Tag: art journaling

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

 

 

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“Coloring Bible verses helps me to remember what the Bible says.”-Donna Sherro (my wife)

 

Among journaling and wide margin Bibles, there is a class called art-journaling editions. This is my first time reviewing an art journaling Bible; I am reviewing the large print edition of the Inspire Bible from Tyndale House. Tyndale provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are the views of my wife and I.

 

Translation Choice

Inspire is offered in the New Living Translation, a translation which is very close to my heart. The NLT is the translation that the Lord used when redeeming my wife.

 

The NLT is an extremely readable translation of the Bible. NLT is frequently confused with its predecessor, the Living Bible Paraphrase and is branded a paraphrase. It is most assuredly a translation and one that you can trust. Many of the people that I have instructed from the New Living Translation have responded with something to the effect of “Oh! It makes sense now.” NLT is a Bible that will speak to your heart.

 

Cover and Binding

The cover is imitation leather. There is no color name listed but it has a lilac coloring and an impressionist style paining of flowers on the bottom. My wife said, “it’s very pretty and now it’s mine” upon seeing it being taken out of the box.

 

Inspire is printed in large reflective letters on the cover, approximately in the exact center. The embossing is rather eye catching.  Tyndale has provided a paste down liner and a sewn binding. It should prove to be a very durable Bible.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font

“It’s very easy to read. It feels more like a regular book” -Donna

 

As my wife pointed out, Inspire is laid out more like a traditional book. It is a single column paragraph format. The font is completely black letter and I would estimate around a 9.5-10-point font. The margins are approximately 2 inches wide, some of which include Scripture art and some of which are lined for annotation.

 

The paper has a cream color which makes it very easy to read in most light situations. The texture is rather soft and touchable for how thick the paper is. Most marking and coloring instruments will work nicely in the Inspire Bible. As usual, I do not recommend markers but pencils, crayons, archival pens, ball-point pens etc would work out quite nicely.

 

My Thoughts vs Donna’s Thoughts

Admittedly, this class of Bible is not a favorite of mine. I am both a pastor and a theologian and a very reserved one at that. As a consequence, I sometimes overlook something very helpful where Donna does not miss it. Here is what she says about Inspire:

  • It makes the Bible mine because I can add my own notes
  • Coloring the verses helps me to memorize what the Bible says
  • It will help visual people remember what they are reading.
  • Inspire makes me want to read the Bible more.
  • NLT is easy to understand for everybody.

 

As it happens, my wife can find herself being more astute than I am. I am very good at forgetting that experiencing the Bible is a very personal thing. Inspire is as much an experience with the Scriptures as it is the Scriptures.

 

Who should buy Inspire

First and foremost, visual learners should buy Inspire. The coloring aspect will make it very enjoyable. Secondarily Inspire is a good fit for any ladies who are looking to add more of the Bible to their lives.

 

NRSV Journal the Word Bible Review

NRSV Journal the Word Bible Review

 

Bible journaling, in many forms, is a habit which I encourage my parishioners to engage in. (For those that do not know, I am the pastor at Abounding Grace Baptist Church in Arizona). It is a habit essential to your growth as a Disciple, so I am pleased to bring you a review of an interesting journaling Bible option, the Journal the Word Bible in the New Revised Standard Version. (Disclosure: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own.)

 

Journal the Word Bible Photos

 

The NRSV Journal the Word Bible is an interesting little rectangle, almost a perfect square in its design. This is done in order to keep the Bible a manageable size and still allow for wider margins. More on that later.

 

The Translation

This particular edition is the NRSV. It is also available in KJV, NIV, and NKJV. To be honest, I do not have any clue why Zondervan’s parent, Harper Collins Christian Publishing did not add NASB, Amplified, and New American Bible and thus have a journaling option for all the English translations they publish.

Though technically a formal equivalence translation, NRSV feels more mediating to me. It seems much less rigidly technical than NASB but more rigidly technical than NIV. The OT is superbly done and it is always one of the first OT translations which I consult. I have mixed feelings about the NT but this is not the forum for that.

NRSV is the Academic Standard Text for mainline protestant Bible colleges and seminaries. It is also accepted by a broad spectrum within Christianity, such as Lutherans, Methodists, and Episcopalians. Chances are, if you have been a Christian for any length of time you will have encountered NRSV. If you have not encountered NRSV, you need to. All Christians need to be familiar with several English translations not just pastors and professors.

 

The Cover

This is billed as leathersoft but, in truth, it feels very much like corduroy. It has a interesting tactile sensation for an imitation leather.  A paste down liner is included, not that it would make any sense to use an imitation leather liner. It is very sturdy, not overly stiff but neither is it very loose. I find it quite comfortable for holding.

 

The Paper

The paper is a very soft cream color. The muted color of the paper will work well with using colored pencil. It also makes the text easier to view in brighter light settings, such as the Arizona Sun.

I would guess at around 28gsm on the paper. It is a touch less opaque than I would like. The show through is not bad enough to allow you to make out words on the other side of the paper but in some areas you can see dark shadowing from the text on the other side of the page.

The paper is sufficiently opaque for use with colored pencil and regular ball-point pen. I cannot recommend a liquid highlighter as you are almost guaranteed to have bleed through with this paper.

 

Layout and Font

We have a black letter edition of the standard size comfort print font, which clocks in at around 9-point and is laid out in a single column paragraph format. It is fairly easy to read for most people. I am rapidly heading toward bi-focals so long periods of use are not indicated for me.

The margins are lined and approximately 2” wide. Unlike its art journaling cousins, the Beautiful Word and Artisan Collection Bibles, there are no pre-included pictures for you; that I rather like. Your markings should be your own, not what someone else thinks should stand out from the text. A true journaling Bible requires that the user do the work of engaging the Scripture and add symbols, notes, and other pictures as the Spirit leads.

 

As an Everyday Use Bible

This is a very sturdy Bible, well put together and crafted with materials which should last for years of use. I carried it in a briefcase alongside my giant print NIV and the Journal the Word Bible held up just fine.

I mentioned it is an odd little rectangle. You may find it a little difficult to find an acceptable carrying case but there are people who will custom create on for you.

 

Recommended Tools for Annotations

Colored Pencil- For colored pencil you should receive the best results from Prismacolor Premier colored pencils (I have recently become convinced of their superiority). You would also have good results from Prang, a division of Dickson Ticonderoga. I cannot recommend Crayola as they do not show up well on Bible paper.

Ball-point Pen- For pen my two recommendations are Pilot Pen Company’s Better Retractable Brand or Jetstream by Uni-ball. Both will lay down solid color lines and be easily readable.

 

Should you buy?

If NRSV is your main translation, yes it is probably a good idea to own a copy. If it is not, I recommend finding a wide margin in your preferred translation. The key when answering the should I buy it question is this, will you actually use it? If you will then you, ultimately should buy it.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am pleased with the experience. The Journal the Word Bible gives you the opportunity to make the Bible truly yours. As you are growing in your faith, you have ample opportunity to track the milestones on your journey.

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.

NLT Reflections Journaling Bible Review

NLT Reflections Journaling Bible Review

 

 

Initial Thoughts on the NLT Reflections Bible

It’s no secret that I love a wide margin Bible and in the case of the NLT Reflections Bible, these are the widest margins I have, personally, seen in a Bible, 2.25 inches. Tyndale made the margins ruled which eliminates a huge problem for me; for some reason I cannot write in a straight line on un-ruled paper, so giving me ruled margins made me exceedingly happy.

There are 3 covers available, all with sewn bindings so they will lay flat. Tyndale sent me all three (free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own): Ocean Blue (actually more of a teal) cloth over board, Sketchbook (The cover feels very similar to a Moleskine notebook and is the same shade of black), and Mahogany Bonded Leather over board. Of the 3, the mahogany will be the one I carry most. I cannot explain why, but it seems to be the most “pastoral” and since it will be used in a church plant, it seems the natural choice.

From the publisher

Product Description

NLT Reflections is a handsome single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible. Extra-wide 2.25″ lightly ruled margins make this Bible great for note-taking, journaling, recording prayers, doodling, drawing, and other forms of creative expression.

Special features include

  • A line-matching setting that’s designed to prevent text show-through
  • A durable sewn lay-flat binding
  • Matching ribbon marker
  • Elegant spine hubs
  • Presentation page
  • One-year Bible reading plan
  • 8-point text size
  • 75″ X 6.75″ x 1.50″

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 1704
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 6.38 X 1.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1496418042
ISBN-13: 9781496418043
Text Layout: Single Column|Wide Margin

 

Text Color: Black Letter
Text Size: 8 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn
Page Gilding: None
Page Edges: White

The Paper & Font

The paper is a crisp white, not quite so bright that it would be difficult to read in the sunlight but not an off-white either; I guess that eggshell would be the best descriptor. Tyndale lists an 8-point font which I would have to say is the most readable 8-point font I have seen in a while. It is not the same font family as my KJV Concord Reference Bible but it is just as readable. Since I am planning to preach from the Reflections Bible, the font is the biggest factor for me; I am pleased to say that I have experienced no eyestrain when reading from this Bible.

Margins and their use

The margins, as I said earlier, are 2.25 inches and they are ruled for easy writing. I think there is one Bible with larger margins but it is only in KJV, if memory serves. In my case, the margins will be used for main points of sermons and word studies.

For writing your annotations, I recommend Papermate’s Better Retractable (shown in photo below) and I recommend Accu-gel Hi Glider for color coded marking. I have the six color pack and I am using the following color coding:

  • Green: Fruit of the Spirit/Christian Life/Discipleship
  • Purple: Kingdom of God/Eschatological Kingdom
  • Blue: the Godhead
  • Yellow: Prophecies of Christ, His Advents, & Ministry
  • Pink: Salvation
  • Orange: Ecclesiology

 

Naturally, your color coding may vary. There are many important topics that are worth color coding; in my case I chose the topics I believe are most important to a brand new church. How you color code is not as important as actually doing the color code. Color coding is one of several memory triggers that you can use to recall information quickly.

Actually Writing in the Bible

Typically, my annotations are word studies although, on occasion, I have been known to add some topical references. In the example shown in the photos, I have provided markings from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5. Because the Beatitudes fall into the category of Christian Life, I have marked them with the green accu-gel highlighter pen. You will notice that the coloring is noticeable but it is not so bright as to distract from the text. In the margin, there are some brief comments on the word makarios which we translate as blessed. The word to be studied is in red with the definition and references to Strong’s and Thayer’s in blue and my summary remarks in black.

I have also provided a picture of the opposite side of the page from where I made the markings. You can see the slightest hint of a shadow where I wrote but you cannot make out individual letters and the green highlighting barely shows any shadowing.

For Carry/Daily Use

For daily carry and use, this Bible is a great choice. The format lends itself to reading large amounts of text in a single sitting. Of course, the exquisite margins provide the perfect canvas to record your thoughts as you read devotionally or your study notes while you prepare your lessons. In the case of my wife, who has claimed the Ocean Blue, that point you want to remember from the Sunday Sermon fits here nicely as well. The overall size and weight of the Bible lends itself to one handed use without worrying if the Bible will fall out of your hand while reading. I am very peripatetic (walk while talking) and I have not noticed any issues with that habit and this Bible.

Overall Thoughts

I’m really enjoying the NLT Reflections Bible. It works out nicely for my purposes in using it as a pastoral tool. My only suggestion would be to add two more ribbons so that you can study the Old Testament, Psalms and Proverbs, and the New Testament simultaneously. I hope that, after reading this, you will get an NLT Reflections Journaling Bible and that you will customize your own study/devotional Bible.