The ESV Study Bible was one of my first Bibles when I started taking my Christian walk seriously. It not only helped me have a good grasp of the Holy Scriptures but also equipped me with sound doctrine and theology. It contains over 20,000 notes, 80,000 cross-references, 200 full-color maps, over 200 charts and illustrations, an extensive concordance, and more than 50 articles on theology, ethics, and biblical teaching. In my honest opinion, this Bible is the single best Study Bible in the market today.
Last year, Crossway released a new edition of the popular Study Bible in brown buffalo leather. It is a notch better than the genuine leather edition and has the premium look of the heirloom edition—and I absolutely liked it. In this review, I will look at the deep brown cowhide edition which was released ahead of the buffalo leather edition.
This Bible is a tank! The first thing that I noticed in this edition is that it has a rounded spine. It is definitely a plus for me in terms of quality because it means that the spine is well-reinforced and sturdier. You will know that this is true when you crack the Bible open. It feels secure and not loose. Furthermore, it has a smyth-sewn and edge-lined binding which makes it more durable.
I love the cowhide cover that Crossway used in this Bible. It is thick and very flexible, and has a grainy texture and shiny look—a huge difference from the stiff character and matte finish of the buffalo leather. It also has a cowhide liner which greatly contributes to its flexibility. It has perimeter stitching and four thick raised spine hubs. Just by its built and appearance, I’d consider this as a premium Bible.
Since this is not a new or updated edition, this one has the same 2.5-inch-thick text block with 30 gsm paper that is also found in the buffalo, genuine leather, and various trutone editions. The 9-point scripture text is set in a single-column, verse-by-verse format while the 7-point study notes are in a double-column format. Textual footnotes are located below the scripture while the cross-references are in the inner margin. The texts are thoughtfully-placed and they look neat and very pleasant to read.
This edition of the ESV Study Bible has an impeccable construction and top-notch cowhide cover and these alone are enough reasons to make an upgrade. The aforementioned features are also what set this edition apart from the buffalo or genuine leather edition. If you love the ESV Study Bible and you can afford to upgrade, I highly recommend the cowhide edition. It retails for $199.99 on Crossway.org.
Disclosure: A review copy of the ESV Study Bible in Cowhide Leather (ISBN 9781433521782) was provided for review by Crossway, from whom you may purchase a copy.