I finished reading the last half of the Book of Job today in my ESV Personal Size Reference Edition. I have been trying to read through the Old Testament this year in the ESV (I’m actually quite behind), so when this paragraphed edition came out, I was determined to read it in that edition, which has a single-column paragraphed layout.
Believe it or not, this layout has proven to make the text easier to read by making the text flow much more smoothly, yielding an improved Bible reading experience. I find that I read it faster, but with better comprehension. Stories read like stories, and poetry – like Job – reads like, well, poetry. The layout actually makes the Hebrew parallelism more obvious and clear. Job has yielded riches that I had not seen before. I can actually attest that the layout helped me see things I hadn’t before – simply because it got out of the way. It’s like you’re actually reading a book, not a reference work.
That’s one reason I pre-ordered the ESV Study Bible today. This Thursday is the last day to get 35% off. (UPDATE: You can now get 33% off until June 15, 2008). One of the main reasons I want one is simply because it’s in this layout (single-column, paragraphed). Plus the scholarship that has gone into the notes of this Study Bible looks stellar. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be interested in yet another Study Bible. It doesn’t come out until October, so until then I’ve an edition to keep me happy.
For more insight on what the big deal is about the the whole single-column paragraphed experience, check out the links I’ve provided here.