I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been looking forward to this edition of the ESV since I saw it on Crossway’s list of forthcoming editions.
What makes the ESV Bible with creeds and confessions (BCC) so great is that that it includes 13 historic Christian creeds, definitions, confessions and catechisms at the back of the Bible.
Crossway was innovative where they needed to be and not where they shouldn’t be.
They took the tried and true large print thinline reference text block and then added the extras to the back after the concordance. So the Bible feels like a bible and the extras really feel as if they are just extra material.
So let’s get underway.
My copy is hardcover cloth over board. It has 5 spine hubs (a great touch) and I really like the cross-like emblem on the cover. It’s hard to articulate but it feels like it adds an ancient touch l, which I think is the point.
The spine says Holy Bible, with creeds and confessions, ESV logo, English Standard Version, Crossway (with logo). Some would think it’s a little over kill but it doesn’t bother me.
All the gold foil has been pressed into the cloth-over-board, so hopefully it would hold up well over time.
The gold paper used to paste down the cover to the text block is thick and has a variation pattern of the cross on the front but in a repetitive pattern. Very tasteful.
As I said above, there isn’t much different about the text block other than the addition of the creeds and confessions in the back after the concordance.
The Bible text is the large print thinline reference (LPTR) layout exactly. Same pageation from what I can tell.
The box says that the font is 10, crossway’s website says 10.5. Either way the font is larger than your normal thinline bible which is really great.
The biggest difference that I can see in the text block is:
1) the text is very dark. This is something I have lamented concerning Crossway bibles. Usually the font is just light enough that my eyes have a hard time reading, especially in the LPTR where the large font and thin paper kinda exaggerated the problem.
2) the paper is more white than I recall the LPTR being AND there is noticeably less ghosting. It’s still there but so far the reading experience has bee great.
The paper is nice. Feels like a 30-32gsm. I don’t have any stats or anything but it’s nice paper and it’s a pleasure to read.
My only negative observation from the paper is that it shines a little under direct light. It doesn’t distract too much from the reading experience but it is noticeable.
The nice hardcover, the spine hubs, the nicer paper and darker font are all innovations that I applaud Crossway for! And they kept the text layout the same which was already a winner but was diminished because of the previously too-thin paper and not-dark-enough text.
In other words, if you liked the LPTR but want an upgrade ($10 more) then this is a great volume!
Creeds and Confessions
So, what makes this bible unique is the additions in the back.
There’s about 160 extra pages added to the back. There are thirteen documents:
- Apostle’s creed
- Nicene creed
- Athanasian creed
- Chalcedonian definition
- Augsburg confession
- Belgic confession
- Articles of religion (Anglican)
- Canons of Dort (against Arminian doctrine)
- Westminster confession (Presbyterian)
- London Baptist Confession (reformed baptist)
- Heidelberg catechism
- Westminster larger catechism
- Westminster shorter catechism
In addition to the documents, there’s an introduction and introductions for each of the documents.
I’ve found the introductions really helpful just to have a context for each of the documents. It gives you just enough info to read them in the right light while not being overloaded with information.
The creeds and confessions are not line-matched like the rest of the Bible in order to save space but because of the dark text and nicer paper, it’s not an issue.
Where the authors of the documents include scripture references, the documents include them too which is really helpful when you’re wanting to reference something said.
Some might be asking, “why have a bible with creeds and confessions in the back?”
Arguably, there are a number of Protestant traditions that are anti-creed/confessional because there is a perception that these are purely human words and should not be trusted.
While no one who is orthodox would say the creeds and confessions are equal to scripture (indeed, they are most certainly not!) creeds and confessions are extremely useful in orienting our minds to the teachings of scripture.
Godly men gathered over the centuries and cake together to write these documents intentionally to hand down proper doctrine and to instruct believers.
For those who are anti or creed-suspect, let me just say that the reality is that if you don’t accept ancient creeds, you’re accepting someone else’s creed and confession. We must not assume we are wiser or greater than the godly men and women who have gone before us and who wrestled with the doctrines of scripture. Creeds and confessions are a great place to start.
Anyways, this would be a great edition for anyone in a confessional tradition or someone who would like them as additional resources.