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Maclaren Reference Bible Review

Maclaren Reference Bible Review

 

Maclaren Bible Photos

 

The Preaching Bible from Thomas Nelson has been updated/retired in favor of the Maclaren Reference Bible. The two Bibles are nearly identical so there will be some overlap in my review. Like the Preaching Bible, the Maclaren is offered in both KJV and NKJV.

Note: The Brown Bible in the photos is the Preaching Bible and the black is the Maclaren.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson provided one in KJV in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review- my opinions are my own.

Translation Choices

The Maclaren Reference Bible is available in both KJV and NKJV, the most conservative and faithful English translations available. The Maclaren Reference Bible takes one of the best preaching Bibles available, makes a few tweaks and adds new cover options designed to appeal to a much broader audience than the Preaching Bible did.

NKJV is my translation of choice for preaching and I will be ordering the thumb-indexed version as soon as it is available in the US.

Cover

There are several cover options available: Leathersoft/imitation leather (what I am reviewing), Genuine leather/cowhide, and Goatskin. The Genuine Leather Edition also has an option for thumb indexing.

In the Maclaren Reference Bible, Thomas Nelson has really stepped up their game with the imitation leather cover. When I frst touched it, I thought, for one brief second, that the box might have been mismarked. However, I have handled enough cowhide in my life to realize that it was, by far, the most convincing imitation leather that I had ever encountered.

The imitation leather cover has a vinyl paste down liner. The liner lends durability to the book. Doubtless, many will use the Maclaren as a main Bible and it will find itself being carried regularly  so a paste down liner and imitation leather cover are wise choices.

Page Layout

Nelson really hit a couple of my favorites with this layout. We get a double column, verse by verse format with the references at the foot of the page. This layout is my ideal format for a Bible, especially one that I will take into the pulpit.

Paper, Font and Margins

This paper is absolutely outstanding, possibly the best that I have ever seen in a Thomas Nelson Bible. I would estimate it at a 36-gsm paper. It is very opaque and this is, perhaps, the most important feature in a Bible other than the font used to display the text. You should not have any issues with a highlighter or ball-point pen to mark in this Bible.

The font is Nelson’s Comfort print and it is very easy on the eyes. The font is very crisp and dark. It works well for me in many lighting situations. Unlike most Bibles, I do not have to hold this one close to read from it when preaching, I can let it rest on the pulpit and still see with no issues.

This is not a wide margin edition and I cannot, for the life of me understand why it isn’t. So many pastors make annotations in their Bibles and with this paper, the Preaching Bible would be the perfect choice for note-making.

Pulpit Use

All of the Bibles that I review get real world usage before the review is written. I am very peripatetic while teaching and this Bible’s design makes it very easy walk around with it while teaching.

The only other Bible that has given me as much enjoyment to teach from is my beloved 334 from Nelson (it’s the thumb-indexed one in the photos).

For carry/Field Ministry

I carried this Bible, daily, for about a week. Being that it is essentially the Preaching Bible in a less expensive cover It is very bright in Arizona and I expected to have some challenges reading in direct sunlight but I did not experience any issues, much the same as the Preaching Bible.

What was added

On the Maclaren, Thomas Nelson added Maps. That and the various cover options were the only real change.

Final Thoughts

The Maclaren is essentially the ideal reading Bible. As it happens it is also the ideal Bible for preaching. Just like its predecessor, I find that I can read it without any issues in most situations.

Just like its predecessor, I love the Maclaren. As I mentioned earlier, the Genuine Leather Thumb-indexed NKJV will become my main teaching Bible as soon as it is available.

ESV Thinline Bible Review

ESV Thinline Bible Review

 

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One of our most valuable partners is Crossway, publishers of the ESV Bible and I am pleased to be reviewing another of their excellent Bibles, the ESV Thinline Bible, which Crossway provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. They sent the Brown Natural Leather edition for us to review…

Special Note: my wife actually laid claim to this Bible the day that it came out of the box.

This ESV Thinline Editionfeatures:

  • Two-column paragraph format
  • Weights & Measures Table
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • 8 Pages of full-color maps
  • Presentation page
  • Family record section
  • Ribbon marker
  • Concordance
  • Eight pages of full-color maps
  • 8-point text size
  • 8.75″ x 5.75″ x 1.00″

 

The Leather and Binding

There is not a doubt in my mind that this “natural leather” is is actually a cow’s hide.  Truthfully, it feels as though someone simply removed all the hair from the skin of the cow and made a Bible cover from the top layer of skin. It is fairly stiff, which is to be expected from a mature cow and so it does not lay completely flat upon first opening.  Over time, the natural oils that occur in human skin will work their way into the cover and it will become softer and more supple. In the interest of full disclosure, there will always be a small measure of stiffness because it is a paste down liner as opposed to edge lined leather.

As is usually the case, this Bible has a sewn binding for lifelong durability.

Paper and Font

For such a small footprint, the paper is actually excellent. I have never found crossway paper to be lacking and in this case, it is no exception. If this were going to be your primary Bible for carry, you would have no issues with marking your favorite verses. As always, I recommend purchasing your highlighting products from a Christian Bookstore as they will have instruments specifically geared toward Bible marking.

Regular readers of this site will know that I have mixed feelings about red letter Bibles. This stems from two things: usually a very poor and inconsistent red ink and the fact that I write in my Bibles in red ink and so there is usually a visual disconnect for me. In this edition, though, Crossway’s red ink is very well done. It is rich and consistent which pleases my wife who uses this Bible on a regular basis.

It works out that my wife really enjoys this particular edition because an 8-point font is, in most cases, too small to be comfortable for me (the Cambridge Cameo, and I think Concord, being the only exceptions. Most people will not have any issues with the font size and it should, in most cases, be quite useful for daily reading.

For carry

The dimensions on this Bible make it ideal for carry in your purse or briefcase. You will find it large enough that you do not have to squint to read it but not so large that it will be cumbersome.

Overall Thoughts

At its price-point, you would be hard pressed to find a better leather Bible. Crossway’s Bibles are always superb and if they are not you can count on their customer service team to replace it fairly quickly.

 

 

 

ESV Pastor’s Bible Review

ESV Pastor’s Bible Review

 

If there is one organization that is committed to resourcing the local church, and especially pastors, it is Crossway. Crossway publishes dozens of different editions of the ESV Bible, Commentaries and other academic texts. Now, they have brought to the market, in a single volume, the ideal resource for the minister who is always on the move, the ESV Pastor’s Bible.

Note: Crossway provided this Bible for review free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

A word from Crossway about the ESV Pastor’s Bible

“About the ESV Pastor’s Bible

A pastor depends on the wisdom of Scripture for all aspects of ministry. What truths can be relied upon in seasons of celebration and in those of sorrow? What does the Bible have to say to us about marriage, sickness, and death? The ESV Pastor’s Bible was designed to help pastors draw wisdom from God’s Word for specific situations requiring pastoral care, such as baptisms, weddings, hospital visits, or funerals. In the front matter, back matter, and throughout the text, the Pastor’s Bible contains excerpts written by pastors offering practical help for crafting a sermon, planning a special service, leading congregational prayer, conducting premarital counseling, visiting the sick, and resolving conflict within the church. Compiled under the guidance of seasoned pastors R. Kent Hughes and Douglas Sean O’Donnell, this substantial but portable edition is a great all-in-one resource for the on-the-ground pastor.

Features:

  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • 2 daily Bible reading plans
  • Excerpts from experienced pastors
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: Slipcase”

I am reviewing the cloth over board edition. Admittedly, I find the existence of this version to be a little odd; I almost never see a pastor carrying a hardcover Bible. I suspect this edition is offered for bi-vocational pastors who may be on a tight budget and it is good that Crossway is considering the pastor who needs an excellent resource but may have limited dollars to commit to gathering resources.

Paper, Font, Readability

I am quite impressed with this Bible’s readability. The font is a generous 9-point and is considered by some of Crossway’s competitors to be a large print font. The Pastor’s Bible finds itself in between the ESV Thinline Reference Bible (8-point) and the Large Print Thinline (10.5-Point). Overall, it is very comfortable on the eyes.

 

Part of the ease of use comes from the paper, it is just a little bit off-white and very opaque. Add to that the fact that Crossway’s printer uses a very deep and rich black and you get one of the easiest text blocks to read. Circling back for a second, the “off-whiteness” of the paper plays a very important role in why this Bible is so easy to read- there is no glare. Here in Arizona, the afternoon sun is very bright and severe which makes reading crisp white pages a bit of a challenge and with the particular paper in use, here, I wonder if maybe someone from Crossway has spent some time in the Southwestern U.S.

Binding, Ribbons, and Cover

There are 3 cover options available: Genuine Leather, Cloth over Board, and TrueTone. Because of the sewn binding, and one of the 3 cover options should last for a very long time.

Crossway provides two ribbons, one for Old Testament and one for New

Minister’s Helps

Located in between the New Testament and the Old, you will find a section of Pastor’s helps. Essentially, what Crossway has done is to take a Minister’s Service Manual and put it right into the middle of the Bible. There are sample weddings, sample funerals, baptisms (infant & believer’s), communion services, etc.

Here is a list of the helps you will find:

Invocations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prayers of Confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Announcements of Assurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Historical Christian Creeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Baby Dedication. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Infant Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Believer’s Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Communion. . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . Wedding Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Funeral Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graveside Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Benedictions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

It would be hard to overstate how useful theses resources are. In addition, you will find helpful articles for pastors covering such topics as praying for the sick and cultivating discipling relationships.

 

Overall Thoughts

I really like the ESV Pastor’s Bible. I think it is one of the more useful tools Crossway has produced and I highly recommend to any pastor.