I would like to thank the fine folks at Crossway for sending me along a copy of the ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition; the version they sent me is the natural leather, brown, flap with strap style, resembling something you might find in the saddle bag of famous theologian and pastor, Jonathan Edwards. Indeed Crossway’s description of the Bible notes the intentional move to model this Bible after Edwards’ Blank Bible:
Patterned after the Bible that Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century preacher and theologian, used to record more than 5,000 notes about God’s Word, the ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition features a full, blank page next to every page of Bible text. Created for Bible readers looking for as much space as possible for sermon notes, personal reflections, prayers, or artwork, this edition features cream-colored paper and a durable binding to ensure that it lasts a lifetime. (source)
The story goes that Edwards’ wife sewed blank pages in between the pages of his Bible in order to provide the over 5,000 notes that he would eventually make as he read and preached through his Bible. This Bible, created by Crossway, will give you a sense that you are holding a bit of history and remind you of the great teachers Jesus Christ has provided for his church; including, Jonathan Edwards.
The Bible itself is rather big (6.5 in x 9.25 in and 70.7 ounces), and the font is relatively small (7.5), although it is readable. But other than that, the Bible itself is put together well. The brown natural level feels sturdy, and looks appropriate for a Bible that sells itself as a replica of Edwards’ Bible. The paper used for the pages of the Bible are cream colored, which I like, and are a very sturdy paper which will not be prone to bleeding, for any note takers who insist on continuing to use highlighters rather than colored pencils (which is my preference when highlighting). Between each and every page of this Bible there are indeed blank pages of paper where someone could make voluminous notes; I am guessing way more than 5,000 (depending on the size of the notes). Unlike most Bibles, this particular Bible does not have Bible-land maps in the back; instead it has a “through the Bible in a year reading plan.” As the reader opens the flap of the Bible, by unwinding the strap used to keep the flap of the Bible closed (which can be a little cumbersome to undo while using the Bible in a church service, etc.), they will immediately notice a little pencil or pen holder which will hold a pencil or pen in your Bible even with the flap closed.
Overall, I would certainly recommend this Bible. It is a great looking Bible, accompanied by a great translation of the Bible, and it has the durability of a Bible (because of the quality of materials used to produce it) that will last someone a life time. If you purchase this Bible I would recommend, that as Augustine would say tolle lege, ‘take up and read,’ and read it constantly!