Review | The ESV Reader’s Bible Set

The ESV Reader’s Bible Set from Crossway was created out of the conviction that the Word of God should be treasured and read in the most seamless way possible. Comprising of six beautiful hardback volumes, this set affords readers a clear and smooth Bible reading experience.

This is not your ordinary Bible

Our Bibles today are heavily supplemented with add-ons to make it systematic for reading and study. Far from what we are accustomed to, the ESV Reader’s Bible is free of any major extras that you can find in a Bible. This means that it does not include any verse numbers, chapter numbers, footnotes, cross-references, and maps. With all those removed, the Scripture is presented in an as bare, clear, and simple way as possible—making it look just like your favorite novel.

The ESV Reader’s Bible is also available in a single-volume edition. Portability-wise, that is an excellent option. On the other hand, compressing all the books of the Bible in one volume has disadvantages: thinner paper, smaller font—things we have to deal with in our everyday Bibles. With the Reader’s Set, the 66 books of the Bible are thematically and thoughtfully stretched-out and divided into six volumes: I – Pentateuch, II – Historical Books, III – Poetry, IV – Prophets, V, Gospel & Acts, and VI – Epistles & Revelation. This not only gives readers a seamless but also a comfortable reading experience.

The ESV Reader’s Set boasts a highly opaque 80 gsm premium cream uncoated paper. It is smooth, easy to turn, and does not glare under direct light. Blending perfectly with it is the very readable 12-point text set in a single-column layout, and printed by the world-renowned Italian company, L.E.G.O. The texts are thoughtfully spaced and provided with spacious margins. Each line comprises 10-12 words, just perfect for smooth reading.

Aside from the outstanding paper, text, and layout, what I love most about the ESV Reader’s Set is its impeccable construction, design, and materials. This set screams quality! The pages of each volume are sewn and bound together for maximum durability and to make sure they will lay flat when open. Each volume boasts a high-quality cloth-over-board cover with a beautifully designed spine that looks really stunning together on the shelf. The set also comes in a hard and sturdy slipcase box to house the whole set. Crossway made sure that the ESV Reader’s Set has an heirloom quality so you can pass it on to the next generation.

Final thoughts

I am using the set for about a week now, and I must say that this idea is brilliant and a game changer! I never thought removing all the add-ons in our Bibles can give a whole new and next-level experience with the Word of God. This reader’s edition Bible set granted me a more focused reading and caused me to spend longer times with the Word—unlike when there are chapters and verses, where I can easily pause my reading. On the other hand, since this is a reader’s edition, it is best suitable for long reading. For in-depth study, I will still go for my regular Bible where chapters, verses, and cross-references are helpful and essential.

The ESV Reader’s Bible Set retails for $199.99 and would absolutely make a wonderful gift this Christmas. It is also available in a deluxe edition in cowhide-over-board with a walnut slipcase.

Watch an in-depth inside look at the ESV Reader’s Bible Set:


Disclosure: A review copy of the ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set (ISBN 9781433553479) was provided for review by Crossway, from whom you may purchase a copy.

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