I’ve spent money, time, and effort on all kinds of Bibles. Art Bibles, journaling Bibles, study Bibles, Bibles without margins or extras, Bibles with margins and ALL the extras, Bibles like the Reformation Study Bible, even kinda plain Bibles with just the text. I’ve used several Bible apps. I’ve dreamed about the Illustrated ESV Bible, She Reads Truth Bible, and all the gorgeous art journaling Bibles of Instagram. And let me tell you, its continued to be a struggle to find a Bible that was formatted in a good way for my brain/study system. Until… summer 2018 (cue dramatic music).
Somewhere, I cannot even remember, I was introduced to the concept of the ESV Reader’s Bible.
Can we talk about how this Bible has been a game changer?
So… the Reader’s Bible has ZERO headings, ZERO verse numbers. ZERO foot notes. Its small like a classical cloth bound novel. Its plain, its simple, and its wonderfully readable- my favorite part!
Let me tell you about the format. Each book of the Bible has the book name as the initial heading, and then a simple number by each chapter. Boom. That’s it. It keeps the surprise element in tact- I don’t have a chapter title to spoil what is about to happen, or to give me an idea of what the chapter is going to primarily be about. Or those never ending numbers. I just read it in the simplest, most straightforward fashion. I cannot recommend it enough!
The only drawback (and its not, really!) is that this is obviously not a good bible for reading along with in a sermon, in a Bible study with a group, or even as a discipleship tool- because it’s really hard to follow along with someone else or find the place they are referencing/reading from without the verse number.
So… when should it be used? In personal, daily Bible reading! Because its still broken up by chapters, its ideal for daily reading. I also find that its so much easier to read without all those distracting headings and verse numbers, so it flows easily. It also has a personal feel- the letters from Paul seem more like letters! The books of the Old Testament seem like just that-books! It is now my favorite Bible to read daily.
What have I learned from this process…
There are many, many Bibles. There are also many, many people, and all of our brains work differently. Do I secretly wish I was splashing water colors over the pages of my Bible while the truths of the gospel sink into my soul? Do I wish my Bible was pretty? Well I mean, I guess the answer is yes. But it turns out I just need plain words on a plain page in a plain Bible, and God has used it so much in my life already. My brain and the ESV Reader’s Bible were meant to be! And that’s okay.
If you want to check out the particular Reader’s Bible in this post, the link to it on amazon is here
Thanks for reading, guys!