ESV Pocket New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs Review

I thought I’d do a quick review of the ESV Pocket New Testemant (with Psalms and Proverbs). I’ve had this one for awhile and figured it might be helpful to post my likes and dislikes about it. So here goes….

I wanted a small pocket sized bible to keep in my back pocket at all times. The smallest version of the ESV that I had at the time was a Compact Thinline and found it to be a bit too big for fittin’ in the pocket. After a bit of research, I found that the Pocket NT w/ Psalms and Proverbs would do just the trick. It’s not a full bible, but as long as I has something to keep with me wherever I went, I was OK with it. This along with the fact that I recently heard a tremendous sermon series from Don Whitney on praying the Pslams, I made it a point to always have the Psalms with me.

Below is a picture of the Pocket NT on top of my Compact Thinline on top of my new absolute favorite bible, the ESV Personal Size Reference. This picture should give you a bit of scale between the three. If you’re wondering why on earth the bottom Personal Reference has 3 ribbons, you can go here and learn how to install them yourself at home.


Again, below is another picture for scale. It’s almost the identical size as my tri-fold wallet. I’ve been using and abusing mine pretty hard as of late and she’s holding up nicely. Since it lives in my back pocket, I sit on it whenever I, well, sit! Since the tru-tone cover is so flexible, I can barely tell it’s there. I just have to remember to take it out when we wash clothes…ug.


In the hand, it fits comfortably. I opted for the tru-tone version which feels absolutely wondeful to the touch. In preparing to write this review, I had the hardest time trying to formulate words to describe the texture of tru-tone. I came to the conclusion that the only way I can describe it is that it feels much like the skin of a banana peel. It’s smooth, “grippy”, and almost rubbery. Perfect for handling. I love it. Tru-tone is really growing on me as my favorite binding of choice. It’s affordable, durable, and looks attractive, much unlike the “genuine leather” Crossway manufactures. I have both the tru-tone and the genuine leather in the Personal Reference editions and the tru-tone is by far the most appealing. For a great summary of the synthetic bindings becoming so popular amongst many publishers, check out J. Mark Bertrand’s excellent post.

Below is  a quick comparison of all three. The Personal Reference on the bottom, followed by the Compact Thinline, and the Pocket New Testament on top. You’ll notice that the lettering in the Pocket NT is veryreadable. It boasts a 7 point font, while the Compact Thinline only has a 6.2 font….eek! The Personal Reference has the most comfortable of all 3 coming in at a 7.4 point font. Even for such a tiny bible (3″x4 1/4″ x 5/8″) the Pocket NT is very comfortable to read.

The following are a few shots of the inside pages. One a general shot of John, while the others are the opening pages of Psalms and Proverbs.



Overall, this is quite a nice little book. The tru-tone sewn binding makes for a quality look and feel at a MUCH cheaper price than the goat and calf skin varieties. It’s readability is far better than I had anticipated when I first purchased it, and the ESV translation is second to none. On a scale of one to ten, I give it a high 9. The only problems I have run into (you honestly didn’t think there wouldn’t be any, didja’) are:

1)While I do not mind having a red letter edition bible, I find that the red ink Crossway uses to be somewhat pinkish and as a result, the letters sort of “fade into the background” as you read. I would love to see a bolder red used. But that problem isn’t just related to the Pocket NT, it has more to do with all red letter editions published by Crossway.

2)The picture on the Crossway website of the Pocket NT shows the binding sporting gold leaf lettering on the spine. My edition, nor any others on the store shelf, had such guilding. No big whoop, but just wanted to make all aware of it.

3)Again, not neccesarily related to the Pocket NT, but I would still love to see 2 to 3 ribbons in bibles. Since many read in several spots in their bibles during devotions, especially with the popularity of the M’Cheyne Reading Schedule as of late, it would be worth the investment.

4)For some reason, Crossway decided to place the Psalms and Proverbs behind the New Testament. My fingers naturally gravitate towards flipping to the front of my bible for thse two books, and having them in the back is a little awkward.

Well, that about sums up my little review of the Pocket New Testament. If you’de be interested in purchasing one, I’d recommend heading on over to Westminster Books and picking one up for $8.99. Can’t beat the price!

For more information on small bibles, why not check out Bible Design and Binding. You can read some great comparisons and get some great insights into bible binding, versions, and publication. Here are a few to get you started:

“Itsy Bitsy Bibles”

“Pocket New Testaments”


About Matthew Blair

Sinner saved by grace.
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16 Responses to ESV Pocket New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs Review

  1. Ted says:

    Strange that the format of Psalms and Proverbs is single column, but the New Testament is printed in double column. Is there a reason for this? Wouldn’t it have been so much nicer to have it entirely single column?

  2. dogbarber says:

    Yes, but the book would be probably 4 inches thick….I suppose.

    The Psalms and Proverbs are set up like this because (IMO) these books are sort of like bursts of text. That is, they are meant to be read in short bursts, mulled over, meditated upon, then move onward.

  3. preacherpen says:

    Great review, Matt. I’m beginning to like the ESV more and more lately. While I prefer nice leather, it seems there is some good logic behind having a pocket NT bound in tru-tone. Again, thanks.

  4. sam says:

    the psalms are single column because they are poetry which gets messed up by the line wraps forced by 2 column.

  5. John says:

    I’m sure Westminster is a great company to deal with IF you live in the 48 contiguous United States. Too bad for those of in Canada or elsewhere.

  6. Steve says:

    I should have bought the Trutone version of this edition. I bought the genuine leather version a few years ago, and the leather cover literally tore away with a negligible amount of use. Crossway should be ashamed of producing such a lousy product. It is now bound with black duct tape, which is holding up much better. ; )

  7. Kyle says:

    Thanks for the review! A question: Is the binding really sewn? I looked st the ESV site and couldn’t find an answer.

  8. dogbarber says:

    Yes, Kyle. The binding is indeed sewn.

  9. Kyle says:

    Thanks again for the great review. I’m gonna pick me up one of these! I have just about every ESV. I might as well get this one (The logic of a Bible junkie).

  10. dogbarber says:

    You’re most welcome.

    I like it too.

  11. Pingback: Baby Bible also coming « Discipulus Scripturae

  12. Kathy says:

    I greatly benefited from this review.

    I immediately ordered one and now have it in hand.

    I love it!

  13. marie says:

    love this

  14. mp says:

    prayers needed

  15. michelle says:

    All prayers

  16. Marie says:

    Amy to get her promotion , Jeanette financial blessing and beleive in faith…, Marie asking for financial help. Julia to recive a dependable car. Geno to finsih order in the ill matters of trouble and racing may he see God’s path. Nina to go to school…..and have a good man by her side, Nancy to heal soon to help people of God’s will. , Human trafficing to be smash down and for God to heal there broken hearts. For the elders, the abused, the weary, the confused , the hungry, Donald and Dorin need financial matters, for all to see God’s faith come to light , for the coming of GOD, for the lost animals of the world. , for all the departed and for GOD to save them, for the sick and the suffering, Holy spirit in all of us, strength and open minds, for GOD’s will to be done. For Michelle to have a better clarity to have her busisness up and running of God’s work. For Ted to help me with the law case to open my own business of doing God’s work. Tida and sofia….God’s will be done.

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