I received a review copy of the ESV Wide Margin Reference Edition from Crossway a few weeks ago. I have been a longtime NASB user. The edition that was sent to me was the Portfolio style in TruTone. The cover itself is beautiful. It is very soft to the touch and flexible. It is a delight to hold. It is obviously not as nice as a calfskin cover, but from what I have heard it may be superior to the genuine leather edition. The pages are fairly thick, thicker than most other Bible paper. The paper is not as nice as that found in Lockman NASB’s (large print ultrathin reference Bible and the wide margin reference Bible). There is a nice amount of space on the outside edge of the page for which to write notes. It is unfortunate (as many others have written) that the inside margin is too narrow for writing notes. The one request that I have for Crossway is that they switch this edition to a sewn binding. It is glued and eventually will begin to pull away. The glued binding also keeps the Bible from laying completely flat. One interesting note, the box said that the Bible is guaranteed for life! This is an impressive promise.
The translation itself is very similar to the NASB. There are some places where the scholars have updated some archaic words or renderings which are contained in the NASB such as, brethren to brothers; only begotten Son to only Son. There are some places where the ESV has eliminated some of the supplied words that are used in the NASB, which at times has led to greater clarity. Interestingly enough, the ESV does use some anglicized wording that does sound a little odd to the modern-day American reader such as, haughty, rubbish, puffed up (which I realize is a literal metaphor from the Greek language). I will not belabor the point. It is something that each individual believer would need to examine to determine if the language is comfortable for him.
I would like to say that I do believe that the ESV is a very good translation. I would highly recommend it to others. I believe that it is an accurate translation which will be useful to the church. Crossway has also provided many excellent editions of this translation which make it very likely that a believer will find an edition that fits his preferences such as, the personal reference Bible, classic reference Bible, thin-line edition, the single column reference edition, as well as many others. I really like the TruTone editions that Crossway has produced, they make it possible to have a very attractive Bible which is pleasant to hold and use.
If you are interested in this edition or other editions of the ESV, I would recommend that you check out the Westminster Seminary bookstore as a result of their exceptional prices.
It is a glued binding so the Bible does not lay completely flat when opened, but not terrible. One thing that was surprising is that Crossway now offers a Life-time guarantee on these Bibles.
The wide margins are nice. The paper is also surprisingly nice. It is a black letter text in paragraph format, very nice.
The TruTone cover is soft and flexible. As you can see the Bible does open nicely, even though it is not a sewn binding.