Tag: leather bible

KJV Sovereign Reference Bible Review

KJV Sovereign Reference Bible Review

 

Click Here for Additional Photos

 

When it comes to KJV Bibles, few players have more experience than Thomas Nelson, Cambridge and Holman are, perhaps, the only two. Lately, Thomas Nelson Bibles (hereafter Nelson) has been putting out some very nice Bibles and, now, they have put out what may well be the best KJV in its price class, the KJV Sovereign Reference Bible.

Before we go further, I want to disclose that Nelson sent this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review just an honest one.

The Elephant in the Room

Let’s just deal with this now…The Sovereign Reference Bible bears a striking similarity with the flagship of KJV Reference Bibles, the Schuyler Canterbury. There are those who accuse Thomas Nelson of copycatting the Schuyler but I think that is a little disingenuous. Where most people see a copycat, I see an homage. It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery and if that is true, Schuyler Bibles ought to be very flattered. Schuyler has put out an incredible product (I know because I have it) but at a price point that is out of reach of a good many Christians, most of whom will have only one Bible for most of their lives. The Sovereign Reference Bible has similar design cues but they are in fact, rather different Bibles. I will highlight some of those differences as we go.

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the black genuine leather edition and one of my several contacts at Nelson has informed me that the “genuine leather” is actually cowhide. I have handled enough leathers over the years that my initial assumption was “this must be cowhide” and I was right. There is a very pronounced pebble grain on the cover of the Bible. The grain makes the Bible a delight to hold which also makes one more inclined to read the Bible. I was surprised that we have an edge lined cover. I had expected a paste down liner and was glad to find otherwise.

The text block has a smythe sewn binding. The Sovereign in sewn a little tighter than most other Bibles. The tighter sewing makes the Bible feel more sturdy. The tightly sewn binding will require a little break in for the Bible to lay flat in Genesis and Revelation but rest assured it will happen.

Paper

The paper is one of the most obvious differences between the Sovereign Reference Bible and the Canterbury. It is a darker paper and just a bit thicker. It has a somewhat linen feel to it

Marking in the Sovereign Reference Bible should not be an issue regardless of what you choose to use as a writing instrument. I am partial to Prismacolor brand of colored pencils.

Layout and Font

The font is 9-point in Comfort Print. It is elevated by red ornamental drop caps fir the first letter of each chapter. They are quite beautiful and, incidentally, the reason people feel this Bible copycats the Canterbury. In both Bibles, I love the ornamental drop-cap feature. The KJV is steeped in elegance, majesty, and shows off the beauty of the English language in ways other works cannot and the ornamental dop caps highlights that elegance.

The Sovereign is laid out in a double column verse by verse format with references in the footer and book introductions in the header of the text. Subject headings are provided in a bright red font.

The Black Letter text portions are the darkest font that I can recall seeing recently. It calls to mind the Brevier Blackface Bible from R. L. Allan

The NT is a red letter edition which ought to be self-explanatory. The red is very nicely done, a deep rich red, almost cranberry in color. It is very easy on the eyes.

Helps

Cross References

Thomas Nelson’s complete reference system offers 72,000 time tested references, a clear advantage over the Canterbury. For decades pastors, myself included, have relied on Nelson’s Comprehensive Reference System for sermon preparation and understanding the Bible.

Concordance

The comprehensive Topical Concordance is another of Nelson’s best features.  This is not as in-depth as the Cyclopedic Concordance that Nelson includes in the Open Bible but, to the best of my knowledge, this is the most comprehensive Concordance available outside of two specialty Bibles. It is an incredibly valuable tool.

Introductions

Each book of the Bible gets a one paragraph introduction. The introduction offers basic background information on each book of the Bible.

Miracles of Jesus Reading Plan

The Miracles of Jesus Reading Plan offers 37 miracles that prove the deity and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Parables of Jesus Reading Plan

The Parables of Jesus Reading Plan presents us with 39 lessons that Jesus teaches about Kingdom Life and being His Disciple.

Full Bible Reading Plan

The Full Bible Reading Plans give us a Morning and Evening reading to guide us through the entirelty of Scripture in a year.

As a Preaching Bible

For almost everyone that takes this Bible into the pulpit, this is an excellent choice. I have a single gripe about the Sovereign Reference Bible and it is here-I would find it easier for preaching if the font were 10-point. Otherwise, it is an almost ideal choice. The paper and font perform extremely well in most instances.

As an Every Day Carry Bible

Being a “personal size/hand size” Bible makes this unit ideal for carry. It is a little thick for my usual briefcase but that is easily correctable. You should have no problems carrying the Sovereign on a day to day basis.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I find the this Bible to be quite nice. I wish the font were a little bigger but it is not a deal breaker for me. I think most people who own this Bible will find it to be quite enjoyable.

Oxford NRSV Text Edition

Oxford NRSV Text Edition

Order from Christian Book Distributors 

 

This being the 30th Anniversary of the New Revised Standard Version, it seemed like a good idea to review another one. (This Bible was acquired at my own expense and the review was not solicited by Oxford University Press.)

I am reviewing Oxford’s Standard Text Edition in black genuine leather with two ribbon markers.

Translation

The New Revised Standard Version is one of the two commercially available updates to the Revised Standard Version, the other being the English Standard Version. NRSV is a more ecumenical text offering the Protestant Canon, Protestant Canon with Apocrypha, and the Catholic Canonical Edition. The NRSV Translation Committee boasts members of the Evangelical, Jewish, Mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Communities. Having Jewish Rabbi’s on the Committee, NRSV offers one of the most accurate English Renderings of the Old Testament (In most NRSV this is listed as “The Hebrew Scriptures commonly called the Old Testament). NRSV is the translation that powers the top three Academic/General Reference Bibles: New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Interpreter’s Bible, and the Harper Collins Study Bible and it is the standard English translation at Mainline Protestant Seminaries.

There is some measure of controversy regarding gender language in the NRSV; I do have an opinion on this issue but this is not the forum to discuss that. As a general rule, I find the NRSV to be a good general use translation, it features heavily in my Old Testament Studies. I leave you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusion as to the translation itself, though I assume that if you are reading this, you are amenable enough to the translation to be interested in editions that are available.

General Format

This Bible would fall into the hand-sized category. It measures 8.75 X 6.0 X 1.25 inches. It is a quarter of an inch smaller than the medium or standard size bible (6 x 9 x 1.25). It most certainly fits into to the thin-line category and is very briefcase friendly. By and large, I find this format to be very practical but you do have to be careful of font size as some hand size Bibles can have a font size that is rather small.

Font, Layout, Paper

The font is 8.0 but it is one of the more readable 8-point fonts that are available. This is a black letter text, as most NRSV Bibles are, and the black is a deep rich ebony, which is crisp and uniform throughout. Translation notes are also in black, and they are plentiful. They are in a 6-point font so there is a potential of difficulty for near sighted people like me.

The Scripture is laid out in a double column paragraph format. I do prefer a verse-by-verse format but Oxford executes the Biblical layout very well. Verse numbers are a little smallish but this Bible does something interesting with subject headings; they are actually in the footer.

The paper is not listed as India Paper, but it feels very similar to the India Paper that Cambridge uses and it is not entirely illogical to think that this is India Paper. It is very soft, thin but not annoyingly so, and a fairly crisp white gold gilding on the edges. There are tiny instances of show through, especially in the poetry books, but it is very minimal.

Cover, Binding, Ribbons

The cover is black pigskin (Standard as genuine leather). The cover is full grain and very pleasing to the touch, The liner is paste down, which annoys me; I think only bonded leather should include a paste down liner. Genuine leather is the baseline for deluxe/premium Bibles and really ought to include an edge-to-edge leather liner.

Naturally, Oxford has sewn the binding. This Bible is very clearly intended as a daily use Bible and the sewn binding ensures that it will last a lifetime. As it happens, the cover will need to be replaced long before the binding gives out. The binding is sewn very tightly and will require a couple of weeks of use before it will lay flat in Genesis or Revelation, but after a couple weeks of continuous use, it will lay flat in any scripture portion.

There are two yellow silk ribbons provided.  One will mark your Old Testament readings and your New Testament Readings. Clearly it will not be enough if you use this Bible for preaching or teaching, but you can have additional ribbons added by a competent re-binder.

Helps

There are not very many helps; I do not really find that to be a problem. Oxford provides what they refer to as a Select Concordance; it is abbreviated but not inadequate. You will find more than enough subjects for lesson prep.

There are also a few thousand translator’s footnotes. These include textual variants and alternate English readings. I really enjoy translator’s footnotes as they tend to give you an insight into the minds of the committee members.

For Preaching and Carry

The compact size of this Bible makes it ideal for every day carry. It is certainly light enough to prevent you from getting tired arms if using in for one handed carry.

As a preaching Bible, your results will vary. For me, I cannot leave it rest on the pulpit while I preach, I have to hold it. I have a tendency to be peripatetic while I am teaching and the size definitely lends itself to walking and talking. The layout is very well suited to preaching and teaching. I wish the margins were large enough to make some annotations but I won’t quibble over petty details.

Who Should Buy

The NRSV is best suited to those in seminary or to those in mainline protestant denominations (I frequently find NRSV in United Methodist Churches and Lutheran Churches.) This particular edition of the NRSV is very well suited to the teacher on the go.