The Crossway 80th Anniversary ESV Omega Thinline Reference Bible Review
The original ESV Omega was my first introduction to premium Bibles. It was given to me as an incredibly nice and generous gift. When I held it in my hands I couldn't believe the caliber. I had never seen or held a premium Bible before and I began to understand the hype and the cost. The quality is considerably different from even forty or fifty dollar Bibles. They're called premium for a reason.
When the opportunity presented itself for me to pick up the Omega 80th Anniversary Edition at a nicely discounted price, I jumped at the chance. There have definitely been some upgrades made to the 80th Anniversary Edition. While I haven’t written a review of the original—I’m not sure if it’s still on the market—I’m excited to get to tell you about this edition.
The immediate thing that is noticeable about this Bible is the box it comes in. While the original came in a black box with silver lettering, The 80th Anniversary edition comes in a black box with gold lettering and accents. Opening that box revealed something totally unique. The Bible includes a full page letter from Crossway’s President referencing appreciation for the customer and mentioning that this is a limited edition copy of the ESV. Underneath the letter, the Bible is wrapped in a black velvet-like material. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Preaching Bible, the Heirloom Legacy Single Column, and the original ESV Omega and none of them came packaged like this. Crossway is sending the message even in the packaging of this Bible that it is premium and a limited edition.
Aesthetically, once you remove the Bible from the velvet wrapping you will immediately notice a smooth and supple goatskin leather cover, four ribbon bookmarks in black and various shades of brown, gold spine lettering, four raised spine ribs, and a gold art gilt with red tint. The Bible has what is called a half yapp, which means the leather extends partially over the pages to protect them, but does not extend as far as a full app. It folds nicely over the pages. This is a very attractive Bible. Just on looking on the outside, I will mention what I find to be two improvements from the original—both are preferences on my part. First, you immediately notice that there are four bookmarks of different colors. The original had two black bookmarks. I always consider more bookmarks to be better. I also find different colors to be a useful feature because it distinguishes what you have marked and where. I was a big fan of this change. Also, I find Bibles with raised spine ribs to exhibit a more premium look and feel so I thought this was a great choice on the part of Crossway. Others may disagree, but this is simply what I prefer.
When you open the cover, you’ll noticed it’s leather-lined meaning the inside feels just as smooth as the outside. It also has a nice gold stitching on the perimeter for reinforcement and it adds a very nice aesthetic that’s visible even with the Bible closed. In the premium Bible world, you often hear of Jongbloed in the Netherlands as being the best there is when it comes to printing and binding. The Omega 80th Anniversary Edition is printed and bound there so you can expect nothing but the best from this Bible.
The spine has reinforced hinges at the beginning and end of the Bible meaning you won’t get a perfectly flat lay right out of the box, but both Genesis and Revelation still do lay flat, which is what you want and expect from a premium Bible. The hinges provide a sturdiness and increase the durability in the long run and ultimately are a good thing.
When you open up the Bible and examine the actual text then you will see where this Bible truly shines. It has a generous 10 point, which is awesome for a thinline Bible. The text is line matched, which means that the lines on the page are matched to the lines on the opposite side. This helps to avoid any ghosting that could occur. The paper is nice and of high quality. I have heard that it is a 28 gsm thickness, but I can’t find that documented on any official sites. You will notice a slight bit of ghosting in the poetry sections such as Psalms and Song of Solomon where lines don’t perfectly match because of the layout, but it isn’t much and probably will only bother the pickiest people who don’t like any ghosting whatsoever.
This Bible is a double-column format. I prefer a single-column, but this is a really nice double column because of the text size and nice column width. The Bible has over 80,000 cross references, which is awesome. The unique feature is that all of the cross references are at the bottom right of each page. This eliminates distraction when you just want to read the text. Many thinlines will put a center column between the two columns of text that contains the cross references and this is distracting and makes the double-column format smaller. The location of the cross references in this Bible make it feature-rich and give it a very nice, clean look.
This might be the best all-around premium ESV out there. I love the thin format and large font, but I have become a single-column layout fan. However, if I was to choose a double-column this would be it. If you want a premium Bible that is good at almost everything then this should probably be your choice. The generous font size makes it great for preaching. The clean layout with cross references at the bottom right make it great for personal study and devotion. The thin format means it has great portability. Crossway knocked it out of the park with this design.
You can still find this Bible at various retailers for a great price, but I’ve been told it won’t be around forever so don’t delay. I really like the Ocean Blue exclusive edition you can find at evangelicalbible.com, but I did notice it only comes with two bookmarks while the Black and Brown include four. If that’s a factor, you may want to skip it. The black is available on Amazon for a great price at the time of this writing—especially if you’re a Prime member. If you’re considering a premium Bible and you like the ESV translation, this would be an excellent one to pick up!