Saturday, August 27, 2016

Well bound, beautiful, blissfully readable, and criminally underrated

In 2007 Crossway published the Single Column Reference Bible. This was still some time before the single column format gained some traction. As such, it was a bit of an oddity. In 2011, Crossway canceled this same edition. The reference line went off in a different direction and the single column format was primed for the Legacy Heritage, and now the Reader's Bible.

Sometime after the moratorium on the edition, Crossway's ESV SCR has become something of a "sleeper hit." It has a devoted following of readers or would-be readers most all of whom want to see Crossway bring this edition back into print. In truth, it is perhaps more highly regarded now than it was upon initial release.

In 2013 the prestigious R. L. Allan released their goatskin bound edition of the ESV SCR. The reviews were uniformly positive. You can find a great video review here:

You can also consult Mark Bertrand's review.

Since then, nothing. Crossway has no plans to produce another edition of the SCR. Schuyler has no plans, although it might be something they consider doing down the road. The prestigious R.L. Allan announced plans for a reformatted version of the ESV SCR in February 2015 via social media. Since then, progress has been apparently slow. No new updates have been forthcoming in the past year and a half and it was slated for launch in February of this year.

R.L. Allan will eventually get a new binding of the ESV SCR ready for shipment. Until then, one is struck by dirth of available copies. It is hard not to think that one of the better designed reading Bibles has somehow fallen by the wayside. For those fortunate enough to have Crossway's original edition, hold onto them - it doesn't look like we'll see a new run too soon.

Which brings me to the ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible I recently reviewed. Crossway makes great product in-house, although its cowhide volumes tend to go under the radar compared to the Jongbloed produced volumes offered by Schuyler, Allan, and Cambridge, and Allan's in-house editions, now bound by Ludlow. The Verse-By-Verse Reference Bible is on its way to becoming the new "sleeper hit." It has laid low and relatively unnoticed, save for a handful of reviews upon its initial release. Reader's, however, are beginning to catch up to this otherwise under acclaimed edition and there is more talk about it those circles that are typically in the know.

If you've never really spent time with the ESV and you're looking for a well made Bible that you can keep coming back to, take a closer look at the Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible. This is going to be another one of those releases by Crossway that slips under the radar for so long, and by the time it is picked up, it will already be gone. Just watch the secondary market soar on this one after it is taken out of print.


  1. I found a pocket edition ESV from Crossway and it has grown on me. While I'm not versed in Biblical languages I find the ESV to be one of my favor translations. It's eminently readable and understandable and as far as craftsmanship goes Crossway is solid. I'm more Orthodox too,and not Protestant but I too have come to appreciate Crossway.

    1. The ESV is always a good choice, especially if you want a translation that keeps pace with scholarship, but avoids some of the pitfalls of the NRSV. I see no problem utilizing it in the context of Orthodoxy - most Orthodox Churches use some variety of the KJV, NKJV, or RSV, and the ESV is within the same translation family.