List of Different Bible Printings

Thinking of buying a new Bible?  Well, there’s good news and bad news ahead.

The good news is that you’ve lots of different choices.  The bad news – you’ve lots of different choices!  We’re talking thousands of different choices.  Crossways, the publisher of the ESV Bible, has 436 different Bibles on their website alone, and they continue to publish new versions on a regular basis.  The same is true of the other major Bible publishers such as Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, and then you’ve got so many smaller publishing houses, too.

When we searched on Amazon for new Bibles, they reported over 30,000 listings.  Got a spare month of time?  Go look for yourself – here’s the link.

While its true that many of these apparently different Bibles are only very minor variations on the same printing (different type of cover, different color cover, or different paper weight) you’ve still got to sort through them all and try to make sense.

We’d surely like to encourage you to buy a(nother) Bible.  It is not possible to have too many!  And so, we have tried to create a table that gives you some of the key information about some of the major different editions out there.

We suggest you should also read our Buyer’s Guide to Bibles which sets out some of the things to consider when choosing a Bible, and explains some of the compromises which publishers have to make when designing and printing their Bibles.

We have further explanatory comments below the table.

VersionNamePublisherSizePagesWeightFont         LayoutWords of ChristBinding    Misc Features     Price      
ESVStudyCrossway6.5" x 9.25"2,75267 - 71 oz9pt text
7.25pt notes
Single column paragraphs
2 col for notes
BlackSmyth Sewn
Gilded edges
20,000 study notes
240 maps & illustrations
$32 - 42
Large Print
Crossway6.5" x 9.25"300867 - 75 oz10.75pt text
8.75pt notes
2 column
BlackSmyth Sewn
Gilded edges
20,000 study notes
240 maps & illustrations
Personal Size
Crossway5.375" x 8.0"2,72047 oz7.7pt text
6.3pt notes
Single columnBlackSmyth Sewn
Gilded edges
20,000 study notes
240 maps & illustrations
$35 - 45
Study Bible
Crossway5.375" x 8.25"1,85633 oz8.0pt2 columnBlackSmyth Sewn12,000 study notes
80 maps & illustrations
900 "Did you know" facts
ESVLarge Print CompactCrossway8 pt2 column
RedSmyth Sewn
Silver Gilded edges


1.  Version :  See our page on different Bible versions to explain the abbreviations used.

2.  Name :  A short name more or less as the Publisher describes it

3.  Publisher :  Self explanatory.  It is sometimes helpful to visit the publisher’s website to get more information about a particular Bible edition.  There are often discrepancies between different listings for the same Bible, and while you might think the publisher’s website would be the most reliable, we’ve even found discrepancies on their own site – for example, a site which at the top of a page describes the featured Bible as having 11 point type, but further down the page, it says it has 10.75 pt type.  Sure, that’s not a life-changing difference, but surely the publisher could get it right and consistent on both parts of the same page!

Here are the websites for the major publishers :

Other Smaller Publishers (but being smaller is in no way bad)

Steadfast/3:16 Publishing NASB

4.  Size :  These sizes are approximate, not exact.  We generally try to use measurements from the publisher, but when we’ve compared their official measurements to those of the actual Bibles that we own, we’ve noticed 1/8th” or so discrepancies.  So if size is essential because you’re trying to fit the Bible into something, you should be careful to get a Bible that you can return if the size is wrong.

Note also that the thickness isn’t always given, or might be referred to in vague terms such as “less than an inch”.  We provide such information as we can find.

5.  Pages :  We’re never sure if this includes “end pages” and unnumbered pages and pages with roman numeral numbering, but we simply repeat the official page count.

6.  Weight :  Sometimes we wonder if the weight includes the packaging (often a thin cardboard slip case) because we’ve checked and sometimes the weight on our scales is more in line with the packaged weight rather than the basic book weight.  We of course are most interested in what it weighs to hold and carry, not the shipping weight.

The weight also varies depending on the type of covers.

7.  Font :  This is a very complicated topic.  In general terms, the bigger the font, the bigger the type, and therefore, the easier it is to read.

But the ease of reading a Bible depends on much more than a simple statement of font size.  To start with, most Bibles have some type of footnotes or margin comments as well as the text, and we’re seldom/never told what size font is used for those.

Some fonts are designed to display better in small point sizes than others.  You can have two different fonts, both with the same point, but one is much more squashed and one is much harder to read.

The quality of the printing is also important.  If the printing is poor quality, then the font will be harder to read.

The space between lines is another huge factor in legibility, and the space between paragraphs is another consideration, too.  We’re never given that information.

8.  Layout :  Still another factor that makes a big difference for readability is the width of column and size of margins.

In theory, the ideal column width is one that is in the range of 50 – 60 characters wide (including spaces).  Slightly longer widths are maybe okay, with good line spacing and frequent paragraph breaks.  Now look at any Bible you have.  What do you see?  A single column in a Bible might have 100, even 200 characters, if the font size is small and it is a single column width on the page.

Generally, with most Bible font sizes, you should seek two columns per page for better readability.

There are some other factors in layout to consider as well.  Does the Bible break the text at every verse, or at every paragraph?  It used to be common to start every verse on a new line, then someone decided it was easier to read if instead, the verses all flowed together, with instead, paragraph breaks.

Keep in mind that both verse numbering and paragraph breaks are modern “inventions” that weren’t in the original scriptures.  So this isn’t something to worry about in terms of being “most correct”.

9.  Words of Christ :  Some Bibles will highlight the words of Christ, in the New Testament, in red ink rather than black.  Others don’t make that distinction and print everything in black.  It is very much a personal preference thing, if we know how the Bible handles this, we’ll show it here.

To make this a bit more challenging, we realized that some editions are available both with or without the red words of Christ option.  So the black/red value in this column should be considered as advisory rather than as exact!

10.  Binding :  Most better Bibles are “Smyth Sewn”.  This page explains what it means.  Others may be “perfect bound” and glued.  If at all possible, try to be sure to get a Smyth sewn Bible.  It will last a very much longer time.

We also report if the Bible has gilded page edges or not.  Some Bibles have gold gilding, some have silver, a few have other colors, and many have none.  Some people believe that gilding makes pages easier to turn, or protects the page edges; some people believe that the gilding protects the pages from moisture/humidity damage.  But as best we can tell, these are urban legends and the gilding is purely decorative in nature.

11.  Misc Features :  This is not an exhaustive list of everything else that might be included, but we might make reference to some of the more notable extra features.

12.  Price :  Leaving the best for last, we try to give a feeling for price, but that is surprisingly difficult.  One reason is we are often grouping together a dozen or more different versions of a Bible (in terms of color, and whether real leather, artificial “leather”, or whatever else) in a single line.

A second reason is that there is the publisher’s list price, and then there is the usual “street price” that companies such as Amazon will sell the Bible for.  And, sometimes, the publisher or some reseller will have a promotional special, discounting the Bible.

A third reason is that companies such as Amazon vary their prices from time to time, just to see if a new price brings more sales, or more profits, or whatever.

We show a current price from Amazon, and link it to an Amazon page or section where you can then do further research on pricing and variations in edition style.