NASB Church Pack (Preacher’s Bible and Pew/Worship Bible)

NASB Church Pack (Preacher’s Bible and Pew/Worship Bible)

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I love the Bible; if you have known me more than two minutes you know this. I also love the New American Standard Bible. On 2/20/2020, it will have been with me 24 years. So, when I heard that Zondervan Publishing has resolved one of my biggest complaints in the Bible world (There is not a suitable preaching Bible with a pew Bible counterpart), they had my attention.

They sent me, free of charge in exchange for an honest review, a combo pack of the NASB Preacher’s Bible and the Pew/Worship Bible. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one and I do have a gripe or two but none so severe as to color my opinion.

The Concept:

Many churches provide Pew/Worship Bibles for members of the congregation but the pastor has to have a copy re-bound so that it will stand up to the rigors of day to day pastoral use. This left a huge gap, which Zondervan has jumped into, feet first.

The concept is simple and so obvious that it really annoys me that no other publisher has done so: Release a Pastor’s Bible AND a pew Bible simultaneously with identical page numbers, page layout, and font family. Zondervan has done just that. As I said, it is such an obvious concept that other publishers have no excuse for not doing so. Many churches, mine included, often have people in attendance who have never seen the inside of a Bible or have an extremely limited experience with it. Ergo, being able to say, from the pulpit, turn to page ______ for the morning’s text would be most helpful.

This, then, will be a simultaneous review as a good portion of the review applies to both books.

 

The Font, Layout, and Pagination

We absolutely must talk about this first. Zondervan calls this Comfort Print and it lives up to its name. I was surprised at this for the pew Bible because some Comfort Print Editions (Looking at you, Biblical Theology Study Bible) are not all that comfortable to read.

The hardcover is listed at 9-point. It actually looks to be 8.5 to me; many publishers list font size that includes leading and that is probably the case here. The Preacher’s Bible is listed at 10-point but I think that is a bit of an under-sizing. It looks to be the same size as its NKJV Cousin, the Large Print Thin-line. Both are very easy to read.

Black letter text, as all preaching Bibles ought to have, is what Zondervan has on offer here. There is a delightful little surprise, though. Subject headings, chapter numbers, and verse numbers are all in red for the Preacher’s Bible.

The layout is double column verse-by-verse. Verse-by-verse is the ideal format for preaching, whether single column or double column. You will easily find the verse you are preaching. Also, each book starts on a new page for easier reading.

Since the Preacher’s Bible and the Pew Bible share a common DNA, we are given a text only edition. There are translator’s footnotes provided which include variant readings of the text.

Paper and Binding

The paper in both is a crisp white. The pew Bible is a little brighter than in the Preacher’s Bible but much brighter than in other pew Bibles. The paper is nicely opaque with almost no show through. You can, successfully, mark in either edition, preferably with colored pencil or ball-point pen. I almost never recommend a liquid highlighter but a gel should pose no issue. Note: I encourage you to have a take a copy program if you are going to encourage congregants to write in the Bible. I DO encourage you, most wonderful colleague, to encourage your congregation to mark in their Bibles.

The Pew Bible has a “premium hardcover,” which did arrive in a dust jacket; I presume most churches will remove the dust jacket before putting the Bible in the pew.

The Preacher’s Bible that I received is the black goatskin, but it is also available in brown imitation leather. It is leather lined with a fairly pronounced grain. I am glad to see that a lower price option is available for pastors on tighter budgets or will a modest book allowance.

Both Bibles have a sewn binding. It is obvious to sew the binding in a premium leather Bible, not so much in a Pew Bible but I am glad to see Zondervan include it. It will doubtlessly get knocked around in the pew. If you are like me and like to keep some Bibles on hand for giveaway, it will get knocked around in your bag as well. In both cases, the sewn binding assures that the Bible will survive years of rough and tumble use.

My Gripes

Neither Bible is indexed. I understand that you don’t need to index a pew Bible if you plan to tell the congregation which page to turn to, but I do find it useful for the pastor to have a thumb index so it is not necessary to write down every page number.

My second gripe made me scratch my head a little. There are no congregational/responsive readings included. This feature has been a hallmark of pew Bibles from days gone by. Many churches, Abounding Grace being one of them, feature a responsive reading on Sunday mornings and it would be fairly nice to have readings already provided for everyone to read together.

My last gripe is a frequent one, I wish the Preacher’s Bible had wide margins. Almost every pastor I know of writes in their Bible. Zondervan could do like Cambridge and use a wider footprint in order to have a wide margin which still has the same pagination as the pew Bible.

None of these gripes is enough to make me dislike the Bible.

Real world use

I have gotten so many responses to some teaser photos that I shared that I was not able to wait to use the Preacher’s Bible on Sunday before writing the review. I took in into a counseling session and found that I had no issues using it. I was able to find the text rapidly and, even with some ocular challenges, had no trouble reading the page.

Final Thoughts

Given the combination, I am having a hard time envisioning not opting to use it, unless of course Zondervan’s “Big Sister” decides to do the same with the NKJV Preaching Bible.

For 24 years, NASB has been one of the two translations that are with me every day. I carry multiple translations but no matter which editions are in my rotation, NASB and NKJV are always with me. NASB is one of the two most fastidiously literal translations available and you will not regret its usage.

Note: Either product can be a stand-alone. I do not recommend that, though. The Preacher’s Bible and the Pew/Worship Bible are designed to be used together and that is how you will get the best results.

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