Tag: Bible Review

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

 

 

NIV Study Bible Photos (Click Me)

 

 

 

For nearly 40 years, the NIV Study Bible has been Zondervan’s flagship study resource for those using the New International Version of the Bible. In 2020, it has been revised and updated with 100 new articles and over 1,000 new study notes. Zondervan sent me a copy, in black bonded leather, free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

 

Translation:

New International Version, NIV for short, is the dominant English translation of the Bible for Anglophone Christians. The NIV is available in two types, Anglicised (published by Hodder and Stouhgton) and American Standard English edition published by Zondervan. These two families cover both sides of the English speaking world.

 

NIV is one of the two most recognizable mediating translations available. A mediating translation strives to strike a balance between Formal Equivalence (literal) and Dynamic Equivalence (thought for thought). NIV’s most similar competitor, Christian Standard Bible, leans more toward the literal side of the spectrum while NIV leans more toward the easy to read thought for thought end of the spectrum.

 

NIV as A Preaching Bible

NIV is an excellent choice for preaching. The translation rates around 6th-7th grade on the Flesch-Kincaide scale. The language is sufficiently technical and sophisticated so as to appeal to the more academically inclined disciple but it is also sufficiently easy to read so as to appeal to those disciples who have English as a second or third language. When bringing an expository sermon, NIV requires fewer restatements and definitions than other English texts.

 

NIV for Study

Some of my colleagues do not consider NIV to be good for study but I cannot agree with them. I find that NIV eliminates some steps when approaching study. Just as in preach ing, when studying a text, the NIV requires less restatement and fewer definitions. Additionally there are a host of commentaries, hand-books, study Bibles, and dictionaries based on the NIV including the powerhouse NIV Application Commentary, the New American Commentary, Holman’s Old Testament and New Testament Commentary and the premier single volume resource on understanding the Bible, Halley’s Bible Handbook.

 

Why choose a study Bible?

The choice to use a study Bible is one of practicality. Most Bible teachers are limited in the number of resources that are available for use, often having only one Bible and few, if any, study aids, which makes the acquisition of a study Bible a very helpful choice.

 

Why the NIV Study Bible?

The NIV Study Bible feature set makes it an excellent choice for a study Bible

 

Cross-References

The most important feature for Bible Study is a good cross referencing system, since the fundamental rule of hermeneutics is that the Scripture interprets the Scripture. In the NIV Study Bible, Zondervan provides around 68,000 references.

 

Translator’s Footnotes

       NIV Study Bible includes the full complement of Translator’s Notes. These include textual variants,  alternate translations, etc. I would say that the footnotes are a large portion of what makes the NIV so Easy to use.

 

Exegetical Study Notes

       Where many study Bibles contain what amounts to commentary, the NIV Study Bible has somewhere in the neughborhood of 25,000 exegetical study notes. The notes include explanations of the text, some cultural and historical background, alternate interpretations of the text , all of which is geared toward drawing out the meaning of the Scripture.

 

Introductions and Outlines

       The Introductions and Outlines in the NIV Study Bible are a little more in depth than in other study Bibles. Each introduction contains a detailed outline of the content of the book. Author, date of writing, purposes & emphases, and a timeline are all included. There is a small box containing “A Quick Look” at the book which highlights the theme, original audience, author, and approximate date of writing

 

Full color Maps and Charts

       Recognizing the needs of visual learners, Zondervan has included around 350 maps, charts, and photographs designed to make the world of the Bible come alive to your mind so you can behold the wondrous things in the Word of God.

 

Kholenberger’s Full Concordance

The complete NIV Concordance, created by John R. Kholenberger III is included. This topical study resource includes 4500-5000 entries with explanations and references.

 

       Index to Study Notes

There is a separate index to the study notes. This index is a topical breakdown of concepts addressed in the study notes, essays and articles to aid in understanding what the Bible has to say on a particular topic.

 

Expository Essays

There are over 100 expository essays included with the NIV Study Bible. These essays provide a more in-depth look at certain important concepts in our study of the Scripture.

 

Paper, Layout, Font and Binding

The paper is a crisp white which makes the red lettering very easy to see. Zondervan gives us a 9-point comfort print font. I, personally find the font a touch small BUT given the amount of content, a larger font would make this volume qite unwieldy.

 

Both the text and study notes are laid out in a double column paragraph format. The columns of Scripture Text are separated byt the center column references and the notes are separated from the Scripture by a bold black line.

 

The binding is sewn to ensure that it can stand up to the rigors of daily use.

 

How do I use the NIV Study Bible?

I am often asked if I regularly use the Bibles that I review and the answer to that is yes. I actually have a particular order in which I use resources, for a very specific reason, and the NIV Study Bible is used twice in lesson prep-it is my third and last resource. I start with the Teacher’s Study Bible and Halley’s Bible Handbook because I want to make sure that I have gotten a good handle on the minimum needed to understand the text. I turn to the NIV Study Bible, next, so that I can look for specific concepts that need a deep dive. Following this are commentaries and lexicons. Lastly I turn to my Study Bibles to compare what I have learned from the text to what other scholas have found with regard to the meaning and explanation of the text.

 

Who should buy the NIV Study Bible?

It is true that NIV Study Bible is for everyone but there is a particular group that I feel would benefit from the NIV Study Bible more so than others, Sunday School Teachers/Small Group Leaders. These wonderful saints serve Christ’s church faithfully, often without the benefit of Bible College and/or Seminary training. For them, a feature enriched study Bible is going to be very helpful.

 

Final Thoughts

I got my first NIV Study Bible in 1996 as a gift celebrating my baptism. In 1996, I began teaching Sunday School and  the NIV Study Bible informed my lessons. In 2005, I upgraded to the 10thanniversary edition. Later I upgraded to the full color edition. Currently, I use the digital version on OliveTree Bible Software. NIV Study Bible has proven a faithful and reliable companion.

 

NIV Study Bible gives you a full library of study materials. You can trust that, when you choose NIV Study Bible, you are choosing a resource that will help you to understand the Scriptures. This is a Bible worth your investment.

 

 

ESV with Creeds and Confessions Review

ESV with Creeds and Confessions Review

 

 

Additional Photos

 

The Crossway ESV with Creeds and Confessions is everything I have come to expect from Crossway, who, incidentally, sent me a copy in black trutone free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one.

 

Initially, I was actually surprised to find that this particular Bible did not blow me away. It is not a Bible that I dislike. It’s everything I have come to expect, sewn binding, good paper, etc. I like it and I enjoy using it but I don’t feel the same excitement that I get when I reach for other Crossway products such as my Literary Study Bible, Systematic Theology Bible, or the ESV Preaching Bible. HOWEVER, with more and more use the ESV with Creeds and Confessions has grown on me, so much so that I have recommended it several times to Christians who are new to what is commonly called Calvinism and are looking for a new Bible.

 

This Bible is very reserved, muted even. This does not surprise me as the most conservative Calvinists lean puritan and do not want a “flashy” Bible to take into the pulpit.

 

General Format

Essentially, the ESV with Creeds and Confessions is a large print ESV Bible, the back of which has the Reformed/Evangelical Confessions of Faith coupled with the Ancient Ecumenical Creeds. The font and layout are incredibly well done although it was not the layout I expected. (See next section)

 

What I Would Change

The original ESV with Creeds and Confessions was done by Schuyler Bibles a few years ago-it was an enlarged version of the New Classic Reference Edition with the Creeds and Confessions added in. I actually would have returned to that format. I would also move the Creeds and Confessions to locate them either in the front matter or between the testaments.  I would also add some lined notes pages. One could argue that this Bible is geared toward pastors and seminary professors so the lack of notes pages puzzles me. I would also remove the concordance, it seems a trifle unnecessary here-most of the people who would be picking up this particular Bible will most assuredly have plenty of other resources for in-depth topical study of the Bible.

 

Cover and Binding

The cover and binding are not unusual for Crossway. (I have the black trutone, which is Crossway’s polymer based imitation leather and includes a sewn binding. ) The TruTone Imitation Leather continues to get more and more convincing as Crossway continues to hone their craft.

 

It may surprise you to learn that, in many cases, I recommend Crossway’s TruTone before I recommend a genuine leather. I know a number of pastors who are on the go rather frequently and you don’t always want a more premium leather in your every -day carry Bible.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

Again there is nothing unusual here. The paper is bright white which works well with the black letter text. The text is laid out in double column paragraph format, approximately 12-point font. Crossway uses the Lexicon font family and continues to do so.

 

I think the Lexicon Font Family is more readable than most other Bible fonts on the market. I wear bifocals and frequently find ESV Bibles easier to read than other Bibles of similar size and font types.

 

The Creeds and Confessions

13 historic creeds and confessions are placed in the back, including the Apostles Creed (ca. 200–400), the Nicene Creed (325), the Athanasian Creed (381), the Chalcedonian Definition (451), the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Articles of Religion (1563), the Canons of Dort (1618–19), the Westminster Confession (1646), the London Baptist Confession (1689), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) Introductions to each of the 13 creeds and confessions written by historian Chad Van Dixhoorn were included.

 

First and foremost, I am a Baptist so seeing the London Baptist Confession is major for me. There is a bias (No way around it) in the Reformed Community which suggests that Baptists are not really reformed. This is grossly inaccurate and pejorative so seeing the LBC included was a major win for us.

 

You will also note that the 3 Forms of Unity are included. The Three Forms of Unity is a collective name for the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism, which reflect the doctrinal concerns of continental Calvinism and are accepted as official statements of doctrine by many of the Reformed churches. In short, these are foundational documents to Reformed Theology.

 

Our Anglican Brethren will also be glad to see that the 39 Articles of Religion are included as well. Many do not often think of the Anglicans as being reformed but they were an integral part of the Reformation in the United Kingdom.

 

Final Thoughts

The ESV with Creeds and Confessions is perfect for the modern day puritan. You will find it to be a very well made Bible but that is what defines Crossway- incredibly well made Bibles at very affordable price points.

 

My niggling little gripes aside, the ESV with Creeds and Confessions is a prime example of what makes Crossway the first choice in Bible for a host of people, especially the “Reformed Pastor.

NASB MacArthur Study Bible 2nd Edition, Premiere Collection

NASB MacArthur Study Bible 2nd Edition, Premiere Collection

 

 

The 2nd Edition the MacArthur Study Bible has finally been released in Dr. MacArthur’s favorite translation, the New American Standard Bible. Like the NKJV, it has been added 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.)

Disclosure: John MacArthur is my favorite Bible teacher and the MacArthur Study Bible is my favorite study Bible.

 

Additional Photos

Translation Choice

This particular edition of the MacArthur Study Bible is offered in the New American Standard Bible (NASB). NASB is considered, by many, to be the gold standard for Bible translation and study and I see no cause to disagree, with the lone exception of the NKJV.

NASB is fastidiously literal in the tradition of its predecessor, the American Standard version. Some say it has a bit of a wooden feel but I don’t really see that. It seems to flow rather well.

Cover and Binding

Like its NKJV cousin, 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, it is even more glorious feel than the NKJV; the NASB edition has a considerably more pronounced grain than the NKJV, the most pronounced grain in the Premier Collection as far as I can tell. The goatskin is easily equal to the famed goatskin covers of RL Allan and Sons and beggars anything that Cambridge produces. To say that this cover drips quality is a perfect exercise in the art of understatement; it would have to be Thomas Nelson’s magnum opus, 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. I cannot imagine an edition of Sacred Scripture I could enjoy more.

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 American Standard Bible , and Thomas Nelson stamped in soft gold lettering. I did not really comment on this with the NKJV edition but I really like the muted front cover. A blank front cover is less ostentatious than you will find on other Bibles. To be perfectly honest, I do wish it were available in black goatskin but I do enjoy the brown as well.

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. Believe it or not, the text block is not as tight as in its NKJV cousin. This actually feels more pleasant in the hand and it is also more pulpit friendly in that it lays flat just a touch easier than the NKJV Edition.

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 Complete NASB Reference System, comprised of 95,000 cross references, textual variants, 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.)

 

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.

 

 

Large Print Wide Margin Text Only Bible from CBP

Large Print Wide Margin Text Only Bible from CBP

 

 

One of my favorite Bible formats, my preferred in fact, is a wide margin and, today, I am reviewing one of the best wide margin Bible available, the Large Print Wide Margin Text Bible from Church Bible Publishers {CBP}. (Disclosure: This Bible was not provided by CBP, neither did they solicit this review. This is on my own and at my own cost)

Bible Photos

A comment or two on Church Bible Publishers

Church Bible Publishers is based in Cadillac, Michigan and are owned and operated by a local church pastor and former missionary. If you follow them on social media, you will see that they still have a missionary zeal for getting the Word of God into the hands of the people.

 

ALL CBP Bibles are printed and bound in the United States, a rare feature in the realm of Bible Publishing. These Bibles tend to be much higher quality than their internationally printed counterparts, most if which tend to be printed in China. CBP has a video on YouTube showing actual production of CBP Bibles, including multiple quality checks along the way. One fact, when dealing with CBP, is that they hold the Bible in highest regard, no, they cherish the Bible. Each Bible is unique as is each reader of the Bible.

 

 

Translation

CBP is a dedicated King James Bible Publisher. In their case, I really appreciate this fact because it enables them to focus on the quality of the Bible they produce and give both the Bible itself and the reader the honor deserved.

 

Cover and Binding

This is a black lambskin cover with edge to edge synthetic leather lining. Generally, lambskin is the softest and most supple leather you can find. It is also a more tender leather and will need daily handling to prevent it from drying out.

 

CBP has ironed the lambskin so that it is very supple. I love a good grain on my Bible, especially pebble grain, but here that would be somehow disrespectful. There is a bit of sheen to it that will eventually turn into a nice patina, although I am not sure how obvious it would be since the Bible is black.

 

The liner, as I mentioned, is billed as synthetic but I have to say that does not impact the limpness or flexibility in the slightest. It most likely adds to the durability since lambskin is so delicate.

 

CBP sews all their Bibles, a testament to the quality they provide. The company is run by a group of local church pastors, if you had not already guessed from the name, and they know the demands placed on a pastor’s Bible hence the sewn binding. A sewn binding guarantees a lifetime of use and I wager the leather will need replaced long before the stitching.

 

Layout and Font

We have a 12-point font in a double column verse by verse format with 1.75 inch margins.  It is a pure text edition meaning there are no helps, not even translator’s footnotes. It is obvious that this format is designed for pulpit use or for the classroom.

 

CBP has given us one of the best red-letter editions available. The red is crisp and a deep rich cherry color. I tested the red under the brightest, most unforgiving light I could find, the Arizona Sun, and had absolutely no issues. You will, no doubt, have no issues under the lights on your platform.

 

Paper

This is around a 36 gsm white paper. It is fairly thick and makes for easy page turning. It is nicely opaque; I did not notice any bleed through with my pen.

 

For marking, I recommend that a colored pencil be your first choice; Prang is the brand I use. For ball-point pen I suggest Pilot Pen Company’s Better Retractable brand pen. Pilot gives, in my experience, the most consistent ink flow and does not leave the annoying pen impressions on the other side of the page.

 

Helps

The only study aid provided is a double column concordance. It seems to mirror the Cambridge Concordance and provides a fairly comprehensive index for study.

 

Compared to my other lambskin KJV

I have one other lambskin KJV (which I think was also done by CBP), a wide margin Classic KJV Study Bible, a special edition from the KJV Store. The leather feels identical, leading me to believe they are from the same source.

 

The look and feel of the paper is also very similar and the writing experience also seems to be the same.

 

I treat these as companions. The Classic Study Bible is by my bedside for evening reading and the Large Print Wide Margin is in my rotation for lesson prep.

 

As an Every Day Use Bible

This is not a small Bible, most large print Bibles are not. It runs a little on the heavy side at about 3.5 pounds, so frequent one-handed use may be impractical. All CBP Bibles are pulpit ready, their large print even more so, since as a teacher you should be using the largest font size possible in the classroom.

 

I have begun some markings but have not decided which categories of annotations I will add; generally I do word studies and sermon points. If I do it correctly, I can preach most, if not all texts, with nothing else than the marginal annotations.

 

A little more about caring for this unique leather

I want to add a couple tips for caring for lambskin as it tends to be a more delicate leather.

  • Don’t wash your hands immediately before handling this Bible. The oils from your hands work into the leather keeping it rich and supple.
  • Use Lexol when cleaning the Bible cover. It removes dirt but still nourishes the leather and keeps it supple
  • Handle this Bible regularly if it is not your primary Bible. Remember that the natural oils in your skin will work into the leather. Each Bible will have a unique shine because of your natural oils.

 

The Price Point

CBP sells their Bibles at cost or as close to it as possible. This Bible will run you about $75-$85 before taxes and shipping, depending on if you have a coupon.

 

Should you buy this Bible

The Large Print Wide Margin Text Bible is for you if you are looking for an unadulterated text block with plenty of room for your annotations.

 

If you are a Bible Teacher, in any capacity, then you should consider this edition.

NIV Giant Print Reference Bible Review

NIV Giant Print Reference Bible Review

 

The New International Version is one of the two best-selling English Translations of the Bible and I have enjoyed reviewing a number of them. This time around I am reviewing the Giant Print Reference Bible with Comfort Print, which you may recall seeing in my pulpit. Note: Unlike other Bibles, Zondervan did not provide this Bible for review. It was acquired at my own expense.

Additional Pictures

 

Cover and Binding

When selecting this Bible, I opted for the Burgundy Bonded Leather edition as it was the highest quality cover that is available. It has a paste down liner, making it a little stiff. The stiffness is not too bad and, as all leathers do, it will soften up a bit over time. If you plan to make this a daily Bible, know that bonded leathers tend to need their covers replaced after 5-10 years, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on the quality of the base leather used in the bonding process.

 

This Bible does have a sewn Binding. For the purposes that I have selected this Bible, a sewn binding was absolutely essential, otherwise it would be useless within about 36 months.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

The paper is fairly crisp white. There is mild reflection in bright light but nothing that would irritating. It features half-moon style thumb indexing. I realize that many dislike this feature but I find it almost necessary to my purposes. I did memorize the order of the books of the Bible way back in second grade but in the pulpit, indexing makes for faster access to the text needed. I would say that the paper is sufficiently opaque for marking and, as I tend to do, I recommend the use of ball point pen for marking.

 

The text is laid out in double column paragraph format; translators footnotes are in a column at the bottom right corner of the page. The verse numbers are both large enough and dark enough to find with relative ease.

 

The Comfort Print font is extremely well done in this edition. The black letter portion is a deeper richer ebony than you find in many of Zondervan’s other Bibles. The red letters really impress me, especially at this Bible’s price point. In far too many cases, red-letter Bibles turn pink but not so here. The red is very well done, consistent, deep, rich and most importantly, easily readable in the pulpit.

 

For Preaching

I have a few NIV, including the Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line (11-point font) which is a phenomenal choice for preaching. However, middle age and diabetes wear on my eyes, leading me to reach for the 13.5 font size in the Giant Print.

 

It is a very versatile Bible. I tend to be peripatetic and this edition is very well balanced for one handed use. The Giant Print edition also works out well on the pulpit in that it does not add to eye strain when laid on the pulpit for reading.

 

In many reference Bibles, the references can be found in center column and that is the format I am most used to. However, the end-of-verse reference format is far preferable to a center column format as the references are still available for rapid use but do not get in the way of the flow of reading the text.

 

Helps

The NIV Giant Print Reference Bible offers a limited scope of helps, a fact which I find refreshing. There are so many NIV Bibles, covering a wide range of needs, with multiple helps that it is quite a relief that we get the essential helps but not a ton more.

 

Cross-References

The cross-references are located following the verse, hence the moniker End-of-Verse references. The reference system in this particular Bible is a condensed version of the Zondervan Reference System, around 12,500 references or so. It is rare for me to use references in sermon prep though there have been situations where I had forgotten a passage I wanted to reference and seeing the reference jogged my memory.

 

Lined Notes Pages

Lined Notes Pages? I am delighted. The presence of lined notes pages begins to answer my wish that every Bible included them. We get about a half dozen pages, certainly not enough for sermon notes but more than adequate for more important notes like the Romans Road etc. If Zondervan would give me my way, they would release an edition of this Bible with 4-5 lined notes pages per book. Pastor’s write in our Bibles, why not have sufficient room.

 

Dictionary Concordance

A condensed version of John Kohlenberger’s excellent concordance is provided for us. Key terms are defined and then given the corresponding textual references for further study.

 

Final Thoughts

I am quite pleased with this Bible. For the price point, you get a very good value for the money. I would like it to have a higher grade leather but that is a niggling little detail easily corrected by a re-binder.

 

I would tweak a few things but they are more aesthetic than utilitarian. I realize that an NIV Preaching Bible is forthcoming in the near future (I am already committed to review) and I think it will be excellent but for preaching, the Giant Print NIV really knocks it out of the park. At its price-point, this Bible is well done and well worth the money.

 

A special note to my pastor brethren: In the pulpit, one should have the largest font possible without forfeiting practicality. If you are preaching from NIV, this is an excellent choice.

 

 

Halley’s Study Bible Review

Halley’s Study Bible Review

 

 

This review has been 20 years in the making. Before I explain, let me disclose that Zondervan sent this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not asked for positive remarks and my opinions are my own.

How has this review been 20 years in the making? In 2000 at the age of 18, I got my first copy of Halley’s Bible Handbook. It was a graduation gift from one of the men in the church. I loved that little blue book and used it till it fell apart. It was with me, along with my NIV Study Bible, every day. I said at that point, it would be amazing if that handbook had the whole Bible together with it. Now, 20 years later, it does. Shall we see if it meet’s expectations?

 

More Photos

 

My only complaint

I have but one complaint and it is more a gripe against me than it is against Zondervan- the font is a bit small for me. That is not really Zondervan’s fault; it’s more to do with moving into middle age and the attendant changes in eyesight.

Now that we have that out of the way…

What makes this study Bible different

Halley’s Study Bible is different because it is based on a handbook, the world’s best-selling Bible handbook for that matter. Zondervan makes some of the most in-depth study Bibles on the market today: The NIV Study Bible, The Biblical Theology Study Bible, the Quest Study Bible and a host of others. The Halley’s Study Bible is a counter balance in that it focuses on the essential material needed to understand and teach the Bible. There is nothing deficient, at all, about Halley’s Study Bible. In fact, it is everything I want in a study Bible.

We could call this a concise Study Bible. It is not overly technical with word stdies etc but neither is it as basic as one might expect givien that it is based on a handbook. The material is on  a intermediate level. Even for someone who has 20 years and over 1000 lessons on the books, I found the material helpful. I have been using Halley’s Bible Handbook for 20 years and, despite knowing the material well, it frequently jogs my memory; it also forces me to make sure that what I am teaching is readily understandable.

 

The Translation

The Halley’s Study Bible is offered in the New International Version. What else would you pair the world’s best selling Bible Handbook with if not the best-selling English translation? NIV is accurate, readable, and reliable. The paring is obvious but still delightful.

 Some people dislike the 2011 Edition of the NIV and I do understand some, not all, of their concerns. That being said, NIV IS the BIble to most of the Egnlisth speaking world and the content in Halley’s Study Bible explains that BIble quite nicely, which is, of course, the goal.

Cover and Binding

This Bible has a sewn binding complete with nylon threads. In several sections, Zondervan has made the sewing quite obvious. I love that. You can tell from looking at it that Zondervan intends this Bible to be very heavily used and thus gave the best binding option.

There are two cover options available, jacketed hardcover and leathersoft. Burgundy leathersoft is what Zondervan sent me and it is delightful. It is an imitation leather but it is very convincing. This cover should hold up quite nicely.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font

Zondervan’s 9-point Comfort Print font is on display in a double column paragraph format. Compared to other offerings from Zondervan, this is much more readable. The font appears to be in some type of Serif family. The notes are in an 8-point font.

As for the paper, it is a crisp white that catches the light nicely. This coupled with the darker font makes the text highly readable. Even the red letters are quite well done.

If you write in this Bible, which I do recommend, a colored pencil or ball-point pen are your best choices.

 

The Helps

This is where the Halley’s Study Bible really shines. The amount of content is just right. There are some things left out which are normally included in a study Bible but their absence in no way detracts from Halley’s Study Bible.

Book Introductions

Each book includes a one page introduction with full color photo, author and theme information. There is no outline provided which I don’t mind as someone who has been properly taught inductive study should be able to create their own outline. One feature of the introduction that I really enjoy is the key verse, the essential verse of each book being given its own call out.

Full color photos

There are more than 150 full color photos included. The choice to include photographs is a natural one given that so many Christians are visual leaners.

These are not infographics which could be helpful in and of themselves but they do illuminate the Bibilical world in a way that many other study Bibles do not and probably could not.

6000 study Notes

Drawing from the most excellent content in the Halley’s Bible Handbook, we are given 6000 explanatory notes on the text. 6000 notes is comparable to the number of notes in the KJV Study Bible from Zondervan’s older sister, Thomas Nelson Publishing. They are enough to answer the most important questions and to then get you to go deeper into the text. I would point out, there is enough material in these notes to help you put together a solid Bible Study, probably 3 years’ worth of teaching material.

NIV Concordance

I would not call this a concise concordance though it isn’t a full concordance either; it is somewhere in between. The inclusion of a concordance is an important one-many of the questions that you will encounter have to do with what the Bible teaches on a particular topic. The Concordance is the ideal tool for answering those questions.

What’s missing

There are no cross references or notes pages. I confess to being surprised at the lack of notes pages but not the lack of cross references. Cross references can be an unnecessary distraction in the text and do not always follow the flow of thought for the expositor.

Shold you buy it?

Yes. I cannot think of a single scenario where I would not recommend it. I would, actually, recommend that you get the Handbook and the Study Bible. There is a lttie overlap and the Handbook does have a little more ocntent than what the study Bible offers. As I said, the Study Bible contains the minimum you should know.

Overall Impression

It is everything you want in a study Bible and nothing you don’t. I recommend Halley’s Study Bible more than any other Bible that Zondervan offers.

Concord Reference Bible: The King of KJV

Concord Reference Bible: The King of KJV

 

Important Note: Since this was originally published, I have upgraded to the goatskin. I will add some comments regarding that but I will not be updating pictures at this point. 

When I think of the King James Version of the Bible, the first name that comes to mind is the Concord Reference Bible from Cambridge University Press. As cheesy as this may sound, holding the Concord feels different than holding any other KJV with one notable exception, the Westminster Reference Bible; It feels more scholarly and using it gave me the sensation of standing amongst great men of our faith, but that’s just me and my obscure little oddities, I’m sure.

I have had conversations with a number of peers and we all agree, there is just something special about the Concord.

Binding & Cover

Cambridge sent me the black calf-split leather edition to review. It has that certain scent to it, the kind only a real Bible nerd would notice and appreciate; it’s the smell of pure leather and it’s almost like a drug. Every time I hold this Bible, I catch a whiff of the leather scent and I am flooded with euphoria. (total nerd but that’s ok. )

I mentioned that I have upgraded to the goatskin and the leather scent is even stronger, almost intoxicating. 

The cover is not as limp as a goatskin liner and it is also a little stiffer than the calfskin in my Holman Minister’s Bible and I really like that fact. The concord is much easier to hold than other Bibles, staying open/flat with single hand use without me worrying that it will spill out of my hand. The grain is quite visible and the texture is luxurious. If you have never felt a calf-split leather Bible from Cambridge, it would be difficult for me to describe; suffice it to say that this Bible feels like no other.

Both editions of the Concord have a somewhat pronounced grain. It is hard to describe, except to say that the moment my Concord is in my hands, I immediately fell the compulsion to preach.

Of course it is a sewn binding; Cambridge Bibles are bound in cooperation with Royal Jongbloed, the best binder in the world and you can see the attention to detail that Jongbloed has brought to Cambridge. The smythe sewing guarantees a lifetime of use. How long? Well, I have a Bible that is 70 years old with a sewn binding that is still going strong so I would have to say, with proper care, this Bible could probably last 70 years or more. On the other hand using it so much that it falls apart is also a very good thing.

 

Paper:

Good luck finding any ghosting (see-through) in a Cambridge Bible. I am sure that if you looked hard enough, you could find some but the eye-strain required would then result in a nasty headache.

Cambridge always uses the finest papers available and this is no exception. I would estimate a 30 gsm paper although I could be wrong. It is just the right shade of white to allow you to see the red-lettering with no issues. Incidentally, unlike some other white papers, you do not get the nasty glare when out in the sunlight.

 

References

The Concord reference Bible references are so exacting and precise that they are one of the two sources of references for my beloved Westminster. I would go so far as to say that if the Concord Reference Bible were the only Bible that you had available, you could effectively interpret Scripture with no issues.

Glossary

This is a feature that you do not often see in a KJV Bible but one that every KJV publisher needs to adopt. The glossary offers explanations of words, which have changed their meaning or are not in use any more. For example, oblation, which means anything offered in a sacrifice and is no longer used in everyday English.

Concordance

The 140 page concordance is a shining star amongst Bibles. Every topic you could possibly imagine is included along with Scripture references. You really don’t need any other tool for topical analysis of scripture.

Bible Dictionary

This 129 page offering is a concise expository dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament words geared toward those faithful men who stand in the pulpit every Sunday. While you will not find every word that you may want to study in depth, there is more than sufficient material to keep you studying until the 2nd Coming.

I understand why Randy Brown at Bible Buying Guide keeps coming back to the Concord Reference Bible and why I, too, keep finding myself going back to it; you just don’t need anything else.

There are two other English translations that would pair well with the Concord NASB and ESV. I really do not understand why one of the top two reference Bibles on the market only comes in a single translation.

Concord Reference Bible is the King of the KJV. Long live the King…

 

 

Concord Reference Bible Review

Concord Reference Bible Review

Concord Reference Bible: The King of KJV

 

When I think of the King James Version of the Bible, the first name that comes to mind is the Concord Reference Bible from Cambridge University Press. As cheesy as this may sound, holding the Concord feels different than holding any other KJV with one notable exception, the Westminster Reference Bible; It feels more scholarly and using it gave me the sensation of standing amongst great men of our faith, and it feels more pastoral, like I’m taking my place in that Old Baptist Tradition but that’s just me and my obscure little oddities, I’m sure.

 

Binding & Cover

Cambridge sent me the black calf-split leather edition to review (This Bible was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review). It has that certain scent to it, the kind only a real Bible nerd would notice and appreciate; it’s the smell of pure leather and it’s almost like a drug. Every time I hold this Bible, I catch a whiff of the leather scent and I am flooded with euphoria. (total nerd but that’s ok.)

 

The cover is not as limp as a goatskin liner and it is also a little stiffer than the calfskin in my Holman Minister’s Bible and I really like that fact. The concord is much easier to hold than other Bibles, staying open/flat with single hand use without me worrying that it will spill out of my hand. The grain is quite visible and the texture is luxurious. If you have never felt a calf-split leather Bible from Cambridge, it would be difficult for me to describe; suffice it to say that this Bible feels like no other.

 

Of course it is a sewn binding; Cambridge Bibles are bound in cooperation with Royal Jongbloed, the best binder in the world and you can see the attention to detail that Jongbloed has brought to Cambridge. The smythe sewing guarantees a lifetime of use. How long? Well, I have a Bible that is 70 years old with a sewn binding that is still going strong so I would have to say, with proper care, this Bible could probably last 70 years or more. On the other hand using it so much that it falls apart is also a very good thing.

 

Many times, a premium leather Bible will offer edge/leather lining and the goatskin Concord, which I acquired subsequent to this review, does that but the calf-split uses a paste down liner. Perhaps this is a cost saving measure but I, personally think that it is for those who are parapatetic when they preach since it is the liner that provides the added stiffness that I like.

 

 

Paper:

Good luck finding any ghosting (see through) in a Cambridge Bible. I am sure that if you looked hard enough, you could find some but the eye-strain required would then result in a nasty headache.

 

Cambridge always uses the finest papers available and this is no exception. I would estimate a 30 gsm paper although I could be wrong. It is just the right shade of white to allow you to see the red-lettering with no issues. Incidentally, unlike some other white papers, you do not get the nasty glare when out in the sunlight.

 

References

The Concord reference Bible references are so exacting and precise that they are one of the two sources of references for my beloved Westminster. I would go so far as to say that if the Concord Reference Bible were the only Bible that you had available, you could effectively interpret Scripture with no issues.

 

Glossary

This is a feature that you do not often see in a KJV Bible but one that every KJV publisher needs to adopt. The glossary offers explanations of words, which have changed their meaning or are not in use any more. For example, oblation, which means anything offered in a sacrifice and is no longer used in everyday English.

 

Concordance

The 140-page concordance is a shining star amongst Bibles. Every topic you could possibly imagine is included along with Scripture references. You really don’t need any other tool for topical analysis of scripture.

 

Bible Dictionary

This 129 page offering is a concise expository dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament words geared toward those faithful men who stand in the pulpit every Sunday. While you will not find every word that you may want to study in depth, there is more than sufficient material to keep you studying until the 2nd Coming.

 

I understand why Randy Brown at Bible Buying Guide keeps coming back to the Concord Reference Bible and why I, too, keep finding myself going back to it; you just don’t need anything else.

 

Final Thoughts

The Concord Reference Bible is so excellent, that I have actually be tempted to start a petition to get Cambridge to release this edition in a New American Standard Bible. It is without doubt one of the best KJV Bibles that you can buy

 

Concord Reference Bible is the King of the KJV. Long live the King…

 

 

 

 

Cambridge Large Print Text Bible Review

Cambridge Large Print Text Bible Review

 

 

Sometimes, you simply want the Bible and just the Bible with no helps and when that time comes, this is one that you want. Before we get into the review, a note: This Bible was acquired at my own expense. This review was not solicited by Cambridge University Press and they were not given advance notice of the writing.

 

Product Description

A large-print KJV that is easy on the eye yet comfortable to hold. The large, black print is clear and easy to read. This KJV Bible offers a bold, large-print text for easy reading. The binding is French Morocco leather to assure use for many years. The quality paper and gilt edges add to the beauty of this Bible.

Features

  • Text edition only, no references or maps included
  • Self-pronouncing text for unfamiliar names
  • Black-letter edition
  • Presentation page
  • Ribbon marker

Product Information

Format: French Morocco Leather

Vendor: Cambridge University Press

Publication Date: 1999

Dimensions: 9 X 6 1/4 X 1 1/4 (inches)

ISBN: 0521508819

ISBN-13: 9780521508810

Text Color: Black Letter

Text Size: 11 Point

Thumb Index: No

Ribbon Marker: Yes

Spine: Sewn

Page Gilding: Gold

 

Translation

This is, of course, a KJV text. Cambridge is most well known for their KJV Bibles and are, in point of fact, the holders of Letters Patent from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and so in having this edition, we quite literally have an Authorized KJV Bible.

I read the KJV primarily out of nostalgia since I learned to read using a KJV and because the KJV is what my grandmother used to teach me about family worship. It happens that KJV is the only Bible that I have used longer than NIV; it has been a faithful companion for 30 years.

Cover and Binding

It almost goes without saying that Cambridge gives a premium leather binding. In this case, we have black French Morocco Leather which Cambridge defines as leather taken from a split hide – sheepskin, calf or cowhide; slightly thinner than the other grades of leather and therefore relatively flexible and soft even when new. The liner is paste down as opposed to leather lined and in this particular Bible, I find that preferable; it turns out that I am going back to school this autumn and the large print KJV Bible will be coming to class with me and, in that environment, I do not want a floppy Bible. There is a noticeable grain in the cover, which is quite common among Cambridge Bibles and I love the grain. Everything about reading your Bible should be a delightful experience and the grain is exquisite to the touch.

Not surprisingly, Cambridge has given us a sewn binding. If you remember from other reviews, the sewn binding is what enables the Bible to stand up to a lifetime of use. I have a Bible with a sewn binding that my grandfather bought 60 years ago, which I still use regularly. I also have (put in a very safe place) my great grandfather’s Bible which also has a sewn binding, is over 100 years old and has a still intact binding.

Price Point

As a general rule, I do not comment on the price point of a Bible but I am shocked by the inexpensive price point on this Bible. Depending on your retailer, you will find this Bible available for between $70-$110. For a premium leather Bible, that is a steal.

Readability

If you have read any of my reviews, you know that I have an affinity for verse by verse format; this is because I find that format easier to teach from. This is a double column verse by verse format but in a plain text layout; you will not find references or helps of any kind.

Adding to the readability of this edition, Cambridge has provided an 11-point font on “high quality Bible paper.” I admit that I am not sure what they mean by that but I will say that the paper is quite opaque. This is a feature that Cambridge excels at; the opaque paper that they use makes their Bibles easily readable in almost any lighting.

For daily use

This is a midsize Bible, very similar to the venerable Turquoise. If you are the type of person who likes to make your own cross-references, this is ideal. Given the profile of the Bible, it should easily fit into most laptop bags or purses for regular carry.

Overall Impression and Final Thoughts

It’s a Cambridge. I realize that is a really obvious statement but we are talking about the world’s oldest Bible publisher, the company that sets the standard for all other Bible publishers.

This is one of two formats that I really wish Cambridge would bring to other translations, the other being the Concord Reference Bible. For a pure text edition, this is outstanding and most definitely is worth your dollars.