I have a couple different ESV bibles. The Reformation Study Bible published by Ligonier Ministries (R.C. Sproul’s organization), a thinline with TruTone cover, and a hardcover ESV that I had re-bound in goatskin by Mechling BookBindery. Why on earth did I do that, you may wonder? Well, two reasons: first, I wanted a bible that had a minimum of chapter headings, cross-references, etc., but that would stand up to heavy, daily use; second the hard-cover bibles have a lower quality, but thicker paper that doesn’t show bleed through as much from highlighting or underlining (not that I do much of that—I have a thing about marking in books—but when I do , I don’t want to see it on the opposite side of the page).
Anyway, Mechling’s binding is spectacular and I would recommend them to anyone looking to have a Bible re-bound. The goatskin option is a bit more, but it is the “floppiest” leather, which was important to me. Because of the cheaper paper I used, the Bible doesn’t “flop” quite as well as I wanted, but that is my fault for using cheap paper. In retrospect, I wish I had re-bound the thinline.
All of that to say while I wasn’t expecting to, because I’m often not a study bible fan, I’m looking forward to the release of the ESV Study Bible on October 15 of this year. They’ve released several excerpts, the most recent of which was from the Psalms. It was the section on the psalms that convinced me I want to get one. Here’s the introduction to Psalm 1:
Psalm 1. The first psalm serves as the gateway into the entire book of Psalms, stressing that those who would worship God genuinely must embrace his Law (or Torah), i.e., his covenant instruction. This psalm takes topics found in wisdom literature such as Proverbs and makes them the subject of song; the purpose is that those who sing the psalm will own its values—namely, they will want more and more to be people who love the Torah, who believe it, who see themselves as the heirs and stewards of its story of redemption and hope, and who seek to carry out its moral requirements. They can delight in the idea of being among the “righteous,” feeling that nothing can compare with such blessedness. By its sustained contrast, the psalm reminds readers that in the end there are really only two ways to live.
You can download the whole “Introduction to the Psalms” here.
My only complaint: I want the hardcover edition so that it will stand upright on my bible shelf (I have one shelf of a bookcase in my study dedicated to bibles), but the hardcover graphics and color-scheme is absolutely atrocious. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, because it really is bad. As in—I can’t tolerate that being in my library—bad. My apologies to the graphic designer behind this, but I’m not sure what you were thinking on this one. Crossway is typically spot-on, but this was a mistake; bibles should look respectable, and this looks like the cover of a box of Halloween candy.
I mentioned earlier in this post that I’m often not a study bible fan, but here are three that I have greatly appreciated:
Archaeological Study Bible, edited by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
By the way, those links are to publisher descriptions and information, and are not the least expensive place to buy those bibles.