God’s Word Translation Wide Margin Bible Review

God’s Word Translation Wide Margin Bible Review

 

I love a good wide margin Bible and the one I am reviewing, here, is one of the best that I have seen at this price point. Before we go any further, I would like to point out that God’s Word to the Nations Missions Society provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review and I was not obligated to provide a positive review. My opinions are my own.

The Translation

I am opening the review by revisiting the translation first. God’s Word Translation (hereafter GW) is done in a style called Closest Natural Equivalent.  It is a type of meaning based translation that, as its name suggests, attempts to render the original languages into the closest English possible. If I had to put in a reading comprehension scale, I would say probably 4th to 6th grade.

As English has become one of the two most used languages on the planet, GW is uniquely placed among English translations of the Bible because of its ease of comprehension.  Many of my readers have English as a second or third language and when one of them asks me to recommend a Bible, GW is one of my top choices (I always give three recommendations so that the choice belongs to the reader.)

Comparatively speaking, GW is very close to NLT on the Dynamic Equivalence end of the spectrum. I have been pairing it side-by-side with my NKJV and the experience has been very enlightening. I would compare it this way: NKJV is like talking to my peers (NKJV and I are both 37 and somewhat academic) and GW is like telling the same story to an Elementary Grade Sunday School Class. I would not say that it has a commentary feel when read in parallel but it does feel more like having a conversation with “regular people” as opposed to my theologically trained peers.

GW is a translation you can know and trust. Its position in my ministry is evolving. Currently, I am using it with new believers but I foresee it taking a more active role in my pulpit ministry. In many cases it will provide an excellent supplement to my NKJV. As a matter of fact, I can easily see the God’s Word Translation becomming one of my three main translations.

I find myself liking this translation much more than expected. It’s like spending time with my niece; I always come away more energized and having loved the time we spent together.

The Paper and Margins

The paper in this Bible and the margins are the shining stars. The paper feels to be about 36gsm. However, I have been advised that it is 39gsm. This is important becasue you want a thicker paper in a Bible that is designed for journaling etc. The paper is fairly heavy and opaque but the pages are still very easy to turn. The paper is kind of an off-white, not as cream colored as what Crossway uses but not a bright white either. I took it out into the Arizona sun and had no issues reading off the page; the glare that I expected was not there and neither was there much see through.

The margins are 1.5” and among the best that I have encountered in a wide margin Bible. My regular readers will know that I love a wide margin Bible and even had my favorite wide margin rebound in Bison Leather. Most Bible publishers consider a 1” margin to be wide but I don’t go less than 1.25” to call it a wide margin Bible so the margin size, here, makes it very easy to recommend the GW wide margin Bible to someone who wishes to get into Bible journaling. There is not really an inner margin (gutter) which I don’t consider an issue since I never write in the gutter anywhere.

In point of fact, I consider a wide margin to be the best format for a Bible. In a wide margin you have a true study Bible as you make a record of your studies and grow in your walk with the Lord.

The Cover, Font, Layout, and Binding

The GW wide margin is offered in a type of imitation leather called duravella. Much like trutone, it is a polymer based imitation leather that will easily hold up for 20 years or so. Depending on your usage it may last longer or you can follow some of my colleagues and rebind it in a more premium leather.

It is a sewn Binding which surprised me considering the price point. Sewing the binding matters because it ensures the Bible will last through years of use.

The layout is a line-matched single column paragraph format in a 10.5-point font. It is totally black letter, which in the case of a wide margin Bible is to be preferred. Many, myself included, annotate in red ink and a red letter Bible would most probably be a distraction. I would say, without reservation, that Crossway has found a rival in the typography department. Single-column paragraph format is not generally a favorite of mine due to visual acuity issues but this Bible is very easy on the eyes and a delight to read.

Would I Change Anything

There are a couple things I would add but they are mostly niggling details. I would like to see, at least, a second ribbon or, preferably, three ribbons total. The ribbons are frequently used to mark your place in a reading plan so I think we should always have at least three ribbons in a Bible.

The other addition that I would make is less niggling but I am not really certain how others would feel about it…I would like to see lined notes pages. I would, personally, prefer a couple lined pages with each book of the Bible and if not there, some at the end of the book itself. A Bible that is so clearly designed for note taking really demands that there be as much space as possible for doing just that.

How to Use

First and foremost, for pastors and other teachers, I would put lesson notes in the margins. Since we cannot always have lesson notes with us (I frequently find myself teaching with no advance notice) it is a definite plus to have teaching notes in the margins. As it happens, I like to place small word studies and key phrases in the margins of my Bibles.

For my non pastor friends, I recommend annotating points from sermons that you wish to remember. Symbols are often helpful and some even make drawings/charts to help remember.

As a Carry Bible

Some wide margin Bibles do not really lend themselves to being an Every Day Carry Bible. Thankfully, that is not the case with the GW wide margin Bible. At 6” x 9” it is fairly portable. I am pleasantly surprised, not by the portability of the Bible but at its readability. Normally, you do not get such a readable layout in this size of a Bible.

It’s fairly lightweight, maybe 32oz but I am not 100% certain. It is extremely easy to use one-handed. If you were so inclined, you would not have any issue using this as your main Bible.

Writing in the GW Wide Margin

I wrote in 2 places, for the review, and with 2 different pens. I do not, as a general rule, use a fountain pen to write in a Bible but I used a Pelikan m600 Souveran fountain pen with Diamine Imperial Purple ink on the presentation page. There was moderate show through but it is not in an area which will impact enjoyment of the Bible.

For the other writing, I used my normal Bible writing implement, a Uniball Jetstream. The Uniball did not leave any show through and I was rather impressed with that fact.

Many of my friends and colleagues use colored pencil for their marking and color coding, I recommend Prang as a 1st choice and Crayola as a 2nd choice, and the paper seems to be quite ideally suited to that.

I cannot recommend use of a Pigma Micron Archival Pen this time around. It is virtually guaranteed to bleed through

Final Thoughts

Overall I am much more pleased than I had expected. Considering a price point below $75, I had not expected the quality of paper that we are presented with. I am happy to say that I was wrong. The font and margins were in line with my expectations.

I would have to say, this is the perfect choice for 2020: a new format in a new translation that you may not have considered before. You may or may not make it your primary translation, but you should definitely use it. I think you may find the Bible speaking to your heart in new and exciting ways.

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