Although I certainly understand in my mind why a publisher might package an edition of Scripture in newsprint and inexpensive paper cover, I do not get it in my heart. Though I can get my mind around the idea that a cheap edition of Scripture might be useful for mass distribution, I cannot relieve my heart of the shame of the written Word of God meant to be read and tossed out.
Perhaps it is my great affection for books in general that clouds my view to a book meant for a glance and no more. I cannot fully tell you why but I am against such cheap editions of the Bible. They teach something directly at odds with the Word of God itself. For the Word of God is living and active, a two-edged sword, that speaks and faith is born, and that delivers what it says (an efficacious means of grace). Putting the Bible on newsprint paper and binding it with cheap glue sure to release its pages to use, loss, and trash goes against the idea that this Word is eternal.
Why no one worth his salt approaches his beloved with a cheap plastic ring to seal his eternal affection and promise! No, indeed. A cheap ring rings cheap affections. That is why we have jewelers and diamonds and gold and the like. Love demands the best. Does not the Word of God deserve something of our best as well?
Put Scripture in a book of decent binding, made with craft and art, pages that honor the words upon them, and covers that speak weight, value, and worth. Give the Word of God its due not only in the honor of the heart but the labor of the hand. It surely is worth the effort and the financial investment.
I have books on my shelves whose date of publication coincides with the honor of a real maker of books and the value assigned to those books with willing investment of the reader. They have endured the test of time and still address the reader and insist that these are volumes of substance and worth. I also have books on my shelves only available in cheap paperback -- whose bindings have given up pages to my hands and are no longer complete. I keep them but whenever I peruse their pages I must remind myself that not all pages are present and the book is less a noble teacher than it was -- a testament to its present handicapped state of broken binding and absent pages. As much as in us lies, we ought not to dishonor the Word of God by passing it on with in incomplete state.
So it caught my attention when Crossway decided to publish a 6 volume readers edition of the English Standard Version. It is made with care and pride of craftsmanship to honor its content and signify the weight of its voice. This edition befits the Word of God. I only wish they all did!
Introducing the 'ESV Reader's Bible, Six-Volume Set' from Crossway on Vimeo.