Tag: NASB

NASB Large Print Bible in Blue Buffalo Hide

NASB Large Print Bible in Blue Buffalo Hide

Fans of the NASB, myself included, there is new reason to celebrate, an additional high-quality leather binding option-buffalo hide. In this review, we are considering the blue buffalo leather option, which Zondervan sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

 

Click here for photos of this Bible

 

To begin, the edition I am reviewing is the Large Print Thin-line. It is, to the best of my knowledge, a new style for the NASB and one I rather enjoy, to be quite honest.

 

Cover and Binding

As I mentioned with regard to a similar option in the NIV, this is a very supple and flexible leather offering. This buffalo leather is on the same quality level as an ironed calfskin. Ironically enough, this Bible comes in at a lower price point than a traditional calfskin.

 

The leather lined cover is buttery soft and a delight to the touch. It is not as thick as the buffalo hide on other Bibles that I own but still feels every bit as sturdy.

 

Naturally we get a sewn binding. Zondervan left the binding a touch loose. This is to ensure ease of use one handed.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

As has been the case with its cousins in the Premier Collection, the NASB Large Print Thin-line Bible uses a crisp white paper. There is minor show through but nothing that will interfere with its use. If you are like me and enjoy marking in your Bible, I recommend colored pencil for marking in this Bible.

 

The Comfort Print Font Family really shines in this Bible. The verse by verse layout works out extremely well when paired with the 11-point font that Zondervan is offering. The red lettering is a little lighter than I had expected but it is still very well done and very easy to read.

 

In addition to being in a verse by verse format, we also have a double column setting. The double column setting makes it about 50-60% thinner than the most recognizable NASB Bible on the market, the Side Column Reference Bible.

 

The limited Translator’s Footnotes can be found at the bottom of the page.

 

For Everyday Carry

At around 1 inch thick, this is a great format for a daily use Bible. It should fit in most briefcases, backpacks, and purses without issue. I would say this Bible weighs in at 2 pounds or less so you should not experience any carry fatigue. The small, versatile format lends to a wide range of uses including personal study, one to one discipleship, or preaching.

 

As A Preaching Bible

An 11-point font is the smallest size that I would recommend for preaching and this particular Bible will do very well in the pulpit. As a text only Bible, there is nothing to distract from the text when preaching or if you are leading a responsive reading with your congregation.

 

Final Thoughts

NASB is one of the most important English Versions available and this is an excellent offering from Zondervan. Zondervan is the largest publishing partner that the NASB has and I have long wanted Zondervan to give us a broader selection of Bibles from which to choose; it is nice to see them finally doing so.

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.

 

 

Zondervan NASB Side Column Reference Bible

Zondervan NASB Side Column Reference Bible

premier scr

Additional Photos

 

For 24 years I have used and loved the New American Standard Bible. Now, my favorite NASB edtition has been released in incredible new packaging. Zondervan has brought the Side Column Reference Bible into the Premier Collection. (Pursuant to law, I disclose that this Bible was provided in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own, I was not asked to give a positive review.)

The Translation:

For those that are new to the New American Standard Bible (NASB) let me open with a little information. NASB stands in the lineage of the most literal English Bible ever produced the Revised Bible, American Standard Version (1901). There have been incremental changes to make it more readable but it remains fastidiously literal, so much so that I have had seminary professors say that it could easily be used to cheat in Greek  class. Setting it apart from other translations, the NASB renders the Greek Aorist tense exceptionally well and also handles the Second Person, in English, nearly as well as the KJV which is remarkable since we rarely use the Second Person anymore. Regardless of your primary teaching translation, every Bible teacher should have a copy of the NASB.

The Format:

This is my preferred layout for preaching, single column verse-by-verse with side column references and wide margins. While I was still in my very early days as a Sunday School Teacher, I discovered the single column verse-by-verse layout and immediately fell in love.

Each verse begins on a new line with spacing at 1.5 lines. The margins are 1-inch wide. To the right of the text block you will find the references in a vertical column much the same as you would find in a center column edition. You don’t get much in the way of a gutter margin but that is not a problem for me. I tend toward being peripatetic when preaching and frequently read one handed.

Cover, Binding, Paper

Goatskin. I do not really need to say more but I will. The Premier Collection all include goatskin. Amazingly, the NASB Editions have the best feeling leather, with the exception of the 2nd Edition of the MacArthur study Bible. The grain is mildly pronounced and the leather is softer than cool whip. I was impressed with the NKJV Premier Collection Editions but the NASB Editions take 1st Prize. Of course the leather is black, the obvious choice for the solemn office of Pastor. There is an imitation leather edition as well, in brown. Of late, Zondervan has been putting out some very convincing imitations with their leathersoft Bibles.

The binding, as you would expect, is sewn. For some reason I still get asked why this is important so here are two reasons: 1) The Bible will lay flat anywhere you open it. 2) By sewing the Bible, it will last for a considerably long time. I have seen Bibles from the 1700’s that are still intact because of the sewn binding.

Post 2007, the SCR has had some challenges with the paper selected. I am happy to say that Zondervan has remedied that problem. There is minor show through but nowhere nearly as bad as in the 2013 and 2017 editions. It is a bit shiny and is bright white which provides a great contrast to the black ink. I am not sure of the gsm but the pages turn rather easily. It is thick enough that you will not have issues with writing.

Font

The font is listed at 10-point Comfort Print. It is a black letter text which reads very well. Subject headings and chapter numbers are in a deep cranberry which offsets the black of the text very well.

The font is the same as in Zondervan’s NASB Preachers Bible. The SCR is easier to read, however because of the layout.

Helps

95,000 Cross References

The NASB is one of the most heavily cross referenced Bibles on the market. To the best of my knowledge, only the Thompson Chain Reference and Westminster Reference Bibles are more heavily cross referenced. I have seen some gripes about the fact that the Translator’s Footnotes have not been provided. My answer to that gripe is this: those of us who use the NASB in lesson preparation should have enough facility with the original languages as to make them unnecessary. Also, there are a host of other NASB editions with the footnotes added so complaining about them being missing is really, in my estimation, looking for something to be dissatisfied with.

Introduction with Outline

Several Zondervan Bibles (Amplified and NIV) have a one page introduction with brief outline and that feature now finds its way into the NASB Side Column Reference Bible. The introductions are just a couple paragraphs but there is enough provided to give an overview of each book of the Bible.

Parables of Jesus & Miracles of Jesus

There are a couple other charts but these two are worth a call out. Each one is a single page pointing out significant miracles and parables which Jesus performed.

Dictionary/Concordance/Thesaurus

Laid out in three columns, the dictionary/concordance/thesaurus combines three of the most needful study tools into a single section of the Bible. Pastors from less developed regions who are able to get their hands on an SCR will find themselves very well resourced for the preaching of the word.

Final Thoughts

Not one complaint. Not a single one. Since I was introduced to goatskin Bibles, I have wanted a copy of the SCR that was bound in goatskin.

I have loved the New American Standard Bible, as much as I have loved my New King James Version, and with the new SCR, I love it all over again in new ways. I had made the statement that the new SCR makes the choice between NASB and NKJV infinitely more difficult. It must be a tie. I had already possessed my ideal in NKJV and now I possess my ideal NASB.

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

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

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

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

The Concept:

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

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

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

 

The Font, Layout, and Pagination

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

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

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

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

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

Paper and Binding

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

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

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

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

My Gripes

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

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

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

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

Real world use

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

NASB Giant Print Reference Bible Review

NASB Giant Print Reference Bible Review

 

 

This review features a Bible that has been on the market for a while but is still a great seller and worth a review, the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible. (Note: This Bible was a gift during Christmas 2018. The Lockman Foundation was not involved in this review choice. The opinions offered here are my own.) I am reviewing the black imitation leather thumb indexed edition. It is also available in hardcover, burgundy genuine leather and black genuine leather.

Features

  • NASB 1995 Updated Text
  • 14-point font size
  • Double Column-Verse by Verse layout
  • 13,000 End of Verse/End of paragraph cross-references
  • Thumb indexing
  • Bible book introductions (located after Biblical Text)
  • Full NASB Dictionary-Concordance-Thesaurus
  • Translator’s Footnotes with translation variants
  • Sewn binding

Cover and Binding

The edition I am reviewing is the Black Imitation Leather. Lockman calls this Leatherflex; much like the TruTone from Crossway, it is a polymer based imitation leather designed to give you durability without the added cost. This particular Bible is soft and smooth but the imitation on the leather is not as convincing as on other Bibles. There is a paste down liner to provide a little extra stiffness in your hand to ensure that it remains steady during one handed use.

Lockman provides a sewn Binding for this edition making it clear that even in the budget model, they intend for you to have a lifetime of use. (A sewn Binding can easily last 100 years or more where a glued binding will maybe last 25 years and that’s with a very premium adhesive.)

Overall, I am satisfied with the imitation leather. I have been using it more than anticipated and will eventually have it rebound in a more premium cover.

NASB 1995 Updated Text

Long considered the most literal translation available, NASB95 follows in the footsteps of its predecessors the ASV and the 1977 NASB and gives us a fastidiously literal translation.

The NAS95 text is considered to be more readable than the 1977 edition but I must confess that I prefer the way the 1977 edition handles the 2nd person in English. I have had a seminary professor, with 50 years of teaching Greek tell me that the NASB is so literal in translating the Nestle-Aland Greek Text that one could probably use the NAS to cheat in Greek Class (not recommended). All in all, when you choose to study in NASB, you are getting one of the two most reliable and fastidiously literal translations on the market, the other being NKJV). While I use many translations for many reasons, NASB has for the last 22 years, been one of my top two choices. I cannot say enough good things about how the NAS handles the text. If there were one drawback, it would be that the text feels very academic as opposed to feeling liturgical like the ESV. That being said, for the serious expositor, NASB must be on your shelf.

Paper and  Font

The paper was a surprise and a very pleasant one at that. There is almost no see through, also called ghosting. It is a crisp white, generously opaque but not overly thick. Pages turn easily and give you that beautiful sound that I love to hear when standing in the pulpit and inviting the congregation to “turn with us” to the text for the week,

At 14-point, the text block is the easiest that I have ever preached. You can easily lay it on a standard height pulpit and have no issues reading the text. I happen to walk a bit while preaching and this particular font works really well for someone who likes to walk and teach.

This is a red letter edition which is really done quite well. Several publishers have issues with their red fonts where the font fades, turns pink, etc. Lockman did this red letter edition incredibly well. It is a deep rich cranberry color and there are absolutely zero issues with the red ink in the pulpit. Even in the unforgiving Arizona sun, I had no issues reading this text in the outdoors.

As a Preaching Bible

I still have other features to comment on, but I felt this would be the best place to address this. The NASB is available in the monstrous NASB Preacher’s Bible from Steadfast Bibles and it is great for preaching but lacks the utility and portability that the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible offers. The Giant Print Reference Bible is large enough to use in virtually any teaching environment but at 1/3 of the weight of its juggernaut cousin, the Giant Print Reference Bible is, in my opinion, the ideal NASB Preaching Bible.

Text Layout and Helps

I realize that there are many who disagree with me, but I have found that a verse by verse format is the best for preaching. In the Giant Print Reference Bible, we are presented a two-column layout in verse by verse format, each verse beginning on a new line.

In total, the NAS Family offers 95,000 cross references. In this Bible, however, only the most commonly used references are provided, bringing our total down to 13,000 references. The references are placed at the end of the verse or end of the paragraph so as not to disrupt the flow of the text

The dictionary-concordance-thesaurus is a brilliant combination of 3 tools. Each word is defined, referenced in the Bible text and alternate translations are offered.

The thumb-indexing is really done quite well. Even though I have long had the 66 books and their order memorized, I sometimes want rapid access to the particular book that I need and not having to page through the Bible is very useful.

The book introductions are 1-2 paragraphs for each book providing a solid overview of the book.

Final Thoughts and Should You Buy It

Overall, I am very pleased with this text edition. It is very well put together and, clearly, has in mind a reader who does not want a lot of distractions in the Bible they are using.

Lockman makes Bibles so well that it is hard for me to imagine a scenario where I would not recommend their Bibles and this is no exception. This Bible is well suited to anyone who uses it, but especially to those who teach. Should you buy it? Yes, and most especially if you teach the Bible with any regularity.

 

The Pastor’s Quad: Brief Comparison of the Preaching Bibles

The Pastor’s Quad: Brief Comparison of the Preaching Bibles

There are 4 Bibles chomping at the bit to be your new preaching Bible. I have reviewed them individually and today I want to compare them for you. They are ESV Preaching Bible (Crossway), CSB Pastor’s Bible (Holman), The Preaching Bible, NKJV and KJV (Thomas Nelson), and The Preacher’s Bible (GTY/Steadfast Bibles)

Let’s dive in…

ESV Preaching Bible

Translation English Standard Version

Cover and Binding Pebble grain goatskin, leather edge-lined

Font 10-point

Margins 1.25”

Format Single Column Paragraph

Stand Out Feature(s) Most liturgical sounding of the 4. Bolded verse numbers for ready references. 36 gsm paper, ideal for writing.

Drawbacks None

Well known pastors who use ESV John Piper, Allistair Begg

Why should you choose this Bible? The experience of using this Bible is unlike any other I have ever used (see my review). The translation coupled with generous margins and very heavy grade paper makes this a perfect choice for the Reformed or Reformed leaning Expositor.

Aside from the translation, I would say the paper is the top reason to choose this Bible. Many pastors, especially those of us who lean reformed, have a tendency to make marginal annotations (pictures, word study, cross references) and this paper is quite nice for doing just that. {Note: Alaways test your writing instrument on a page in the back first}

Nelson Preaching Bible

Translation King James and New King James Version

Cover and Binding Ironed Calfskin, leather edge lined

Font 11-point

Margins Non-existent

 Format: Double column, verse by verse

Stand Out Feature(s) Only Bible in the group that offers references

Drawbacks Tiny margins

Well known pastors who use NKJV Phillip DeCourcy, David Jeremiah, the late R.C. Sproul, Voddie Baucham, Mike MacIntosh

Why should you choose this Bible? Thomas Nelson has been producing KJV Bibles for nearly half the time the KJV has existed and, in honoring that legacy, also produce the New King James. These are the only Bibles in the group that offer the original translation (NKJV, which to date has not been revised/updated/or otherwise tinkered with). Nelson has the utmost in quality offered here and if you are looking for the most conservative of the translations available, these are it.

NKJV and I are the same age, both having entered the world in 1982 and we have a special connection. It has been with me so often that I had not even realized it was my go to Bible; I thought I was the NASB guy. That, though, is your ultimate goal in choosing your Bible- it needs to be so comfortable and so familiar that it is not just a tool in your hand but it is an extension of you. 

 

CSB Pastor’s Bible

Translation Christian Standard Bible

Cover and Binding Ironed goatskin with paste down liner

Font 10.5-point font

Margins 1”

Format Single column, paragraph

Stand Out Feature(s) Pastoral helps section for various services. Old Testament quotations in bold print.

Drawbacks Thin paper. Paste-down liners are less than flexible. Newest translation in the group.

Well known pastors who use CSB  Ed Hindson, JD Greear, Robby Gallaty, David Platt, Professor David Dockery

Why should you choose this Bible? CSB is almost a perfect blend of literal and readable. It offers and excellent balance of academic and devotional reading. This is ideally suited for age diverse congregations or congregations whose members primarily have English as a second language.

 CSB is growing at an extremely rapid pace. Formerly the Holman Christian Standard Bible, it is in its 3rd iteration and has been very well received by many. A number of smaller churces use the CSB as their main teaching Bible. The age of this tranlation seems like a problem at first, but when you read it you will see that it is sound, accurate and readable. If it were possible for the fastidiously literal NASB and the incredibly readable NIV to produce offspring it would be the CSB.

The Preacher’s Bible

Translation New American Standard Bible (1995 Updated Edition)

Cover and Binding Pebble grain goatskin, leather edge lined

Font 11-point

Margins 1.5”

Format single column, verse by verse

Stand Out Feature(s) 65 gsm paper, heaviest currently available in a Bible. Designed by John MacArthur, largest margins of the 4.

Drawbacks Largest Bible currently in production weighing in at nearly 5 pounds.

Well known pastors using NASB John MacArthur, Charles Swindoll, Steve Lawson, HB Charles, Charles Stanley

Why should you choose this Bible? The Preacher’s Bible carries the heaviest paper on the market, virtually guaranteeing no bleed through. With the largest margins in the group and generous spacing between lines, this is the ideal choice for the pastor who loves to write notes in the margins.

This is a juggernaut of a Bible and it isn’t easy to carry. This Bible is for you if you want to keep it on your desk, you pulpit, and not many other places. I am actually using this not as a preaching Bible but to create a Family Legacy Bible. Notes and passages marked from 3 generations of my family are being transferred/recorded here so that if the Lord tarries, I will leave it behind to the pastor who steps into my place when I pass and I will leave him a robust legacy of a strong faith. 

Is there a clear winner?

I am forced to declare a tie between Nelson and Crossway. Crossway looked deep into my soul and created the perfect Bible BUT I have realized that over 80% of my lessons over the last 22 years have been from NKJV (My most heavily marked up and used Bible is NKJV). Habit, more than anthing else, will keep the Nelson Preaching Bible in my briefcase and on my pulpit. Aesthetic appreciation will keep the ESV Preaching Bible right next to the Nelson in my briefcase and on my pulpit. Why choose? Both are perfect in their own right.

The truth of the matter is this: When you choose your preaching Bible, the translation should be your primary choice. It needs to be faithul to the original languages and as acccurate as possible. The choices represented here offer the best English translations available. Beyond that, for a Bible that you will take into the pulpit, less really is more. Your essentials are a large enough font to read from without eye strain and as few distractions in the text as possible. I happen to be peripatetic at times so I also look to be able to carry the Bible in one hand as I move about behind the pulpit. 

I commend to you any of the 4, but especially the Crossway or the Nelson. I would encourage you to try both. Be advised, both Bibles are so excellent that you may find yourself in the same boat as me and not able to choose.

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**