Did I buy the wrong Bible?
I told you a few days ago about my latest Bible purchase, an ESV Classic Thinline in charcoal gray with the Celtic cross on the cover. I mentioned earlier that the type is “smallish”. On the box it lists it as “8.2 pt”, while the earlier ESV Thinlines had “9.5 pt”.
I said that my eyes couldn’t really tell the difference. Part of that has to be the fact that the spacing between the lines seems to be a bit wider, and the font seems perhaps a bit clearer. In fact, I find that I am often actually surprised at how easy this Bible is to read, in spite of the small font.
Yet, I am finding I frequently feel like I’m having a hard time reading it. I feel like I’m always refocusing my eyes, and I don’t think I should be doing that. Maybe it’s a sign that my eyesight is starting to deteriorate once again.
I’ve worn bifocals since I was forty – I’m fifty-seven now – that’s seventeen years. I’m very familiar with what my eyes are doing at any given time. I have long felt that a good large-print Bible would be one I can read without my glasses. That generally means 11 pt or larger, although my NRSV Giant Print Personal Size Reference Bible has 9.5 pt text and I can easily read that one without my glasses. But that one has particularly dark, crisp print.
So anyway, what do I do if and when I realize I can’t use that ESV Thinline comfortably? Well, I’m already realizing that I do like the ESV translation, as far as it being solid theologically. So I would need to find a ESV Bible with a larger type font. I’ve been doing a little research, and I have discovered two Bibles that I think would work quite well for me. There is the ESV Large Print (they call it that because it has large print) and the ESV Single-column Reference Bible.
The ESV Large Print Bible has 12.75 point text. That’s plenty big. It also doesn’t have any cross-references, and it is black letter. I like black letter. I don’t use cross-references very often, but I do like to have them available for when I do want to use them. Even so, it hasn’t kept me from buying any Bible if it doesn’t have them. Evangelicalbible.com has ESV Large print Bibles with Trutone covers for $38.39 for the brown one, and $37.19 for the burgundy. If I were to buy one locally I would have to pay full retail price of $59.99. That difference would make it reasonable to buy it online.
The more interesting Bible, as far as I’m concerned, is the Single-column Reference Bible. It comes with 10-pt type, which is a very comfortable size for my eyes. It is also black letter, definitely a plus. But it comes with the text in a verse format, with each verse starting on its own line, rather than a paragraph format. I generally don’t care much for that, although it isn’t too difficult to get used to it. The single-column format is also something I don’t usually care for, but in this case the single column isn’t so wide that I have trouble picking up the correct line when I come back to the left side. The verse format also helps with this problem, so I am convinced this is a Bible I could not only live with, but truly enjoy.
The Single-column comes in a black Trutone, which has 21 pound paper. It also comes in a brown/cordovan portfolio-style cover, which also includes a heavier and more opaque 24 pound paper. Interestingly, the black costs a little more.
Evangelicalbible.com has the Trutone Single-column ESV for $34.09 for the black, and $33.54 for the Brown/Cordovan portfolio-style. Both show a retail list price of $54.99, so once again this is probably one I would order online. I haven’t checked the prices at Amazon or CBD yet, but usually evangelicalbible.com has the best price, or is at least competitive with the others.
So I’m going to try to live with the ESV Thinline for a while yet, but if I decide I just can’t handle the small font, I’ll most likely go after one of these Bibles I’ve just been talking about.