Bible Review – ESV Journaling Bible Interleaved Edition

esv interleaved

Ever since I heard about Jonathan Edwards’ blank Bible he used for taking notes, I have been fascinated with interleaved Bibles.  In my experience, there have been very few of them.  When I found out that Crossway was releasing one for the ESV, I was very excited!  As always, Crossway has gone above and beyond in delivering a great Bible.

For the basics, the ESV Journaling Bible Interleaved Edition comes in several editions.  I received the tan cloth over board edition, and it arrived in a sturdy slipcase.





The layout on them all is a double-column text in a smyth-sewn binding.  The type size is smaller than most at 7.5 font, but it has to be for the size of the Bible.  In terms of thickness, it is about as thick as the ESV Study Bible.  This is due to a couple of factors.  One is that there is a blank page inserted between every page of text (more on this later). The other is that the paper itself is thicker than traditional Bible paper, which is great for taking notes without bleed through or ghosting. For most people, this will be a Bible that stays at home instead of being carried around to church and Bible studies.  The paper is cream colored, which I am appreciating more and more in Bibles. It does come with one brown ribbon bookmark.

Inside text

Inside and blank

One of the first things I noticed when checking this Bible is the text edition change.  I expected to see that it was the 2011 text edition.  Instead, I saw that it is the “ESV Permanent Text Edition (2016).”


A few weeks later a Web page was created on the Crossway site that explains the edition.  You can read the page here.  There were changes to 29 verses (52 words total).  This will be the definitive edition of the ESV, with no more forthcoming changes from Crossway.  As someone who tries to commit large passages to memory, I am actually pleased with this decision, although I can understand the need for further revisions with new manuscript discoveries and/or insights into Greek and Hebrew.

The selling point of this Bible is that it includes one blank page for every page of Scripture. For those who like to take notes, make cross references, or draw in the Bible, this space should be more than enough for a lifetime of note taking.

At this point, it has not been decided whether this Bible will be mine or my wife’s.  She tends to write in her Bibles more than I do, so it will probably become hers.  In order to keep from writing notes she may  not want later, I tested the writing on the Introduction page of the Bible and the reverse of that page.

What I really like about the format of this note-taking Bible is that it is not text on one side and blank on the other, but each page either has text on both sides or is blank on both sides.  I think this was a great decision on Crossway’s part.  When you write over the text (underlining, circling, etc.), the text on the other side helps hide it from show through or ghosting.  The writing in the blank parts show through more, but it will only occur in the margins and on the blank pages of notes, so it won’t distract from reading the text of Scripture itself.  I tested three different pens and a highlighter, which you can see below. There is some ghosting, but I noticed no bleed through.  (At least with the pens that I tested.  Other pens may have different results.)  The pictures below are how the two sides of one page looked for me.  The circle on the blank page was drawn so I could see if I could spot it on the text side on the reverse; I really couldn’t.

writing sample

writing blank

If you love writing in your Bible, but don’t like the bleeding and ghosting that appears with most of them, or if you feel like there isn’t enough space in traditional Bibles for the notes you want to make, the ESV Journaling Bible Interleaved Edition would be perfect for you!

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Kindle Oasis Review – Sticking with My Voyage


I have owned just about every edition of the Kindle since the first one was released. As far as I can recall, this is the first strictly e-reader I have decided to return. I did return the Kindle Fire for Kids, too, but I am talking about a dedicated e-reader.

It’s not that the Kindle Oasis is horrible. It’s not. I just had a few issues that kept me from liking it more than the Voyage I already own.

Let me start with the positives.

As advertised, it is light. It is comfortable to hold in the hand. I do like the physical buttons to turn pages. The screen is very bright with the 4 new LED lights added. The cover is very nice. I like that the cover charges it.

I won’t go on with the positives, as the 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon’s Web site and many of the reviews online and on YouTube all go into great detail about them. I read quite a few before deciding to try the Oasis.

So why did I decide to return it? There were a few reasons.

First, when I compared the text next to my Voyage, I actually noticed that the text was darker on my Voyage than it was on the Oasis. I asked my wife her opinion to double check, as she normally does not notice differences in resolution in most screens. She noticed the difference immediately. The text on the Oasis was a little lighter. I made sure the fonts were the same and the same size when I checked this. Personally, I want my e-reader to have dark text while I am reading. Especially with the price of the Oasis, I at least wanted the text to be the same (some had said it seemed clearer to them; perhaps their reader looked different than mine).

Second, the battery life was not great when separated from the case. I read it for 10 minutes with wireless turned off and the light all the way up. Even with wireless off, it drained the battery 8% in 10 minutes. At that rate, I would have a little over 2 hours of reading before the Kindle itself would need to be charged. Granted, once you attach the case, the case charges the Kindle back up quickly, and if you leave it in the case, the case battery will be drained first, and it takes longer to drain that one. But the selling point of this Kindle, as I understood it, was the form factor when reading it out of the cover: the ergonomic design and weight of the Oasis. If I am having to frequently return it to the case, it seems that it is undercutting the main selling point of the device. Granted, I don’t often get 2 hours of uninterrupted reading time, but I do on occasion. My Voyage can go much longer before I have to charge it again. It may not last as long as the Oasis and case combined, but whether I have the Voyage in the case or out, it has a long enough charge.

Third, the design and weight of the Oasis, while nice, is not as drastic of an improvement over the Voyage as I thought it might be. I have been reading with the Voyage out of the case lately, and I have managed to find a way to hold it where it feels very comfortable in my hand. Again, the Oasis is nice, but for the price tag, I am not sure it is nice enough.

Part of the design is the ability to switch hands by rotating the Oasis; the screen now flips when you flip the Kindle. As I was reading, I found myself wanting to switch hands. I rotated the Oasis, and it was okay. But then I realized that while I switch hands a lot when using my Voyage, I never thought about it, since it has buttons on both sides for turning pages. Honestly, the Voyage was just more convenient in terms of switching hands.

Fourth, the lighting. I did not really notice the scalloping effect some have mentioned, but I did notice a few things. When I first got the Oasis, I tilted it so I could look at the side where the lights are. I immediately noticed that from some angles, the darker fonts and pictures seemed to have white flecks in them (almost sparkly, I suppose). I couldn’t see it all the time, but from some angles it was very obvious. The most noticeable thing with the lighting was that the screen started less white on the left and ended up more white on the right. I understand the lights are on that side, and I suppose the Voyage I have does something similar from top to bottom (although not nearly as noticeable), but it was more distracting, as I read left to right a lot more frequently and more quickly than I do top to bottom. In other words, on my Voyage, the screen may change shade, but it takes so long to go from the top of a page to the bottom of a page that it is a gradual change my eyes don’t notice. On the Oasis, however, each line takes you back from the left to the right, so you see it quicker and more frequently, making it more noticeable.

Fifth, the cover. It is a nice leather, but it is a softer leather. I have some Bibles with leather covers like this one, and I have seen them scratch a little easier than some tougher leathers. I am afraid that it would not take much to scratch the leather on this cover, although only time would tell.

If I were upgrading from a Kindle with no lighting or an earlier, and much heavier, Kindle, I think the Oasis could be a great investment. In my case, going from the Voyage (the previous top-of-the-line Kindle) to this one was not as advantageous. I always like having 3G, and I decided to try going ad-free this time, so after tax the total was just over $400. There aren’t enough new features to make it worth that price to me, and in some ways the Voyage I already owned was even better than the Oasis. If the Oasis weren’t so high priced, perhaps it would be better, but for me, my Voyage works great, and I can use the $400 for more books or something else. Or better yet, since I have been working on minimalizing, I could just save the money!