on May 23, 2016
This ESV bonded-leather Bible is a tremendous value. Top-quality Bible paper, gilded edges, presentation page, family register (marriages/births/deaths), along with concordance and maps make this a really good choice either for gift-giving, or for presentation at church. I purchased five of them to give to new members when they make their faith professions before the congregation, and I am very pleased to see that Crossway is still producing the same top-quality thinlines. These books are made to last! I only wish they still made them in burgundy! But that's a minor point. I would recommend this product to anyone wanting a durable Bible with a sewn binding.
on July 3, 2004
I bought this calfskin edition directly from Crossway Books (the publishers of the ESV) however I returned it the same day. This calfskin edition is lacking in so many areas. Let me give you the pros and cons of this edition.
PROS - First, The English Standard Version (ESV) is a great translation. It is an essentially literal translation and reads much better in its flow than the NASB while maintaining a literal translation unlike the NIV. Second, this is a calfskin leather Bible that feels great, smells like leather, and is small enough to easily take into the pulpit or in your briefcase.
CONS - First is that the words bleed through nearly the entire Bible especially in the gospels where the words of Christ are in red. Second, the paper used for the pages is not top quality Bible paper as in the Cambridge editions. Third, no cross references.
I would urge you to wait before buying this Bible until Crossway is able to correct these problems. A Crossway official e-mailed me and said they were a work in progress and that they are hoping to make the ESV a popular and beautiful Bible to buy. I hope so myself. May God be glorified in His Word!
on March 18, 2003
Is the NASB95 - the king of the literal bible translations dead? That must surely be the question on our minds. The answer is, "I'm not sure, but it's having a good run at it!".
Firstly my comparison - I compared 50 difficult verses. The NASB95 and ESV were way way out in front of all other versions in accuracy. I gave the NASB95 a couple of extra marks over the ESV, but there's not a lot in it.
Secondly, literalness. On a word for word basis the ESV actually seems a little more literal than the NASB95 in that it is much more thorough in translating all the little words, the "ands" and "buts" and so on, as well as allowing sentences to run on where they do in the original. On the other hand, the fact that it is a warmed over RSV shows through in a lot of verses that should ideally be re-worked in NASB style. However, the ESV sometimes seems to try harder in consistantly rendering the same Greek word as the same word in English - but not always, sometimes the NASB is more consistent. Conclusion - The ESV is more literal on the "forest scale", but the NASB is more literal in the "tree scale".
However, the NASB appears to be quite a bit more accurate with tenses. Sometimes these verses have important theological significance. e.g. Acts 13:48 NASB "had been appointed", and Mt 18:18 NASB "shall have been bound" are more accurate than the ESV equivilents which are carry overs from the RSV (and KJV).
Thirdly, readability. People are talking about the ESV being more readable than the NASB. I don't think there's a lot in it. The ESV has it's fair share of bloopers where the English is strained and the NASB is readable. Sometimes the NASB's lessor readability increases its literalness and correctness. Conclusion: I personally can't see the difference. If we could pick some verses from the ESV and some from the NASB we would probably approach perfection!
Fourthly, scholarship. The ESV has taken advantage of the latest scholarship, especially in Greek and this shines through in a number of difficult passages. The NASB95 seems overly conservative in this respect.
Fifthly, textually. The ESV seems to have greater respect for the standard Greek text - the UBS4. However, neither strictly adhere to UBS4. The ESV is more faithful to UBS4, from my count 16:31 or 16:40 if you count the bracketed  verses in the NASB. Conclusion: A plus for the ESV.
Sixthly, extra features. The ESV footnotes seem more helpful than the NASB95. The NASB is particularly poor at footnoting textual issues. On the other hand the NASB's use of italics for words not in the original language and the "*" tense asterisk to show words that were present tense in the original, emparts more information than the ESV. On the other hand, the ESV's extra literalness seems to have a little less need for the italics in places. The NASB capitalizes pronouns that refer to Christ or God. While one might regard these as an unnecessary interpretive gloss, they do improve comprehension, especially since a literal translation does not allow doing what the NIV would do, which is replace "He" with "Jesus" to clarify who is talking in long narratives. I didn't like this at first, but now I do, it's just another little feature that the NASB has to add information to the text without actually departing from literalness. Conclusion: NASB's extra features probably empart more information. The use of CAPS for Old Testament quotations is helpful in the NASB, and I like the italics and "*" tense indicator.
Formats: Some people are complaining that the NASB is printed verse by verse rather than paragraph style. Actually, only some NASBs are printed that way. If you don't like it (and I don't), buy the versions that are printed paragraph style. Visit Lockman's web site if you are unclear on that. As of now, the NASB is available in pocket formats and study bibles. The ESV is planned to offer these, but not as yet.
Overall Conclusion: It's very difficult to make up ones mind which is best. The arguments seem so finely balanced in either direction. The ESV is a fine effort and one of the best two translations available. I think, at least for the moment I'm going to go with the NASB. The extra features of the NASB95 text - CAPS for quotes and italics, plus a slight advantage in literalness and accuracy just beats the ESV - maybe. I can't rule out that I may change my mind later on. Reports of the King's death have been exagerated, but I just wish there was a translation that picked the best out of the NASB and ESV.
on December 19, 2014
This is a great copy for pulpit/preaching use. It accompanies similar slimline/thinline copies of the King James Version (KJV) and New International Version (NIV) that I have used in pulpit for some years. The cover is sturdy and will last long. The red-letter sections are just right in colour and the maps and concordance are very useful. If you need a Bible that is for light study or pulpit use, this is a great buy. (I have these different translations due to the requirements of the different churches I pulpit-supply for.)
(NOTE: I don't see the "ink bleed" problems mentioned in an older review. I just purchased this, December 2014, so maybe the publishers finally addressed that problem. Of course, it IS "Bible paper" - thin - so there is a slight image of the next page, but it is not distracting.)
on November 18, 2002
For those who have relied upon the Revised Standard Version and have shuddered at the results of the New Revised Standard Version, this new version should be greatly appreciated. It reads very similarly to the RSV, but smoother and without the archaic pronouns and verbs in the language addressed to God. For those who desire a more conservative translation, for example Isaiah 7:14 - the "maiden" versus the "virgin" argument, the ESV serves as a more conservative version. I find it more dignified than the NIV, retaining that quality from the RSV.
I have read virtually every English translation that has been published, and this has become my favorite - one that satisfies every quality that I desire in a Bible.
on June 2, 2003
It's a pity they don't make an slim-line version that has thumb indexes and/or centre column references. If you want slim-line you've got to give up these two features.
They should make one like the NASB version ISBN 1581350279. That would be perfect - thin, cross-references, concordance, thumb-indexed, genuine leather. Will stick with my NASB for the moment. Might get an ESV as well when they come out with such an edition. They should dump the book intros of the Classic edition though. We don't need that nonsense in a regular bible. Save that for the study bible.
on September 10, 2012
This bible is wonderful! Beautiful cover, the font is perfect and it's easy to navigate. Very affordable too!! Bought one for a friend and on immediately went back and ordered one for myself! Would recommend to anyone.
on May 15, 2014
Large print indeed! I'm judging 12-14 size font.
Quick introductions to each books of the bible. Pages in white, no golden borders ( I like!)
No Jesus' wordings in red, everything is BLACK print.
I can do without the liturgy at the back of this bible, would have appreciated some maps or a concordance instead.
This will become my retirement bible.
on May 27, 2004
I was given the English Standard Version Bible for Christmas 2003 and have been reading it daily throughout this year. I admire it for achieving two important goals in Bible translation which are not often successfully accomplished. First of all, the ESV, since its English wording is derived from the RSV, retains as much of the King James wording in a modern style as is possible. Since that is the style that many of us have memorized and learned since childhood and it is a style that lends itself to memorization, that is a good thing.
Secondly, the translating committee has striven for as accurate a translation as possible. They have not opted for "dynamic equivalency", but have attempted to stay as literal as they felt English usage would allow. Now, since I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar, I cannot attest to their success, but in some verses where I had been told that other translations did not achieve such accuracy, the ESV appears to have done so. And they did it in a way that makes it superior to the NASB, in my opinion. The NASB, in attempting its literalness, unfortunately also achieved an awkwardness of English style that the ESV has marvelously overcome. Thus this Bible is good for reading style and for accuracy of understanding. It is likely to replace my NIV as my standard usage Bible for the future.
on September 19, 2003
I've spent quite a bit of time with the ESV by now, and it is indeed one of the finest versions available, competing with the NASB for accuracy.
There are indeed plenty of passages where the ESV provides a superior rendition than the NASB. But there are still plenty where the NASB is still superior to the ESV. Either way, Christions should look at either of these two translations I believe.
I'll give one example of the NASB's superiority, John 7:31, ESV "When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?", NASB, "When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?".
In the ESV, it appears to be an open-ended question. Will he do more signs?? The NASB brings out the truer sense of the Greek construction, that surely he WON'T perform more signs. I guess this is part of the ESV's greater readability, but for this verse I'll take the NASB's accuracy. However there certainly are passages as well where the ESV wins out, so either of these two excellent translations should be bought and read.