Concord Reference Bible: The King of KJV
When I think of the King James Version of the Bible, the first name that comes to mind is the Concord Reference Bible from Cambridge University Press. As cheesy as this may sound, holding the Concord feels different than holding any other KJV with one notable exception, the Westminster Reference Bible; It feels more scholarly and using it gave me the sensation of standing amongst great men of our faith, and it feels more pastoral, like I’m taking my place in that Old Baptist Tradition but that’s just me and my obscure little oddities, I’m sure.
Binding & Cover
Cambridge sent me the black calf-split leather edition to review (This Bible was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review). It has that certain scent to it, the kind only a real Bible nerd would notice and appreciate; it’s the smell of pure leather and it’s almost like a drug. Every time I hold this Bible, I catch a whiff of the leather scent and I am flooded with euphoria. (total nerd but that’s ok.)
The cover is not as limp as a goatskin liner and it is also a little stiffer than the calfskin in my Holman Minister’s Bible and I really like that fact. The concord is much easier to hold than other Bibles, staying open/flat with single hand use without me worrying that it will spill out of my hand. The grain is quite visible and the texture is luxurious. If you have never felt a calf-split leather Bible from Cambridge, it would be difficult for me to describe; suffice it to say that this Bible feels like no other.
Of course it is a sewn binding; Cambridge Bibles are bound in cooperation with Royal Jongbloed, the best binder in the world and you can see the attention to detail that Jongbloed has brought to Cambridge. The smythe sewing guarantees a lifetime of use. How long? Well, I have a Bible that is 70 years old with a sewn binding that is still going strong so I would have to say, with proper care, this Bible could probably last 70 years or more. On the other hand using it so much that it falls apart is also a very good thing.
Many times, a premium leather Bible will offer edge/leather lining and the goatskin Concord, which I acquired subsequent to this review, does that but the calf-split uses a paste down liner. Perhaps this is a cost saving measure but I, personally think that it is for those who are parapatetic when they preach since it is the liner that provides the added stiffness that I like.
Good luck finding any ghosting (see through) in a Cambridge Bible. I am sure that if you looked hard enough, you could find some but the eye-strain required would then result in a nasty headache.
Cambridge always uses the finest papers available and this is no exception. I would estimate a 30 gsm paper although I could be wrong. It is just the right shade of white to allow you to see the red-lettering with no issues. Incidentally, unlike some other white papers, you do not get the nasty glare when out in the sunlight.
The Concord reference Bible references are so exacting and precise that they are one of the two sources of references for my beloved Westminster. I would go so far as to say that if the Concord Reference Bible were the only Bible that you had available, you could effectively interpret Scripture with no issues.
This is a feature that you do not often see in a KJV Bible but one that every KJV publisher needs to adopt. The glossary offers explanations of words, which have changed their meaning or are not in use any more. For example, oblation, which means anything offered in a sacrifice and is no longer used in everyday English.
The 140-page concordance is a shining star amongst Bibles. Every topic you could possibly imagine is included along with Scripture references. You really don’t need any other tool for topical analysis of scripture.
This 129 page offering is a concise expository dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament words geared toward those faithful men who stand in the pulpit every Sunday. While you will not find every word that you may want to study in depth, there is more than sufficient material to keep you studying until the 2nd Coming.
I understand why Randy Brown at Bible Buying Guide keeps coming back to the Concord Reference Bible and why I, too, keep finding myself going back to it; you just don’t need anything else.
The Concord Reference Bible is so excellent, that I have actually be tempted to start a petition to get Cambridge to release this edition in a New American Standard Bible. It is without doubt one of the best KJV Bibles that you can buy
Concord Reference Bible is the King of the KJV. Long live the King…