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September 26, 2007



Crossway's various editions of the ESV rock. This is another example of how they've developed a creative product that is, at the same time, so obvious and sensible that one wonders what took so long. Simply brilliant.

J. Mark Bertrand

You'll get no argument from me on that one, Mark. It's kind of like air bags in cars -- until they happen, you'd never think of having an inflatable pillow pop out of your steering wheel, but once the idea is out there, you can't understand how any car could not have them. With the Daily Reading Bible, the concept works so well and so simply that you want every Bible to have the same feature.


my goodness, I have stumbled upon a great blog here. I am glad to see someone else is the geek that I am. Great blog Mark, you will see me again.

J. Mark Bertrand

Welcome, Chad. I look forward to having you around. When I started writing about Bible design and binding, I thought I was one lone nut, but it turns out lots of people have exactly the same concerns and interests. We are not alone!


Speaking of three ribbon markers...

Hey mark (and anyone else),

I am having an esv rebound in black goatskin with three ribbon markers, but I cannot decide on what color ribbon (I dont want black)to have installed. I have dozens of different colors available...what should I do???


J. Mark Bertrand

I'm partial to the gold ribbons Oxford uses, which are similar to what the Daily Reading Bible uses. They harmonize well with gilt edges. It's nice if you can see the ribbon in advance, though, because color can vary wildly on "gold" -- my gold ribbons from Mechling are more white/pearl than gold to my eye. Red is also nice, if you can find a deep (as opposed to bright) one -- not burgundy but dark red.


I will have to check the gold out...currently I am leaning towards the dark red.

Jesus Saenz


Which ESV are you having rebound and who is doing the work? I had my Reformation Study Bible rebound in goatskin, the only problem I have with it is that the binder couldn't line it in leather so the covers are a little too stiff.

as far as ribbon color goes, I would favor the dark red, in fact I would consider three different shades of a deep/dark red.


Go with Mechling book bindery. They have a deluxe rebinding package option that has leather linings...I have had two done so far and they are beautiful. I have rebound an ESV classic reference that turned out great and has broken in so that it is on par with my Allan's. I Have an ESV classic thinline in calfskin that I was going to have rebound, but I may just have a local binder add in ribbons because bible has turned out to be very limp when handled.

Dark Red ribbons seem to have a lot of class. I also like the navy that Allan's uses...but that would be copying right?!?! :)


another way to add in ribbons that I may do...is to slide them into the spine, which has turned out nice before.

Jesus Saenz

Thanks for the recommendation, Matt. I have the 1599 Geneva Bible that I have wanted to send out to have rebound in goatskin, I will contact Mechling for their deluxe package for sure. I too have the ESV Thinline (Cordovan) and that calfskin is buttery soft, a real joy to handle.

Not too many people own a Bible from RL Allan, so its only copying to those that know ;-)


I had the cordovan in the classic reference style, but the stitching came loose and the leather, which funny enough turned out to be a dark burgundy, was delivered wrinkled (not at all smooth)...crossway said it was defect so I sent it in and got the black thinline. Although both are/were very limp when broken in.

I love Allan's bibles, and I cannot wait until their printing next year.

The bummer about rebinding is that no one will put the red under gilt edges...even on already clean edges.

Jesus Saenz

I was going to return my Allan ESV because the book block itself was a little stiff, but the leather is soooo thick and really soft I decided to keep it and hope that the book block will eventually loosen up. But now that Harper Collins will be printing the updated, anglicized translation I may wait for Allan's to start using those before I buy another ESV from RL Allan.


I had the same issues with the book block (same with some friends).


I too love the practicality of the Daily Reading Bible format and also wish it were available for other translations (the only reason I'm currently using an ESV is that I like the convenience of this format). I notice, though, that the Daily Reading format (and not just the ESV translation itself) seems to have been copyrighted/trademark protected. If you have connections to Crossway, perhaps you could check that. If so, there would seem to be a real obstacle to applying the format to other translations, which really is a shame.

One thing: I don't know why anyone would need all those ribbon markers. I have the paperback edition (because I didn't want to spend a lot of money on an ESV) and it has no ribbons. I keep a Levenger Page Point marker on the OT and when I've finished reading that, use the references at the bottom of the page to go to the other reading. That's the point of the footer: to tell you where else to go.

Tyler Lopez

I also recommend the one year to everyone. I prefer the ESV One Year Bible over the Daily Reading Bible. I bought a 'second' paperback from Crossway and would like to make it more durable, since I take it everywhere with me. Can I get this glued binding paperback rebound? Or should I just buy a new hardback edition and get it rebound for durability? I don't mind starting over from scratch and rebinding it, etc. I'm just looking for a durable, portable, ESV One Year Bible, that gets thrown around in my briefcase, car trunk, cargo pocket, etc that could last 5-10 years. Please advise.


Here's a nice, simple daily reading plan following the lectionary:

Note the relevant topic headings and the nice graphical layout of this edition letting you know when you're reviewing Sunday's message (Mon,Tues,Wed) and when you're preparing for the upcoming week's message (Thurs,Fri,Sat).

The advantage of a daily lectionary (compared to reading the Bible in linear or random order) is that you follow the flow of the church year this way and your daily reading stays in synch with the sermon. The downside is that you're only covering about half of the entire Bible this way.

Some combo of the two is probably the happy medium.

Gary Brown

I too lament the level of biblical literacy that infects us all today. I find this tool a real help and I must admit to liking the Daily Reading Bibles plan for the year very much. My detached plan has been copied and placed in my Allans ESV1T for a while and I'm looking to put a reduced size copy in my Allan PSR edition too, when it arrives (sigh). I've even laminated the plans to keep them looking smart.


This multi-volume set looks like an interesting approach to Daily Reading Bibles...
ISBN-10 = 1414306067
A 4-volume set, one for each season of the solar year, each with OT and NT readings as is common with most of these reading plans.
I wish they would have utilized that handy 5" width a little better by using a single-column format and adding some artwork, but it's a start.
Multi-volume Bibles permit a lot of design advantages in terms of ease-of-handling, font size and leading, etc. and the main disadvantage, namely portability, is hardly a concern with a daily reading bible because you only use one volume at a time anyway.


oops, I guess I should have called the multi-volume set I just posted a one-year bible instead of a daily reading bible to be consistent with the terminology Crossways is using.


Two more interesting One-Year Bibles...

1. Here's one for Kids. Of course, these are not complete Bibles, but 365 Bible stories (NLT translation) with discussion questions. I've seen other Bible story books that try to include a year's worth of stories, but this may be the only one I've seen with the days of the year assigned to pages, which I suspect will be a hit with kids.

I've got a soft spot for illustrated Bibles, which means I like kids' bibles. The pictures in this one look pretty good. The back cover says "classic bible art on almost every page". Single column text, comfortable font, hey, what's not to like?

2. Tyndale has quite a few one-year Bibles, most are 2-column editions. The only 1-column editions I know of are the "chronological one-year Bibles" which contain the full Bible text, just arranged chronologically. (By section, not just by book, as is done in Biblica.com's The Books of the Bible.) Here's the no-nonsense NIV:

I just ordered this NLT version which includes a little line-art for each day in an enlarged margin:


Speaking of kid's Bibles (more than a year ago!) here's a new one that looks like a good Christmas present:
The link is for the hardcover ESV Seek and Find, which includes some sample pages from Ruth. Note there's also a couple colored TruTone versions as well at the bottom of the page.


We got the Seek and Find bible for our 5 year old for Christmas this year. He hasn't seen it yet, but it's very nice. It has the entire ESV bible text in it like a normal bible, but it also has the stories in it like a traditional children's bible. They can read the retelling of the story and then be pointed to the actual scripture or vice versa. Lots of great art as well.


Ryan on the FB page recently linked to a new Tyndale children's bible by Rhona Davies and Marcin Piwowarski called the One Year Children's Bible, ISBN-13 = 9781414314990. The snippet at CBD.com looks delightful. Wish I'd gotten that one instead.

It would do wonders for biblical illiteracy in the church if every parent starting reading this to their children! Sure, it's a bible story book, not a bible per se, but the daily layout is sheer genius and the artwork is attractive. And the typeface is a pleasure to read, even for us old grandparents!


some of the features i really like about that Bible, that i did not mention on the fb page:
unlike most story Bibles. it actually represents the whole text in some way. it does not list out the genealogies, but it does represent them with a statement or two. it is a story Bible that does not jsut hit the high points. it actually gives you the whole story. it also hits some high points in the nt epistles. i am really pleased with it. my only improvement would be more pictures. it only has 1 picture per 2 page spread. it could use more.

and did i mention that it is sewn. tyndale can't put out a sewn nlt to save their lives, but when it comes to a children's bible they produce a nice sewn hardback.

John S

Ryan, is the text of the One Year Children's Bible based upon a specific translation? I think I'm going to buy one anyway.


@John:It has verses from the NLT in the margin, so i would guess that was their base.


and one more cool feature: a kids bible dictionary of places, people, customs, etc. in the back. really neat. a little over my 2 yr old's head, but perfect for an inquisitive kid.

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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