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Premium Covers, Abba Bibles, and a Ministry of Mercy

Crossway offers several high-quality leather ESV Bibles like the lambskin Personal Size Reference or the calfskin ESV Study Bible. These leather covers are supple and durable, ensuring the Bibles lie flat and last for decades. Each comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Many of these premium covers are made by Abba Bibles in Mexico City. Abba began as a local church ministry, employing single mothers, the disabled, and others struggling to find steady work in their area. Over the years this small facility in Mexico has developed a reputation for producing beautiful, high quality Bible covers, as well as repairing or rebinding Bibles on a custom basis.

We’ve chosen Abba to cover our Bibles for a couple of reasons. Abba makes arguably the best handmade Bible covers found anywhere in the world. They use a very high quality grade of leather, and every step of the process is done by hand, from the cutting of the leather to the application of adhesives (see photos at the bottom of the post). But more importantly, we love working with Abba because of their heart for ministry to those in need. They provide income and a safe work environment for many on the margins of society.

Given their humble origins and limited space and equipment, the Bible covers Abba produces are truly remarkable. We’re grateful for their partnership in this publishing ministry.

A complete cowhide. This one piece will produce numerous Bible covers. The scraps are used for other projects.

Adhesive is applied to the edges of each cover and then folded in for a snug fit. Some editions will feature sewn edges.

The "block" of pages is glued in with an added end sheet that enhances durability and presentation. Though Abba can complete this step in-house, they generally ship the covers to a separate printing facility in the U.S. where the page blocks are added.

May 24, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,News,Uncategorized | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 8:00 am | (13) Comments »


  1. I never understood why making a bible has to be so stinking fancy. To make these things so ‘bling bling’ takes away from the beauty of the words.

    No doubt they use great material but honestly there is NO Need for this. The resources could be used better to give away bibles to poor and to EVERYONE!

    Comment by Pastor Jeff Earls — May 25, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  2. Pastor Jeff, thanks for your comments. While some see expensive Bibles as a frivolous expenditure, we encounter pastors all the time looking to make a one-time “investment” in a Bible that will last them 40 years. In their experience, it costs more when they’re constantly making notes and personally investing in a less expensive Bible only to have it fall apart. I would also call your attention to the fact that Abba Bibles is a ministry itself, employing the “poor” and marginalized in its local neighborhood. To be sure, selling premium Bibles solely for profit could lead to dubious motivations. Which is why we love to work with Abba – knowing that these Bibles are serving a greater purpose. A great resource to help wrestle through more questions related to premium Bibles is Bible Design Blog: http://www.bibledesignblog.com/faq.html

    Comment by Andrew Tebbe — May 25, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  3. Pastor Jeff,

    I just want to second Andrew… but from experience.

    Last year I read the Bible twice… once through a NASB from Foundation Publications (sorry guys) and secondly through the ESV TruTone Thinline. These Bibles are now fairly worn out. So I have invested into a “premium leather” Bible… Why? I wanted a Bible that I could use (hopefully) for the rest of my life and pass on to my children… a Bible that has been with me the greater portion of my life that is full of notes of the illumination from the Holy Spirit in my scripture reading.

    And just a bonus… “The resources could be used better give away bibles to poor” – so could the resources from your computer, TV and car… so I am anticipating you selling these to feed the poor. :-) (just poking at you!)

    Comment by Jason — June 8, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  4. Pastor Jeff,
    I agree wholeheartedly with both Andrew, and Jason. Pastoring a church that has sent out over 50 missionaries, and given away tens of thousands of Bibles, I feel your idea that idea that a high quality binding is somehow “bling” or even couched as elitist, is totally missing the mark. They’re not “fancy”, they’re “quality”, and stout; I don’t have to replace mine every two to three years now because pages are falling out of a glued spine. If any book deserves a lifetime binding, its the word of God. In a time study, you will find that the better (and lesser) money spent over a lifetime is in a Bible that lasts, like Grandma and Grandpa’s Bible used to. Your thoughts remind me of another’s commentary on how money should be spent in Luke chapter 12:1-8. If some treasure God’s word so greatly as to spend a bit more (and only a bit, at that) for a quality lifetime binding…it seems a wise and prudent thing to do. I may not drive a fancy car or live in a big house; but I carry an ABBA bound Bible. Because that’s where my treasure is.

    Comment by Pastor Bruce Newton — June 22, 2012 @ 10:23 am

  5. Jason and Pastor Bruce, thanks for your comments!

    Comment by Andrew Tebbe — June 22, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  6. Just the other day I asked my Facebook friends to link me to some good personal size Bibles and a good friend linked me to these leather ones and I had a similar reply as the first commenter did. Mostly saying that I could never justify spending that kind of money on a Bible. He quickly replied talking about the quality and the endurance of these Bibles. He said, spend 40$ a year to keep getting new ones or never buy a new one again. Then it clicked and made sense. I hope to get one of these on my next paycheck. A friend from church has the PSR and I got to handle it today and I really thought it was worth the money. Now that I see it isn’t produced through some random manufacturer and actually supports a genuine ministry, I am very excited about my upcoming purchase! Good job Crossway! You’re doing Christian business right!

    Comment by Devin — August 19, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  7. I’ve always considered the premium leather versions an unnecessary expense and have purchased other versions. After reading about Abba Bibles I may change my mind the next time I need to purchase a bible.

    Comment by Al — August 20, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  8. Pastor Jeff

    I don’t know if you missed this above:

    “Abba began as a local church ministry, employing single mothers, the disabled, and others struggling to find steady work in their area.”

    Frankly, I’d prefer to give the underprivileged jobs rather than money. I think they would prefer it that way too.

    Comment by Pastor Butch — September 8, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  9. What is the best way to get in touch with Abba Bibles about rebinding a Bible? Their website linked to above only had basic info.

    Comment by Brett — April 18, 2013 @ 10:47 am

  10. hi everyone watching these publications I gave myself the task of finding more abba bibles and found your internet page I hope you like that the ministry has this company is very nice and charming me I leave the page: http://www.bibliasabba.com

    Comment by mario cocoletzi — May 25, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

  11. Hello, I was wondering how I can get an Abba Bible? I live in Tennessee. Is it possible to order one? Because I tried emailing them, but haven’t got a response.

    I really would like to get one, so it would help me a lot of someone can help me with this. Thanks!

    Comment by Kurt — September 3, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

  12. Hi Kurt, I have contact with Abba Bibles, if you need to send me an email to my personal email and I will gladly send you more information on how to restore your bible or buy a new one:
    mario.cocoletzi @ gmail.com

    Comment by Mario Cocoletzi — September 5, 2013 @ 8:49 am

  13. “The resources could be used better to give away bibles to poor and to EVERYONE!”

    People who decry others for spending a couple hundred bucks on the Word of God usually waste THOUSANDS of dollars every year on cable TV and cell phone plans. I have zero doubt that God prefers somebody to spend $200 on a Bible and read it everyday than he does for somebody to waste $200 A MONTH on cellphone plans and cable TV so that they can sit around and watch Fox News everyday, or spend their nights sending Tweets to all their followers about stuff that does not matter, like U.S. politics or politicians.

    Comment by Levi — July 3, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

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