Category Archives: Book Reviews

ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Edition (Blue Goatskin): Some Preliminary Remarks

Nearly two weeks ago I mentioned that I had ordered a premium ESV from evangelicalbible.com. I went with the Ocean Blue goatskin ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible after more than a week of research. My research included watching video reviews, reading written reviews, and looking at as many pictures as I could find. This was, after all, a pretty big purchase. I got my copy for $155 marked down from $275.

Now this isn’t the first premium Bible I’ve ever owned. In point of fact, some years back Zondervan sent me a Premium single column NIV reference Bible for review. It’s really a beautiful Bible but it’s not one I’ve found myself using frequently over the years. I think the main reason has been that the type is on the small side and I have a double column NIV reference Bible with large print that I prefer to read and preach from.

But my friend Michael Burgos put the bug in my ear when he started talking about getting a new preaching Bible. I’m going to be leading a Bible study series at church in the near future and I’ll be starting up a Bible study at my job after work on Tuesdays so I figured that I’d get a nice preaching/teaching Bible as well. I had a short list of things I was looking for:

First, I wanted an ESV. I love the NIV and it’s almost always the translation I preach from, and I love the KJV because it’s the translation I was raised with, but the ESV strikes the right balance between the two for me and it’s the one I read most of the time. At this point it’s the translation I’m most familiar with.

Second, I wanted something with wide margins so I could take notes. I haven’t written in a Bible in years but I wanted to go back to my roots and really mark this thing up. For months I had my first KJV on my desk and I’d revisit it from time to time and look at my markings with fondness.

Third, I wanted a single column because I just find them easier for reading. Over the last couple of years I’ve been reading the various versions of the ESV Reader’s Bibles. It’s hard to go back. 

Lastly, I wanted something that was manageable in terms of size. A thinline would have been preferable but not absolutely necessary. I just don’t like unwieldy Bibles and this one will be traveling with me rather than positioned permanently on a pulpit.

So with this in mind I went searching evangelicalbible.com and I immediately fell in love with their selection of blue Bibles. Something about the blue gilding jumped out and grabbed my attention. They had a few to choose from but the Heirloom Legacy was the only one that met my criteria.

Technically it’s not a wide margin but because it’s a reader type of text there isn’t really anything extra on the page. I think they said its layout is based on the concept of “the perfect page.” This leaves plenty of room in the margins and page footers.

It’s also not a thinline. I had a Legacy when Crossway first published it and I hated it for its size. From my research I discovered that this one wasn’t as thick. I couldn’t be sure exactly how thick it was though as I hadn’t seen too much to establish a scale by which to judge it. I could just tell that it was thinner than the one I owned a few years back.

But it was an ESV and it was single column and that blue… So I ordered it and eagerly awaited its arrival. Well, it came in more than a week ago and it’s glorious! Below are some pictures showing just how nice the blue is, how flexible and soft the goatskin is, and how thin it actually is (take note of the last three photos; which include the original Legacy compared to my thinline NIV reference Bible and the new Heirloom Legacy compared to the same Bible).

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 In another post I’ll say some more about how I’ve been marking this Bible up and the pens I’m using to do so. Until then, enjoy the pictures, which really don’t do the reality any justice.

B”H

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Just Ordered (Yes, Again…)

So I had to add a few more Scott Hahn books to my library. I took advantage of some used copies with free shipping on Amazon. I got the following:

Understanding “Our Father”: Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer

A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture

Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism

Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith

I was also able to take advantage of something that Hahn mentioned on Twitter, namely that Aleteia has partnered with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology in offering Hahn’s latest book The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order for free (as a promotional paperback) to the first 20,000 people to take advantage. I jumped all over that! They just ask that you pay for shipping.

I also spent 45 minutes of my day going to 3 different stores in search of Pigma Micron pens to write in my new Bible. Michaels had some but not the ones I needed. Target and Walmart didn’t have any. So I ordered a 4 pack from Amazon containing black, red, blue, and green pens. These have archival ink that won’t smudge or bleed through and that’s extremely important to me since I plan to write quite a bit in my premium Bible, which arrived yesterday. I plan to post some photos soon and I might even write a review. We’ll see.

B”H

Phil Long (@Plong42) Reviews my Book

Phil Long as reviewed my book Christology in Review over at his blog Reading Acts. It’s a favorable review—thanks be to God—but Phil was surprised to see that I didn’t review the Michael Bird edited How God Became Jesus. To be honest, I’m surprised that I haven’t reviewed it either. I read it when it first came out and I began a post (which I believe is still in my drafts) summarizing each chapter but for some reason I never got around to finishing it. It’s been so long since I’ve read the book that I’ll have to go back and read it again!

Thanks to Phil for taking the time to read and review the book. I have produced a corrected edition in which I have fixed all of the typographical errors I spotted in the original version. I also fixed the format, which I wasn’t happy with in the original version. It looks and feels much more like a real book now. I’ll be sending Phil a copy of the update when they come in. I’d also note that I’ve added 2 other reviews to this corrected edition and a bibliography of the books reviewed. The latter became necessary since I removed the bibliographic details from the reviews themselves.

I’ll post on all that another time.

B”H

Recent Goings On

So much has been happening and I’ve not kept my faithful readers abreast of it all.

First, thanks to those of you who have stuck with this blog during its dormancy.

Second, I’ve received a couple of books over the past few months for review. Yes, I still plan to review books when I have the time. My Twitter followers have been made aware of these but my blog readers have not.

Wipf & Stock sent along Kevin Giles’ The Rise and Fall of the Complementarian Doctrine of the Trinity. I was made aware of this volume from a post on Scot McKnight’s blog. The material he quoted had Giles quoting Denny Burk so I naturally tracked the original material down and found that Giles was taking Burk out of context and misrepresenting him. Burk confirmed as much on Twitter when I brought it up to McKnight. So I’m looking forward to a more than likely scathing review of this book. I’ve admitted to being unnecessarily harsh to Giles’ work in the past but then I reread it or read something new and think that maybe it was necessary.

The other volume I received for review came courtesy of Mohr Siebeck. It’s Benjamin Pacut’s Redescribing Jesus’ Divinity Through a Social Science Theory. Tim Bertolet had good things to say about it so I’m hopeful that it will be good.

Thirdly, in other news, Fortress Press has partnered with an organization called Givingtons and they’re running a ridiculously discounted sale on a bunch of books. I had initially ordered a copy of David Congdon’s The Mission of Demythologizing: Rudolf Bultmann’s Dialectical Theology. Okay, so this has a $99 list price. Amazon sells it for just under $70. They had the Kindle version available for like $7 for a while but I’ve never once read any of the Kindle volumes I own. I can’t see starting now. So I was pretty much out of luck with this one. Until this sale. I found out about it on Facebook from Congdon and proceeded to order his book for a paltry $9! I also added a book on Incarnation.

But then some wacky stuff started to happen. Two weeks after placing the order I emailed customer service to check on the status of the order since nothing had even been shipped. I was refunded the money for Congdon’s book with the explanation that they were out of stock and didn’t expect to receive any from the publisher. This was disappointing. But they assured me that they were sending the other book. I told them thanks, but no thanks, and canceled the entire order. The other volume was merely an add-on.

So I took to Twitter and lamented the state of affairs. I also emailed the customer service rep and asked why people who had ordered the book after I had received a copy while I had been declined. You see, I know for a fact that there were people who missed out on the initial sale and ordered during a second wave. They had received books while I had not. I was given an unsatisfactory answer. But Congdon was good enough to contact his people at Fortress and get to the bottom of it all. I ended up being contacted and told that they were getting a new batch and that I could order it again, this time with free shipping for my inconvenience! So that I did. I also added a book on a non-sacramental reading of John 6.

Fourthly, I got off Facebook. I had initially signed up to meet my wife. We met. We dated. We married. The end. I still have the account; I just deleted the app.

product_thumbnailFifthly, I’ve self-published a collection of book reviews on books about Christology. It’s called Christology in Review: A Layman’s Take on Books about Christology. You can purchase a copy here if you’re so interested. It’ll cost you $6. Almost all of these reviews are available for free on the blog. I have added a review essay of Bart Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God, which is a bit more detailed than the review I have on the blog. I’ve also slightly edited the content of the some of the reviews and have done my best to format them all similarly; at least where possible.

And that’ll just about do it for this update.

Oh, and I’m happy to note that my brother from another mother Fr Esteban Vázquez is back to blogging! It’s substantive stuff too; not drivel like this!

B”H

Better Late than Never

I just saw a review of Kevin Giles’ The Eternal Generation of the Son written by Jim Cassidy on the Reformed Forum blog. It’s a good review. Much more sympathetic to Giles’ work than my own review. Cassidy begins with reference to my review and he agrees with certain points I make but disagrees with others. I only wish I had known about this more than 3 years ago when it was originally posted! It was still good reading though, and I always go back to my reviews of Giles’ books and think that I was unnecessarily harsh at the time of writing them. There’s just something about his stuff that riles me up. In any event, check out Cassidy’s review. It’s worth your time.

B”H