This is the Bible I received this past Sunday for Father’s Day. It’s the ESV single-column reference Bible in black Trutone imitation leather.

When I first opened the package I was amazed! The cover says it’s Trutone. It’s printed right there at the bottom of the back side. But if I hadn’t looked there I would have thought it was calfskin! It not only looks like calfskin, it feels like calfskin! Well, maybe at first touch it feels like calfskin; maybe as a person uses it, it does feel like calfskin. It’s so soft and smooth. But there’s something missing – it doesn’t feel like it was ever alive, and it doesn’t smell like leather. But you know, for polyurethane, it sure feels like calfskin!

The page edges are quite smoothly finished, and the gold gilding is solid and evenly applied, far better than most Bibles I’ve seen over the past decade or so.

This Bible doesn’t appear to be sewn – I don’t see the signatures. The brown/cordovan version of this Bible supposedly is Smyth sewn, but I don’t think the black ones are, though I could be wrong. I’m not really an expert, you know, just an old sinner saved by grace and learning about different Bibles as I go through my life.

This Bible is not a thinline, or a personal-size Bible; it’s a real, big, black, full-size Bible. It’s something like 6.5″ X 9.5″, and about an inch and a half thick. It’s the same size as my MacArthur Study Bible and my NIV Study Bible, only a bit thinner. The pages in this black version are quite thin, but the paper seems strong and of high quality. The brown/cordovan version supposedly has thicker paper, better for note-taking I’m told. But since I don’t write in my Bibles this was of little concern to me. I was more interested in the slightly lighter-weight and relative thinness of this black version.

When one opens this bible up, you find the text in a single column, printed in a verse-by-verse style, with the references down the gutter in the middle of the Bible, and other text notes at the bottom of the page. Sometimes I find the single wide column to be more difficult to read, especially when it’s written in a paragraph style. But by starting each verse on its own line, it makes for more space around the text and it becomes much easier to pick up on the correct line of text when you come back to the left side of the text column. The text is also in a good size font, 10 pt., which makes for easy reading, and the ink has been applied very evenly throughout the Bible, so there are no pages that appear to be washed out as there are in many other inexpensive Bibles on the market today.

Another great point is the fact that this Bible is “black letter”. There are no pages of red ink in the Gospels as there are in so many Bibles today. This has made for a beautiful easy-reading Bible. Also, this Bible is printed in the 2007 text edition of the ESV, which in my opinion is a much more comfortable and understandable translation than the earlier edition of the ESV.

I highly recommend the ESV Single-column Reference Bible for anyone looking for more than a basic text Bible; and I am especially pleased with the Trutone versions. The Trutone is supposed to last far longer than the old bonded leather covers. though it may not be quite as good as genuine leather, although from what I’ve seen I think the Trutone may last even longer than leather. At any rate, I am not in the least concerned about the quality and longevity of these new soft imitation leather covers, and the fact that they cost less is an even greater selling point.