John Piper says that when we truly enjoy something, the only thing we can do to fully experience satisfaction in that thing is to give it praise. He is chiefly referring to God, but this is also true of things in creation: music, people, books, and more.

I want to “praise” two things here: Crossway’s Personal Reference Bible, and Mechling Bookbindery. This will be a dual-review.


The ESV Personal Reference Bible, rebound by Mechling Bookbindery

As a new Christian, I’ve been looking for a well-made Bible I can use for many years to come. It sounds easy, but actually finding that one has proven to be difficult. Each time I buy one (online), I’m rudely awakened to the mass production trend having spread to even Bible-making. Are my standards too high? Probably. Am I going to lower them? No.

 There’s a proverb that goes, “Where the wallet is, there the heart is also.” Actually, I might have made that up, but it sounds legit, doesn’t it? Point is, whenever I say I spent over $100 on a Bible, I usually hear, “But it’s about what’s inside the covers that counts!” Touché, mom, touché. Still, I think it’s even harder to justify someone having a $20 edition of the very Word of God while you’re out buying a $200 pair of shoes, or a $50 meal.

Now that that’s out of me, let’s get onto the review at hand. In June of this year, Crossway released the Personal Reference Bible (great reason to start using the ESV) – a welcome upgrade to a previous edition. Compared to the last, this new edition has a bigger and better font, thicker paper, line matching, and the removal of a rather annoying border. Also, the single column format allows the poetry to be read like poetry. Let’s check it out, shall we?


Usually, there’s a trade off or two made in order to allow a single column font – due to the increased amount of space needed – but there doesn’t seem to be any here. It’s highly readable, yet hand-sized. Did I mention affordable?

There was just one problem: this edition only comes in imitation leather binding. Nothing terribly wrong with that, but it doesn’t have that longevity I want. That’s where Mechling Bookbindery comes in.


Whether you want a new Bible given a premium cover, or you want an old Bible redone due to the valuable notes you’ve taken inside, consider these folks for the job. Offering various colours of calfskin and goatskin (mine is medium blue goatskin), as well as imitation leather and buckram cloth, you won’t be left with only a few options.

Perhaps the best thing about a rebind is that your Bible is personalized. Now, I’m a total geek for leather books, but I’m also a high school student who wants to promote Bible-usage among students. I was looking to somehow get a Bible that is classy and elegant, yet modern and understated – a tall order. The medium blue goatskin was the answer, along with the them of blue, black and gold.


I love having a Bible of this quality – I feel that it reflects how high up I try to place God’s Word in my life. Is a Bible of this quality necessary to hear the Holy Spirit? Absolutely not. It is, however, a total blessing in North America to be able to freely express our love for God and thanks for His Word in such ways.

Stay in the love of God, and meditate on His Word, brothers and sisters. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.