Just before Christmas, I became aware of Crossway’s ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, and added it to my wish list at the last minute. I received it from my in-laws, and I’m glad I did! I find it to be ideal for daily Bible reading.
In the first place, I like how sturdy it is. If you’re going to use a Bible for daily reading, it is likely to get treated fairly rough—moved around a lot, opened and closed frequently, shoved in and out of bags. I like that this Bible is hardback and has rounded corners which are less likely to get blunted or bent. Also, an elastic strap helps keep the Bible shut, which lessens the likelihood of pages getting bent or the covers being moved in a way that places shearing stress on the binding.
Another thing about this Bible I really appreciate is the single column reading format. Having multiple columns might be good for fitting a lot of text in a limited space, but it is less pleasing to the eye and, at least for me, more difficult to read.
This is a journaling Bible, and my favorite characteristic of it is the space for writing notes off to the side. A lot of Bibles (at least, if they are single column) provide space on the side where you can take notes. What I prefer about this Bible is that lines are provided to help keep your notes neat (for someone like me with borderline obsessive tendencies, this is a good thing), and the paper is thicker than normal Bible paper, which means you can use a variety of pens and not have to worry about them bleeding through. Currently, the Sharpie pen is my favorite, and even it doesn’t bleed through to a significant degree despite the fact that it is basically a fine-tipped marker (see the picture below).
In addition to the notes I keep as I go through my daily readings, I am also using this Bible to keep basic notes of the sermons I listed to during worship this year. I am really enjoying it so far.
Finally, the back of the Bible, though very limited on “helps” (it is, after all, a journaling Bible, not a study Bible), contains an excellent One Year Bible Reading Plan that I am using this year. I often get bogged down with Bible reading plans that just start at Genesis and slavishly plug away through the entire Bible. With this plan, every day I have a reading from the Old Testament, the Psalms, and the New Testament (see below for an idea). This provides more variety in the daily readings, which is nice, and to me, helps maintain a “big picture” focus on Scripture as I go through specific verses and chapters.
All in all, I love this product, and would recommend it highly. Currently, I have no significant criticisms at all.