we study God’s Word. That is certainly something that finds common agreement.
    For those of you who are students of translations and their various merits and demerits, how do believers in the US reconcile having so many versions from which to choose while many around the world do not have such options?
    Is it ethical for US believers to have such a selection when there are thousands of people groups with no or only partial translations available to them? How do US/Western believers reconcile spending several years and much money on translations when others go without God’s Word?
    I am truly interested in your views.

  5. Bonnie,

    US/Western believers should feel no guilt for that for which they are not responsible. I personally have no control over what Zondervan (NIV, TNIV) or Thomas Nelson (NKJV, NLT) or the Lockman Foundation (NASB) or Broadman and Holman (HCSB) decide to do.

    Moreover, I don’t see the connection between one place that has a lot of translations feeling guilty that another has none. It’s kind of like the response to the comment that you should eat everything on your plate because there are children starving in Africa. My eating everything on my plate is not going to help those kids, and it might make me fat!

    Hopefully the multiplication of translations will result in more people reading the Bible and trying to get it into the hands of those who don’t have it.



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