I am now in a position where I want to buy a new reference Bible, in a relatively traditionally-worded translation, yet still fairly easy to read and understand. I’d like it to be better than the end-of-paragraph references that have become so common recently. I’d like it to have a column of cross-references, with the text notes either in that column or at the bottom of the page.
Lockman and Zondervan both have such reference Bibles in the NASB, but I’ve become rather disenchanted with that translation. Zondervan’s TNIV reference Bible fits the bill fairly well, but I’m a little hesitant about the relatively small type as well as the future of the TNIV. And I’ve discovered that Zondervan is really not providing much along that line in the NIV. The NKJV is too muddy, and the KJV is out of the question. And I’m not very interested in buying another HCSB, and the NRSV doesn’t have the leather versions I’m looking for yet. Besides, I just don’t like the NRSV.
So, I’ve been looking on the internet at the…ah…um…you know…the ESV. You know, the one whose promoters attack all the other translations and their translation teams, and whose rabid fanaticism for their translation has given rise to the new term ESV-only. But I don’t know if I can stand to give in and get one. I really resent the way its promoters attacked and nearly destroyed the TNIV, which is a fine, conservative evangelical translation.
I have found an ESV reference Bible that fits the bill very well for me. It’s the single column reference Bible in tru-tone for about $32 from EvangelicalBible.com. It’s black-letter (yay!) in 10 point type. That’s a little on the small size, but with the verse layout in the single-column format, it’s really very easy for me to read. My biggest concern is how easy it will be to read the references and notes, but from what I have been able to tell, that shouldn’t be much of a problem at all. And the black tru-tone cover is exquisite! It feels like soft leather, and it is being reported that it is very durable.
The translation is very traditional-sounding. Those of us who have been reading these biblioblogs for some time now have seen how awkward some of it is. But it appears that the more recent revisions have corrected at least some of that. The vocabulary used is sometimes viewed as archaic, but in fact it is mainly just beyond our vocabulary that we use in everyday speech. No, we don’t talk like that, but most of us can understand it easily enough. And since this is going to be a Bible for ME, it will be just fine.
So, I guess I’m really considering buying a new ESV.
But I’m still gonna have to hold my nose to do it!