Before I moved to my new pastorate this month, I used up the last bit of my professional expense from my previous parish on books, of course. The spine of my everyday and preaching Bible had broken, so I was in the market for a new Bible. This time around, I wanted a Bible with certain specifications:
- ESV 2011 text edition
- Two column format, with cross references and concordance
- At least genuine leather, if not premium
- Thin or at least small profile to make it easy to carry, yet with text large enough and clear enough to read easily from the pulpit
- An above average, quality binding
- Bound in brown or burgundy – I’ve had black Bibles for years and needed a change
- Red letter text. This makes it easier to navigate the page with my eyes when preaching from the gospels.
- Beautiful to hold, read, etc.
My quest to find such a Bible lead me to websites where I learned about a whole new world previously unknown to me – premium Bibles. Premium Bibles are bound in quality leather, have pages made of paper of high grade, are expertly sewn together, and of course, cost more. Here and here one can learn about the grades of leathers and quality Bible publishers.
After a long quest, I ended up purchasing a Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion in brown calf split leather. In short, I am VERY impressed with this Bible and heartily recommend it. You can see my amateur (i.e. lousy) photos of it in this post, but you can see excellent photos of it in the great
Here are a few facts about this little Bible and why I like it and have begun using it as my main Bible for personal readi
ng, preaching, pastoral calling, etc.
- The dimensions of this little Bible are as follows. The cover measures 5 1/8″ wide by 7 3/8″ long. The Bible is about 13/16″ when closed. The pages are 4 1/4″ wide from the spine opening to the edge, and they are 6 7/8″ long. Thus this Bible is easy to carry, fits right in the hand when being read, and can even slip into many pockets.
- The font is 6.75 Lexicon font, and it appears to my eye to be somewhat in bold. Yes, that is tiny font. However, just as I read in other reviews, that fact that the ink is dark, the font is somewhat bold, and the paper is far more opaque than typical Bible paper thus minimizing ghosting or bleedthrough from the text on opposite and other pages, the text is surprisingly easy to read. Really. Truly. Of course, those with poor eyesight may not be able to use the Pitt-Minion, but the legends are true: this tiny Bible is easy to read despite its small text size. That being said, I have had a difficult time reading this Bible from the pulpit. Because the text is small, even though it is clear, it takes a moment to focus on it and pick up a verse while preaching. But for general reading, the font clarity is adequate.
- The binding is brown calf split leather and the pages are smyth sewn. I love it. Calf split leather is considered a step below goatskin, which is very supple, limp, and buttery, but I like the slight stiffness of the calf split because it keeps the pages flatter when I hold it up to read in church. That stiffness in no way hinders this Bible from lying flat, though. Right out the box it lay flat on my desk at its midpoint, and with gentle coaxing started to lay open at Genesis 1 and Revelation 22. This is a very well put together Bible. The texture of the leather feels nice to the touch and the gold stamping on the spine looks great. When you hold and use a premium Bible you do feel the difference.
- This Bible has gilt edges, which means that the paper edges show off their painted gold when closed and to a lesser degree when open. One reason I chose the brown calf split over the brown goatskin is that the goatskin edition has art-gilt edges. Art-gilt edges are colored red with gold paint over the red. When such a Bible is closed, the page edges look gold; when it is opened, the red shows. I think the red paper
edges look hideous against a brown cover, but the gold looks beautiful.
- This Pitt Minion has two ribbons! This is great for marking passages for worship!
- One problem: this Bible has the 2007 text edition, not the 2011. Right now, the only Pitt Minions that have the 2011 text edition of the ESV is the one with the synthetic cover (no red letter) and the brown goatskin (art-gilt edges – yuck). I searched high and low across this great land of ours for a 2011 text edition in brown calf split leather. I even contacted Cambridge AND a bookstore in Scotland who both are to be commended for their customer service! Cambridge plans to print this edition with the 2011 text edition,but not until all copies of the 2007 text edition are sold. Eventually, I decided I did not want to wait and ordered the 2007 text edition and plan to pencil in the 2011 text changes.
Final analysis: this is a great edition of the Bible and I anticipate using it for many years. There is nothing quite like holding and using a quality Bible. It does make a difference.