ESV Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition, Green HardcoverCrossway / 2017 / Hardcover$28.49 Retail:5 Stars Out Of 5 9 Reviews
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Ben4 Stars Out Of 5A beautiful Bible with just a couple little drawbacksFebruary 25, 2019BenQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4What is the purpose of owning a personal Bible? While for some a Bible might satisfy the need to be connected to something transcendent, I'd imagine many people would purchase a Bible so as to *read* it. Unfortunately, a majority of English Bibles in print are what I would categorize as "basically illegible." Just as poor handwriting unnecessarily impedes the reader's ability to comprehend a writer's meaning, so too do many publishers impede readers from comprehending the Bible's meaning. When a Bible is set in 8pt font with some ugly font face on see-through paper in two columns and the lines of biblical poetry are wrapped around themselves in knots, and... I could go on, but what you end up with looks more like a dictionary or an encyclopedia than something fitting for the divine words of the Creator of the universe. The Bible is not reference material, and we ought not treat it so.
It is for this reason that I am endlessly grateful for the work Crossway has done as a publisher over the years to push the envelope on just how readable a Bible can be. It is my belief that if the biblical text is set beautifully and read well, it can actually be understood far more easily than most people believe possible. In other words, I am saying that these factors matter just as much as the content of a translation, and they matter *more* than the presence of study notes, for the end goal of helping human beings understand God's words to them.
Recently Crossway published *The ESV Illuminated Art Journaling Bible,* an edition of the ESV text graced with extra wide margins embellished by stylistically rendered pull quotes and flourishes. The margins are wide enough for writing down a thought or two, but they're still only a couple inches wide. It is single-column (basically a must in my book) with a font size readable for the average eye. The cream-colored paper is a *little* bit see-through, but for the most part it has been fine-tuned for readability.
Each book introduction in the Bible receives a lush, full-page illumination by artist Dana Tanamachi. These are easily my favorite part of this edition, to the extent that I would say they are actually *more valuable for the average reader than the traditional who/where/when book introduction.* Why? Because what is most needful when opening the Bible is not to have all your questions answered before you think to ask them, but to have your imagination fired enough that you might actually *ask* those questions in the first place and then pay close attention to the text to find your answers. For example, the title page of Ezekiel centers upon a heart crisscrossed by veins with flowers emerging from it. Intriguing! Why would Tanamachi have chosen that to illuminate the book of Ezekiel? Is the book of Ezekiel about heart surgery? It makes me want to read the book to figure out the answer to my question!
Some of them are rather obvious (Daniel is illuminated by lions, Jonah by a whale), but perhaps my favorite example is for the book of Micah. Gone are the floral flourishes that define most of the illustrations throughout the entire Bible, and instead there are heavy winds and rugged mountains, one of which is so tall that it blocks out part of the sun. Fascinating! What does Micah have to say about mountains? Is the point of the book somehow represented by the wind blowing on a mountain? The illumination *draws me in* rather than satiating my curiosity before it has even been piqued.
All that said, there are some drawbacks to this edition, in my view. While it is gorgeous in many regards, it is almost *too* beautifulit's eye-catching enough that I might leave it out on the coffee table or on the mantle so that other people can see it rather than it being something I really want to journal in. It's very instagrammable, but that's not much of a compliment; Jesus had choice words for those whose religious impulse centered mostly around being seen by others (Mat. 6:5). The question is rather whether it fosters deeper engagement with and comprehension of the flow of thought in the Bible.
The other main downside I see is that while the book title illuminations are exceedingly valuable, I found the verse illuminations in the margins to actually detract. Rather than drawing you *in* to the narrative, as the book titles do, they lift verses *out* of their context, causing one's attention to focus inordinately upon one verse at the expense of the paragraph or the chapter. Furthermore, it is typically the "coffee mug" verses that get special treatment as opposed to the less cheery verses that are just as important to our understanding of God's work in our world. For instance, Jeremiah 29:11 gets a full-page treatment, but weirdly enough Amos 5:20 ("Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?") does not get such attention. I jest, but is there not more to the Christian faith than what can be happily pasted on a coffee mug or sung about on K-LOVE? Is there not first bad news before the good news of the gospel? The Word of God is a sharp, two-edged sword that pierces us, slicing through our pretensions and cutting us to the quick of our folly. If the happy verses are in gold 48pt font and the uncomfortable verses in boring ole 12pt font, we unintentionally skew the balance of God's words to us. The *intent* of these pull quotes is to highlight God's salvific plan throughout the whole Bible, but I'm hesitant to say that they really accomplish that.
In the end, this really is a lovely Bible. The book title pages are an excellent edition, and the text is set well. The verse illuminations in the margin are pretty, but ultimately detract from the reading experience. I would recommend this for someone who is looking for a Bible in which they plan to take a lot of notes and who does not mind writing on such a polished specimen. There are other ESV editions that I would probably recommend first, but a dream would be something of a stripped-down version of this: well-set text, imagination-provoking title pages, and otherwise a clean, clear page that lets the text itself take center stage.
*DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of a fair, unbiased review.*
VicAge: 18-24Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Gorgeous Bible!!!January 26, 2019VicAge: 18-24Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5My very first impression of this Bible is, emphatically "Wow!" It is absolutely gorgeous. Seeking to continue the stream of historically illuminated manuscripts, the ESV Illuminated Bible features the designs and illustrations of Dana Tanamachi.
The cream-coloured pages pair beautifully with the black ink of the ESV text and with the gold of the illustrations.
In the back of the Bible is a list of the book opener illustrations as well as explanations of what the art means in relation to the following book. I'm completely in love with this Bible, its artwork, and design.
This is the English Standard Version of the Bible which is a trusted translation and one of my favourites.
I love the verse chosen for the back of the cover, Psalm 119:130 which says " The unfolding of your words gives light." Which is immensely fitting for an illuminated Bible.
The enchanting aesthetic of this Bible actually inspires me to read it more. It's so interesting to experience the physical beauty and be inspired to grow in knowledge of the beauty of God's written word to us.
I received a complementary copy of this Bible from Crossway in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Nay DeniseNJAge: 25-34Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Amazing!December 28, 2018Nay DeniseNJAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is an absolutely stunning Bible! I was highly impressed with the illustration by Dana Tanamachi. Her artwork is absolutely amazing and draws me in to the scriptures. The wide margins are spacious enough for not only art, but notes, journaling and/or prayers. Works great with any pen. I have found that writing with a .5 or .7 pen works best. Black ink is good, but blue ink truly pops off the page. Highlighters work great as well.
The illustrations are stunning! My favorite ones have to be Psalms, Isaiah and Ephesians.
The creation of this Bible from start to finish is outstanding. I have the green hardcover with beautiful gold foiling. The green color is just amazing to the eye. The gold gilded edges add to the sophistication of the Bible.
My dust jacket did come with a bit of a tear to it, however, I love that the green hardcover has the actual design on the Bible itself. Overall, this is a Bible I highly recommend for both creative people and those looking for a Bible to take notes or study in.
Bible Believing ChristianYouTube ChannelAge: 45-54Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Beautiful illuminated BibleDecember 24, 2018Bible Believing ChristianYouTube ChannelAge: 45-54Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This review is for the green hardcover edition.
This Bible is absolutely beautiful inside and out, the exterior dust jacket is decorated with gold and when removed shows a matching hardcover done in the same gold design, the spine looks really pretty, it is very aesthetically pleasing before you even open the Bible. It has gold gilded page edges and a nice green ribbon marker so for a hardcover to have gilded page edges and a ribbon is very rare, Crossway did a great job to pay attention to these types of details that are often overlooked on hardcover Bibles.
This Bible has a paper paste down liner and the paper is a nice gold color and has the ESV insignia very subtly on the background of the page. Then after the title pages you come to one of the most beautiful presentation pages you will ever see that is done in blue, green, red, white and gold and it absolutely stunning, you can also see in the gutter of the presentation page the evidence of the sewn binding which tells you this Bible will last a lifetime if you take care of it.
Then we get further into the Bible and we notice the cream colored pages that ave a 2" wide margin for note taking, art journaling etc and the book names, subheadings and chapter numbers are done in gold which just look so nice on the page, there are illustrated book introductions which are themed to the particular book, for example Genesis depicts artwork that symbolizes creation of all the living creatures, plants and flowers and also has an apple that depicts the fall of man, separation from the creator and the need for redemption. In the back of the Bible you will find a thumbnail of each book illustration along with a description of the artwork and what it depicts, I love that the Bible has that in the back because it is fascinating to read and see how someone had the imagination to bring that book to life with just an illustration and have it be themed perfectly for that particular book, the artist did a fantastic job. The Bible also contains 50 full-page verse illustrations, 250+ hand-lettered margin verses & 100+ other illustrations throughout which are very inspirational and might give you ideas on how to add your own unique artwork to your Bible, and if you're not artistic this Bibles makes for a very beautiful note taker's Bible.
I would definitely recommend this Bible. It is offered in multiple cover options as well. If you would like to see a full video review of this Bible you can find it on my you tube channel under the name Bible Believing Christian.
I received this Bible from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own. I purchased a copy of this Bible in the blue cloth over board before I ever received this green copy, this Bible would get the same rave review had I purchased this green cover edition. I hope this review helps if you're looking at this Bible. I also have a video review of the blue edition on my channel as well.
BeccaRae5 Stars Out Of 5Gorgeous!December 11, 2018BeccaRaeQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The look and feel of this Bible is very similar to the ESV Story of Redemption Bible also published by Crossway Publishers. It has the same cream colored pages with gold edging. The main text is in black ink but the chapter numbers and Titles are in gold. There are also multiple verse illustrations and other illustrations in gold throughout. My only complaint is that the paper is a bit too see-through. The margins are large enough to give plenty of space for any note-taking you desire. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. There is a single ribbon marker to hold your place. When it arrived in the mail the paper cover was mangled from the shipping but since the design is etched into the hardcover as well I probably wouldn't have kept it anyways.
This Bible has the look and feel of a more traditional or heirloom Bible. The ornate illustrations give it an appearance of antiquity worth being prized. With the rise in popularity of Bible journaling, this Bible blends ageless art to enhance your study. I really love the classic beauty to it.
The ESV Illuminated Bible is a journaling bible but is not considered a study Bible, meaning you get the full text of the Bible but there aren't any additional study notes. It's intended for you to jot your own notes down and/or add your own personal illustrations. It's up to your own personal preference which type of Bible you prefer and how you utilize it.
In my opinion this is a beautiful Bible and one I'd easily recommend to those who are into Bible journaling, verse illustrating, or just like a super beautiful Bible.
*I received a copy of this Bible from Crossway Publishers. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.