The ESV Heirloom Legacy Bible Review
The ESV is the translation I typically use and I’ve used it for a long time; I’ve memorized quite a few portions of Scripture in this translation. It would be hard for me to leave behind. Thankfully, there are bountiful options of incredible Bibles in this translation. The Heirloom Legacy comes from Crossway and it just so happens to be my favorite premium Bible out of all the ones I’ve been blessed to review.
I am releasing this review as quickly as I can because, if this Bible peaks your interest, I want to make you aware of a big change that is about to be made to it. Crossway is moving production of their premium Bibles to China. I reached out to a Crossway representative about the switch and this is what I was told: "I've talked to our Bible team about the Heirlooms and we've been working with the new printer for an extended period of time, doing multiple rounds of testing to make sure the quality standards for the Bible are still excellent. There will also be no major change in the price with the new printings and it will still be goatskin leather. “ That being said, I’ve mentioned before how Jongbloed in the Netherlands has been the name of the game. Currently, when you buy this Bible, you are getting one that has been produced in the Netherlands. In the future though, you will get one that has been produced in China. You’ve got to make the decision whether you want one now or want to see what the Chinese counterpart will look like. I have already requested to review a Chinese one in the future so I can compare the two. However, once the move is made, it will be too late. Note: the ESV Preaching Bible is the first premium Bible from Crossway that has been manufactured in China and it is very nice.
I purchased an Heirloom Legacy out of my own pocket several years ago. It featured the ESV 2011 text. It also received some criticism for displaying the version three different times on the spine. The one I purchased also has a squeaky or creaky hinge. It literally makes noise when you open it. The version I’m reviewing today includes the current 2016 text and has made several notable improvements.
This edition of the Heirloom Legacy comes wrapped in a nice velvet when you open the box. My version with the 2011 text didn’t come like this and I think it adds a level of class and a premium feel when you’re opening your new Bible. It has a goatskin cover with a leather liner, four ribbon bookmarks in black and different shades of brown, red under gold art gilding, extra-smooth smyth-sewn binding, and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
The spine has been cleaned up on this newer edition. This version has four spine ribs with text spread across. From top to bottom we have the words, “Holy Bible”, the ESV logo, the words, “English Standard Version”, and the Crossway logo at the bottom. The 2011 edition was much busier. It had six spine ribs and between “Holy Bible” and the ESV Logo were the letters, “ESV”. I will include pictures below for comparison. I will simply say at this point that the newer version is a welcome improvement and looks nicer. One another improvement is the hinge. I noted that my copy with the 2011 text made a squeaking noise, which was not unique to my copy based on my research. That has been eliminated in the newer version and I am quite happy about that. Your Bible shouldn’t alert people that you are opening it.
What really sets the Heirloom Legacy apart from other Bibles in my opinion is the text block. First, I believe this Bible is printed on 28 gsm paper. That helps the Bible stay slimmer, but there is some ghosting because of it. This is especially noticeable in the margins because the text itself is line-matched meaning a line of text on one side of the page is printed on the same line as text on the opposite side. Also, this is not a reference Bible, which means you won’t find any cross references here. If that is a feature you desire then this isn’t the Bible for you. However, with the internet at our fingertips, let me just say cross references in a Bible aren’t as useful or necessary as they once were.
This Bible is focused on the text itself and the enjoyment of reading it. The pages have a clean design with wide margins for notes. According to Crossway’s website, "The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a special edition based on the Renaissance ideal of a perfect page—featuring a simple, clear layout with generous margins.” When you look at the page design of the Heirloom Legacy, it really does look like a work of art. I think that’s why I keep coming back to it no matter how many different Bibles I get to see.
When examining a page, you’ll immediately notice all the generous white space around the text. The top, bottom, and sides all have a nice amount of room around them, which draws your eyes to the text. The text itself is a nice, 9 point font. I generally think bigger is better, but I like the size in this Bible. It also helps keep the Bible itself a nice size for either desk use or to carry with you.
The other really interesting thing about the text of this Bible is the placement of the section headings. Instead of being right above the text of each section, they are in the outer margin. This once again, helps you focus on the text itself and really makes the text more readable because it isn’t interrupted by section headings. Each page also includes footnotes in a very small font at the bottom of each page. The Bible also includes family pages in the front and a concordance and maps in the back.
If you enjoy the ESV and a single-column format, this is the Bible I recommend. With the craftsmanship as well as the text block, it truly is a work of art and a joy to use. Only time will tell what this Bible is like once it starts coming from China, but I do trust Crossway has done their research. If you want one produced in the Netherlands, then I recommend you pick up a copy today!
You can pick up a black copy of this Bible here.
You can pick up a brown copy of this Bible here.
Disclaimer: Crossway provided me with a complimentary copy of this Bible in exchange for a fair and honest review.