Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New ESV Cambridge Wide-Margin Bibles

In 1997, when my wife and I got married, I bought us matching Cambridge Wide-Margin KJV Bibles. Dr. Mark Minnick had recommended these Bibles for note-taking during messages and personal times of Bible study. We had our Bible-marking pens, colored pencils, and were ready to go. I spent many years in fruitful study each morning, diligently recording what I learned in the margins of my Bible. It was great.

However, in 2001, Crossway introduced the English Standard Version and I started reading the ESV during my devotions, just to see what it was like. After much evaluation, I moved to using the ESV as my primary Bible at home for reading, studying, and family devotions. The Classic Reference version I used didn’t provide much room for note-taking and I longed for the time when Cambridge would publish an ESV version of their top-of-the-line, wide-margin Bible.

Well, that long awaited time has finally come. So now, in the 12th year of our marriage, we received brand new, his and her, ESV Cambridge wide-margin Bibles with black goatskin leather. They are very nice.

I thought I would document the arrival and opening of our new Bibles. But to begin with, let’s see where we came from.

My old KJV Cambridge Wide-Margin Bible.

I spent most of my early study in the Book of Isaiah. You can see how I used colors to coordinate the text and the associated note.

I then moved to an ESV Classic Reference Bible. As you can see, it has seen its better days. This was the Bible we used to read all the way through in family devotions.

Finally, our new Bibles have arrived!

Opening the box.

His and Her ESV Cambridge Wide-Margin Bibles.

My new ESV Bible as it sits closed on my desk.

My new ESV Bible opened to Isaiah. You can see the generous margins available for note-taking.

This Bible is a Red-letter edition – not my favorite but for some reason it was significantly less expensive than the Black-letter edition on Amazon.

My new ESV with my Micron 005 Bible-marking pen ready to go.



At 1:33 PM, Blogger Don Johnson said...

Andy, is the text in this edition set in paragraph format? It seems so from some of the pictures you give.

I find paragraph format very nice for studying, but painful for preaching.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...

The poetry portions are set in verse format but the rest is in paragraphs. When I teach I have all the verses that I'm going to read printed out already in my notes, so the format doesn't impact me either way as far as that goes. Of course, I still teach out of the KJV so it really doesn't matter at all right now.

My only complaint is that the font is a bit smaller than I would like -- smaller than what my old Cambridge has. So that is taking a bit to get used to. I'm hoping that it's not just that I'm getting old.

On the positive side, I do like the paper better on this new Bible. I have noticed less bleed-through on the other side when I take notes.

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please help - just got a new wide-margin cambridge also. What pens/highlighters/colored pencils did you use in marking up your Bible? What works the best without bleed-through?


At 7:25 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...

In my last picture, you can see the type of pen that I use. Check out the following web page:


I like the 005 = 0.20mm size best, because it is very thin and easier to write tiny with.

As for pencils, I use ergo soft coloured pencils from Staedtler.

Hope that helps

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it helps - thanks. Does the micron pen leave a lot of bleed through? Have you been happy using it - can you see the writings on the opposite page clearly. That has been my problem in other Bibles.

At 10:35 AM, OpenID Lynn M. Dunston said...


Does each book of the Bible start on a new page in this Bible?



At 12:10 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...


The vast majority of the time each book starts on its own page. There are, however, a few times when that is not the case.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I'm wondering is this an actual true wide margin bible. What I mean by that is that I have wide-margin ESV but the inside margins are standard margins with the outside margins being a solid inch. So I'm wondering, is the wide margin around the entire text or is some margin sacrificed on the inside margin. Thanks for the help, and that looks like an absolutely beautiful Bible.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...

It's wide-margin all away around the text. There is less room to write along the bind just because it can be hard to position your pen where the binding comes together.

I don't know if you have tried this, but you can click on the pictures and get a full-screen view of the Bibles. That might give you a better view of the margins.

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey There, I love pictures of used bibles. That old KJV you have looks amazing!!!I was wondering if you could post some more pictures of your old KJV wide-margin as well as some pics of the progress you have made in your new ESV? Thanks

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Jan said...

I love your color coding of KJV Cambridge I have one but so far have not found a good marking system. Did you make up your own or follow someone else. Love to see more pics of old Bible and progress of new one.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...

No special color scheme. I just use the colors to tie the marginal note that I write to the specific phrase in the verse that the note applies to.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Jan said...

Do you use same color code throughout your Bible. I'm trying to follow your open pages as a guide.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Jan said...

Will you give me pointers on digging into my Cambridge I've never color coded before just marked. I need a teacher or mentor

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Andy Efting said...


My color coding is nothing special. I don't have any scheme. All I am using colors for is to connect the marginal note that I make to the phrase in the verse to which it applies. If you look carefully, you will notice that I'm am coloring both my marginal notes and phrases in the verse. I use different colors just to separate the comments. That's all I'm doing.


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