For a number of years I had the distinct pleasure of working with a gentleman whose great desire was that everyone would come to know the Lord by the reading of God’s word. I’ve recently come to hold to that same conviction, which brings me to the review of two great little editions of the Gospels: the first called The Jesus Story by White Horse Press and the second is the ESV Readers Gospels by Crossway Publishers.
The Jesus Story is a compact sized book that blends the four Gospels into one story without all of the distracting verse numbers and references. What’s unique about the Jesus Story is the way the editor interweaves similar accounts from the Gospels into one story. When possible the translators of this blended Gospels used every word from each of the Gospels without adding a word to present a complete and accurate account. Some of you may remember another book called The Life of Christ in Stereo released in 1969 and The Greatest Story published in the 90’s. Well, the Jesus Story uses the same translation, but in a brand new setting. As a result of the Gospels being compiled into one story with nothing taken away, I find that I notice passages that I’ve never really noticed before. In short, for me the Jesus Story just brings the Gospels more to life. And, what better way to introduce someone to the Gospels than a complete and accurate compilation edition.
Translation: According to information at the back of the Jesus Story, the translation has been compared with the Greek text and with 20 different English translations. The translator Johnston Cheney spent over 20 years compiling this translation. Cheney had actually memorized the complete Greek text of the four Gospels from the Textus Receptus. The translation also takes into account a 4 year ministry of Jesus besides the traditional view of a 3 year ministry. According to Cheney a four year ministry makes more sense and removed complications that arose while compiling this translation.
Layout: The text is set in a single column paragraph format that promotes a continuous unbroken reading experience. The Jesus Story is a little over 300 pages and is broken into 7 chapters. The print is black letter only and the size of the font of the main text is around a 9 pt. The size of the typeface is fine for someone who doesn’t require a large print. However, the quotations set in italics are in a smaller font, which I find a little too small for my comfort. Throughout the Jesus Story you’ll also find a number of traditional black and white illustrations by Gustave Dore.
Form: The book is a hardcover edition and is covered with a dark brown woven cloth. On the inside it has paper liners and each edition is numbered 1-6000 at the bottom of the title page.The outside dimensions of the Jesus Story are 7” x 4.5” x 1”. And, to protect the top page edges from exposure the top page edges have been gold gilded. The seller also offers for sale a nice looking wooden slip case that fits this edition.
Another great edition of the Gospels has been published by Crossway Publishers and it’s called the Readers Gospels.
Layout: The Readers Gospels includes all four gospels separated into traditional order and set in the English Standard Version. Just like the Jesus Story the Readers Gospels utilizes a single column setting without references or verse numbers. The text in the ESV Readers Gospels is in black letter and is very readable. However, the subject and chapter headings are printed in a nice dark brick red. The typeface is called Trinite’, the size of the font is around 10/11 pt. The ESV Reader’s gets the size of the font, darkness of the print, and the paper just right. With the color of the paper and the darkness of the print I find the print leaps right off the page.
Form: The ESV Reader’s is available in two hardcover bindings, one covered in a brown and tan cloth and the other covered in a nice pebble grained black cowhide. The cloth edition has colored paper for the liners and end pages while the leather hardcover uses a higher quality glossy black paper. The size of this edition is a little larger than the Jesus Story and the outside dimensions are: 8” x 5” x 1.25”. Both editions of the ESV Readers come with a protective cardboard slipcase and each contains a single ribbon marker.
In comparison: Both editions are sewn and makes use of very good materials. For those looking for something more portable, the Jesus Story is smaller and easier to stow away in a purse or a bag. On the other hand, the ESV Readers Gospels has larger print and therefore is more readable. The print in the Jesus Story could stand to be a little darker and I found the darkness of the print varies slightly. However, the print in the ESV Gospels is dark and consistent throughout. The paper in the Jesus Story may be a little more opaque, however the paper in the ESV Gospels is a bit brighter while the Jesus Story is a little more cream in color. Personally, I like the idea of the four Gospels being combined into one story, so I prefer reading the Jesus Story. But for someone who prefers a more traditional setting the ESV Gospels would make a fine edition, of course you could always just buy both and compare them.
To purchase these editions just click on the following links:
The Jesus Story after you click the link look at the top of the right hand corner of the page and click purchase
The ESV Reader’s Gospels after you click the link go down the page to locate either edition, the cloth edition is a very good value.