Crossway is an Evangelical not-for-profit publisher which produced, in 2001, the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. This is a modern revision of the Revised Standard Version (RSV), which employs an “essentially literal” translation of Sacred Scripture. On both scholarly and literary grounds, it’s a pretty good translation.
(The Catholic Bishops Conference of India have prepared a Catholic edition of the ESV for its English-language Lectionary — the official book of scriptural readings used in the Mass and other sacred rites. Catholic Bible Student provides a detailed review of the ESV-CE and an excellent overview of the “English Lectionary Wars.”)
Back to Crossway. Not only have they prepared their own translation of the Bible, but they also specialise in publishing really beautiful versions of the Bible for different purposes: study; journalling; devotion; liturgy; etc. I really love their Reader’s Bibles. These are published on thick paper, in single column, in large print, without any chapter, verse, or footnote references. Reading these bibles is like reading a novel: terrible for study, but perfect for spiritual reading and prayer!
I’ve blogged previously about the ESV Reader’s Gospel, which I have bought and gifted many times. But in 2019, Crossway went one better, and published the ESV Gospels, Reader’s Set:
Each of the four Gospels is printed in a small stand-alone volume, which is about the size of a DVD cover. I like this edition of the Gospels so much, that I have bought multiple copies for my parish piety stores, so that parishioners can more easily acquire them. They are perfectly suited for spiritual reading, and they have really helped me “pray the Gospels.” Prayerfully reading and meditating on the Gospels is transformative, and one of the best ways we can use our time.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12 — incidentally, this is the ESV translation.)
I highly, highly, recommend this set, both for personal reading, and as a gift for almost any age — from First Communicants up. As usual, Amazon provides the best deal, which amounts to about $35 AUD. It’s well worth it!