The Schuyler ESV in Black and Brown Goatskin

 

Verdict: If you liked the form factor of the Allan Reader's ESV but were disappointed with the opacity of the paper, the Schuyler ESV is an attractive alternative.

It's not every day that a new player enters the league of high quality Bible publishers. Typically the trend moves in the opposite direction — somebody drops out, or starts cutting corners. So the debut of EvangelicalBible.com's Schuyler line of Bibles is welcome news. The first edition, the Schuyler ESV, is an impressive start, promising good things to come.

The Schuyler ESV features a special edition of Crossway's new Classic Reference text setting, printed by Jongbloed in the Netherlands, and paired with a limp, edge-lined binding in black or brown goatskin. Imagine a text block the size of an Allan Reader's ESV, only with a cover similar to one of Cambridge's edge-lined wide margins, and you have an idea of what the Schuyler ESV feels like.

FORM FACTOR: COMPARED TO THE ALLAN READER

The trim size of the text block is 6.25" x 9.15", closely resembling that of the R. L. Allan Reader's Edition ESV (although the latter seems bigger in photos thanks to the semi-yapp cover). While there isn't an official name for this size Bible, I think of them as "large format" editions, about as big as I'd want to go in a portable book. Both editions come with art-gilt page edges and three ribbons, wide ones on the Reader and skinny ones on the Schuyler. 

Both the Schuyler and the Allan Reader's Edition feature double-column text settings with references down the middle, and the columns are the same width — just a hair over two inches. Because the Schuyler uses a more recent text setting, the appearance of its interior varies greatly from the Allan. The first thing you notice is that the new Classic Reference setting doesn't use a contrasting sans serif typeface for headings, instead setting them in italicized, boldface serif type. This gives a lest contrasty feel. Frankly, I'm not sure which approach I prefer. Both of them work.

While both covers are edge-lined, they vary greatly in style. I give the Allan beaucoup style points for its Old World feel and leather lining, which speaks to my aesthetic sensibility. The Schuyler cover takes its cues from Cambridge's edge-lined covers, which are also produced by Jongbloed. It comes with the same stitching around the edge to reinforce the turned-in leather, as well as the same shiny synthetic lining. The black edition comes with a black lining, the brown with a brown lining.

IMPRINTING

The Schuyler takes a couple of love-it-or-hate-it risks. We'll talk about the big one, the inclusion of Christian creeds and confessions, later on. First let's look at the imprinting, which is a bit idiosyncratic. On the spine, you'll find the words HOLY BIBLE right at the top, balancing the logo at the bottom. Typically the title would be lower down on the spine (the second section seems to be the most common). If your Schuyler were sitting on a bookshelf amid other editions, you would immediately be able to tell it apart.

On the front cover, you'll find the words HOLY BIBLE printed in what my scale suggests is 42 pt. type. That's big. When I first opened the box, that massive title really jumped out at me. Now I don't notice it as much. For the record, I prefer no imprinting at all on the front cover of a Bible, and if it must be there, make it subtle. This is not subtle by any stretch. No light was hidden under a bushel in the making of this edition.


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Above: The Schuyler ESV is available in black goatskin with red ribbons and brown goatskin with gold ribbons. My preference? Definitely the brown — dark, attractive, and just a little bit different.

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Above: The ribbons are on the skinny side for those of us accustomed to the wider Allan ribbons,but they are comparable in length and get the job done.

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Above: The edge-lined goatskin cover is stitched around the perimeter for extra strength, with a coordinating polyurethane lining. Some argue that leather lining, while nicer, isn't as durable. I prefer leather regardless, but I've been using these synthetic linings in Cambridge Bibles for years without any problems.

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Above: There can be no doubt of the contents with such a large title on front, but I prefer smaller imprinting on front or (ideally) none at all. 

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Above: The black edition with red ribbons is a less daring choice, but equally elegant. The natural grained cover is quite attractive.

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Above: Most publishers would move HOLY BIBLE lower down the spine and adjust the translation title accordingly. For those who notice, this is one of those love-it-or-hate-it style cues. 

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Above: The Schuyler formula consists of matching quality book blocks with quality bindings, and based on the debut edition, we are fortunate indeed to have this new line available.

PAPER

One of the selling points of the Schuyler has been its upgraded paper specification. The 32 gsm paper is a slightly higher spec than the 30 gsm Crossway used for the ESV Study Bible, and the results are pretty good. We judge the quality of thin Bible paper by the amount of printing that shows through from the reverse side of the page. In cases where show-through is pronounced, it tends to give the page a five o'clock shadow effect, which I call ghosting. Almost all Bibles, modern and vintage, display this effect. When it is extreme, the ghosting detracts significantly from readability.

The good news where the Schuyler is concerned is that, compared to the Reader, there is less show-through. As you can see from the photographs, however, the Schuyler still has plenty of ghosting.

The EvangelicalBible.com page dedicated to the Schuyler claims this paper is "50% more opaque than the Cambridge Clarion Series." This may be true technically, but eyeballing the edition side by side, the differences aren't so clear cut to me. Perhaps the Clarion's superior line-matching (though it's not perfect by any means) makes up the difference. Flipping through the Schuyler at random, I'm able to find a number of instances in which a line from the reverse of the page is printed exactly in the middle of two lines on the front, which heightens the five o'clock shadow effect. The same paper with more consistent line matching might be more noticeably superior

LAYOUT

Setting the text in two columns is traditional, and has its advantages, but in a world where Crossway's Legacy setting and the Cambridge Clarion exist, it's hard to get excited about the Classic Reference, especially in poetry sections, where the two-inch column width doesn't do the lines any favors. If you haven't made the switch yet, you won't notice. And if you have, well, the Schuyler does have something going for it to make the choice difficult: the back matter.

CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS

The second love-it-or-hate-it feature, much more significant than the imprinting, is the inclusion of the ecumenical creeds and a selection of Reformation-era confessions of faith. For years, whenever Bible publishers have asked what features I'd like to see in an edition, the one suggestion I've repeated over and over is the inclusion of creeds and confessions in the back. To my mind, this is a "help" that actually helps, because gives access the church's tradition of interpretation. Traditionally, this material would have been placed inside a hymnal, but singing from a hymnal is about as popular with today's evangelical as elevating the host was in Puritan New England.

Before the Schuyler Bible, the only edition I could recommend to people curious about, say, Nicene orthodoxy or the Reformation era theological consensus (or lack thereof) was the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible. Now there's a slimmer option. Unlike the SRSB, the Schuyler doesn't index the creeds and confessions with the Bible text, so you won't find marginal notes in Ephesians 1 directing you to a section in the Westminster Larger Catechism or vice versa. Also, the Schuyler omits the Three Forms of Unity, perhaps the most important of the Reformed standards, which consists of the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dordt, and one of the few catechisms I'm aware of which is the subject of a rap song, the Heidelberg.

 

Having said that, what the Schuyler does include are the ecumenical creeds which all orthodox Christians have in common — Apostles', Nicene, Chalcedonian, and Athanasian — along with the Augsburg Confession, the 39 Articles, the Westminster Standards, and the London Baptist Confession of 1689. With the exception of the Dutch Reformed, this covers the major Reformation-era confessional Christian groups still in existence today.

Why include this stuff in the Bible? Good question. The short answer is for ready reference. The long answer goes something like this. Including these documents accomplishes a similar goal to that of a study Bible, with one significant difference: the views summarized are not those of an individual, or even a committee of scholars, but of a confessing church. They represent a collective endorsement and exposition of the faith contained in Scripture. While there is a great deal of consensus among the confessions, there are differences, too — and I think that's helpful, as well, to those of us who want to have an informed view of what our fellow believers actually confess (as opposed to what they're accused of believing, if you see what I mean).

For those of you who don't want the ecumenical creeds and Reformation confessions in your Bible, Schuyler offers an edition without them. You're missing out on the most unique feature of the edition, but the choice is yours.

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Above: The Schuyler's 32 gsm paper doesn't eliminate show-through, but it does help to minimize the effect somewhat.

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Above: The Schuyler (left) compared to the Allan Reader's ESV (right) opened to an approximately comparable page. 

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Above: The Schuyler (left) compared to the Cambridge Clarion ESV on a roughly comparable page. 

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Above: The Schuyler (top) has a smaller footprint than the Allan Reader's ESV (below), but the book blocks are comparable in size.

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Above: Ever wondering "shall all men die?" This any many other questions are answered in the Schuyler's back matter, which includes the ecumenical creeds and a selection of Reformation-era confessions of faith. This feature alone makes the Schuyler worth having.

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Above: As you would expect from any edge-lined binding by Jongbloed, the Schuyler is limp and fantastically flexible. It feels wonderful in the hand.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SCHUYLER

Why would anyone want to get into the business of high quality Bibles when so many of the major players in mass market Bible publishing have gotten out? Consider this. Over the past few years, EvangelicalBible.com has become the preeminent distributor of high end Bibles in North America. They've worked hard to offer excellent customer service, and to develop relationships with Bible enthusiasts online. If anyone can make a claim to have a finger on the pulse of the market, they can.

When we chat from time to time, I say things like, "This is what should be published!" And they say, "Yeah, but here's what customers actually buy." And I say, "Who cares what they want, give them what they ought to want!" I'm paraphrasing, but this gives you insight into a couple of things: first, why I wouldn't make a very good businessman. Second, that they're trying to listen to what you're saying.

What are purchasers of quality Bibles saying? Simply put, they expect the quality of a Bible's interior to be comparable to its exterior. The leather should be nice, yes, but so should the paper.

(This is a digression. You can skip to the next paragraph if you wish. One of the factors rarely brought up in the current hand-wringing about the rise of e-books and the supposed death of printed books is this: the quality of printed books, by and large, has dropped to such a state that not having a physical copy doesn't feel like a loss to the reader. As long as the reader's impression of printed books consists of cheap paper and glued bindings that won't open flat, of course the e-book seems superior. When publishers stopped caring about the physical form of their books, they paved the way for today's sea change.)

The Schuyler line promises to address this concern by specially commissioning print runs to ensure higher paper specs. While there is still room for improvement — I don't think significant reductions in show-through are going to be visible until you hit 40 gsm, based on modern examples I've reviewed, and dutiful line matching will be needed as well — the Schuyler debuts strong and promises even more performance down the line.

This, I think, is good for everyone. Readers benefit by having a new option to consider. Other publishers benefit from the competition. If the Schuyler formula proves successful, we can expect to see other quality editions joining the race for higher spec paper and taking every measure possible to minimize show-through. The result will be better Bibles all around.

What's in Schuyler's future? The next edition slated for release is a single column setting of the NKJV that should come out in December. I am very interested in seeing the Schuyler formula applied to a single column text setting, so stay tuned.

80 Comments on “The Schuyler ESV in Black and Brown Goatskin

  1. Good to have you back! And thanks for this.
    The ESV overall is a good translation, despite the occasional theologically inspired reading that can’t be justified (e.g. ‘virgin’ instead of ‘young woman’ for the Hebrew ‘almah’ in Isa 7.14). But it’s so frustrating that there’s only one not very good edition with the Apocrypha, even though OUP especially commissioned an ESV translation of the apocryphal books a few years ago. Whatever one thinks of it theologically, the Apocrypha is essential for academic study of the biblical world these days. And it would be wonderful if a publisher like Shuyler or Allen would produce a fine ESV edition with it.

    • I agree. I’ve been waiting years for a fine a goatskin bible with the apocrypha. As a Catholic convert I speak for many who are waiting for such Ann addition.

  2. Thank you for showing us this long-awaited edition! I still can’t believe there is a website where I can learn about and discuss something I love so much:Bibles! I always thought I was weird or the only person to really care about a lot of this stuff,but I see that I’m not. I know all of us who read this blog have some small amount of envy for the opportunity you have and the great library of Bibles you have acquired. I think David Green (the entrepreneur who has tons of ancient scrolls,rare Bibles and things like that) is about the only person who has a better collection! What you have done with this blog is allowed people to make educated purchases and to become knowledgable about what they like and don’t like about binding,paper type,format,etc. That is a great gift to so many…
    This Schuyler Bible really looks like it has so many of the features I would love in a Bible. I was wondering does the version with the Creeds have a much bigger width and weight? I’m sure it’s way more portable than an Allan Wide Margin (oh,that there was a way to make them a little thinner without sacrificing the margin size,the paper quality or the size of the print!). Would this Bible be decent for marking in? I’m really considering putting this one on my list (which I had just consolidated to about 4 more Bibles…but now it might have to be 5!) .Thanks again for all you provide us “Bible-nerds”!

  3. I’m waiting on the Schuyler NKJV. Much prefer the NKJV to the ESV — otherwise, I’m very pleased at what I’m reading about the quality and construction of this bible.

  4. Terrence, the version with the creeds and confessions simply includes an extra signature in back (about 80 pages?), so presumably it’s a hair thicker and a wee, wee bit heavier, but otherwise the same. My review copies both include them, so I can’t give you a concrete answer, only informed speculation. The Schuyler is fine for marking in, but as always I would advise care — see the number of posts here and on the FB fan page that share tips on the best tools to use.

  5. Great review, and it is encouraging to see the Schuyler line Develop. Even if this edition doesnt interest me personally it is a great start and MANY people will probably love this edition!
    Side note: I was bummed when the Heidelberg was not included and will probably be the deal breaker for me since I already have the Legacy and can’t imagine liking this more.

  6. Hopefully, my copy is being readied for shipment on 10/15 per Evangelicable’s website… :=)

  7. I say “yes” to a nice version of the ESV with the Apocrypha. I do have the one from OUP, but a good quality version with references would be extremely beneficial to me and would be purchased asap.

  8. I would “third” the ASV request — Heck, I wish somebody, anybody, would come out with a quality-build version of the ASV!

  9. Nice review! Looking forward to getting the matching set that I ordered for my wife and myself. The Crossway Legacy is my “go to” reading Bible – not sure it can be matched. But, this one is going to be my “carry Bible” for worship, group Bible study and adult Christian Education, on Sunday mornings – the Creeds ought to come in real handy. And, yes, a quality bound, new typeset edition of the ASV would be nice!!

  10. I “third” the ESV with Apocrypha request–the Oxford hardcover has very poor print and paper. And, could you please put the Apocrypha in its traditionally place between the Old and New Testaments? The Oxford hardcover–probably in some sort of compromise with the Reformed folks at Crossway–put the Apocrypha after the New Testament.

  11. Mark, thank you for the perceptive review. How would you compare the paper, cover and binding of the Schuyler ESV with that of the ESV Heirloom Reference Edition?

  12. I say this with all honesty, I do not like the appearance of this Bible. I agree that the words Holy Bible are too high on the binding, it just looks strange and out of order. Also the same words on the cover are too large. That for me really ruins its appearance. There are those who are of a more liberal bent on here (me), but I do think that it is beneficial to have the creeds if for nothing else than to see how the study of theology has progressed. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in reformed theology to many today, but also realize that there is also a renewed interest in Barthian theology (dialectical theology) as well in some quarters (mine)for those of us who are not reformed. Would like to see what Schuyler does in the future.

  13. I will add, while I prefer the “sterile” cover, the large HOLY BIBLE has grown on me…I would be happy with it. I think it was unique going with the large imprint on the cover. After a while so many of my high end bibles looks almost identical…so I appreciate the change. But again I can’t imagine liking the text block over my Legacy.

  14. Very excited about this bible. More options, the better. It will be nice “when” they choose to bind a clarion reference. Notice I said, “when.” What I would love to see is a larger yap. The 42 point Holy Bible could take an exit. I know its a bible, but the billboard advertisement on the front is a bit much. Yes, an ASV of in any style would be a blessing!
    Anybody ready to have withdrawals over the discontinuation of the R.L. ALLAN reader? I’m freaking out, man!!!
    Mark, thank you again for your love for the word and the materials that it is bound on.

  15. Thanks for the friendly-but-honest review.
    A “Fourth” to an appeal for a new, quality-bound, quality-printed ASV 1901! Seems like there are a few of us out there who would go for a quality Allan edition.
    The Schuyler ESV seems generally nice, but lacks overcasting of either first or last signatures (I checked with EB to make sure), and I much prefer the front cover to be unadorned; that GIANT PRINT “Holy Bible” just looks odd to me, and since I already own two Allan ESVs I won’t be getting this one, though I’m still thinking about the upcoming Schuyler NKJV.

  16. Ditto on the desire for a quality ESV w/ Apocrypha. The confessions are great, but the ESV isn’t going to be a truly ecumenical bible until it’s available in an ecumenical format.

  17. Amen and amen to a decent ASV bible, please, for the love of all that is holy. I have been searching high and low for one. It’s absence represents a big, gaping hole in the bible market, as one can plainly see by the enthusiasm for here. If anyone who can change this is has ears to hear, let him hear!

  18. I guess this is a “Ninth” on the ASV request.
    Let me also say I am glad to see you pepper this blog with a sampling of rap. After all, this is a blog about the Word — so, in the words of that multiple grammy winner by Cameo: “Word Up”! Here’s hoping the next review is done with a bit of Snoop-izzle. Anyway, another fine review Dog.
    Peace Out!

  19. Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen anyone mention that one may order this Bible with or WITHOUT the historical confessions.

  20. It’s mentioned in the post: “For those of you who don’t want the ecumenical creeds and Reformation confessions in your Bible, Schuyler offers an edition without them. You’re missing out on the most unique feature of the edition, but the choice is yours.”

  21. I guess my main question is: is the Schuyler really on par with Allen? From your experience is the leather top notch? is the quality of the binding comparable with Allen? Is this Bible really as good as the great Allen? I have owned an Allen Bible and I have the Schuyler on order and I am very interested to know whether or not this is, as evangelicalbible.com claims, the best ESV ever made???

  22. A small detail, relevant to those for whom the historic confessions are a valuable feature:
    The Schuyler ESV and the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible contain different documents. Both have the Westminster Standards. The Schuyler ESV has the four creeds, the 39 Articles, the Augsburg Confession, and the London Baptist Confession. The SRSB (now, I believe, out of print) has the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort.

  23. Just in case it’s being overlooked, this is from the post, too: “Having said that, what the Schuyler does include are the ecumenical creeds which all orthodox Christians have in common — Apostles’, Nicene, Chalcedonian, and Athanasian — along with the Augsburg Confession, the 39 Articles, the Westminster Standards, and the London Baptist Confession of 1689. With the exception of the Dutch Reformed, this covers the major Reformation-era confessional Christian groups still in existence today.”

  24. I seventh or whatever the ESV with Apocrypha. I’d like to have all of the books the Church considers canonical in one place (instead of using, at present, at least two different volumes, often three or four if they are annotated, and having the “Apocrypha” in an invariably crappy binding), and I’d definitely buy one. I don’t care if they’re between Testaments or after. Single-column, and take a hint from the NCPB style, but cross it with an ESVSB style (smaller paragraphs, larger type, some headings).

  25. Great review. I’m a little disappointed to hear about the ghosting. I was planning on getting the Shuyler simply because they advertised it as having high-quality paper. As the ghosting is similar to the reader and clarion, I will probably pass.

  26. Catechism Rapping: The Voice also did a “Westminster Confession” rap at D. A. Carson’s request. You can probably find it at the Gospel Coalition. The creeds included in this Schuyler ESV certainly hit a sour note when the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism are excluded. The London Baptist could simply be referenced in a note as a believers-baptism rendering of the Westminster Confession (tongue slightly in cheek there).

  27. I, also, will say “amen” to the request for another printing of the ASV.

  28. For those who’d like an ASV, Cambridge do publish an edition of the next best thing, the British Revised Version from the 1880s, which can be found at http://www.cambridge.org/bibles/rv/interlinear.htm
    It’s a reprint of an early 20thC edition. And though they’re marketing it as a KJV that highlights RV divergences, it’s really an RV in every respect that highlights where it diverges from the KJV.
    It’s a beautiful fine edition.

  29. To the question “Are Schuyler Bibles on par with Allan?” We would say absolutely – and in some cases of higher quality: Schuyler is different for the following reason: All Schuyler Bibles are printed, folded, sewn and bound by Jongbloed. Thus, every aspect of the Bible shines in quality – not simply the binding. This is an important distinction.

  30. I would say that the Schuyler ESV is the best ESV on the market at this point if you consider all points of quality. In terms of the HOLY BIBLE embossing – evangelicalbible.com is trying to create a ‘brand’ or ‘label’ for purposes of distinction. Many people actually feel that they add a certain measure of ‘class’ to the Bibles. The Schuyler NKJV will have a ‘blind’ embossement on the cover of its logo cross.

  31. Just a note: As I’ve noted elsewhere, the Allan KJV Longprimer is printed in the Netherlands by Jongbloed is a great Bible, but it is also rife with letters missing part of their characters. So Jongbloed does NOT necessarily equal unimpeachable quality. And I wish EB would quit instisting that it does!

  32. Interesting that Allan will be bringing out their version of the Schuyler in early 2013, same text block minus the creeds. I quote a recent email from Nicholas Gray, “We will be producing our own version of the Schuyler ESV in February which will replace the current ESV Readers edition….Except it won’t have the creeds at the back which makes the Schuyler special. The Allan edition will also have a superior Highland goatskin binding. We will call the Allan edition the New Classic Readers Edition.” Might be worth waiting for, I have seen the pre-bound sheets and it looks great…

  33. Gary B.: Do you know exactly what distinguishes the new Allan from the Readers edition? I assume the paper will be an upgrade of the Reader.

  34. To Allan Gibble – Jongbloed is viewed by publishers as among the best in the world. The Longprimer is an Oxford format that was literally digitally scanned. Those imperfections were a product of the first printing

  35. Nigel,I’m not saying they are not excellent. And the Longprimer is one of the best Bibles I own overall, construction wise. Just saying that everything that comes out of Holland is not by that fact flawless, just like I which people on these Bible blogs would quit assuming that becauses something is printed in China it is junk. The latter is not true either, and I have a very nice Allan NAS which proves it.:)

  36. Right. I agree. What Jongbloed does so well is the following:
    1. Printing – margins uniform, as well as words that have been printed from a PDF format for ex.
    2. Paper and grain – I have never seen a Jongbloed Bible with crackling down the gutter – (paper grain direction error)
    3. longevity
    Chinese publishing isn’t bad per se, but in the high end market its uses are more limited. Customers here are looking for these details and precision binding. So where Chinese publishing can be satisfactory (esp. at the price) it is not yet on par with Jongbloed by an stretch of the imagination. That is why schuyler will always have its Bible printed where it controls the entire process.

  37. Nigel, If the chinese printed Allan NAS @ 225.00 is NOT a high end bible, then I don’t know what is. And I think that is the point about the current complaints being aired on your (EB) facebook page about gutter cockling. After all, it is the most expensive bible EB currenly sells, right?

  38. Billy: As I understand it the paper and the typeface are different. From what I personally saw the paper is another step up in quality from the current ESV reader which is my current go-to bible and the bible I preach from.

  39. Allan – we only received one sample from R.L.Allan – and didn’t notice the ‘cockling’ to be a major issue. Evidently there is at least one which has excessive ‘cockling.’ The reason we haven’t been too vocal in this is for the simple reason that about 60-70% of Bibles have some degree of crackling down the gutter (i.e. the ESV Study Bible). The Lockman ‘In Touch’ likewise. It is certainly not the most ‘ideal’ for a high end Bible, but it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story.

  40. Well, I hope the vast majority of the Allan NAS are of at least as good quality as my first editon, which is GREAT. As to the Schyler, it looks to be a very fine high quality editon. Kudos on your efforts and entry into the publishing market.

  41. I am waiting for my black Schuyler (with confessions) to arrive. Mark, what is the difference between the Goatskin on the Schuyler and the Highland goatskin on Allan Bibles? Also, I must say that I was someone disappointed when I learnt about the polyurethane (rather than leather) lining. To my taste the (possibly?) “lower grade” than Highland goatskin cover and the lining are the only negatives, with possibly a preference for no “Holy Bible” on the cover. But I am more neutral about this last factor. The prominent “Holy Bible” on the cover is growing on me.

  42. I think that this Bible is overpriced. The words Holy Bible on the spine are misplaced. The paper is subpar. The words Holy Bible on the cover are too large. It reminds me of one of those plasic reward bible you used to get when you graduated from one class to another- celebrating medioricty. These are my opnions of course. The creeds are a lesson in irrelevancy, oh but I forgot reformed theology is cool now! Who would have thought that calvinism would become trendy?

  43. Wow Keith! Spare me the condescension. Not everyone here interprets the Bible in a “literal” fashion whatever that means…..well maybe everyone does? Oh well I do not. It is God’s word brought to us in literature, myth, allegory, historical fact. In this country many build a house of cards with biblical innerrancy. Just becasue one part is allegory, and or myth does not mean that other bits are as well.

  44. Nathan, I wasn’t surprised by your posture concerning the Bible, just how quick you were to give the craftsmanship of this Bible such a negative review without even handling a physical copy. I thought your statements were a bit unfair.

  45. I would also very much like a version of the ESV with the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha has already been translated by Oxford so it shouldn’t be hard to include. This would definitely replace my RSV w/ Apocrypha as my main bible if it were released.

  46. I just received an email from Evangelical, they received the shipment of Schyler ESVs yesterday. Now I’m anxiously awaiting receipt of mine. I too am interested in comparing it against the Allans I have for quality and workmanship. I’m concerned about the quality of the leather which I was told was just as good as highland goatskin. But my real interest will be in the paper. If it’s better than the paper used in the Allan Reader then that will be a great first step. I’ll be interested in the impressions of others once you’ve received and examined yours.

  47. Mr. Bertrand, Thanks for another outstanding, helpful review. I purchased Allan bibles for my wife and I so I am not real sure if a Schuyler (pron.?) bible is in our immediate future.

  48. “Schuyler” is Dutch, meaning “one who is taking refuge” and is pronounced, in Dutch, something like “scaler”.

  49. Too Much Time on my Hands on Guy Fawkes’ Night
    The same types of blog post have generated the most comments throughout the last three years … posts about the highest-quality leather-bound Bibles (rather than posts about online sources or about book-binding techniques) … posts about KJV and ESV Bibles … and posts about R. L. Allan.
    But that’s about to change.
    The current top ten are

    1. (with 151 comments) R. L. Allan Reader’s Edition ESV (12/09) (which contains the previous survey from December 30, 2009)
    2. (with 151 comments) Crossway Single Column Legacy ESV (1/12) (three consecutive blog posts)
    3. (with 150 comments) R. L. Allan Reference ESV in Tan Goatskin (10/07)
    4. (with 111 comments) R. L. Allan Oxford Long Primer in Highland Goatskin (5/08)
    5. (with 109 comments) R. L. Allan Personal Size Reference ESV (10/09)
    6. (with 107 comments) Cambridge Clarion KJV in Black Goatskin (8/11)
    7. (with 97 comments) Crossway Personal Size Reference ESV (3/08)
    8. (with 94 comments) Trinitarian Bible Society KJV (3/09)
    9. (with 85 comments) Cambridge Wide Margin Reference NASB (10/07)
    10. (with 83 comments) R. L. Allan Bold Print Reference NIV (3/08)

    To-day, as previously, eight of the top ten are KJV and ESV Bibles, with one NASB and one NIV. Previously Allan held eight of the top ten places: now it holds only five; Cambridge and Crossway each hold two (up from one); and Trinitarian now holds one. Not a huge amount of change.
    Why am I so sure that larger changes are ahead?
    One reason is the blog post you’re reading at the moment, on the Schuyler ESV; which looks to be aimed at exactly the same market niche as Allan. This post has 59 comments already, and will likely enter the top ten in the near future.
    A second is activity on the NASB. Much as I like the KJV and the ESV for general use, I still think the NASB is better for close study. And I gather I’m not alone … though the comments on this blog post imply that some of you use the NASB only because you cannot buy a high quality ASV! Well, Allan sent out its new NASB binding last month (all sold in advance), and Cambridge has published a Clarion single column paragraph NASB. Reviews of those, and a blog post comparing the two, would likely be popular.
    A third is activity on the NKJV. Answering the question why the NKJV doesn’t get as much discussion as other translations, one wag on the Puritan Board suggested it was because R. L. Allan hasn’t printed it up yet. Well, next month Allan will send out its first NKJV. But then, Schuyler is planning an NKJV. And Cambridge is planning a Clarion single column paragraph NKJV. Between them, those three will likely generate a lot of discussion.

  50. I received my Schuyler last night and I can already see that this is going to be my favorite bible. I own a number of Allan and Cambridge bibles and this is definitely in the same class. However the paper is a noticeable improvement and that is a huge selling point to me. Also, I should mention that as soon as I opened the box my wife said how much she LOVES the big HOLY BIBLE imprint on the front. (I agree it makes this bible stand out). That feature alone caused her to grab this bible up, and then she started cooing over the wonderful soft feel of the leather. She has never shown any such interest in the high-end bibles I have in the house, but now I think I might have to purchase another one of these. This one is a winner.

  51. One more thing – my wife says this bible wants to be petted. It’s that soft.

  52. I received my black Schuyler with the confessions. It is an exquisite Bible in all respects. As a pastor, I must say that this is the best pulpit Bible I have ever had on my pulpit. The format, for the pulpit, is near-perfect- not too bulky, not too small. The paper, whilst clean and smooth, is not glossy. The print is extremely readable. The typesetting wonderfully guides the eye from congregation back to the text. Paging this Bible is a mouth-watering experience. It is swift, smooth and silent. Still, I cannot help but imagine what an Allan semi-yap Highland Goatskin cover with leather lining around this text block would be like. I would imagine that this would present us with the perfect ESV classic reference Bible. The only aspect of the Schuyler that I find (only possibly) inferior to an Allan is the goatskin and polyurethane lining. Whilst I realize that the polyurethane is probably more durable than the leather lining, I am less than certain that it is so significantly so that it justifies the irreverent wrapping of a piece of exquisite goatskin around a piece of fancy-named plastic. Although not a single one of the people I showed the Schuyler to realized that the polyurethane was not leather (it is that attractive), knowing that it is polyurethane and not leather does seem to detract from an otherwise near-perfect Bible. I shall, in my rather intemperate quest for the perfect Bible, be keeping a lookout for the upcoming Allan Schuyler. Can someone convince Allan to include the confessions, please? Mark, can you pull some strings?

  53. I just recently recieved my black Schuyler and after a week of daily reading have come to the conclusion that this Bible is by far my favorite. The font and paper combination makes it easy on the eyes and a pleasure to reach into God’s word. The binding is as nice as my Allan Reader (yes the inner lining is synthetic but this doesn’t detract from the flexibility of the cover nor is it distracting). Having owned Cambridge, Lockman and numerous Allan Bible’s I am very confident that the Shuyler is at the top of the list and my favorite. What tips it over the Allan is the readibility – I am very distracted by ghosting and will pull out my IPAD at times to avoid it. Now that I have the Schuyler the IPAD goes back on the shelf.

    • Now that I have read through cover to cover I am even more impressed with this Bible. Text is easy to read and the cover is supple and looks like the day it arrived. Highly recommend this Bible to all who will be actively reading, making notes or preaching from the pulpit.

  54. I need a new Bible for study (marking & writing in) and teaching. It is a toss up between the Allan ESV Readers Reference and the Schuyler ESV. I like the Allan ESVR because of its wider margins, nice crimson highland goatskin cover, and thicker ribbons. I like the Schuyler because of its heavier paper (for writing/marking on), bolder font, inclusion of the Creeds & Confessions, and lower price. Any suggestions??

  55. Hi Chris
    The Allan Reader has larger margins but I don’t see any bread through with pen or bible markers (crayon style) with my Schuyler. It boils down to personal preference but for readability the Schuyler is by far my choice. Hope that helps.

  56. Hi Chris,
    Have you heard that the brown goatskin edition with confessions has sold out? In response to my order a few weeks ago, Evangelical Bible said that they still have black ESVs with confessions and brown ESVs without confessions; and “unfortunately, there are no current plans for a reprint of the Schuyler ESV bible in brown with confessions.” (I shall wait, in confidence that there will be a reprint reasonably soon.)
    Otherwise, you are probably right that it’s pretty much a toss-up between your two choices.
    No answer on the Bible Design Blog would be complete without suggesting other options you might consider! You mention plans to write in the margins. On balance, I prefer the wonderfully bound Allan Reader’s Edition to the low-ghosting Crossway Legacy — it’s the Allan that is taken to church most often — but for writing in the margins the Legacy is better. And the Cambridge Wide Margin may well be better still.

  57. February 13,2013
    I just received my New NKJV in Brown Goatskin.
    It is really nice…Very Easy to read for old eyes.
    I don’t care for all the marking on the front and spine.
    But all in all it is my favorite over the Allen.

  58. I received my black w/ confessions Schuyler right before Christmas. It is my pride and joy. My best buddy has muliple Allens (top models you can buy, a couple of black highland goatskin and the crimson version as well.) The Schuyler wins hands down as far as the leather goes. BOTH the Schuyler and the Allen boast highland goat skin. The Allens goatskin is tough, and stiff compared to the Schuyler’s.
    The Schuyler literally melts into my hand.
    Well done Schuyler!

  59. Just a quick opinion for you and others. I have had my crossway thinline for over 4 years and love the size but the paper quality is killing my eyes. What would your thoughts be on either the Schuyler ESV compared to the crossway calfskin thinline? I am unaware if crossway uses the same paper on the calfskin as they do the regular thinlines. It seems pointless to purchase the calfskin if the paper is the same quality as the $10 value thinline. Any thoughts are welcome…
    In Christ,
    Tim

  60. The text blocks are the same Tim–Crossway does not use different paper or type for their higher end Bibles. That being said, they seem to be moving away from the awful China blocks and using an Italian printer and binder–LEGO–more often. The verse by verse, Giant print and Heritage Legacy are all printed by LEGO and the heritage is fantastic.

  61. I don’t like it at all that my R L Allen ESV $$$ is printed and bound in China! My Cambridge Bibles are printed and bound in the Netherlands. I wanted one of the finest Bibles made and I didn’t expect it to printed and bound in China !.

  62. The only thing I don’t understand is why the initial ESV Shuyler came out in double column but the initial NKJV will be in single column. My ideal is a single column, paragraph style ESV. I certainly hope they will come out with this type of edition soon. I have several high quality bound versions of the ESV, but nearly all have inferior paper.

  63. I was one of the early purchasers of the Schuyler ESV. I have not regretted its purchase. It is, in all respects, on par with Allan’s bibles. It may exceed Allan’s in the paper selection but that’s a matter of personal taste I believe. And since I have several Allan’s I will continue to mull this notion of best bible, best quality, best format around in my head and probably never resolve “the best” in my mind.

    However I did want to share this experience with my Schuyler will you all. Around last Christmas I picked up my car from the dealer after some routine maintenance. As I got into the car, I placed my Schuyler on the top of the car. Somehow I got distracted (old man’s disease) got in my car and drove off. As I turned out of the dealer’s lot, I noticed in horror my bible flying off the car and into the road — a busy four lane street. I saw it get hit twice by cars driving behind me. I turned around got into the center lane and drove back to my bible expecting to find it in shreds. Amazingly, it was still in tact. As a matter of fact there is no way to determine from looking at it that it has been run over by cars. If you open it up to the first block there are tire treads on both pages, fortunately there’s no writing on the first few pages and so the tire treads have become a sort of “badge of honor”. The bible was hit face on so some of the pages have a crease in them but that crease is loosening up with time. Bottom line, this attests to the quality and workmanship of the bible. It has become my favorite bible… because I redeemed it from the street! ;-)

  64. What are the dimensions of this bible? I have recently ordered this Schuyler ESV with the creeds/confessions in Firebrick red and am searching for a journal/organizer to match it in height/width and, if possible, in color and binding. Thank you. Your reviews have helped me considerably.

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