Tag: KJV

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

 

If you’re a Baptist, and chances are good that you are, you have probably heard of the Classic Study Bible albeit under its other name, the Old Scofield Bible. First published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has been a mainstay in Baptist and other circles and for good reason; the Scofield and the Thompson Chain Reference, which came out around the same time, are the oldest “study” Bibles available and the longest currently in production. What sets the Scofield apart it that it was the first that offered commentary on the Bible.

I mentioned in a previous review that Church Bible Publishers (CBP) is an endeavor of the local church in Michigan and that they offer their Bibles at cost, which is a marvel in today’s money driven society. I have had a small amount of interaction with CBP staff and I found them to be knowledgeable, friendly, and generally seemed like the people you want to eat fried chicken with (It’s the official bird of Baptists, fried chicken). A note before we get into the review: CBP did not provide this Bible for review nor did they solicit a review; this is my own endeavor.

 

THE REVIEW

Translation Choice

CBP publishes in a single English translation, the King James Version (KJV). Even though I read other translations besides just the KJV, I am pleased to see CBP specialize in a single translation; I find it makes for better overall quality because you can focus on providing what customers need rather than vetting a translation. One point about the choice of KJV: Many people say that the KJV is not copyrighted in the US and so makes for a better translation choice. This is actually incorrect; The US honors the Crown Copyright in the United Kingdom (Elizabeth II currently holds the copyright and granted letters patent to Cambridge) even though to try to enforce it would be a logistical nightmare. When you see the term Authorised Version or Authorised King James Version, you see that because the Official King James Version is being used as is the case here.

Leather Cover

As was the case with the Thompson Chain that I reviewed earlier, the Classic Study Bible came to me in black ironed calfskin. There is an alternate choice of Top Grain Cowhide but, in my opinion, the calfskin is to be preferred. You may order in black, brown, burgundy, read, two-tone (black and brown) and thumb indexing is an option. I have no clue where CBP gets their leather but it is some of the softest most luxurious leather you will ever touch; I love the feel of it.

Two other publishers offer the Classic KJV Study Bible, Oxford University Press, the original publisher and copyright holder of the Classic KJV Study Bible and Barbour Books, neither of which offer calfskin. Barbour offers hardback and bonded leather while OUP offers bonded or Genuine Leather (read pigskin). That fact, alone, would be reason enough for me to endorse the CBP version over the others but lets continue.

Paper and Font

CBP offers a much larger font vs OUP and Barbour. OUP and Barbour use an 9-point font for the text and an 8-point for the notes while CBP offers the following for font size: Bible Text – 10 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt, Footnotes – 9 pt. I have both of the other versions and I can tell you with absolute certainty that this version will replace the other two.

CBP’s paper is bright white and very opaque making this Bible very easy to read indeed. The black is rich, deep, and bold and the red jumps off the page. Many publishers screw up the red and you end up with pink; I am happy to say that this is not the case here. The red is exquisitely done.

Sewn Binding

This is one feature that is non-negotiable for me; I live in Arizona and a glued binding would melt if I happened to forget it in my car. A sewn binding guarantees a lifetime of use and also guarantees that it will lay flat anywhere you open the text. The fact that CBP can deliver a sewn binding on every Bible they sell tells me that other publishers have no excuse.

Bonus Feature: Wide Margins

This is not advertised as a wide-margin edition but it has wide margins anyway. Why is this bonus feature important? It is in the margins that your Bible truly becomes yours. All of your study notes, perhaps some prayers and so on; it all goes here and makes your Bible uniquely yours. It is true that there are literally millions of Classic Study Bibles around the world, from all three publishers, but no two are identical and the wide margins guarantee that.

Important Features of the Classic Study Bible

Why do you want a Classic Study Bible? It offers you

  • An unparalleled, subject-based topical chain reference system that will enable you to follow major themes throughout the entirety of Scripture
  • Enlightening introductions, complete outline subheadings and a complete chronology for each book of the Bible
  • Illuminating, same-page explanatory notes
  • Comprehensive indexes to annotations and subject chain references which permit thorough topical study
  • A detailed study Bible concordance with integrated subject index and dictionary of Scripture proper names
  • 12 pages of accurate, full-color Bible maps (with index of places and natural features) that illustrate the biblical world

Final Thoughts

Buy this Bible. Do it today. If you have never seen the inside of a Scofield, you are missing out and that is irrespective of how you view Dispensational Theology. The Classic KJV Study Bible from CBP is the best edition of the Scofield Reference Bible that is available today. To say anything else is gilding the lilly.

 

TBS Reformation Reference Bible Review

TBS Reformation Reference Bible Review

 

My favorite KJV publisher has done it again; The Trinitarian Bible Society has introduced the Compact Westminster Reference Bible, Reformation Commemorative Edition. Since that happens to be a lot of name, I will refer to it, moving forward, as the Reformation Reference Bible.

The Reformation Reference Bible was design by TBS with active missionaries in mind and, in the process, created one of the best compact Bible that you will be able to acquire. It is ideal for the minister on the go, the missionary, or the Christian in need of a portable Bible. Before we go any further, I need to provide a short disclaimer: (The Reformation Reference Bible, in brown meriva calfskin, free of charge by Trinitarian Bible Society {TBS} in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and TBS had no influence over the review process.)

 

Translation Choice

TBS only publishes English Bibles in the King James Version. For some, this is not an appealing choice. In that old Baptist tradition, however, I tend to enjoy it. KJV is universally recognizable and after 400 years it remains one of the most dominant forces in the English speaking world. It is majestic, reverent, timeless; KJV represents the pinnacle of the English language.

 

References

Westminster Reference Bible, both full size and compact, contain over 200,000 references and it is, truly, without rival. Only two Bibles even come close to the Westminster in terms of references, Thompson Chain Reference (100,000 references in 8,000 topical chains) and New American Standard Bible Side Column Reference Bible (95,000 references). TBS takes its references from what can, easily, be called the best reference Bibles ever produced, the Concord Reference Bible from Cambridge and the Self-Interpreting Bible by Rev. John Brown of Haddington. These references make this a pure study Bible; it lives up to the Reformation Principle that Scripture Interprets Scripture. In point of fact, if the Reformation Reference Bible or the full size Westminster Reference Bible was the only Bible that you owned, you would have a life time of self-interpreting helps to carry you through your study/lesson prep.

 

Size

Page Size: 6.5″ x 4.6″

Thickness: 1.2″

Print Size: 7.3 point

 

I have to hand it to TBS here: I normally do not use compact Bibles because of the font size. The Reformation Reference Bible is as close to the perfect compact edition of the Bible that you can get your hands on.

 

As a carry Bible

The Reformation Reference Bible is one of the most portable KJV Bibles that I have ever carried; It is close in size to the other compact from TBS, the Classic Reference Bible. It fits perfectly into a small pocket into my briefcase. As mentioned earlier, it is designed for the minister or missionary who constantly finds himself on the go.

As a teaching/preaching Bible

I do most of my teaching one on one or in fairly small groups and, to my surprise, I found that I had no issues with the font size in the Reformation Reference Bible. I compared the fonts in the Reformation Reference Bible, the Cambridge Cameo Reference, the Cambridge Pitt Minion Reference Bible, an Oxford Brevier Blackface Reference Bible and the TBS Classic Reference Bible and the Reformation Reference Bible was the most readable of the group, especially with the references. I tried using this in multiple light settings and found that it was up to the challenge; even in direct sunlight I had no issues reading the Bible.

Physical Form

True to form, TBS uses an ironed calfskin on this Bible and it is extremely touchable; this type of leather is called Meriva Calfskin and I admit I am not altogether certain what that means. I am not sure, but I think that Reformation Reference uses the same calfskin as its larger sibling. There is a paste down liner; I am not a fan (this is actually my only complaint) but many of my colleagues appreciate a paste down liner. In my case I prefer a leather lined cover, but its not a deal breaker.

The paper is nearly identical to its big sibling so I will repeat what I said previously… 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.

 

Of the Bibles that I compared this too, I find the Compact Westminster to be most comparanle to the Oxford Blackface.

 

Overall Impression/Final Thoughts

The Compact Westminster Reference Bible, Reformation Commemorative edition is, without doubt the best compact KJV Bible available. I heartily recommend purchasing one.