Review: ESV Thinline Bible (Genuine Leather, Black)

No; I did not die back a month ago, but I am still experiencing severe health problems. I donated my old NASB bible to the hospital. Relying on my old translation posts (prefer ESV or NABRE), I bought the bestselling ESV Bible off of Amazon.

The translation is of 2016 vintage. Words of Jesus are colored in red; the book is printed in China (my old NASB bible was printed in the United States). Overall, I rate my new Bible four stars (the red lettering appears purple, the bookmark is insufficiently thin, and the pages are too thin). The translation makes some bold, but good decisions (e.g., Mark 15:28 is excluded from the main text entirely and relegated to the footnotes). The footnotes seem more cramped than in my old NASB- there are more of them, but there’s also less space for them. Sadly, references to the deity are not capitalized. Page corners are rounded (yes!!!) to avoid the constant corner-folding problems I had with my old NASB. The outside of the pages is also covered with some kind of fake gilting (which is a turn-off for me) -perhaps a way to test the wear of the pages. The maps are full-color and accurate. The words “GENUINE LEATHER” and the ISBN are imprinted in gold lettering on the back. The front cover is completely blank. The spine contains “Holy Bible”, the ESV logo, “English Standard Version”, and the Crossway logo. Overall, I am quite satisfied with my purchase.

Edit three days later: the text being organized into paragraphs better than verses is a good choice, and something I noticed just now. The gold dust on the page edges is a serious bug; I had to flip through every single page to make the pages not stick together, and the fake gold dust got in my lungs and on my fingers in the process.

A reason to use the NRSV/ESV/NABRE over the ASV/NASB/others

The NRSV/ESV/NABRE incorporate a lot more DSS/Septuagint readings into their main OT text than the other versions.

Take, for example, Deuteronomy 32:8 and 32:43, both of which make much more sense when relying on the DSS/Seputagint in place of the Masoretic Text.

My physical copy of the NASB95 doesn’t even contain any notes at all on the page containing v.43 and doesn’t have a note for v.8 (despite the LXX version of Deuteronomy 32:43 being quoted in Hebrews 1:6!). The ASV, of course, can be excused for being written before the discovery of the DSS.

The NLT also uses the DSS readings in both verses, but that translation is too liberal in general to make a good study bible.

The HCSB uses the MT readings in both verses, but has good notes, so it gets three quarters credit.

The NET uses the DSS reading in v. 8 but curiously uses the MT reading in v. 43 without a note (!), again, despite the obvious Hebrews 1:6 issue, so it gets half-credit.

The ESV remains probably the best of the modern translations, though the generally somewhat less literal NRSV and NABRE are not far off.

Huzzah!

The RSV (a de facto official scholarly Bible translation due to its translation of Isaiah 7:14) and the NRSV (its successor) are now available on BibleGateway. In all honesty, I find bible.cc to be far more useful for most purposes (Interlinear! Strong’s Concordance! 19 and 18th C Commentaries!).

Hat Tip: The good people at BibleInterp. Every student of the Bible should subscribe to their RSS feed.