Some Random Thoughts ON the ESV Wide-Margin Reference Bible

20160407_184942So, I’ve had about 24 hours to play with my new sword. I’ve copied what I consider to be my most important (mostly translation-related) notes for the entire book of Genesis, and did a bit of study in John and Mark. Here are my thoughts so far:

  1. The experiment is working in that I’m actually engaging with the text again, even in cases where I’m pulling notes over from my Zondervan.
  2. In general, the main notes that I find myself pulling over from my old Bible are linguistic or cultural in nature. I’m not yet sure whether I’m going to try to copy over longer quotes from other ancient sources (e.g., the Talmud, various mythologies that the Bible is riffing off of, intertestamental works like Enoch, Jubilees, et. al.).
  3. It took me only a couple of hours to copy all of the notes that I really wanted from my old Bible into the new one for the book of Genesis. I will be curious to see if that holds true as I continue.
  4. The cross-references are really good. I’ve been amused at how often they match the cross-references I wrote in my old Bible. There are a few missed connections, but on the whole, I’ll be wasting less time and space on making the obvious connections, and be able to spend more time on the more subtle ones.
  5. No, seriously, the cross-references are excellent. I could spend an immense amount of time just chasing down the connections, even with my pretty-well developed sense of the connections in Scripture. When I really start to focus, I’ll find out whether they’re just saving me the time documenting the more obvious connections, or whether they have a few surprises for me.
  6. Re-reading my old notes as I do some preliminary studies and decide what to carry over to the new Bible is actually letting me look at them with fresh eyes, and in many cases is reminding me of old discoveries that I’ve forgotten for some time.
  7. Conversely, I’m finding that there are a large number of “false starts” in my old Bible–basically, notes that either I realize aren’t true now, or connections that I started to chase down that I later realized didn’t mean as much as I thought.
  8. I’m having to make fewer corrections to the ESV than to the NASB. In fact, the ESV matches my own corrections at least half the time–more, if you include the linguistic notes at the bottom. However, the ESV still hits my translation pet peeves. Ah, well, you can’t have everything.
  9. The inner margins are surprisingly easy to write in. My least-favorite margin to write in is the far right, where I can’t get any purchase for my hand. (There’s a political joke in there somewhere.)
  10. My color system seems to be working out pretty well so far. I will probably eventually give in to the urge to highlight a very few key verses, but I’m managing to resist the “dark side” so far.
  11. Having the words of Yeshua in red letters is kind of interesting, if only because it really makes you realize just what each Gospel writer decided to put forth as the Messiah’s first and last quoted words. There’s a future post in there somewhere.
  12. I’m being very conservative with what I write in my Bible so far. We’ll see how that develops.

Basically, so far, so good, and this experiment is reinforcing my belief that everyone should have a wide-margin Bible–and that they should start with a new one about once a decade.


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