Tag: Large Print Bible

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.

TBS Family Bible Review

TBS Family Bible Review

 

Trinitarian Bible Society makes some of the best King James Bibles currently available, so it is a pleasure to review another of their Bibles. This time they sent me the Large Print Family Presentation Bible in exchange for an honest review. (This Bible was provided free of charge but my opinions are my own and were not coerced by TBS).

 

The Cover

As with all TBS leather Bibles, this is a calfskin cover with a paste down liner. In most cases TBS uses an ironed (smooth) calfskin. This time, however, there is a very pronounced grain which I love. The front is plain black and there is gold stamping on the spine.

 

The Text Block

The text block is a special edition from Cambridge University Press. The font is 10-point and very dark. It is double column and verse-by-verse. The paper is similar to that in the Concord but perhaps a little heavier.

 

This Bible would generally be categorized as personal/hand sized. It is very lightweight and easy to carry around. The paper offering is very opaque, not a lot of show through at all. This is one Bible I can easily recommend marking in; I don’t see there being a ton of issue with bleed through. I do not recommend a liquid highlighter but then I never do. However, there are a number of other tools for marking, any of which will do.

 

For Every Day Carry

Overall, this particular Bible is just about perfect for every day carry. It fits into my regular briefcase nicely but I also have a smaller messenger bag with a pocket that is just the right size for carry. As it happens the rich black font lends itself to easy reading in most lighting situations.

 

For Preaching

In the King James Version, this is one of the best preaching Bibles I have encountered. It is one of the two easiest for me to read, the other being the KJV Hallmark Reference Bible from Hendrickson.

 

Even though TBS did not design this Bible specifically for preaching, it is, actually, ideally suited to the task. Many pastors will carry a text only edition into the pulpit so that there are fewer distractions on the page. I tend to walk when I preach and carry the Bible one handed while doing so. The TBS Family Presentation Bible’s size lends itself quite nicely to this task. What really shocked me is that this Bible is much easier to preach from than my KJV Longprimer Reference Bible from Allan and sons. That fact also amused me; Longprimer is considered the flagship KJV and yet the TBS Bible is more comfortable for reading and is more hand friendly

 

Something Missing I Did Not See Coming

To my surprise, there is no concordance. A missing concordance is not really an issue as I have a host of topical study tools, dictionaries and other tools so it doesn’t bother me.

 

Should you buy?

Much like all Bibles TBS offers, I give this a hearty recommendation. This Bible is about as vanilla as you get. If the KJV is your preferred English Bible, then a Bible from the Trinitarian Bible Society absolutely should be your first consideration.

 

Final Thoughts

When you need a very high quality KJV on a tight budget, you cannot go wrong with the TBS Family Presentation Bible.

NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

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Additional Photos

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.

 

 

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 think it is very well done.

I 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 a 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Zondervan Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thinline Bible Review

Zondervan Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thinline Bible Review

 

 

Disclosure: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to post positive comments; my opinions are my own.

Crossway, Cambridge University Press, Broadman & Holman, R. L. Allan and Sons, Schuyler, Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins), and now Zondervan (Harper Collins). What do all these publishers have in common? They all publish deluxe/premium Bibles in various English versions and at varying ranges of the pricing spectrum. The closest in materials and price point to the Harper Collins Premier Collections are from Crossway and Holman. We will compare the Crossway and Holman editions today as well.

I am reviewing the Large Print Thinline NIV and I will compare it to the the Holman CSB Large Print Ultra-thin Reference Bible (LPUT) and the Crossway ESV Large Print Bible.

Product Description from Zondervan

This NIV Premier Collection Bible features a soft, fine goatskin cover and many other quality finishes such as art gilding, edge lining, and three thick ribbon markers. The NIV Premier Collection Bible combines fine craftsmanship with ultimate readability and portability. It features the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print font expertly designed for the New International Version (NIV) text, and delivers a smooth reading experience to complement the most widely read modern-English Bible translation.

 

Features:

  • Hand-bound in a supple goatskin leather cover
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art Gilt page edging, with gilt line and perimeter stitching
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print typeface
  • Three satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Premium European Bible paper, 36 gsm
  • Black-letter text
  • Family record section

 

Price Point-

  • NIV Large Print Thin-line $149.99
  • ESV Large Print in Top Grain Leather $139.99
  • Holman CSB LPUT-$129.99

Cover Material and Binding:

  • NIV: Black Goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Crossway: Black calfskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Holman: Black goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.

Winner: Tie between Zondervan and Crossway.

Among all three, we have the top Bible in its translation and class. Zondervan’s goatskin is quite wonderful. It is smoothly ironed with just the faintest sense of grain. That scent, which only a true book aficionado will love is there; it is intoxicating and it is what I look for most when I open a new Bible. This leather is infinitely more touchable than the Holman and that is part of what sets Zondervan apart; your first sensation when you interact with your Bible is how it feels. It should feel natural in your hand, not too cumbersome, loose but not so floppy that it falls out of your hand if you use it one handed.

When you look at the leather, you will notice tiny variations in the skin and you need to know that this is not a defect. Many times you will see “blemishes” in leather goods and this is a natural result of using real animal skins. I have come to look for these little variations as they make it more unique.

A goatskin leather cover and a sewn binding guarantees your Bible will last for a lifetime, which is exactly what Zondervan guarantees.

Side note: Both Holman and Crossway beat Zondervan with a tighter binding.

 

Font

  • NIV: 11.4-point comfort print font type
  • Crossway: 11.5-point font type.
  • Holman: 9-point font type

Winner: Zondervan

Zondervan uses what it calls a comfort print font that was designed by 2/k Denmark, who also designed the typeface on the Holman and the similarities are obvious when you look at the two Bibles. Zondervan and Crossway give us true large print fonts.

While Crossway offers Zondervan stiff competition, the Comfort Print from Zondervan is, far and away, the easiest font that I have read. Zondervan and 2/k Denmark teamed up to create a font family that is very easy on the eyes and is intentionally designed to minimize eye fatigue.

Paper:

All 3 Bibles use a 36-GSM Bible Paper but this time Holman is the clear winner.

Zondervan’s paper is sufficiently opaque to be easy to read. However, there is a bit of a shine so it can be challenging in the pulpit. I have a tendency to be mildly peripatetic and so there was not really a major issue with the shine.

The remainder of the review will focus exclusively on the Zondervan and my thoughts…

 

Ribbons:

Zondervan gives 3 satin ribbons- Navy blue, light blue, and standard blue. The color variation is an offset to the blue under silver art gilding and is another feature designed to make the Bible easy on the eyes.

Layout:

We have a double column paragraph format that is text only. For classroom teaching, this is an ideal layout. When you are standing before your learners and bringing the Word, you do not want any distractions. Some of my colleagues prefer to preach from a single column format but I just cannot do it. I have taught from a double column for so long that I can’t function without that layout.

As a pastor’s Bible:

The Large Print Thin-line NIV is very portable and fits nicely into my laptop bag. It is very easy to use one handed. Because of its portability, it went with me for one-on-one discipleship, on a hospital visit, and into the pulpit. Overall, I found it to be very practical. If I had one complaint it would be that the sewing is loose enough that the Bible feels very floppy; I would like to see it sewn a little tighter.

Is anything missing?

That is a tough question to answer. A concordance is definitely left out and I’m not sure why. I would like to see end of verse references and a few lined pages for notes. The absence thereof is not problematic, more of nit picking on my part.

Would I recommend the Large Print Thin-line? Who should buy it?

I do recommend the NIV and so I recommend this by default. As for who should buy this particular Bible, I would primarily recommend this edition for someone who is teaching the Bible on a regular basis and especially for missionaries. In my personal opinion, it is the most practical Bible that Zondervan offers.

Final Thoughts:

Zondervan’s sheer size as a publisher enables them to offer a very high quality Bible at what is a fairly low price point for the premium class. Many Christians only have one Bible and it needs to be a good one; when I say a good Bible, I mean a high quality edition that will easily last 25 years or more.

I am glad to see that the world’s best selling English Bible is available in a format worthy of Sacred Scripture. I am also pleased to see that Zondervan is offering a price point that will be more accessible to many Christians.

 

The Living Bible Large Print Review

The Living Bible Large Print Review

 

I am really excited for today’s review as I am reviewing one of the most influential Bible versions ever produced, the very first one to receive a Quadruple Diamond Award (1 Diamond = 10 million units) from the ECPA, The Living Bible Paraphrase. For 40+ years, with over 40,000,000 units sold, the Living Bible has been impacting lives. In 1996 TLB gave birth to one of the two most used English translations of the Bible the New Living Translation, also published by Tyndale and, itself, a Triple Diamond winner. This is one of a very few English versions that I think every single English speaking Christian needs to have.

 

Tyndale House has provided a large print two-tone, thumb indexed, version for free in exchange for an honest review. I have a padded green hardcover (probably 2 or three, actually) that I use on a regular basis.

Product Description

The Living Bible is a “thought-for-thought” translation of the Bible. It is a “paraphrase” – a summary of Scripture- rather than a word-for-word translation of Scripture. As such, its purpose is to summarize what the writers of the Scriptures meant rather than quoting them directly. The Living Bible may be particularly helpful for those who are new to the Bible, or for those who have difficulty understanding the words of the Bible.

Features Include:

  • Double column format
  • 10- point type
  • Footnotes
  • Bible Reading Plan
  • 2 Maps black & white
  • Topical Concordance

 

Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 1184
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 10 X 7.3 X 1.6 (inches)
ISBN: 1496433521
ISBN-13: 9781496433527
Text Layout: Double Column

 

 

What is The Living Bible?

The Living Bible is a paraphrase of the English Revised Bible, American Standard Version of 1901 (American Standard Version or ASV for short). The ASV, long held to be one of the best English Translations, is an ideal source for a paraphrase given its meticulous nature and attention to detail in translating.

 

Why paraphrase the Bible?

In Dr. Taylor’s own words, “The children were one of the chief inspirations for producing the Living Bible. Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the King James Version, which we were then using, or the Revised Standard Version, which we used later. All too often I would ask questions to be sure the children understood, and they would shrug their shoulders—they didn’t know what the passage was talking about. So I would explain it. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thought. It suddenly occurred to me one afternoon that I should write out the reading for that evening thought by thought, rather than doing it on the spot during our devotional time. So I did, and read the chapter to the family that evening with exciting results—they knew the answers to all the questions I asked!”

 

Doesn’t a paraphrase take away from God’s Holy Word?

It can but that is entirely dependent on the person doing the paraphrase and their commitment to the Scripture. In the case of TLB, there is nothing taken away from the Scripture. It is clear, when reading, that Dr. Taylor held the Scripture in high esteem and truly wanted even the simplest and most childlike to be able to understand the Scripture.

 

Cover and Binding

This review copy is TuTone/Imitation Leather and, as best as I can tell, has an adhesive binding, though it could very well be sewn. The binding is nice and tight, which lends to the possibility of smythe sewing and the TuTone cover is very soft, though it is distinguishable from real leather. It should easily last for 10 plus years of service.

 

Paper and Font

We are given a crisp white paper with minimal show through and almost no glare; in most light settings, I had no issue with reading. The font that Tyndale chose is really stellar and is incredibly easy on my eyes. Many Bible publishers call a 9-point font large print, which irritates me to no end; in academia 10-point is the standard for large print so Tyndale choosing to follow the academic standard is incredibly helpful.

 

Layout and Indexing

For layout, we have a double column paragraph format, with double column being the most common format for Bibles. While my preference is for verse by verse, the paragraph format does lend toward easier reading. The plain text format will lend to easy reading and you will find limited footnoting interspersed throughout the text.

 

True to form, Tyndale has provided thumb indexing to make the Bible more accessible to the reader. Thumb indexing is still done by hand so some Bibles may appear uneven.

 

As a carry Bible

The size of this Bible works really well in my briefcase; this is very important for me because I do a tremendous amount of 1 on 1 ministry as a bi-vocational pastor.

Should I buy this Bible?

You should buy a copy of the Living Bible Paraphrase in whichever format your budget will allow. For ESL Bible Students, the Bible is rendered into an easy to understand level of English that will grow with you as you increase your command of the English language. First time Bible readers will find that the approachable language makes the Bible easy to internalize. For the pastor and the professor, the TLB will be of immense help in capturing the thought. We have two goals as Bible students, to find out exactly what the words say and then to find out what they mean and the TLB, paired with a word-for-word translation will give a tremendous amount of help in communicating the Gospel of Christ.

 

NASB Side Column Reference Bible (2017) Review

NASB Side Column Reference Bible (2017) Review

 

Since at least 1973, the Side Column Reference Bible (SCR) has been a mainstay of the New American Standard Bible. It is the “workhorse” Bible for many a pastor, student, missionary, or at-home Christian who wants to know God better. It is the one Bible that I keep going back to, irrespective of which translation that I try to use. Why, though? What is it that makes the SCR the ideal choice in a Bible? I hope to answer that in this review…

 

Disclaimer: Today’s review Bible, the NASB Side Column Reference Bible in black calfskin was provided by the Lockman Foundation at no charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not asked for a positive review, simply an honest one.

 

Product Details from Lockman

A one inch outside margin and over 95,000 cross-references will enhance your daily reading and study. This Bible features a single column of Bible text making reading smooth and steady.

Features

  • 1″ Wide margin
  • Concordance
  • Maps
  • Side-column cross references and text notes
  • Single column, verse format layout
  • Presentation Page
  • Family record section
  • Black Letter
  • 2 Ribbon markers
  • Gold page edges
  • 10-point text size
  • 75″ x 7.00″ x 1.50″

 

To the question of what makes this Bible the ideal choice…

As I have mentioned before, most people have only one Bible that they use on a daily basis; it is an uncommon event for them to purchase a new one and so choosing a new Bible can be a very momentous event (and from what I have been able to participate in at local bookstores, a very emotional one as well). Hopefully this review helps you to make your decision…

 

Translation Choice:

It is no secret that I love the NASB and there is perhaps no choice more important that which English translation that you use. New American Standard Bible is absolutely uncontested as the most literal translation that you can invest your resources in; a sentiment backed up by a number of college professors and pastors that I know. Almost every pastor I know, regardless of what they teach from, owns an NASB and uses it for comparative study. NASB, being the update of the 1901 ASV, well lives up to its tagline that the most literal is now more readable. Some have said that the NASB sounds “wooden/stiff;” I disagree. After 21 years of use, I find the NASB to be as familiar as talking to an old friend.

The Margins

I love wide margin bibles and this is no exception. Margins are 1-inch wide and while I have seen as large as 1.25 in times past, this seems to be the standard size. Every page has these luxurious margins for your notes and personal cross references. In fact, it is this feature alone that makes this your personal bible. No one else will ever put the same content into their Bible.

 

Let’s digress for a moment. There are two brands of pens that I would recommend for writing in your margins and I will link them below.

http://pilotpen.us/categories/ball-point-pens/better-retractable/

F-301 Ballpoint Retractable Pen 0.7mm Assorted 9pk

 

Both of these pen series will provide rich color with little to no bleed through. I have tried a number of different pens and highlighters in various Bibles and I have found that I like the Pilot Better Retractable and the Zebra F-301 the best for writing notes and underlining. Your results may vary. As far as highlighters go, I still have not yet arrived at a product that I like well enough to recommend. 

What do I recommend to write in the margins of your SCR Bible? There really isn’t one specific answer. In some Bibles I like to write key points from a sermon I am listening to. In other Bibles I like to do topical reference lists. With my NASB, I always have at least one that has word studies in it.

 

Notes and References

95,000 references guide you through virtually every possibility of Scripture interpreting Scripture. There are one or two Bibles that offer more references such as the Westminster but, for most pastors, this Bible will go far beyond your daily needs Accompanying the references are translators notes, showing alternate translations as well as what variant Greek manuscripts may or may not have in the text.

 

If you are unfamiliar with a Bible from Foundation Publications (Lockman’s publishing brand) it is somewhat difficult to explain why I think the references are a big deal. There are some other Bibles with excellent references, Concord, ESV Classic, and others but Foundation Publications Reference Bibles stand in a class by themselves, ok maybe Westminster joins them. I always advise people to choose a Bible as if it were going to be the only tool you have to study the Bible ever again and in choosing the SCR you will be sufficiently supplied with tools to study and to teach others. We will talk about additional tools in another section.

 

Size and Portability

This is considered a full size Bible with dimensions of 9.75x7x1.50 inches. To look at it, you would not think it would be easily portable. For a book of its size, I expected it to be a little heavier. I am very parapatetic (I like to walk and talk) and I am also very Italian (I talk with my hands and in both cases there was no issue. While I am not as hard on my Bibles as Dr. Stanley, I do put them through their paces and I am confident that this will hold up nicely.

It was a little big for the pocket I normally use in my laptop bag but easily fits in the main pocket. If you are curious as to which Bibles work well with which briefcases, I have found that Solo and Swiss Gear do nicely. When you are traveling, this Bible should fit in most luggage or laptop bags easily.

Cover & Binding

As would be expected, the SCR uses a smythe sewn binding. In regular English, that means that it is sewn together so that you do not have to worry about chunks of the Bible falling out (I live in Arizona and have made the mistake of leaving a glued Bible in the car. That is not a cleaning bill I plan to get again). It also means it will lay flat, ready for study, no matter which book you open to. This particular method would allow, if you were so inclined and I am not, for folding your Bible in half. I am not inclined to do that because eventually it will damage the spine.

The calfskin for the cover is very soft and limp. It does not rival the venerable 2002 edition but I do not really see anything to complain about; it is what I expect from an ironed calfskin cover. The calfskin SCR is leather lined for an even softer more supple feel.

 

Caring for your calfskin

For some of you, this may be your first calfksin Bible and I want to add a little note. The most important advice I can give you is to use it. Your skin has natural oils that will keep the leather soft and supple. Do not use household oils. If you need a particular product, I recommend you contact Leonards Books and they can give you several ideas.

 

How long should this SCR last? That will depend on you, the user. With proper care, I could see 20 years of use before a rebind would be needed; here in the desert that might be closer to 10. The block itself could last 50 years.

 

The Paper

At last we come to it, the major concern of those buying Bibles today, the paper…

How you view the paper is largely dependent upon your experience with other Bibles. I would classify this as a semi-premium Bible because of its price point. I have 4 versions of the SCR, 1973, 2002, 2013, and 2017. The 2002 has the best paper of the three. That being said…

I like the paper. There isn’t really see through like there was on the 2013 edition. Comparatively speaking, the 2013 SCR was no where near as bad as some of the garbage other publishers try to pass off as a quality Bible. Some people are super particular and if they see any shadow, at all, they don’t like the book. Those folk will not like this edition. Others, like myself, are more realistic and will note that even though you see a little shadowing, you cannot read the text on the opposite side of the page like you can in other Bibles.

I want to write in this Bible, what will happen? Earlier, I mentioned two series of pens that I recommend; if you use these, you will be fine. You should not experience bleed through. I cannot speak to any liquid highlighters as I do not plan to try them. The gel and dry-liners should not have any issue either.

Here is some official information from Lockman:

“New:

30 gsm, 1520 pages per inch

Whiteness ~84

Opacity ~83

 

Past/current paper:

28 gsm, PPI 1350

Whiteness ~87

Opacity ~77

 

The new paper is a brighter color which provides better contrast with the print. It’s smoother and more consistent in opacity across the page. It’s more thin reducing the thickness.

 

It will take a while for the new editions to filter into distribution depending on binding and there will be a mix of edition for quite a while. There is not a way to tell when purchasing, so the new ones will get out over time and I don’t know how long that will take.”

 

I am pleased with the paper overall.

 

Tools

The other tools that are available are the NASB Concordance, Book Introductions and Maps. These are fairly uniform across Foundation Publications products so there is not much needing to be said.

Final Thoughs

This is an excellent Bible. I give it a 9.5/10. I am only taking half a point off for lack of goatskin as a cover option. While we wait for the new update, I commend this Bible to you for your daily study and ministry needs.

 

**Additional/better pictures to follow**

 

CBP Large Print Thompson Chain Bible Review

CBP Large Print Thompson Chain Bible Review

 

 

Thompson Chain Reference Bible (TCR). It is one of the top two pure study Bibles that you can buy today. When I say it is a pure study Bible, I mean that it is free of any commentary and comes as close to not having any denominational bias as is possible, which is an amazing feat because Fran Thompson was a Methodist Minister.  The TCR has been around for a little over an hundred years and my family has trusted TCR for almost 60 of those years. My grandfather studied and taught from a TCR and, even though it is not my primary preaching Bible, I also study from the TCR; nearly every pastor that I know references it as well. We will talk about why TCR is preferable in a minute. Since we are doing our first review of a Bible from Church Bible Publishers, I want to give you some background and then we will talk about the features of the Bible. (Note: CBP did not provide this Bible and they did not solicit this review.)

Based in Cadillac, Michigan, Church Bible Publishers (CBP) is a true not for profit Bible publisher. CBP sells their Bibles at cost to make it more readily available to average Christians. In addition to making high quality, low cost Bibles available, CBP also provides Bibles for jail/prison ministry and they also support World Missions/Bearing Precious Seed to provide Bibles overseas. I would liken CBP to my dear friends at the Trinitarian Bible Society and I would love to see them cooperate since they have the same stated goals and both publish some amazing editions of the KJV Bible.

Now the review…

 

Translation Choice

CBP only publishes the King James Version of the Bible. Because they use the Cambridge Text Block and not the Oxford, they can rightfully say that they publish the Authorised Version (I used the Anglican spelling on purpose as Cambridge is Her Majesty’s publisher and holds letters patent to print the KJV.) I will say two things about the choice to only print KJV and I am sure that I will anger some of you in so saying: 1. I am not a King James Onlyist which means I do read other translations. 2. I am grateful that CBP has chosen to only publish the KJV. If you are scratching your head right now, those are not contradictory statements. I love the KJV and read from it often but I also read other translations. More importantly, when you focus on a single translation, you can focus more on putting a quality, enjoyable product into the hands of your customers. I say, regularly, that the entire Bible experience should be a joy and that includes the choice of translation and publisher.

Cover Material

The Large Print TCR that I was able to acquire is bound in black ironed calfskin. “Ironed” means that the grain has been pressed out and that it is very smooth. To give you an example of how smooth, I told a friend it is like touching your face after a professional hot lather shave. It is luxuriously soft and nearly as touchable as velvet or silk. I love the way the leather feels and smells. There is nothing quite like a nice leather and CBP has found excellent stock.

Binding

All CBP Bibles have a sewn binding; this fact is so important that I endeavor to not purchase any Bibles that have a glued binding. By using a sewn binding you guarantee some very important things will happen. You guarantee that the Bible will last a lifetime (my grandfather’s Thompson lasted him 40 years and 17 years later it is still going strong for me. You also guarantee that the book itself will open and lay flat regardless of where you open the Bible.

Paper and Ink

The paper is a crisp white and gloriously opaque. I am not sure how CBP does it, but it looks as though they have a darker ink that is much easier on the eyes. Even in the severe Arizona sun, I had no issues reading my TCR.

Price-point

The large print TCR is listed as $85.00 USD on the CBP website. This is important because it is nearly $30 lower in cost than the top tier offering from Kirkbride, the normal publisher of the TCR and Kirkbride does not even offer calfskin.

Warranty

Not finding any warranty information on the website or in the Bible itself, I called CBP to ask about the warranty. It was explained to me that they handle each warranty claim on a case by case basis to ensure that each customer has the best overall experience possible.

TCR Edition and Features

CBP is printing the 5th Improved Edition of the Thompson Chain. Each TCR includes the following features:

* Over 100,000 topical references * Over 8,000 Chain Topics * Updated Archaeological Supplement with photos and maps * Outline studies of each book of the Bible * Journey maps and Bible harmonies * Biblical Atlas * Bible Book Outlines

Detailed Features of a TCR (From my review of the NASB hardcover)

  1. Every Thompson Chain Bible has over 8,000 completed chain topics. These topics take every important verse of scripture and codify it into topics that can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. Operating under the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture, these chains take you through each topic in such a way as to allow the Bible to illuminate itself and guide you into deeper understanding of the Bible.
  2. Outline Study/Analysis of each Book. In the Helps Section, found in the back of the Bible, every book of the Bible is presented in outline form. Each outline serves as an excellent guide to expository study of the Bible.
  3. Updated Archaeological Supplement. The Archaeological Supplement brings the Bible to life in a new and exciting way. Each article is keyed to the Thompson Chain Reference System allowing you to see how recent discoveries support and affirm the truths of the Bible.
  4. Character Outline Studies. Character studies not only highlight the major players of the Bible, they also provide background information as to the condition of the society at their time, and how the character relates to God and to redemptive history.
  5. Harmony of the Gospels. The Harmony of the Gospels Supplement is as straightforward as it is useful. Each story from the life of Christ is listed along with the corresponding passages from the Gospels. This is an excellent resource for an in-depth study of the life of Christ.
  6. Portraits of Christ.  Portraits of Christ provide 7 different views of the Lord’scharacter as seen by Isaiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Revelation.
  7. Bible Atlas (13 maps). Many of the maps in the Bible Atlas are keyed to the Thompson Chain. You not only get to picture the lands of the Bible, you can also easily trace the journey of many of the key players.

 

 

Product Specifics

Weight 3.60 lbs
Dimensions 10.75 x 8 x 1.5 in
Products Bibles
Size Large Size
Cover Type Ironed Calfskin
Cover Styles 1 Piece
Cover Colors Black
Features Concordance, Large Print, Maps with Index, Red Letter, Self-pronouncing text, Study Bible
Font Size Bible Text – 9 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt
Margin Size Bottom – 0.25″, Inside – 0.5″, Outside – 0.625″, Top – 0.5″
Thumb Indexed No
Add Gift Box No

Final Thoughts and should you buy this Bible?

How could I not recommend that you buy this Bible? The TCR is one of the best study Bibles that you can buy and, unless Cambridge, Allan, or Schuyler release one in goatskin, this is the best TCR you can get. TCR is also available from CBP in a “midsize” which we would normally call the standard size TCR, no doubt in the same high quality leather. If you want the best study tool you can have and you want it in a format that will last a lifetime, this is the TCR that you want.

 

 

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.