Category: Resources and Reviews

Knowing Jesus Day 5: Jesus is rejected in His hometown

Knowing Jesus Day 5: Jesus is rejected in His hometown

Luke 4:14-30 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.[a]

20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

23 Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ 24 But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.

25 “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. 27 And many in Israel had leprosy in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”

28 When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29 Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, 30 but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:18-19 Or and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Isa 61:1-2 (Greek version); 58:6.
The Christian Basics Bible and Discipleship: A Pastoral Use Case

The Christian Basics Bible and Discipleship: A Pastoral Use Case

One of the Bibles that I had most enjoyed reviewing was the Christian Basics Bible which, along with the NLT Wayfinding Bible plays a major role in the discipleship portion of my ministry. The Christian Basics Bible has been with me for a year and so, I wanted to share how I use it for discipleship.

I primarily use this Bible as a guide for one on one discipleship and that is how I encourage others to use it as well.

Naturally, the fact that the Christian Basics Bible features the NLT was a major consideration for me. NLT has become my favorite teaching translation over the last year and I do not ever see myself going back. NLT is very very easy to understand and because of that it is incredibly useful. I really cannot explain the feeling you get when the person you are teaching finally connects with the Bible.

Many disciples, my own wife included, have commented that reading the NLT was the first time they really felt like God was communicating with them. When you begin using the NLT in your church, you will see similar results in the people you are discipling.

The 28-day reading plan gets the most usage of any feature in the Bible since most of the people I minister to have not really seen the inside of a Bible before. It is important to begin here because it is a much less intimidating pathway to walk into understanding the scripture. I am really glad that this option is there because we, as pastors, sometimes have trouble with the fact that not every Christian is as involved with or familiar with the Bible as we are.

I get plenty of use out of the topical articles/Basic Truths of the Christian Faith but not in the way you might expect. For many, these articles would be a sermon preparation tool as a pastor would use them to create a topical series. I like to pair the topical articles with Q&A. I have a new learner write down their questions on a particular topic and then we turn to the topical articles guide to find out what the Bible teaches us on a particular topic. This is probably the least disciplined area of ministering to a person since each new learner will have different areas of life in which they need to hear from God.

The Now That You Are a Christian article rounds out my use. The whole point of this Bible is to develop new Christians into faithful disciples and this article takes us into the longest use portion of the Bible. Here, we take a new learner through the process of developing an understanding of God, Christ, Sin, Salvation and others. My goal is to help the new disciple to develop a type of theology and to have that theology be strong enough to sustain our new learner through the trials that will no doubt come as he/she matures in Christ.

There are a number of different ways to use the Christian Basics Bible in your ministry. I hope that it is as helpful to you as it has been to me.

NKJV Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line Review

NKJV Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line Review

 

Let me start with saying that this is the NKJV I have always wanted. Many of my teachers use the NKJV and I love to follow along with them but I have never really found a satisfying NKJV. Something always felt lacking: the font was too small, or there were too many helps, or it was too big…you get the idea.

I am happy to say that the Premier Collection NKJV Large Print Thin-line hits every sweet spot for me; I think it will for you too.

Product Description from Thomas Nelson

The slim design of the NKJV Large Print Thinline Reference Bible means you can bring it along, wherever your day takes you. When you open it up, you’ll discover the exclusive Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print. typeface in large print, designed to provide a smooth reading experience for more engagement with God’s Word. And with features like a complete cross-reference system, book introductions, a concordance, and full-color maps, you’ll have the tools to get more out of God’s Word without having to pack more.

Features include:

  • Complete cross-reference system
  • Concordance
  • Lightweight for easy travel
  • Full-color maps
  • Easy-to-read 11-point print size

Product Information

Format: Genuine Leather
Number of Pages: 1248
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 10.00 X 6.75 X 1.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0785220887
ISBN-13: 9780785220886
UPC: 9780785220886
Series: Comfort Print
References: Cross References
Text Color: Black Letter
Text Size: 11 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn
Page Gilding: Gold

 

Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own. 

Cover and Binding:

Like the other Premier Collection Bibles, this one is black goatskin but there is something different about it. It feels better to the touch, not only suppler but more granular. Because I sometimes walk and hold my Bible while preaching, the tactile experience is very important to me. The leather is very, very soft and the grain is just pronounced enough to excite every nerve ending in my fingertips. I absolutely love the feel of this Bible; your Bible should be one that is a delight to have in your hands so that you will want to spend time in the Word regularly.

Naturally, in a premium Bible, you will find a sewn binding and the Premier Collection is no exception. The sewn binding means that it will easily lay flat on your pulpit or in your hand. This Bible is also perfectly balanced for one handed use, almost like Nelson looked for the most peripatetic pastor they could find and then built this particular Bible around his needs.

Portability

Thin-line Bibles are designed for portability and easy carry. At around 1-inch thick, a true thin-line will easily fit in your briefcase or purse. While Nelson did not provide the weight to me, I would be shocked if this Bible weighed in at more than 1.5 pounds. You can easily carry this Bible around for quite some time without your arms getting tired. It is, most definitely, as light as it looks.

Font and Layout

The Comfort Print Font really shines in this particular Bible. The 11-point font is laid out in a double column paragraph format with the references laid out at the bottom. At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this because all of my NKJV have either center-column references or end of verse but I really like this layout. You can read without interruption and, if references are necessary for the task you are completing, the references can easily be found.

Paper

The paper, even though the same as the others, feels just a touch thinner and lighter. This is, of course, a trick my mind is playing on me since it is the same Bible paper that can be found in the other Premier Collection Bibles.

For marking in this Bible, a ball-point pen or colored pencil is indicated. Anything else will most probably bleed through.

In the Pulpit

Preaching from this edition was surprisingly easy. Normally, I would always preach from a verse by verse format as that has been my norm for 22 years. However, I am pleased to say that I was able to handle the text without any issues. I pastor a house church and use medium white light to illuminate my pulpit. There were no issues of glare at all which is a problem attendant to many other Bibles.

The black ink that Nelson used is just right; it is a deep and rich ebony that is wonderful on the eyes. Some Bibles lack consistency in the way the ink is laid on the paper but there are no issues here.

Overall Impression/Final Thoughts

You cannot really call a Bible lust-worthy. You can, however, call it pulpit worthy and this is the most pulpit worthy NKJV I have seen. For the price, you cannot go wrong. If NKJV is your translation of choice, then this needs to be your Bible. The only way Nelson could improve upon this would be to make it wide margin and that would, perhaps, be gilding the lilly.

 

 

 

Biblical Theology Study Bible Review

Biblical Theology Study Bible Review

 

Three years ago, Zondervan and D.A. Carson released one of the most in-depth study Bibles that is available, the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. It has now been improved upon and re-released as the NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible. The name change was made to better reflect the intended purpose of the Bible. Doubtlessly, it also helped eliminate confusion between the NIZ Zondervan Study Bible and the NIV Study Bible which is also published by Zondervan.

Note: Zondervan provided a hard cover edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Product Description from Zondervan

Discover how the details of Scripture come together to form God’s grand narrative of redemption! The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible is an excellent resource for those seeking to understand the individual parts of Scripture, and how those parts join to create a cohesive whole. Deepen your knowledge of God’s Word with insightful book introductions, sectional introductions, and 20,000 study notes written by a team of over 60 trusted theologians and Bible scholars explaining specific verses and themes.

 

Features Include:

  • 28 theologically rich articles by authors such as Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung
  • 20,000 verse-by-verse study notes
  • Hundreds of full-color photos
  • Over 90 Maps
  • Over 60 Charts
  • Book Introductions
  • Over 60 trusted contributors
  • Cross-references
  • Concordance
  • Single-column
  • Black Letter
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface
  • 5 point Bible text; 6 point study notes text

Please Note: The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible was previously published as the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. Study notes and content are the same. Updates include: the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface; a new three-column layout; hundreds of pages thinner and more visually appealing.

 

The Font

This is the new Comfort Print Font from Harper Collins and, generally, it is phenomenal. I must confess, though, that I find it semi-challenging. While I can read it, my eyes get tired after around 30 minutes of use.

 

The Translation: NIV

NIV is brought to us by Biblica.  Here is some information from Biblica and my thoughts will follow:

  • ACCURATEThe NIV translators are united by their conviction that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. That, along with their years of studying biblical languages, helps them to capture subtle nuances and the depth of meaning in the Bible.
  • CLEARIf the first recipients understood God’s Word when they heard it, so should you. That’s the driving force behind the NIV’s commitment to clarity. The Bible should be every bit as clear to you as it was to its original audience.
  • BEAUTIFULBible reading isn’t just a solo exercise; it’s meant to be a shared experience. That’s why the NIV translators prioritize literary beauty, resulting in a Bible translation that’s suitable for public reading and use in churches.
  • TRUSTWORTHYThe NIV is translated by an independent, self-governing team of Bible scholars. No publisher, commercial or otherwise (not even us!), can tell them how to translate God’s Word. The translators come from dozens of denominations and churches, and they can only make changes to the text if 70% of the committee agrees — safeguarding against theological bias.

 

NIV and I are nearly the same age (1978 vs 1982) and so it is no stretch to say that I grew up with the NIV and I would say that a good many of my generation have as well. To be fair, the KJV and NASB have also been with me and I love all three.

NIV is incredibly easy to understand but it is still rigorous enough for the serious student of the Word to dig in, grow, and learn. I go back and forth with various translations and the main reason I keep coming to the NIV is its familiarity. NIV is both an old friend and a trusted source of wisdom and it lives up to Biblica’s statement that the Bible speaks.

I want to make a statement as a pastor: You can trust your NIV. There are well meaning Christians who will tell you that the NIV has been “corrupted” or something of the sort; it has not. New Greek manuscripts are being discovered regularly and, unlike other languages, English has a tendency to be fluid so, sometimes, it is needful to update. It is vital that you find a translation that you can read and understand and NIV will fill that place nicely.

 

CONTENT REVIEW

Introductions

There are Section Introductions and Book Introductions. The introductions are fairly in-depth including an excellent outline.

Study Notes

In addition to a biblical-theological focus, the study notes aid the reader in gaining a better grasp of the text within its biblical, theological, grammatical, cultural, and social context. There are 20,000 plus notes available and they are laid out in a 3-column format at the bottom portion of the page. The study notes are so detailed that every single category of Christian, from the new disciple to the seminary student, to a seasoned pastor will be able to benefit from the content.

Margin Content

The margin content contains three parts. First, there is room for personal note taking, assuming you have the ability to write in a small enough font. Secondly, the cross references are located in the outside of the margins. Thirdly, there are optional alternate readings of parts of verses.

Maps, Charts, and Pictures– These things are all over the place! They have a map for Jacob’s journey in Genesis, a chart for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus, a chart showing the distance in miles between OT cities, a picture of King Tut’s golden chariot in 2 Chronicles, a map and diagram of the familial house of Herod in Matthew, an extensive chart harmonizing the Gospels, and even a chart contrasting the Levitical priesthood with Jesus’ priesthood in Hebrews. The pictures are in full color. The more you read the text of Scripture the more you will see the value and helpfulness of the extensive charts. The chats are as helpful to understanding the text as the study notes.

Articles

The articles in the Biblical Theology Study Bible focus on 28 of the most common biblical-theological themes in the Bible. Themes like the gospel, the glory of God, creation, sin, law, covenant, priest, temple, justice, worship, and mission are expounded upon and set within the context of the whole revelation of Scripture.

Overall Thoughts

The Biblical Theology Study Bible is an excellent resource that definitely has a place in your pastoral ministry. There are some font challenges for me but they are not sufficient to degrade my opinion. I do recommend it but I will not tell you how to use it since there is not a wrong way to use it.

 

 

Large Print Westminster Reference Bible Review

Large Print Westminster Reference Bible Review

TBS has painted the peacock. I described the KJV Westminster Reference Bible as the KJV perfected and yet TBS made it better. This Bible fits the nickname of “sword.” Here are the dimensions:

Page Size:265 x 188mm (10.4″ x 7.4″)

Thickness:34mm (1.3″)

Print Size:11.8 point

Product Code:120LP/UBK

ISBN:9781862284753

 

The Cover and Binding

Calfskin with a paste down liner. In the case of a Bible this large, a paste down liner is actually a preferable choice. In fact, I suspect that if it were leather lined it would be completely impossible to use one handed; candidly single handed use is very challenging but I have large hands so I can pull it off.

TBS sewed the binding on the Large Print Westminster. I cannot imagine a scenario where a Bible this large would not be sewn. Sewing the Bible guarantees that it will last you a lifetime.

The References

200,000 references!! On this fact alone the Westminster rivals the Thompson Chain References and bests the NASB Side Column Reference Edition and its 95,000 cross-references as well as Crossway’s ESV Classic Reference Bible and its 80,000 references. I call it a rival because, even though it has 100,000 more references than Thompson, it does not offer the topical chains that Thompson offers.

Amazingly all three editions, Compact, Standard, and Large Print offer the 200,000 references. This is where the Westminster really shines. The references are a combination of those in the Concord Reference Bible and those from the Self Interpreting Bible.

Based on the references alone, TBS should do everything in their power to make sure that every pastor on the planet has an opportunity to own a Westminster Reference Bible. If you had no other Bible study tools and no other Bible, you could still go the rest of your life without running out of material to preach.

 

Translation

The Westminster uses the King James Version. This particular version of the KJV has notes that have been preserved from the original translators and carried forward to this edition. It is quite fascinating; not only do you get an introduction to each chapter, but you also get a peek into the minds of the most learned men who crafted what would become the dominant Bible in the English speaking world for over 400 years.

Font, Text Layout, Readability

This is a monstrous 11.8-point font. The layout is double-column verse by verse with the references in the side columns. Because of the generous font and amount of references, you are, sadly, left lacking a useful margin just like in the standard size and the compact. This time, I am actually glad that there is no serviceable margin; it would simply be too big.

Marginal Wordlist

Rather than placing that glossary in the back of words that are no longer in use or have changed meaning, the Westminster places updated words in the margin on the page where the word appears. They are keyed to the text with an asterisk. The margins include the asterisk, the original word, and a short definition. 

Tables of Weights and Measures

In the back is 5.5-pages of tables for weights and measures. They show the type of measure, equivalent Old Testament measure, equivalent New Testament measure, Hebrew and Greek words, approximate equivalent Imperial measure, approximate equivalent metric measure, biblical references, and the time that’s covered. The margins of the Bible include a symbol to tie the text to these tables.

 

Tables:

  • Old Testament Weights
  • Old Testament Lengths
  • Old Testament Liquid Measures
  • Old Testament Dry Measures
  • Old Testament Money
  • Old Testament Time
  • New Testament Weights
  • New Testament Lengths
  • New Testament Liquid Measures
  • New Testament Dry Measures
  • New Testament Money
  • New Testament Time

 

List of Words and Proper Names

Rather than having a self-pronouncing text, the Westminster has a 15-page list of words and names with self-pronouncing marks. It shows the syllables and shows how to pronounce consonants, blends, and nouns. It contains every name and foreign word. It also has a chart to show how to pronounce the symbols.

 

Reading Plan

In the back is the Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading plan. This is a two-year plan that takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. The first year starts with Genesis and Matthew, and the second year starts with Ezra and Acts. It can also be used as a one-year plan, which would give you 4 readings per day with all four readings from different places in the Bible.

In the Pulpit

My podium is not particularly large and when the LP Westminster is opened on the pulpit, it covers the entire preaching surface and I love it! The Large Print Westminster and its references are so good, in fact, that you don’t even need notes. You can follow the references and have a perfectly prepared sermon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KJV Perfected: Westminster Reference Bible (Recovered)

KJV Perfected: Westminster Reference Bible (Recovered)

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In an earlier review that I wrote for Bible Buying Guide, I mentioned that I felt there were very few Bibles that deserved to sit on the same shelf as the venerable Thompson Chain Reference Bible (TCR). Imagine my surprise at not only finding a Bible worthy of the same shelf as the TCR but actually a rival to the throne. Enter the Westminster Reference Edition of the King James Bible from the Trinitarian Bible Society…

This is doubtlessly one of the top three reference Bibles available and with all the positives to discuss it is hard to know where to start.

 

References

On their website, Trinitarian Bible Society makes the bold claim that there are over 200,000 references. On this fact alone the Westminster rivals the Thompson and bests the NASB Side Column Reference Edition and its 95,000 cross-references. I call it a rival because, even though it has 100,000 more references than Thompson, it does not offer the topical chains that Thompson offers.

Ordinarily, I do not use the reference features in most of my Bibles, as they generally do not follow my train of thought. The Westminster, however, not only has references consistent with my train of thought, it also took me in a couple directions that I had not originally planned to go.

Translation

The Westminster uses the King James Version. Say what you will about the KJV, it is the perfect pairing. It feels distinctly pastoral; my first impulse after I opened it was to reach for my macbook and begin taking notes and that is the first time that has happened. Usually I go for my favorite passages of Scripture to capture that feeling of familiarity.

This particular version of the KJV has notes that have been preserved from the original translators and carried forward to this edition. It is quite fascinating; not only do you get an introduction to each chapter, but you also get a peek into the minds of the most learned men who crafted what would become the dominant Bible in the English speaking world for over 400 years.

The Cover

Calfskin. Do I really need to say more? Well yes. While this is a genuine calfskin cover it is not floppy like a Side Column Reference. I will leave it up to you to decide it that is good or bad. For me it comes down to this, it feels just right in my hand. I don’t really have a better way to say it than that. When I hold this Bible, open or closed, it feels like it was meant to be in my hand.

Font, Text Layout, Readability

This is a very readable 9.6-point font. The layout is double-column verse by verse with the references in the side columns. Because of the generous font and amount of references, you are, sadly, left lacking a useful margin (By now you know that I love wide margins). On the other hand you do get what is probably the most readable handy sized Bible.

The Paper

The paper is a major win for this Bible. It’s cream colored with excellent opacity. Unfortunately, TBS does not offer much in the way of technical details on their website and, at the time of my writing, I have not successfully reached them to find out the specifications on the paper, though I am not certain that it matters unless, like me, you are a total nerd and cannot properly geek out without knowing such things.

I have used this Bible in several settings with various lighting conditions: at church with the bright lights in our massive auditorium, the break room at work, the restaurant with breakfast, and in the soft light of my bedside table (40W Bulb); in every instance it was totally successful. Sometimes, I enjoy a Psalm or two before bed and this is where I would usually find ghosting. There are one or two spots but if I were to complain about that, it would be nothing more than ungrateful nitpicking.

The texture and feel is amazing. Some paper feels abrupt, coarse and heavy. This paper, though, is quite soft and (if you will pardon the cliché) smooth like ice cream fresh from the churn. It begs to be touched, to caress the hand, to draw you into an interaction with the Word. I said earlier and I will repeat myself, this Bible, to my hands, feels like someone came and noticed every flaw, every callous, every ridge on my hands and then custom crafted a Bible just for me.

Actually, to say that it has excellent opacity was an understatement. From a normal distance I could not distinguish any ghosting or see through. I could see a little when I held up a single page, but as I said to go any further on that would be ungrateful nitpicking.

A Pastoral Perspective

The church I grew up in used KJV almost exclusively (NIV came to the mainstream in 1984 when I was 2), my first sermons were preached from KJV, and I still reach for it quite often. Until the Westminster Reference Bible, my choice of KJV was a cowhide Giant Print Reference Edition from Holman Bible Publishers and while it does have larger font, I am happy to say that my Westminster will replace it for most, if not all, KJV related needs.

You will find it to be an excellent pulpit Bible, a faithful companion during visitation, and an able companion for your study.

If you can only buy one more Bible, get this or the Thompson. If you can get both, do not hesitate to do so. At a price of $65-$80 for a calfskin you cannot go wrong. I also encourage the giving of this as a gift for your pastor. It will be a resource he treasures and uses well for a lifetime.

Until next time, Beloved, Worship Vigorously, Serve Actively, Teach Faithfully, and may mercy, grace, and peace be with you.

 

 

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THOMAS NELSON PREMIER COLLECTION GIANT PRINT KJV BIBLE REVIEW

THOMAS NELSON PREMIER COLLECTION GIANT PRINT KJV BIBLE REVIEW

 

Disclosure: This Bible was acquired at my own expense. Thomas Nelson did not solicit this review.

I have had terrible trouble finding a KJV for my pulpit but I believe Thomas Nelson has solved that problem for me. Read on to find out why… 

Product Description from Thomas Nelson

The Premier Edition of Thomas Nelson’s KJV Giant Print Reference Bible combines fine craftsmanship with the depth of a complete cross-reference system. Typeset in Thomas Nelson’s KJV Comfort Print. in an extra-large size, you will enjoy a smooth and easy reading experience in a beautiful King James Bible designed to last. Featuring a supple goatskin leather cover, durable edge-lined binding, premium Bible paper, beautiful art gilding, and four ribbon markers, this special edition is a treasure for a lifetime in God’s Word.

Features include:

  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Fine goatskin cover
  • Presentation page
  • Black-letter text
  • 12-point type
  • Concordance

 Initial Impression:

Previously, I reviewed the Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thin-line and I was quite impressed. That being said, the Premier Collection KJV Giant Print Reference Bible (hereafter, Premier KJV) takes that impressiveness up a notch. It is the best KJV that is available at this price point, $149.99, and I would dare to go so far as to say that the Cambridge Turquoise and Concord Reference Bibles, the definitive KJV reference Bibles, have met their match.

Silly as it may sound, There is something special about holding a high quality KJV in your hands. To me, at least, it feels different, almost more reverent.

Font:

The font is the stand out feature of the Premier KJV. It was designed by the preeminent font type foundry, 2K/Denmark. As part of the Harper Collins Family, Nelson calls this font, Comfort Print and it is aptly named as you can easily spend hours with this text and not have any eye fatigue.

A 12-point font size is what we are given here; it is just right for use in the pulpit or the classroom. I have tried a number of different Bibles trying to get the right font size and typeface for my preaching and have not had any success, until this Bible. What we are given, here, is absolutely perfect.

When I stand before the saints to open the word, the last thing I want is a Bible that I struggle to see since I don’t always hold it up close to my face when I read the text. As I mentioned earlier, I have tried over a dozen different KJV Bibles in my pulpit and this is the one that works the best. 12-poin hits the sweet spot for text size. Previously, I had been using a specialty KJV with a 13.5-point font but it was a little cumbersome in the pulpit.

Layout, Coloration, References

The Premier KJV is laid out in a double column verse by verse format with center-column references. This is the format that I have used for most of my ministry career and so it is quite familiar to me. It will sound cliche but this is the way I expect a Bible to look. I have used this format for over 20 years and I find to to be the most practical.

Verse numbers, Chapter Headings, Page Numbers, and the 1st letter of each chapter is in a cranberry red. This is a crisp rich red that really stands out on the page.

Unlike other Bibles, the center column for the references is not broken off by a harsh black line. It makes the page more pleasing to the eyes. Nelson offers around 70,000 cross-references.

Cover, Ribbons and Binding:

The Premier Collection all have goatskin covers and a sewn binding. The binding is tighter than on the NIV so it feels less likely to fall out of my hand. It also has a better feel to my finger tips; I think the leather is a little thicker but it is still edge-lined. The leather smell, which I always look for, is not as pronounced as I would have expected but it is there and is still intoxicating.  There are three silk ribbons, 3/8″ wide to use for marking your readings.

There is a signature, in Genesis, where the sewing is quite clear. At first this was a concern to me but after speaking with some of the folks at Thomas Nelson, I am not worried about it any more. This particular signature is sewn in such a manner as to help the book, itself, lay flat when opened to Genesis. This was quite a smart play on Nelson’s part as it can be very frustrating to try to preach a text in Genesis if the Bible will not stay open.

Paper

Even though I know they use the same paper, I prefer this one over the Premier NIV. It seems to be more opaque and there is less of a shine in the sunlight. I would be more inclined to mark in this vs the Premier NIV, though I would only use a ball-point pen or a gel highlighter for marking.

The paper is 36 GSM European Bible Paper and it is similar to what you will find in Cambridge Bibles. Tactile perception on this paper is incredible, almost as if the Bible screams, “hold me. Study me. Preach from me.” I have mentioned in a number of reviews that you really want a Bible that feels comfortable in the hand and this Bible pushes all the right buttons.

As a carry/daily use Bible

The KJV has more girth so I like carrying it better than the Premier NIV. It feels more substantial. As expected it fits quite comfortably in my laptop bag.

I don’t think there is anything more recognizable than the King James Bible and this Bible is no exception. Several times, people have seen it on my desk at my secular job and it has sparked conversations about the Bible, why I carry it, and given opportunities to share the Gospel.

Final Thoughts

You may have noticed that I have not covered every feature of this Bible but I have covered the ones that are important to a buying decision. At $149.99, the Premier KJV puts a premium reference Bible within reach of many more Christians than Cambridge, Allan, or Schuyler Bibles. It is well worth your money.

 

ZONDERVAN PREMIER COLLECTION LARGE PRINT THINLINE REVIEW

ZONDERVAN PREMIER COLLECTION LARGE PRINT THINLINE REVIEW

 

 

Disclosure: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to post positive comments; my opinions are my own.

Crossway, Cambridge University Press, Broadman & Holman, R. L. Allan and Sons, Schuyler, Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins), and now Zondervan (Harper Collins). What do all these publishers have in common? They all publish deluxe/premium Bibles in various English versions and at varying ranges of the pricing spectrum. The closest in materials and price point to the Harper Collins Premier Collections are from Crossway and Holman. We will compare the Crossway and Holman editions today as well.

I am reviewing the Large Print Thinline NIV and I will compare it to the the Holman CSB Large Print Ultra-thin Reference Bible (LPUT) and the Crossway ESV Large Print Bible.

Product Description from Zondervan

This NIV Premier Collection Bible features a soft, fine goatskin cover and many other quality finishes such as art gilding, edge lining, and three thick ribbon markers. The NIV Premier Collection Bible combines fine craftsmanship with ultimate readability and portability. It features the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print font expertly designed for the New International Version (NIV) text, and delivers a smooth reading experience to complement the most widely read modern-English Bible translation.

 

Features:

  • Hand-bound in a supple goatskin leather cover
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art Gilt page edging, with gilt line and perimeter stitching
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print typeface
  • Three satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Premium European Bible paper, 36 gsm
  • Black-letter text
  • Family record section

 

Price Point-

  • NIV Large Print Thin-line $149.99
  • ESV Large Print in Top Grain Leather $139.99
  • Holman CSB LPUT-$129.99

Cover Material and Binding:

  • NIV: Black Goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Crossway: Black calfskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Holman: Black goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.

Winner: Tie between Zondervan and Crossway.

Among all three, we have the top Bible in its translation and class. Zondervan’s goatskin is quite wonderful. It is smoothly ironed with just the faintest sense of grain. That scent, which only a true book aficionado will love is there; it is intoxicating and it is what I look for most when I open a new Bible. This leather is infinitely more touchable than the Holman and that is part of what sets Zondervan apart; your first sensation when you interact with your Bible is how it feels. It should feel natural in your hand, not too cumbersome, loose but not so floppy that it falls out of your hand if you use it one handed.

When you look at the leather, you will notice tiny variations in the skin and you need to know that this is not a defect. Many times you will see “blemishes” in leather goods and this is a natural result of using real animal skins. I have come to look for these little variations as they make it more unique.

A goatskin leather cover and a sewn binding guarantees your Bible will last for a lifetime, which is exactly what Zondervan guarantees.

Side note: Both Holman and Crossway beat Zondervan with a tighter binding.

 

Font

  • NIV: 11.4-point comfort print font type
  • Crossway: 11.5-point font type.
  • Holman: 9-point font type

Winner: Zondervan

Zondervan uses what it calls a comfort print font that was designed by 2/k Denmark, who also designed the typeface on the Holman and the similarities are obvious when you look at the two Bibles. Zondervan and Crossway give us true large print fonts.

While Crossway offers Zondervan stiff competition, the Comfort Print from Zondervan is, far and away, the easiest font that I have read. Zondervan and 2/k Denmark teamed up to create a font family that is very easy on the eyes and is intentionally designed to minimize eye fatigue.

Paper:

All 3 Bibles use a 36-GSM Bible Paper but this time Holman is the clear winner.

Zondervan’s paper is sufficiently opaque to be easy to read. However, there is a bit of a shine so it can be challenging in the pulpit. I have a tendency to be mildly peripatetic and so there was not really a major issue with the shine.

The remainder of the review will focus exclusively on the Zondervan and my thoughts…

 

Ribbons:

Zondervan gives 3 satin ribbons- Navy blue, light blue, and standard blue. The color variation is an offset to the blue under silver art gilding and is another feature designed to make the Bible easy on the eyes.

Layout:

We have a double column paragraph format that is text only. For classroom teaching, this is an ideal layout. When you are standing before your learners and bringing the Word, you do not want any distractions. Some of my colleagues prefer to preach from a single column format but I just cannot do it. I have taught from a double column for so long that I can’t function without that layout.

As a pastor’s Bible:

The Large Print Thin-line NIV is very portable and fits nicely into my laptop bag. It is very easy to use one handed. Because of its portability, it went with me for one-on-one discipleship, on a hospital visit, and into the pulpit. Overall, I found it to be very practical. If I had one complaint it would be that the sewing is loose enough that the Bible feels very floppy; I would like to see it sewn a little tighter.

Is anything missing?

That is a tough question to answer. A concordance is definitely left out and I’m not sure why. I would like to see end of verse references and a few lined pages for notes. The absence thereof is not problematic, more of nit picking on my part.

Would I recommend the Large Print Thin-line? Who should buy it?

I do recommend the NIV and so I recommend this by default. As for who should buy this particular Bible, I would primarily recommend this edition for someone who is teaching the Bible on a regular basis and especially for missionaries. In my personal opinion, it is the most practical Bible that Zondervan offers.

Final Thoughts:

Zondervan’s sheer size as a publisher enables them to offer a very high quality Bible at what is a fairly low price point for the premium class. Many Christians only have one Bible and it needs to be a good one; when I say a good Bible, I mean a high quality edition that will easily last 25 years or more.

I am glad to see that the world’s best selling English Bible is available in a format worthy of Sacred Scripture. I am also pleased to see that Zondervan is offering a price point that will be more accessible to many Christians.

 

Vines Expository Study Bible Review

Vines Expository Study Bible Review

Let me start by saying, “It’s not what I expected and everything I want in a study Bible.” Years ago, there was Vines Expository Reference Bible and, at first, I thought that this was a re-release of that Bible; it is not. On some levels it is so much better and on other levels it is equal to the old Vines Expository Reference, both of which were published by Thomas Nelson.

 

 

Disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided a hardcover edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

 

From the Publisher

 

Product Description

The Vines Expository Bibleoffers scriptural truth alongside guided explanations of key passages from influential preacher Dr. Jerry Vines. With biblical exposition and practical teaching culled from years of faithful ministry, Dr. Vines presents helpful insights from God’s Word are presented in a warm, pastoral manner.

 

Features Include:

  • Paragraph-style text with in-text subject headings
  • 200 “Presenting the Message” detailed outlines from Jerry Vines’ sermon archive
  • 100 “Living the Message” articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
  • 200 “Applying the Message” notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures for your walk with Christ
  • 300 “Discerning the Meaning” word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
  • Book Introductions
  • Topical Index
  • Concordance
  • 5-point print size

 

Content

200 “Presenting the Message Outlines”

These are sermon outlines that were taught by Dr. Jerry Vines in the pulpit of his church. They serve a couple of helpful functions: explaining the point of the passage to the reader and guiding a teacher through explaining the passage. One could, in theory, consider this to be four years of material to get your church an overview of the Bible. I always recommend doing your own work but if you had absolutely no experience with lesson prep, these outlines would be very helpful.

 

100 “Living the Message” Articles

These are practical application articles demonstrating “real life” applications of the text.

 

300 “Discerning the Meaning” Word Studies

Even though W.E. Vines and Jerry Vines are two different pastors, one could hardly have a Vines Resource without word studies. These articles cover key words that are essential to understanding the Bible.

 

200 “Applying the Message Notes”

The Applying the Message Notes, much like the Living the Message Articles are designed to help you apply the text of the Bible to your every day life. They are designed to answer the question, “I understand this passage, now what do I do about it.”

 

Topical Index

The Topical Index breaks down the major subjects of the Bible for study. While I recommend book-by-book study, I realize that topical study is the most common method of lesson preparation and the topical index, here, will give you several years worth of material for study/teaching.

 

The Physical Book

Paper

The paper is a touch thin. This is not necessarily bad as you need thin paper in order to pack a lot of content into a study Bible. If you were going to mark in this Bible, you definitely do not want a liquid highlighter. A ball-point pen or a hi-glider from Luscombe would be your best choice here.

 

There is some shadowing (see through of the other side of the paper) but not enough to be overly bothersome.

 

Font

We have Nelson’s new Comfort Print font in 10-point. It is much easier to read than some other font families on the market. As its name indicates, the Comfort Print Font prevents eye strain so you can study for long periods without developing tired eyes or a headache.

 

 

Cover and Binding

The edition I am reviewing is the jacketed hardcover. The cover is red cloth over a book-board. It is fairly sturdy and will hold up to normal wear and tear fairly nicely. For a Bible that will remain on your desk or go into your backpack, hardcover is your best choice.

 

The binding is sewn to ensure a lifetime of use.

 

Ribbons

Nelson provides us with 2 red silk ribbons, 3/8″ in width. I generally use the ribbons to mark OT and NT daily readings. I also use them to mark passages relevant to ministry texts based on the upcoming ministry activity such as a hospital visit or discipleship.

 

Who is this Bible for?

The Vines Expository Study Bible is designed for the new teacher/student. If I were to recommend this Bible to a particular group of people, it would be to pastors in Asia and Africa who may not have access to the resources needed to prepare expository lessons on the Bible.

 

Overall Thoughts

I am a Bible teacher, so I am a little biased here but I really like the Vines Expository Study Bible. Some may consider this to be entry level and, to a degree, it is. That being said, for its intended audience, it is an excellent tool.

 

I would rate it 4.5/5. The shadowing is what caused me to withhold a perfect score. Nelson should be able to get us better paper. They are, after all, part of the Harper Collins Group, the largest publisher in the US.

 

 

ESV Large Print Bible Review

ESV Large Print Bible Review

 

One of the top 4 English Bible Translations that I use is the English Standard Version. It is no secret that I love Crossway’s Bibles and when the chance to review a large print ESV Bible came up, I had to jump on it.

Crossway sent me the top grain leather edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own. Also, some of the pictures were taken outdoors to capture this exquisite Bible in natural light.

 

A little from the publisher to get us started…

The ESV Large Print Bible features generous 11.5-point type and clear black letter text for easier reading and reference. A true large print edition, it includes an extensive concordance and helpful full-color maps. Readers of all ages will find it ideal for daily reading and study.

  • Size: 6.375″ x 9.25″
  • 11.5-pt type
  • 1,312 pages
  • Black letter text
  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • Concordance with nearly 12,000 references
  • Ribbon marker
  • Presentation pages
  • Full-color maps in back
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Lifetime quality guarantee

The Translation

ESV is an essentially literal translation, meaning it falls on the word-for-word or form based end of the translation spectrum. It is as accurate as NASB but not as rigid, I have found that is sounds very liturgical and the rhythm and cadence lends to reading aloud. It is ideal for congregational reading as well as personal study.

The Cover

This is top grain leather and we need to stop and ask the question, “What is top grain leather?” Buffalo Jackson trading company states “Top grain leather is the second highest grade of leather, and has the outermost layer of the hide removed. This difference makes the leather thinner and more workable for the manufacturer, which is reflected in the price compared to full grain leather.”

Based on the feel and smell, this top grain leather is almost certainly a calfskin. The grain is somewhat pronounced but I lack an adjective to describe the softness of the cover and the delight it brings to the touch. I own a couple goatskin, full grain leather Bibles that are not this delightful to have in my hands. I swear that Crossway does something to the leather to make you want to open your Bible over and over again. The best way I can describe the leather is to say that it is limp and supple and an absolute delight to touch.

Binding

Crossway is well known for their sewn Bibles, so well known, in fact, that they come with a lifetime guarantee. This particular Bible has what I describe as medium tightness. Some Bibles like R. L. Allan’s are very loose and tend to feel like they might fall apart at any second while other Bibles like Cambridge Bibles are very tight and even though they lay flat are not as loose in the hand. The ESV Large Print Bible is the perfect blend, loose enough to be comfortable for one handed use yet tight enough to not leave you wondering if it will fall apart.

Paper, Font, and Layout

The font is spectacular, 11.5-point; it is a true large print, unlike many who deem a 9-point font to be a large print. This size incredibly easy to read. Crossway uses fonts in the Lexicon Family which are somewhat bold, with deep rich blacks. This is not a red letter edition and you may have mixed feelings about that but I do not find them useful on my podium when I am trying to teach.

36 GSM Thinopaque paper is what Crossway uses for paper. This is an ideal choice with the double column paragraph format that we are treated to here. The paper is thin enough to keep the Bible from being cumbersome yet still thick enough that you can mark in the Bible without bleed through and while we are on that subject, this is a line matched Bible and there is no show through of the text.

As a Ministry Bible

During my review period, the ESV Large Print Bible came with me into my secular employment arena alongside my NLT. For one on one ministry it cannot be beat. The overall size fits on almost any desk easily. On the lectern, it was everything I wanted- large font, easy to read, portable; I could not ask for more.

Overall Thoughts

It is hard for Crossway to outdo itself and I doubt that any other publisher could out perform Crossway. The quality offered by Crossway is unmatched anywhere. I highly recommend their Bibles to anyone.