Category: Resources and Reviews

NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

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The Premier Collection from Harper Collins Christian Publishing’s Zondervan and Thomas Nelson brands boast some of the most impressive Bibles you can find at prices near impossible to believe. I have reviewed several  volumes in the Premier Collection and find myself being more and more impressed. This time I am reviewing the Premier Collection’s Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible (Thomas Nelson provided a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review) in black goatskin.

I will just go ahead and spoil the surprise now – The Premier Collection Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible represents the pinnacle of what is available in the New King James Version. It is equal to, if not better than, the NKJV offerings from Cambridge Bibles.

Features include:

  • Complete text of the trusted New King James Version
  • Verse-style Scripture format
  • Premium goatskin leather cover
  • Raised spine hubs
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art gilding on page edges
  • Gilt line stamped and perimeter stitching
  • Exclusive Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print®typeface
  • Three double-faced satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Premium European Bible paper, 36 gsm
  • Line matched text
  • Complete cross-reference system
  • Easy-to-read 10-point print size

 

The Cover and Binding

Of all the editions of the Premier Collection, this has the finest goatskin available. It is, actually, softer than the buttery soft goatskin of the MacArthur Study Bible. It is an ironed goatskin; you can actually see the grain on the skin but it is very soft and smooth to the touch. The lining is edge lined with a leather liner. I would swear it was a calfskin liner but there are a number of ultra-soft leathers which could easily be the material lining the Bible cover.

 

As it should be, the front cover is not profaned by the profanity of any stamping- regal, scholarly, subtle; it is the ideal for the front cover of a premium Bible. 5 raised ribs adorn the muted gold of Holy Bible , New King James Version, and Thomas Nelson on the spine.

 

The sewn binding is over-sewn in Genesis and Revelation. This is done so that the Bible will lay flay anywhere that it is opened. Nonpremium version are not over-sewn and will require a bit of uses to get the text all the way flat.

 

Layout, Font, Paper

Let’s start with the incredible paper. It is 36 GSM European Bible Paper. I was impressed with writing  in this Bible- I tend to be heavy handed which can cause issues of ghosting/see through although it was less of a problem in this Bible. I will make a marking recommendation, though. I would suggest use of colored pencils as they will provide optimal marking without need of worrying about bleeding through the page.

 

This is a red letter edition, a spectacularly well done red letter edition. Many times a red letter edition will fading or pinkish text but there is no such issue here. Even though red letter

editions are not something I am enthusiastic about, Nelson is doing their best to convert me and they are succeeding nicely.

 

The layout is what many  of us “older” Christians are familiar with. It is double column, verse by verse, with center column references. Just like its KJV cousin in the Premier Collection, it eliminates the harsh black lines that separate the reference column. Also like the Premier KJV, the Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible has chapter headings, verse and chapter numbers in a soft red. I find this feature makes it more pleasing to the eye.

 

Helps

References

Thomas Nelson states they have included the complete NKJV Reference System, which would total somewhere between 72,000 and 90,000 references. Both the center column and the footer include translator footnotes and textual variants.

 

Introductions

Each book includes a 1-2 paragraph introduction. Thy are brief introductions on the content and background for the book.

 

NKJV Concordance

Thomas Nelson provides a concise concordance to the NKJV. There is not anything new to say so I will not provide additional comment except to say that I really wish Nelson would add their  excellent Biblical Cyclopedic Index to the Premier Collection.

 

For Carry, Personal Use, and 1-to-1 Ministry

The Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible is very close in size to the NKJV Preaching Bible and it slips into a briefcase nicely. It is very easy on the eyes. It is very easy to have someone look on with you while reading in a personal discipleship setting.

 

During my carry times, I have had this Bible in multiple lighting environments and overall, it has worked out really well, with no issues in any particular lighting.

 

As I have done with other review Bibles, I left it to sit on the desk at my secular job to gauge the reaction of the public to this Bible. A couple clients thought that it was a very premium journal but one client did recognize it as a Bible and it opened a brief discussion. The reactions of my clients were positive, which does not surprise me as this Bible is designed to turn heads. As a pastor, I want my Bible to be the center of attention. At least twice in every sermon, I hold up my Bible for my online audience to see that there really is a Bible in my hands and the Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible is exquisite as the center of attention. It is as much a distinguished gentlemen as it is an attention grabber.

 

Use in the Study

Like me, most pastors are bi-vocational as are most Sunday School Teachers and both groups may find themselves with limited tools and, most likely, only one physical copy of the Bible. Therefore it is needful to mention the utility of the Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible. One of the foundational truths we learned in the Protestant Reformation is that the Scripture interprets the Scripture; the reference system that Nelson has provided do not simply give you a foundation for study and lesson prep but they actually take you to the top of the intermediate level and could even take you into advanced study depending on the tools it is paired with.

 

I have hand written some notes in this Bible and have not experienced any bleed through. I wrote in ball-point pen; for Bible annotations I use and recommend Pilot Company’s Better Retractable brand of ball-point pen. I had suggested, earlier, the use of colored pencils to mark so I would like to suggest two brands. Prang are my preferred as they have a very soft tip and do not tend to tear the pages. I also use Crayola for the deep rich color they provide.

 

As a Preaching Bible

It has no rival. I still had to take my glasses off to read, due to some visual changes, but the text was crisp and clear. The shadowing that I normally see around the letters on the text were nonexistent. I did not notice any glare at all while reading form the text. Often times “Bible paper” is challenging to turn but the pages turned with ease and gave a wonderful sound when turning pages.

 

In many Bibles, finding your verse number can be a challenge, even in verse by verse formats so putting verse numbers in red was absolutely genius. The red is very easy on the eyes and provides an excellent offset to the black for easily finding the verse you are looking for. The three ribbons were helpful in marking our my major texts for the lesson; I really wish there were five ribbons but that is nitpicking and I can have a bookbinder add in two more at a later time.

 

Compared to the NKJV Preaching Bible

The Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible and the NKJV Preaching Bible share similar features but even the similarities are distinctively different enough to make one preferable to the other. While both are double column verse by verse layouts, the Preaching Bible is very similar, in layout, to the ESV Verse by Verse Reference Bible and the Classic Verse by Verse retains more of a traditional format with its center column references. The cover materials, goatskin on the Classic Verse by Verse and calfskin on the Preaching Bible, put both solidly into the Deluxe/Premium Bible Category. Both have excellent, highly opaque paper and the satin ribbons on both are exquisite.

 

I find myself preferring the Premier Collection’s Classic Verse by Verse reference Bible but that is entirely aesthetic as there is no utilitarian difference between the two Bibles.

 

Would I change anything

There are two additions that I would make, if Nelson were to take my counsel. First, I would add wide margins, lined notes pages, or both. Any cost addition would be negligible for adding notes pages and this Bible really needs to have a place for some annotations.

 

I would also add the Biblical Cyclopedic Index that Thomas Nelson uses in the Open Bible. I find it much more useful than a traditional concordance

 

Buying Advice

Pastor Appreciation month having just passed, I would, first, recommend this Bible as a gift for the pastor (Christmas is coming and at some point in the year, he will have a birthday.) I am very passionate, and perhaps a little biased, about a pastor having a Bible that will outlast him. True, there are rebinders, but the pastor really ought to have a high quality Bible that will last him a lifetime. (Lest anyone should ask, I have provided premium Bibles as gifts for the three pastors who have most influenced my ministry and also serve as mentors)

 

I would also recommend this for the seminary student as a graduation gift. It would make an excellent reward for a job well done in learning the craft of sermon preparation.

 

The price point is sufficiently low as to make it accessible to anyone who enjoys the New King James Version.

 

Final Thoughts

In the New King James Version, it would be hard to top this Bible, unless of course they add wide margins to this exact format. I am a bit of a traditionalist so I prefer this format to the NKJV Preaching Bible. Your Bible should be a delight in every way since it is the foundation for your relationship with the Lord and this is most certainly a delight in every conceivable way.

 

 

Oxford NRSV Text Edition

Oxford NRSV Text Edition

Order from Christian Book Distributors 

 

This being the 30th Anniversary of the New Revised Standard Version, it seemed like a good idea to review another one. (This Bible was acquired at my own expense and the review was not solicited by Oxford University Press.)

I am reviewing Oxford’s Standard Text Edition in black genuine leather with two ribbon markers.

Translation

The New Revised Standard Version is one of the two commercially available updates to the Revised Standard Version, the other being the English Standard Version. NRSV is a more ecumenical text offering the Protestant Canon, Protestant Canon with Apocrypha, and the Catholic Canonical Edition. The NRSV Translation Committee boasts members of the Evangelical, Jewish, Mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Communities. Having Jewish Rabbi’s on the Committee, NRSV offers one of the most accurate English Renderings of the Old Testament (In most NRSV this is listed as “The Hebrew Scriptures commonly called the Old Testament). NRSV is the translation that powers the top three Academic/General Reference Bibles: New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Interpreter’s Bible, and the Harper Collins Study Bible and it is the standard English translation at Mainline Protestant Seminaries.

There is some measure of controversy regarding gender language in the NRSV; I do have an opinion on this issue but this is not the forum to discuss that. As a general rule, I find the NRSV to be a good general use translation, it features heavily in my Old Testament Studies. I leave you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusion as to the translation itself, though I assume that if you are reading this, you are amenable enough to the translation to be interested in editions that are available.

General Format

This Bible would fall into the hand-sized category. It measures 8.75 X 6.0 X 1.25 inches. It is a quarter of an inch smaller than the medium or standard size bible (6 x 9 x 1.25). It most certainly fits into to the thin-line category and is very briefcase friendly. By and large, I find this format to be very practical but you do have to be careful of font size as some hand size Bibles can have a font size that is rather small.

Font, Layout, Paper

The font is 8.0 but it is one of the more readable 8-point fonts that are available. This is a black letter text, as most NRSV Bibles are, and the black is a deep rich ebony, which is crisp and uniform throughout. Translation notes are also in black, and they are plentiful. They are in a 6-point font.

The Scripture is laid out in a double column paragraph format. I do prefer a verse-by-verse format but Oxford executes the Biblical layout very well. Verse numbers are a little smallish but this Bible does something interesting with subject headings; they are actually in the footer.

The paper is not listed as India Paper, but it feels very similar to the India Paper that Cambridge uses and it is not entirely illogical to think that this is India Paper. It is very soft, thin but not annoyingly so, and a fairly crisp white gold gilding on the edges. There are tiny instances of show through, especially in the poetry books, but it is very minimal.

Cover, Binding, Ribbons

The cover is black pigskin (Standard as genuine leather). The cover is full grain and very pleasing to the touch, The liner is paste down, which annoys me; I think only bonded leather should include a paste down liner. Genuine leather is the baseline for deluxe/premium Bibles and really ought to include an edge-to-edge leather liner.

Naturally, Oxford has sewn the binding. This Bible is very clearly intended as a daily use Bible and the sewn binding ensures that it will last a lifetime. As it happens, the cover will need to be replaced long before the binding gives out. The binding is sewn very tightly and will require a couple of weeks of use before it will lay flat in Genesis or Revelation, but after a couple weeks of continuous use, it will lay flat in any scripture portion.

There are two yellow silk ribbons provided.  One will mark your Old Testament readings and your New Testament Readings. Clearly it will not be enough if you use this Bible for preaching or teaching, but you can have additional ribbons added by a competent re-binder.

Helps

There are not very many helps; I do not really find that to be a problem. Oxford provides what they refer to as a Select Concordance; it is abbreviated but not inadequate. You will find more than enough subjects for lesson prep.

There are also a few thousand translator’s footnotes. These include textual variants and alternate English readings. I really enjoy translator’s footnotes as they tend to give you an insight into the minds of the committee members.

For Preaching and Carry

The compact size of this Bible makes it ideal for every day carry. It is certainly light enough to prevent you from getting tired arms if using in for one handed carry.

As a preaching Bible, your results will vary. For me, I cannot leave it rest on the pulpit while I preach, I have to hold it. I have a tendency to be peripatetic while I am teaching and the size definitely lends itself to walking and talking. The layout is very well suited to preaching and teaching. I wish the margins were large enough to make some annotations but I won’t quibble over petty details.

Who Should Buy

The NRSV is best suited to those in seminary or to those in mainline protestant denominations (I frequently find NRSV in United Methodist Churches and Lutheran Churches.) This particular edition of the NRSV is very well suited to the teacher on the go.

 

 

 

 

MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition, Premier Collection

MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition, Premier Collection

 

The premier study bible has been updated after 20 years and two million copies sold and, to celebrate, Thomas Nelson has added it to the Premier Collection. (Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review only an honest one and my opinions are my own.)

Translation Choice

The 1st Edition, the 20th Anniversary Special Edition, and now the 2nd Edition all come in the New King James version. The Late R.C. Sproul, David Jeremiah, and Dr. Gary Coombs (president of Southern California Seminary) all love and prefer the NKJV, as do I. It is one of my two most heavily used translations (more than 1200 lessons in 23 years). It is fastidiously literal with the New Testament based on the venerable Textus Receptus, and the Old Testament drawing from the Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica. NKJV is heavily footnoted with references to textual variants as well as alternate translations being offered.

In terms of choice for study, the NKJV has only one true rival, the New American Standard Bible and, happily, the MacArthur Study Bible will soon enough be released in the NASB.

Cover and Binding

This Bible has a milk chocolate colored cover in the same exquisite goatskin as the remainder of the Premier Collection. It is as silky, smooth, and soft as Ghirardelli Chocolate (my favorite) and, perhaps even more touchable than any other goatskin Bible that I own. The goatskin easily rivals Cambridge Bibles  and sits on a level nearly equal to the famed goatskin covers of RL Allan and Sons. To say that this cover drips quality is a perfect exercise in the art of understatement; it is a masterpiece, a work of art worthy of the ultimate book man can get his hands on-flawless goatskin aged to perfection and surrounding the holy words of Scripture.

A leather liner ensures the flexibility of the cover. There is a gold gilt line encasing the perimeter of the Bible and, in tiny, gold all caps, at the bottom of the page, we find the words “goatskin leather cover.”

The front of the Bible is totally blank and the spine has MacArthur Study Bible, New King James Version, and Thomas Nelson stamped in soft gold lettering.

As with the rest of the Premier Collection, the binding is sewn allowing the Bible to lie flat irrespective of where the text is opened. Both the front and rear of the Bible contain overcast stitching to reinforce the sturdiness of the text Block.

Paper, Typography, Ribbons

There are 3 satin ribbons, 3/8” wide and they are offered in red, baby blue and mahogany. For some, three is the ideal number, but is the minimum that I find acceptable. The general idea behind the three ribbons is that you will have one to mark your OT readings, one for NT, and the last one for Psalms and Proverbs. If this were a preaching Bible, I would insist on two more ribbons. However, what we are offered, here, is quite adequate to the task at hand.

The paper is a 39 gsms European Bible Paper. This Bible actually has thicker paper than its siblings in the Premier Collection and it feels very similar to the paper used in the Cambridge Concord Reference Bible. The edges of the paper have red under gold art gilding. The paper is quite opaque allowing almost no show through.

2k/Denmark has designed all of the fonts in the Comfort Print Family and they ply their trade impeccably in this Bible. The text of Scripture is 9-point and the notes are 8-point. I have to say that this is the easiest 9-point that I have ever tried to read.

Layout

The Scripture text is laid out in double column paragraph format. The notes, which are also in paragraph format, are laid out in a triple column format (extremely helpful given the addition of 5000 more expository notes). In between the text of Scripture and the Notes Section you will find the Thomas Nelson Complete Reference System, comprised of 72,000 cross references and translator’s notes.

Helps

The shining stars of the MacArthur Study Bible are the helps provided. For 50 years, Dr. MacArthur has made it his mission to “unleash God’s truth, one verse at a time” and in the MacArthur Study Bible every tool a person could need to comprehend God’s Holy Truths is made available to the reader. Let us look at the helps provided…

25,000 Exegetical and Expository Notes on Scripture

While many study Bibles offer commentary on Scripture, the MacArthur Study Bible goes further. By adding 5,000 notes to the previous 20,000, the MacArthur Study Bible now rivals the ESV Study Bible as the most heavily annotated Bible available.

The notes that are provided draw out the meaning of Scripture (exegete) and explain said meaning (exposition). However, they do not stop there; these notes whet the appetite and draw the reader further into the Scripture. Several pastors both well-known (Steve Lawson) and not well known (me) consult the MacArthur Study Bible on a regular basis. I would go so far as to say that if a person desired to understand and teach the Bible to others, the MacArthur Study Bible would sufficiently stand on its own and need no other tools

Book Introductions

The MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions provide a wealth of information for the student. We are treated to the usual information such as author, circumstance of writing, audience, etc. The difference in the MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions is the Interpretive Challenges Section. Several books of the Bible are difficult to interpret (think Revelation if you don’t believe me) and the MacArthur Study Bible deals with those challenges head on by identifying the challenges and then addressing them in John MacArthur’s signature direct approach.

Overview of Theology

This section does not appear in any other Study Bible, including Crossway’s excellent Systematic Theology Study Bible or Ligonier’s Reformation Study Bible. I absolutely love this feature. It is a very succinct Systematic Theology, ideal to educate the new disciple or for a seasoned pastor to teach through. The closest comparison is found in the Ryrie Study Bible’s Survey of Christian Doctrine.

I would advise that any study in the MacArthur Study Bible should begin here. Each subsection is well sourced with Scripture, succinct and logical. I can think of no better foundation for a new disciple than this Overview of Theology.

Maps and Charts

The maps and charts provided give contextual insight into the Scripture and provide aids for those who are visual learners. (It is always hard to comment on maps and charts because they are very plain and straightforward.)

Thomas Nelson’s Concordance of the New King James Version

As I said above, the NKJV is one of the two most fastidiously literal English translations available and is very well suited to study. To that end, Thomas Nelson provides one of the most detailed concordances that is available in a Study Bible. I would love to see Nelson import their Biblical Cyclopedic Index into the MacArthur Study Bible, but in doing so they would obliterate any need for any of their other excellent resources. I digress…

The Concordance provides breadth and depth to each word or topic being studied. A person could, literally, spend their entire life studying the words and topics in the concordance and only barely scratch the surface of the Bible’s truth.

Final Thoughts

If you had not guessed by now, I love the MacArthur Study Bible. I have multiple Editions: the NASB, NIV, ESV, 1st and 20th Anniversary Limited editions in NKJV, and digital copies on two different software platforms. By any stretch, the MacArthur Study Bible is my most oft reached for tool and it should be yours as well. If I were to find any negative in the MacArthur Study Bible, it would simply be nitpicking. As I have said, it is the Premier Study Bible and now in the Premier Collection it comes in a format worthy of the ultimate study Bible.

 

 

NKJV Care and Counsel Bible

NKJV Care and Counsel Bible

This is the third article related to Bibles offering counseling resources. Thus far, I have reviewed the NLT Life Recovery Bible and the CSB Restoration Bible and now I am reviewing the Bible offering the most comprehensive set of helps for biblical counseling, the Care and Counsel Bible from the American Association of Christian Counselors and Thomas Nelson Publishers. Unlike most of my reviews, this Bible was not provided by either the AACC or Thomas Nelson nor has this review been solicited. It is my own initiative and my opinions are my own.

Note: The Care and Counsel Bible updates the Bible for Hope which had previously updated the Soul Care Bible (I do possess a copy of the Soul Care Bible)

We will spend most of the review treating the counseling helps, though we will cover the usual review topics as well. Let’s dive right in…

 

Translation choice

When considering a Bible to deploy in your ministry, the most obvious consideration is the translation choice and the AACC has done well by choosing to retain the New King James Version. The NKJV is fastidiously literal but accurate and easy to read and understand. It is the mainstay translation of the late Dr, R.C. Sproul and many other well-known Bible teachers.

 

The Physical Book

The Care and Counsel Bible is what I consider to be a normal size Bible at 6”x 9.” The cover is imitation leather with a sewn binding so that it will hold up to the punishment that a faithful counselor will put to it. A rebind may be indicated depending upon how much use one gives and I foresee that, at some point in the future, I will end up rebinding my copy. The paper is relatively thin and there is mild see through; whether or not the see through will be irritating, I cannot say. It is not enough to bother me. This is a black letter edition which is, of course, preferred if one likes to underline, highlight, etc. We have a 9-point font for the text block.

The Topical Index

Perhaps the shining feature of the Care and Counsel Bible is the Topical Index. Over 100 topics are broken down with the appropriate Scriptures Each topic includes: a theme article,  key passage, personality profile. Soul Care Notes, and additional Scriptures related to the topic.

This Topical Index will not only benefit a counselor, it will also benefit Pastors and Teachers who will use it to teach through common issues that many Christians struggle with but are not always willing to discuss.

Theme Article

The Theme Article is our starting point for addressing a particular topic with a counselee. It is a two page article introducing the topic and providing the baseline teaching of the Bible regarding the topic.

Key Passage and Soul Notes

The Key Passage focuses on the central idea of the lesson on a counseling topic. It is around a paragraph long, provides additional scripture references and then points you to the next soul note related to the topic. Soul notes are each a paragraph long and continue to expand upon what the Bible says about a particular issue.

Personality Profile

Each personality profile highlights a person from the Bible who dealt with the issue being studied. Two to three paragraphs are provided explaining how the character dealt with the issue. There are also key lessons from that person’s life provided .

Additional Scriptures

Lastly, the additional scriptures section provides the remaining scriptures on the topic for reference in additional counseling sessions.

What’s Missing

There is nothing missing that would detract from the usefulness of this resource but I would like to see wide margins and note pages, especially notes pages. Frequently, when spending time in the Scriptures, we will find a fresh insight which could benefit a counselee and it would be good to have space to journal those thoughts.

Overall Thoughts and Use Cas

I have a sermon scheduled for 10/20 on the Bible and depression. My current lesson prep is. Actually, following the flow laid out in the care and counsel Bible. Naturally, I will not be able to cover everything in a single sermon but this will be most helpful.

I really wish that the Care and Counsel Bible had mass market availability from Thomas Nelson as opposed to only being available to AACC members. The Care and Counsel Bible, more than any other “study” Bible needs to be in the hands of any pastor who finds himself concerned with the spiritual welfare of the members of his congregation. It is, of course, basic enough to help a new pastor who has not engaged in Biblical Counseling/Pastoral Care before and in-depth enough to provide a solid refresher for the seasoned counselor.

I am beyond pleased with the Care and Counsel Bible. In the week that I have had it, the Bible has already seen enough use to let me know that it will most definitely be getting the re-bind treatment in the next few months. When I send it in, I will have some note pages added and a couple extra ribbons.

 

CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

 

CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible

 

It is a joy to be able to bring you reviews of various Bibles and in this review, I am looking at the CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible, the Bible that lets you learn alongside the Church Fathers. (Holman Bible Publishers sent me a crimson leather over board {hardcover edition} in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.

 

Features/About the Book from Holman

Publisher’s Description (condensed)

This CSB Study Bible for men and women features study notes and commentary from the writings of the church fathers of the second through fifth centuries to help you understand and apply their rich, biblical insights to your life, for preparation to teach or for Bible studies. Also included in the CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible are “Twisted Truth” call-outs describing where some ancient thinkers drifted from orthodoxy, over 25 feature articles highlighting a key selection from one of the early church fathers on an essential Christian truth, and biographies of 25 of the most influential patristic church fathers.

The study Bible’s commentary and writings are from: Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Jerome, the Cappadocian Fathers, and more. Features of this CSB Bible include: Study notes from the early church, exclusive feature articles, profiles of patristic fathers, “Twisted Truth” call-outs, author index to easily find commentary from individual church fathers, presentation page, book introductions, two-column text, 10.25-point type size, 8-point study notes, black-letter text, smyth-sewn binding, Bible ribbon markers, full-color maps, and more.

Product Information

Title: CSB Ancient Faith Study Bible–soft leather-look, crimson
Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 2000
Vendor: Holman Bible Publishers
Publication Date: 2019
Dimensions: 9.75 X 7.00 X 2.00 (inches)
Weight: 3 pounds 6 ounces
ISBN: 1535940484
ISBN-13: 9781535940481
Text Color: Black Letter
Text Size: 10 Point
Note Size: 8 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn
Page Gilding: Gold
Stock No: WW940481

 

As you can see, Holman and the Christian Standard Bible teams have put a great deal of thought and effort into this study Bible and it should bring a wealth of insight to the serious student of the Bible.

 

Initial Thoughts

I am really impressed with the concept as I have often wondered what it would have been like to be taught by the Patristic Fathers, especially Irenaeus and Polycarp though I must confess that I find Origen’s anti-Jewish tendencies bothersome (thankfully those tendencies do not shine through in the study notes). I want to address my only real complaint, here, so that we can get the “negative” out of the way up front. The notes on Revelation tend to have a bent toward Amillennialism. The problem being, that a host of the Church Fathers, Ephraim the Syrian as an example, were chiliasts and held to a literal millennial kingdom and thus a literal reign of Christ on earth. The Chiliastic Fathers would be the ancient forerunners of what we know today as Historical Premillennialists, cousins of sorts with Dispensationalists. Even the great preacher, Spurgeon, was a chiliast and so I am saddened to see the Chiliastic Fathers all but excluded from the notes. That being said, my eschatological disagreement with Holman Bible Publishers is not enough for me to disqualify this Bible from use.

 

Translation

I confess that I have an on again-off again relationship with the Christian Standard Bible but that is a question of habit rather than any problems with the translation, I have taught NKJV and NASB more; the CSB is growing on me. For my anniversary, I was gifted a CSB Pulpit Bible and decided to make a concerted effort to teach from the CSB more often.

 

What I enjoy about the CSB

The CSB is a mediating or optimal equivalence translation and I have to say that this is the biggest attractor for me. I love the fact that I can use this translation and have successful conversations with both new disciples and seasoned believers. It is as literal as possible but without sacrificing the thought. As I recently explained to my wife, I love the CSB because it sounds like a normal modern day person telling a story the way a normal person would talk. It’s familiar without being common and reverent without being stodgy.

 

The Physical Book

I haven’t the faintest idea how, but Holman managed to make it look like an old book. The shading on the cover has a look as though it has been on the shelf of a revered theologian for decades. The paper, though, really knocked me for a loop. It is a beautiful manila/cream color and looks mildly sun faded. I do not know if is psychosomatic or not but the paper even smells like an old book.

 

The Content

The notes are quite interesting. I was impressed with being able to see how the Patristic Fathers interacted with the Old Testament. It is also quite helpful to see some of the differing interpretationns of the Scripture as the Fathers developed orthodoxy.

 

Each book’s introduction includes the usual information on author and circumstance of writing. They also include a paragraph on the book’s contribution to the Bible and a paragraph or two from one of the Fathers about the book. By way of example, the Book of Mark’s Introduction includes comments by Eusebius on the book of mark.

 

There is no outline provided, which makes perfect sense as there were no chapters and verses in the days of the Church Fathers. In all honesty, I am surprised that Holman included chapters and verses in the text block given than it is meant to look ancient. Subject headings are provided and I find their familiarity comforting. The Commentary Notes are in three columns and specify each Father who is commenting on the Scripture.

 

Twisted Truth call-outs are set apart in a solid border and cover deviations from orthodoxy that the Church Fathers dealt with including, as an example, Modalism which was advocated by Sabellius and is a deviation from the Doctrine of the Trinity.

 

The Front Matter includes 3 articles which are best read before starting into the Scripture. They are Reading the Bible with the Church Fathers, Christology of the Ecumenical Councils, and the Participation of the Trinity. The Back Matter provides both the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.

 

There are approximately 25-30 full page articles contributed by the Church Fathers on essential issues of the Christian Faith. Also, there are biographical sketches on the the Church Fathers who are quoted in the notes. These are quite helpful for realting to men long ago given to the ages.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am rather impressed. IVP makes a commentary set, which these notes are drawn from and whose cost, around $1500, is out of reach of most Christians. It is, then, wonderful to see these notes available to the average Christian. I do think that every pastor should own a copy, at the very least; it will make sermon prep all the more effective as we encourage our congregations to stand on the historic faith.

 

CSB Restoration Bible

CSB Restoration Bible

 

This review is going to be a little different from my other reviews. Instead of simply commenting on the book and its features, which I will do, I am also going to suggest some real life uses for the book, the CSB Restoration Study Bible. (Note: Holman Bible Publishers provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.) It is available in paperback, brown leathersoft (I am reviewing this edition) and an e-book.

As is our habit, let us begin with some features from the publisher:

Features Include:

  • Over 450 guided, devotional-style notes with Restoration-centered themes
  • Seven Life Restoration Principles
  • A “First 30-days” Restoration devotional
  • Book introductions highlighting “Restoration Themes” in each book
  • 66 restoration profiles of biblical characters
  • 10 full page features filled with scriptures highlighting biblical themes related to restoration
  • Index of all features for quick and easy reference
  • One and three year Bible reading plans
  • 52-week Scripture memory plan
  • Topical concordance
  • Two-column text
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Presentation page
  • Full-color maps

Translation:

The Restoration Bible is offered in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation. CSB is what is called a mediating or optimal equivalence translation meaning it endeavors to be as literal as possible while still capturing the original meaning as would be understood by the original reader. I have remarked before that if you could merge the New American Standard Bible and the New International Version into a single volume, this is what you would get.

CSB offers a host of translator’s footnotes; it continues the tradition of its predecessor, HCSB, of being one of the most well annotated versions of the Bible available. Because of this, CSB works very well for lesson preparation whether that is the Sunday Sermon, a small group study, or one on one discipleship. The CSB is very trustworthy and it is a translation which I reference weekly in my lesson prep.

Cover and Binding

This is brown leathersoft, an imitation leather, and I have to tell you, if the box did not tell me that it was imitation, I would swear this were a calfskin Bible; the imitation is that convincing. It includes a sewn binding for lifelong usage. Holman categorizes this as a deluxe Bible, meaning it has more premium materials than a hardcover or paperback Bible but it does not rise to the level of a premium (genuine leather, calfskin, or goatskin). The binding is quite satisfactory. I have tossed it into my back a few times with no issue. It will easily last for your entire ministry career.

Paper, Font, and Layout:

The paper is soft white, a little thin but still sufficiently opaque, and very soft and smooth to the touch. It feels a little like cotton but is very clearly still Bible paper. You should be able to mark in the text with a ball-point pen or a colored pencil. As a general rule, I do not recommend a liquid highlighter in a Bible as the paper is sufficiently thin to allow the liquid to bleed.

The font is a crisp black and I would estimate at approximately 9-point font. I actually find this text block to be easier to read than the large print ultrathin reference Bible which has a very similar font. The Restoration Bible is a black letter edition, meaning that they do not place the words of Christ in red. Red letter editions a just fine to use but since I always write my notes in red pen, they can be challenging so black letter is a better choice for studying and preaching.

Speaking of study and preaching, the text is laid out in a double column paragraphed format as opposed to a verse by verse format; each paragraph starts on a new line. Verse by verse is my preference but there are practical issues which frequently pose challenges.

Lastly, there is are two ribbon markers to help you remember your place, one for the Old Testament and one for the New.

For the remainder of this review, I will be commenting on the content and ways to use it.

 The Restoration Bible is clearly designed to be used with others, especially in Biblical Counseling, and I recommend that both the counselor and counselee have their own copy of this Restoration Bible for use together.

The Restoration Principles

In the front materials (what precedes the Biblical text), we find an article outlining the Restoration Principles. It is a 2-page article listing each principle, using the acronym R.E.S.T.O.R.E., offering a brief explanation, and then the primary Scripture from which the principle is drawn.

Restoration Devotional

A 30-day devotional is offered to give us an overview of the Restoration Principles and to show us how they are drawn from the Scripture to develop a Christlike mindset. There are several ways this could be used and I will suggest two: 1st the devotional can be used consecutively and, in a counseling/discipleship session, 7 days could be treated. As an alternate, this could be used as a 30 week overview so that the disciple and mentor can cover each devotion in one week. In either case, the Restoration Devotional offers a very solid foundation to develop Christ exalting thoughts and habits

In-text articles

Every book of the Bible contains in-text articles, in a green box, treating various restoration principles found in the text. In studying a particular book, systematically, you could deal with each article as they come up. Alternately, you have the option to study directly through each restoration principle.

Book Introductions

Each book of the Bible includes a 3-page introduction. Page one provides an overview of Spiritual Reformation in that particular book. Page two offers the usual information on author, setting, intended audience , outline, etc. Page three is really unique- it is a RESTORE Chart listing each principle and the appropriate passages from the book to guide you in your study of the Restoration Principles.

Topical Index

Instead of a Concordance, we are given a Topical Index. A Topical Index is more appropriate for this Bible as it specifically treats subjects (i.e. addictions, sins, spiritual wounds) and guides through the specific Scriptures related to that subject. While I recommend book by book teaching, this Bible is geared toward discipleship and counseling and as such, a topical study will probably be more practical as it enables teaching to be tailored  to the needs of each disciple.

The Reading Plans

There are 3 plans: a three year plan for more in-depth reading, a one year plan to get every word of the Bible in a “normal” reading plan, and thirdly, a 52 week reading plan geared toward committing Scripture to memory. The last plan is, to me, the most important; the only way to experience true restoration from sin is to overcome it with the Scripture which we have committed to memory.

Final Thoughts

The existence of the Restoration Bible is a great comfort to me. As a pastor, I encounter the hurting on a daily basis and this is one of a select few tools which I turn to every time I minister. Again, I recommend that both teacher and disciple have a copy, together, so that they can follow the Scripture simultaneously.

I am grateful to New Life, who designed this Bible, and to Holman, who published it. The only true pathway to healing, hope, and joy in Christ is through the means He offered to us, the Bible, and this Bible, especially, focuses on caring for Christ’s wounded lambs and restoring them to relationship with the Loving Shepherd.

 

To my pastoral brethren, I am going to go a step further than a simple recommendation and say that you NEED the Restoration Bible. The demands on our time are many and intense and we can turn to this tool to refresh ourselves and to help those entrusted to our care be restored to fellowship with our glorious Lord. Please, find yourself a copy and use it regularly.

 

ESV Story of Redemtion Bible

ESV Story of Redemtion Bible

 

Redemption…It’s the greatest story in history, the centerpiece of the entire Bible, and this time, it is beautifully displayed in the ESV Story of Redemption Bible. (Note: This Bible was given as a gift. Crossway has not asked for this review and my opinions are my own.) In this review, we are looking at the jacketed hardcover edition.

Features

  1. 25-point Milo type (Bible text); 8.5-point Milo type (notes)
  2. Single-column, paragraph format
  3. 897 notes written by pastor Greg Gilbert interspersed throughout the full ESV text 
  4. All-new introductions to each book of the Bible
  5. 80+ maps, illustrations, and timelines
  6. Generous 1.25 inch margin space
  7. Premium cream-colored paper
  8. Smyth-sewn binding

 

Cover and Binding

A jacketed hardcover is the perfect choice for the student of Scripture who finds himself on the go frequently. It will hold up really well going into and out of a backpack or laptop bag. It works very well in the classroom and even in the sanctuary  on the pulpit. Ordinarily, a hardcover does not excite me and yet Crossway makes their hardcovers special. A Crossway hardcover almost always feels more durable than competing products, most probably because Crossway sews the text block in almost every Bible they produce.

 

Speaking of sewn bindings…A sewn binding from Crossway is a very special sewn binding-they are generally sewn tighter than other publishers products and, the biggest advantage is the lack of a cockling sound. Sewn bindings last almost forever and this hardcover is no exception.

 

Margins, Paper, Layout, and Font

I am happy to see that Crossway has finally made one of my wishes come true, wide margins in a study Bible and not just wide margins but very generous ones at that. A wide margin is where the amazing happens in a Bible because it is where  you notate your experience with the Bible and the illuminations which the Holy Spirit brings to your mind.

 

The combination of the paper and font is amazing. The Milo font family tends to be one of the most reader friendly fonts that I have encountered in any book; it is accentuated by being on a lightly cream colored paper.

 

The single column paragraph format, presented here, has become a Crossway signature. The layout is more akin to a traditional book so that a reader will spend more time with the Bible.

 

Story of Redemption Notes & Helps

The Notes and Helps begin with Book introductions, each of which shows the main events of Redemptive History which are recorded in the book. This, naturally, gives the reader a better idea of how each book in the Bible comes together in the unified Story of Redemption.

 

There are approximately 900 notes interspersed throughout the text. Each of these notes shines a light on redemption as the overarching theme of the Bible.

 

At the end of the text, you will find a fold out timeline/overview of the Story of Redemption. This timeline is quite beautiful and provides a stunning glimpse at how God has worked through the ages to bring about His plan to redeem us unto Himself.

 

Could you preach from the Story of Redemption Bible?

Yes. I might add that the Story of Redemption Bible has a virtually identical layout to the ESV Preaching Bible, the differences being a slightly larger font and no notes in the Preaching Bible. Both have exquisite 1.25 inch margins for your own personal annotations, cross references, diagrams, etc. Because I am not used to using a single column paragraph format in the pulpit, it did pose some functional challenges for me. However I am confident that it will not be an issue for most people/

 

Who should buy the Story of Redemption Bible?

I would recommend this Bible for parishioners (people in the pew) than for pastors. As pastors, we should be intimately familiar with the overarching Story of Redemption that is in the Bible and be able to communicate it effectively. Many Christians may be coming from a background that does not effectively communicate the overall story of the Bible and this edition is ideally suited to help them to learn the unified theme of the Scriptures, the Story of Redemption.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, this has been a highly enjoyable study Bible and I think that any disciple will be blessed by it. I hope that you will find it in your library and reference it regularly; maybe you will even call this edition your main Bible.

 

NASB Giant Print Reference Bible Review

NASB Giant Print Reference Bible Review

 

 

This review features a Bible that has been on the market for a while but is still a great seller and worth a review, the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible. (Note: This Bible was a gift during Christmas 2018. The Lockman Foundation was not involved in this review choice. The opinions offered here are my own.) I am reviewing the black imitation leather thumb indexed edition. It is also available in hardcover, burgundy genuine leather and black genuine leather.

Features

  • NASB 1995 Updated Text
  • 14-point font size
  • Double Column-Verse by Verse layout
  • 13,000 End of Verse/End of paragraph cross-references
  • Thumb indexing
  • Bible book introductions (located after Biblical Text)
  • Full NASB Dictionary-Concordance-Thesaurus
  • Translator’s Footnotes with translation variants
  • Sewn binding

Cover and Binding

The edition I am reviewing is the Black Imitation Leather. Lockman calls this Leatherflex; much like the TruTone from Crossway, it is a polymer based imitation leather designed to give you durability without the added cost. This particular Bible is soft and smooth but the imitation on the leather is not as convincing as on other Bibles. There is a paste down liner to provide a little extra stiffness in your hand to ensure that it remains steady during one handed use.

Lockman provides a sewn Binding for this edition making it clear that even in the budget model, they intend for you to have a lifetime of use. (A sewn Binding can easily last 100 years or more where a glued binding will maybe last 25 years and that’s with a very premium adhesive.)

Overall, I am satisfied with the imitation leather. I have been using it more than anticipated and will eventually have it rebound in a more premium cover.

NASB 1995 Updated Text

Long considered the most literal translation available, NASB95 follows in the footsteps of its predecessors the ASV and the 1977 NASB and gives us a fastidiously literal translation.

The NAS95 text is considered to be more readable than the 1977 edition but I must confess that I prefer the way the 1977 edition handles the 2nd person in English. I have had a seminary professor, with 50 years of teaching Greek tell me that the NASB is so literal in translating the Nestle-Aland Greek Text that one could probably use the NAS to cheat in Greek Class (not recommended). All in all, when you choose to study in NASB, you are getting one of the two most reliable and fastidiously literal translations on the market, the other being NKJV). While I use many translations for many reasons, NASB has for the last 22 years, been one of my top two choices. I cannot say enough good things about how the NAS handles the text. If there were one drawback, it would be that the text feels very academic as opposed to feeling liturgical like the ESV. That being said, for the serious expositor, NASB must be on your shelf.

Paper and  Font

The paper was a surprise and a very pleasant one at that. There is almost no see through, also called ghosting. It is a crisp white, generously opaque but not overly thick. Pages turn easily and give you that beautiful sound that I love to hear when standing in the pulpit and inviting the congregation to “turn with us” to the text for the week,

At 14-point, the text block is the easiest that I have ever preached. You can easily lay it on a standard height pulpit and have no issues reading the text. I happen to walk a bit while preaching and this particular font works really well for someone who likes to walk and teach.

This is a red letter edition which is really done quite well. Several publishers have issues with their red fonts where the font fades, turns pink, etc. Lockman did this red letter edition incredibly well. It is a deep rich cranberry color and there are absolutely zero issues with the red ink in the pulpit. Even in the unforgiving Arizona sun, I had no issues reading this text in the outdoors.

As a Preaching Bible

I still have other features to comment on, but I felt this would be the best place to address this. The NASB is available in the monstrous NASB Preacher’s Bible from Steadfast Bibles and it is great for preaching but lacks the utility and portability that the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible offers. The Giant Print Reference Bible is large enough to use in virtually any teaching environment but at 1/3 of the weight of its juggernaut cousin, the Giant Print Reference Bible is, in my opinion, the ideal NASB Preaching Bible.

Text Layout and Helps

I realize that there are many who disagree with me, but I have found that a verse by verse format is the best for preaching. In the Giant Print Reference Bible, we are presented a two-column layout in verse by verse format, each verse beginning on a new line.

In total, the NAS Family offers 95,000 cross references. In this Bible, however, only the most commonly used references are provided, bringing our total down to 13,000 references. The references are placed at the end of the verse or end of the paragraph so as not to disrupt the flow of the text

The dictionary-concordance-thesaurus is a brilliant combination of 3 tools. Each word is defined, referenced in the Bible text and alternate translations are offered.

The thumb-indexing is really done quite well. Even though I have long had the 66 books and their order memorized, I sometimes want rapid access to the particular book that I need and not having to page through the Bible is very useful.

The book introductions are 1-2 paragraphs for each book providing a solid overview of the book.

Final Thoughts and Should You Buy It

Overall, I am very pleased with this text edition. It is very well put together and, clearly, has in mind a reader who does not want a lot of distractions in the Bible they are using.

Lockman makes Bibles so well that it is hard for me to imagine a scenario where I would not recommend their Bibles and this is no exception. This Bible is well suited to anyone who uses it, but especially to those who teach. Should you buy it? Yes, and most especially if you teach the Bible with any regularity.

 

Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review

Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review

The Life Application Study Bible (LASB)…year after year it remains one of the best-selling in the Study Bible Category and, in fact, it is Tyndale’s best seller. It’s volume is only matched by the ESV Study Bible. They are numbers 1 &2. Now, in 2019 Tyndale has updated the LASB in the world’s two best selling English Translations, NLT and NIV.

Disclaimer: Tyndale sent copies of each edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.

Features Include:

  • Enhanced, updated, and with new content added throughout
  • Now more than 10,000 Life Application® notes and features
  • Over 100 Life Application® Bible character profiles
  • Introductions and overviews for each book of the Bible
  • More than 500 maps & charts
  • Dictionary/concordance
  • Side-column cross-references
  • Index to notes, charts, maps, and profiles
  • Refreshed design with a second color for visual clarity
  • 16 pages of full-color maps
  • Durable Smyth-sewn binding, lays flat when open
  • Presentation page
  • Single-column format
  • Christian Worker’s Resource- a special supplement to enhance the reader’s ministry effectiveness
  • Full text of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT) or New International Version (NIV)
  • Single Column text for Scripture, Double Column for Notes and Side Column References
  • Black Letter
  • Text Size: 8.5 Point and Note Size: 7 Point

 

Translation Choices

Currently the 3rdEdition LASB is available in the New Living Translation and the New International Version. While not confirmed by Tyndale, I have to imagine that this is because these are the dominant two English Translations of the Bible in the English Speaking World. In my case, it is an embarrassment of riches because I love both translations and use both, NLT in the church service and NIV at home for personal devotions. In either case, you get the same great study content. Since some will ask, the NLT will get the most use in my situation as a huge percentage of my audience uses NLT as their main Bible. 

Cover and Binding

Both of my review copies are Leather-touch a.k.a imitation leather. The NLT is teal with silver foil stamping and the NIV is brown and tan with gold foil stamping. Insofar as I can tell, the binding is glued so do be mindful of the heat. With proper care, it should last several years but if you are concerned about the binding it can be sewn by a professional re-binder.

Font, Layout, and Text Coloration

The text is a little small for my taste, but that has more to do with me approaching 40 and having eyesight issues than anything else. The Scripture portion is 8.5-point font size, similar to the Wayfinding Bible and the current edition of the NLT Study Bible. We have the notes and cross-references at 7.5. Again, a little small for my taste but still manageable. LASB has matured and, now, is nearly the same size as the NLT Study Bible and so the font needs to be a little smaller to keep the size of the book manageable.

 

Before I discuss the features, I want to deal with an important question: Would I, a pastor, buy and actually use the LASB?

 

This will actually bring my LASBs current; I have all 3 physical editions plus the iPhone app: The 1stEdition in Burgundy Genuine Leather with the NLT, the 2ndEdition in Hardcover with the Holman Christian Standard Bible, both of which I actually purchased and now I add the 3rdEdition as a review copy. I, regularly, use the LASB in my sermon preparation. There are 3 questions that I answer in every sermon: What does it say? What does it mean? What do I do about it? The LASB is quite helpful for the 3rdquestion as it is the application question.

 

Features

THE TEXT

In offering meaning based translations of the Bible, the LASB makes the Scripture more accessible to the average reader.

 

FOOTNOTES

Tyndale provides two types of annotations and both are equally important in a Study Bible.

 

Translators’ Footnotes

For both the NLT and NIV, the translator’s footnotes include alternate readings, manuscript variants and so forth.

 

Study Notes

There are 10,000 annotations provided, in a double column format below the text. These notes do not simply explain the text, they help with application of the Scripture to your daily life. Of the three questions that we endeavor to answer with the Scripture, these annotations answer the most important question, What do I do about the text/How does it apply to my life?

 

BOOK INTRODUCTIONS

Each introduction contains several sections designed to help open the Scriptures for you.

 

Mega-themes

Mega-themes showcase the most important ideas of each book of the Bible. These ideas are the essential concepts for understanding the various books of the Bible.

 

Overview

The overview section provides a summary of the book. It also provides general application lessons for the Scripture.

 

Blueprint

The Blueprint section of the introduction is fairly straightforward; they are outlines of each book of the Bible. For the Bible teacher, this outline provides a solid teaching structure while the student receives an excellent starting point to break the book into manageable pieces for study.

 

Vital Statistics

Vital Statistics are straight facts about the book: author, date, place of writing etc. These are basic background to the book and are primarily intended as a starting point for further study of the Scripture.

 

General Thoughts:

There are two roadblocks that I have found people to run into more than any other: “I don’t understand the Bible” and “the Bible is not really relevant to today.” Both are based on the faulty assumption that the Bible is nothing more than an ancient book. Thankfully, the Life Application Study Bible blows that idea out of the water. The LASB helps the pastor to accomplish our two most important tasks: helping disciples to understand the Bible and helping disciples respond to the Scripture to the glory of God.

 

I know that a number of pastors frown on the use of a Study Bible but I disagree with them. As a general rule. I advise believers at all levels of maturity to own and use a study Bible. For new believers, this is a great choice in a study Bible to own and use.

 

 

 

NRSV Large Print Thinline Review

NRSV Large Print Thinline Review

In this review we are looking at the new Comfort Print Edition of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible ant the Large Print Thin-line Edition.

Note: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.

Comfort Print Font:

The new font style from Zondervan and 2k/Denmark is really the stand out feature of this Bible. It is an 11-point font, very similar to its NIV cousin. It is extremely easy to read in any light setting, which is very helpful for me. I frequently reference the NRSV Old Testament and t

Find this format much easier to read than other editions of the NRSV. Most of the editions that are on the market, today, have rather smallish font size, usually 8-point, so the Comfort print makes it far superior to other editions that are available

Cover and Binding

The edition that I am reviewing Is a black leathersoft, which is an imitation leather. Imitation leathers have come quite far thanks to Tyndale and Crossway and Zondervan has really capitalized on the product evolution to bring us an excellent cover. I would estimate that this cover will last probably 10 years without needing a re-bind. It is a very convincing imitation leather and many will not even know that it is an imitation unless you tell them.

The Binding is sewn, which is a major step up in quality for Zondervan as many of their Bibles have an adhesive binding. The sewn binding allows this Bible to lay flat at any section of the Bible. It also makes the Bible flexible enough to be held one handed.

Format/Page Layout and Paper

We are given a double column paragraph format in a text only style. Translator’s footnotes have been placed at the bottom of the page  for easy access. The text-only format clearly marks this out as a reading Bible as opposed to a study-reference edition.

The paper is soft white but fairly opaque. There is very minimal see through or ghosting as it is commonly called. Outside in direct sunlight there is a bit of glare but in normal lighting you don’t have this issue. The paper is heavy enough that you will be able to mark the text; if you do mark I recommend a colored pencil or ball point pen.

As a Teaching Bible

Overall, if NRSV is your translation of choice, this is the Bible you want to take into your pulpit. It is a black letter text with no distractions on the page. Verse numbers are well marked out  for you to have an easy time finding your place in the text.

The Thin-line format is about 1-inch thick so that it will fit nicely in most laptop bags or briefcases.

Final Thoughts

I really appreciate this edition. I like to reference the NRSV Old Testament and this edition is my favorite NRSV that is available. I would like to see this arrive in the Premier Collection butt I am not sure how practical that might be for Zondervan as I am not sure how many use the NRSV as the main Bible.

This is the best edition of the NRSV currently available. If NRSV is your translation of choice, this is the Bible you need to own.