There are so many factors that make a fine Bible exceptional. Here is what I think is most important: Do you want to pick up the Bible again and again? Do you enjoy holding it and, most importantly, reading it? Crossway’s Heirloom Thinline Bible is an excellent example of getting it right. The font in noticeably larger than Cambridge’s Pitt Minion (previously reviewed here) but because of the simple minimalist two-column layout, the Bible is in a surprisingly small package. This is a Bible you can take with you on the go without adding much more bulk than the smallest portable Bibles, with the benefit of significant enhancement in ease of reading.


Crossway ESV Heirloom Thinline Bible Cover

The Crossway ESV Heirloom Thinline Bible reviewed here is black goatskin. The cover feels substantial, while still being very flexible.The grain is a great balance between either too smooth or too pebbly. It has a really nice texture. The spine has four ribs, which I think are perfect. The lettering on the spine is gold. The design comes close to overkill for me, as there is both the ESV logo and English Standard Version spelled out in addition to “Holy Bible” at the top and Crossway’s logo at the bottom of the spine.

This Bible has edge-lined binding, which is known to be the most durable. One drawn back for edge-lined Bibles for me has sometimes been a stiff hinge where the pages don’t lay flat when the Bible is opened. My sense is that if you don’t have a basis for comparison, this is something that most people would never notice. But if you’ve see an edge-lined Bible that has a flexible hinge (here’s a great example), it is disappointing to see a stiffer hinge. I like to be able to roll the cover around the back of the Bible when I’m reading, which is harder to do with stiff hinges. However, this is less of an issue with the Crossway Heirloom Thinline because of how thin it is while still having a fairly wide page, particularly in proportion to each other. This is a minor concern from my perspective and would not keep me from purchasing this Bible.


This Bible has a very simple, minimalist layout. I love it!

It has 8-point type, which I consider to be quite large for a Bible with this profile. It is double-column with paragraphs (instead of each verse being separated).  The Bible is black lettering throughout (the words of Jesus are not in red). There is a relatively concise concordance containing 2,400 word entries and 10,000 Scrpiture references. It also has color maps.

This Bible surprised me because I would ordinarily eliminate from consideration a Bible without cross references. This Bible would not be possible in the profile and font size with any additional apparatus. Crossway’s Heirloom Thinline Bible is close to ideal in terms of the combination of portable size with enjoyable reading experience. This advantage makes the lack of references logical.


My enthusiasm for premium Bibles comes from a conviction that the printed word matters. In a time when we spend more and more time with exceptionally well crafted and addictive devices, we need Bibles that are beautifully designed and enjoyable to hold and read. The more Bibles I’ve been able to get my hands on, the more convinced I am that these are a worthwhile investment, particularly as they are made to last a lifetime.

The Crossway ESV Heirloom Thinline Bible is beautifully designed and enjoyable to hold and read. I find myself picking it up and flipping through it because it is so well made and engaging. This is a fantastic Bible. Crossway did a great job on this one!

Bonus: If you’ve tried to read the Bible cover to cover without success, try this!

Crossway has impressed me with their thorough support for the ESV across the board. In addition to their Heirloom line, they also have creatively and thoughtfully produced a variety of Bibles. Outside of the Heirloom Bibles, my favorite is easily the ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set.

Have you always wanted to read through the entire Bible, but tend to get bogged down somewhere in Leviticus and just never make it through?

If so, I would highly recommend giving this Bible a try. It is designed to be read like you actually read. Each of the six volumes can be comfortably held in your hands and has paper, font size, and margins similar to a typical book you would read from front to back. The paper is much thicker than a typical Bible (like a normal book) and there are no distracting additions on the page. (There aren’t even chapter or verses.)

I highly recommend this Bible for immersive reading of Scripture. If you want to read through the entire Bible in a relatively short period of time, you should check out this set.

Kevin M. Watson is a professor at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He teaches, writes, and preaches to empower community, discipleship, and stewardship of our heritage. Click here to get future posts emailed to you. Affiliate links used in this post. Crossway provided a review copy of this Bible in exchange for an honest review.