The popular ESV Omega Bible from Crossway recently made a comeback and it was received well by Bible enthusiasts. This was mainly because the Bible publisher moved back the production of their Heirloom Bibles to the Dutch printer Royal Jongbloed after what many calls “an Exodus” in China. Along with the Omega, Crossway also released two other Heirloom Bibles—the Heritage and the Legacy—in black goatskin and brown Horween leather cover. In this review, I will look at the ESV Omega in black goatskin cover.
A few months ago, I was privileged to write a review about the ESV Preaching Bible, Verse-by-Verse edition. I liked it and I must say it was “full of potential” which sadly was not maximized because of its poor China print quality. One of the things that particularly disappointed me about that Bible is its underwhelming, thin goatskin cover. Gladly, this is no longer the case with the new Heirloom Bibles. The 2021 Heirloom Omega is wrapped in a prime, supple, thick yet very flexible goatskin cover that it deserves. I can’t express my appreciation fully enough for the quality of this leather—it is simply outstanding! It has a pronounced pebbly grain look and texture with perimeter-stitching and raised spine hubs. Inside, you’ll see a nice black calfskin liner with a gilt line and excellent corner work. It also has a generous yapp which nicely hugs the text block. From the cover alone and the expert craftsmanship, you are already getting what you paid for this Bible.
Essentially, this Bible is a double-column large print thinline reference. With this, it is quite comparable to the NIV Large Print Thinline Premier from Zondervan, in terms of layout. Readability-wise, this Bible is great and this might be the reason why many love it. It showcases the 2016 ESV text in a 10.5-point Lexicon typeface. This surely is one of the neatest typefaces I’ve seen in Bibles. And as aforementioned, the text is set in a double-column format. At the bottom of the second column on each page, you’ll find cross-references printed in a 5.8-point gothic typeface. The Omega gives readers access to more than 80,000 cross-references and translation notes which are found in the footer. This is an excellent option for those who prefer double-columns in Bibles over single-columns that are the Heritage and the Legacy editions.
This Bible measures 6.125 x 9.125”, and is about an inch thick. At this thickness, ghosting or show-through in the paper is perhaps inevitable. Surprisingly, the show-through in this Bible was managed well, thanks to its 28 gsm premium Bible paper. It is cream, highly opaque, and it creates a beautiful contrast against the red-under-gold art-gilt on the page edges. In addition to this, the text is line-matched which greatly improves the readability and removes unnecessary chaos on pages with empty spots. The text block is smyth-sewn and it lays flat when open. And like the ones in the ESV Heritage, this Bible also comes with four double-sided satin ribbon markers with complementing colors. Other add-ons include a presentation page and family pages for lists of marriages, births/adoptions, and deaths. It also has eight full-color maps and a concise concordance in the back.
Crossway was able to raise the bar high again with the release of the 2021 Heirloom Omega. I am very impressed with the overall presentation of this Bible. From its impeccable goatskin cover to its premium paper and highly readable 10.5-point text—this Bible is indeed worthy to be called heirloom and omega.
Disclosure: A review copy of the ESV Heirloom Omega (ISBN 9781433577635) was provided for review by Crossway, from whom you may purchase a copy.