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Tag: Preaching BIble

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 Verse by Verse Preaching Bible

ESV Verse by Verse Preaching Bible

Regal. Scholarly. Majestic. Pastoral…pick an adjective and chances are it will fit this Bible perfectly. I refer, of course, to the ESV Verse by Verse Preaching Bible, which Crossway generously provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Crossway did not ask for a positive review just an honest one and my opinions are my own.

 

Click Me for Photos of the ESV Preaching Bible

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From Crossway

The ESV Preaching Bible, Verse-by-Verse Edition builds upon the foundational features of the ESV Preaching Bible with a new verse-by-verse format. The primary vision behind this edition was to create a Bible specifically tailored to the task of preaching. To that end, this edition maintains a preacher-friendly layout with each verse on its own line to ensure ease in public and personal reading. This elegant Bible features a highly readable type, enlarged and bolded verse numbers, extra-wide margins, high-quality paper, a durable smyth-sewn binding, and a premium goatskin cover guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Features

  • 9.75-point Lexicon type
  • Single-column, verse-by-verse format
  • High-quality, coated Bible paper
  • Created from the ground up with input from pastors and church leaders
  • Enlarged and bolded verse numbers surrounded by extra space to easily locate verses on the page
  • Presentation page
  • Concordance
  • 2 ribbon markers
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Premium goatskin cover
  • Packaging: Box

Now the Review

Initial Impressions

While I was growing a tad accustomed to Crossway’s offerings (there are only so many alternatives to excellent as adjective of choice and only so many ways to say they are worth investment) Crossway has slapped me out of my lethargy and prompted me to say this to Lauren (my contact at Crossway)

“NOW you have given me the ESV I have been pining for. My first ESV was the Single Column Reference Bible (that first copy was gifted to a new believer). I have a hardbound copy that has been my main ESV but this…this is the ESV I have wanted since I got the SCR. 

As far as I can tell, I will be returning to the ESV and will staying there.”

I very much enjoyed the original ESV Peaching Bible. However my own habits prevented my adoption of it as a preaching Bible; for 24 years I have taught from a Verse by Verse Format and, while I did endure a couple of months using a giant print in another translation, Verse by Verse is the format that I use. Ergo, I am delighted to have this offering from Crossway for my pulpit; it is the ESV I have longed for, I will explain why in the various sections as we go.

Layout

We will go a little out of my usual order and begin with the layout. This is a single column verse by verse format with almost no accoutrements in the text block. You will not find a reference in the text but you will find a few translators footnotes as well as subject headings. The headings are helpful if, like me, you take one section at a time. The margins are easily 1.5” wide and, when I first saw them, I instinctively reached for my pencil (though I am waiting until 2021 to begin the notes). Bolded verse numbers round out the accoutrements and they are the feature that I find most helpful. Much like the large print wide margin, they are very bold and black as midnight making it quite easy to find your place in the text.

Paper and Font

Crossway, as is their custom, gives us a very muted paper-moderately cream colored but very light in its coloration which sets off the red under gold gilding quite nicely. The paper is rather heavy, 32gsm if I had to guess. I would venture to say that most writing implements will work well on the pages of this Bible. I am not sure that I would use an archival pen but that has more to do with me having a heavy hand when writing. In normal cases I do not expect bleed through but always test your writing utensil in the concordance where it will not interfere with the text.

This is a black letter text edition, which is the only acceptable choice. A red-letter edition would interfere so much when taken into the pulpit. It is a deep ebony, coming close to the coloration of a Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar. Even without my bifocals, there is no strain on the eyes, which surprised me quite a bit as the font is only 9.7.

Cover and Binding

If you guessed the binding was sewn, you win! It lays flat quite nicely despite not being sewn super tightly.

The goatskin on the cover is the best that Crossway has offered on a Bible. I have handled many of Crossway’s Heirloom (goatskin) and Top Grain Leather (Calfskin) and have never walked away unsatisfied. I had previously thought that the single column preaching Bible was the best goatskin Crossway had offered but this is somehow better. The pebble grain is very pronounced, exciting every nerve ending in the fingertips.

For preaching

My pulpit stands at 5’10” tall and the Perching Bible performed quite well. I could leave it on the pulpit and read therefrom but I am rather a fidget and have difficulty not walking while I talk. The Preaching Bible is conducive to single handed use being evenly balanced. I can best describe its utility this way: This Bible could easily stand up to the punishment that Charles Stanley inflicts upon a Bible (watch him sometime and you will get the idea).

For 1 on 1 Discipleship and Biblical Counseling

Here is the area where my main Bible gets most of its use outside my home and, I suspect, probably where most other reformed pastors get most of their use as well. The margins are ideal for topical annotations related to counseling, marking out the Romans Road to Salvation and others. It may be a little bigger than what others prefer in their bag but I have never shied away from a large Bible and this one is absolutely perfect for carry and pastoral use in almost every situation.

Compared to my NKJV Preaching Bible

Believe it or not, the NKJV Preaching Bible is not my main NKJV for preaching, the Model 334 Personal Size Giant Print Reference Bible is my main Bible  for preaching. Each has clear advantages but the ESV  squeaks out a win.

Nelson 334 offers a 14-point font and thumb indexing. ESV however, offers more opaque paper, wider margins and a goatskin cover.

In the pulpit, I am rather glad of not having the End of Verse References. I would enjoy thumb indexing but its lack of inclusion is not anything I would complain about.

 

Final Thoughts

There is not really anything left to say. If ESV is your translation of choice, then either of the Preaching Bibles is absolute perfection and the Bible that should be in your pulpit. If it happens that ESV is not your translation of choice…maybe you should rethink that.

 

NIV Giant Print Thin-line Bible in Brown Buffalo Hide

NIV Giant Print Thin-line Bible in Brown Buffalo Hide

 

When I reviewed the NIV Giant Print Thin-line Reference Bible, I commented that I wished the Bible came in a higher-grade leather. Zondervan heard and answered my request, in a manner of speaking. Before we go too far into the review, I need to disclose that Zondervan sent me this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions, however, are my own- they did not ask for a favorable review just an honest one.

Click here for photos

 

Spoiler- this has replaced the Giant Print Thin-line as my preaching NIV.  Let’s find out why…

Cover and Binding

This is a brown buffalo leather and the leather was quite a surprise. I have two other Buffalo hide Bibles and they are rather stiff but this leather is quite supple and flexible. It is an ironed hide in a rich milk chocolate brown leather. My copy had a scent to it that reminded me of visiting relatives in Pennsylvania’s farm county- it was quite delightful.

I have reviewed several goatskin Bibles and I do love them but this leather I like better. Even though it is very flexible, this leather feels sturdier, like it will hold up better.

This Bible does have a sewn Binding. I have chosen to use this as a preaching Bible and, for that purpose, a sewn binding was absolutely essential, otherwise it would be useless within about 36 months.

Paper, Layout, Font

The paper is fairly crisp white. There is mild reflection in bright light but nothing that would irritating. I would say that the paper is sufficiently opaque for marking and, as I tend to do, I recommend the use of ball point pen for marking.

In some of the pictures, it looks like there is some show through (ghosting) but in person, there is not really much ghosting at all. It is really quite readable.

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

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

The layout is nearly identical to that of the Giant Print Thin-line Reference Bible but at half a point smaller on the font size, it does have slightly different pagination.

For Preaching

I have a few NIV, including the Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line (11-point font) which is a phenomenal choice for preaching. However, middle age and diabetes wear on my eyes, leading me to reach for the 13-point font size in the Giant Print.

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

 Compared to the NIV Preacher’s Bible

The NIV Preacher’s Bible is a great Bible for many and being keyed to the Pew and Worship Bible is nice BUT the NIV Giant Print Bible is, in my estimation, the superior Bible, simply by dint of the larger font. Both are offered in premium leather options and both are text only for utility in the pulpit so, for many people, either choice would be acceptable. That being said, I much prefer a larger font in the Bible I take to the pulpit.

Compared to the Large Print Thin-line

The layout in the Large Print Thin-line and the Giant Print Thin-line is virtually identical. The Giant print has about 300 more pages. The font sizes are 11-point in the large print vs 13-point for the Giant print. Either choice would be quite suitable for preaching.

Helps are not provided. Some of my colleagues will dislike this. I do not mind it. In the pulpit a text only Bible is preferable.

Final Thoughts

I am quite pleased with this Bible. For the price point, you get a very good value for the money. I wanted another high-grade leather option in the NIV, and I got it.

Zondervan called this the perfect every day carry Bible in giant print, a perfect exercise in understatement. This is the perfect Bible for preachers.

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

 

CSB Verse by Verse Reference Bible Reviw

CSB Verse by Verse Reference Bible Reviw

 

Anyone who knows me will know that a verse by verse format is my preferred format for a Bible. Single column verse by verse is my ultimate but double column works just as well. In this article, we are reviewing the CSB Verse by Verse Reference Bible, which Holman Bible Publishers was good enough to send me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.

Click me for photos

 

A Fun Fact to Start:

A.J. Holman is the oldest Bible publisher in the U.S. They beat out Thomas Nelson by just a couple years. With over 200 years publishing, they are one of the oldest Bible publishers still in operation (Cambridge University Press is still the oldest with nearly 500 years of experience.) Nowadays AJ Holman Company is the H in B&H publishing or Broadman and Holman if you like to use the formal name.

The Translation

This Bible is in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). Previous to licensing to AMG for the excellent Keyword Bible, which I also reviewed, Holman was the exclusive publisher.

CSB is a mediating translation of the Bible, though Holman calls this Optimal Equivalence (OE). An OE translation strives to give the best balance between fastidiously literal (think NASB) or free flowing and meaning based (think NLT) . It is fastidiously literal where it needs to be and very free flowing where it needs to be. It reads, and sounds, fairly close to the NIV with the major distinction being that the Christian Standard Bible leans more toward the literal end of the translation spectrum than does the NIV. Both translations are on a middle school comprehension level; if you like to be technical, I would rate it as 8th Grade on the Flesh-Kincaid Readability Matrix. Most of parishioners will not have any comprehension issues with the CSB but the younger crowd will, naturally, need to grow into it.

Is it a scholarly translation? Well, that depends on what you mean by scholarly. It is not ecumenical and most definitely is not liberal. It is very well suited for discipleship and study. Here are just a few of the Bible teachers, seminary presidents, and university faculty who endorse/approve of the CSB: Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Ed Hindson, Dr. Tony Evans, Allistair Begg, Robby Gallaty, Dr. David Dockery, Dr. Gary Coombs, Pastor Matthew Bassford, Pastor and Theologian Kofi Adu-Boahen, and me, Pastor Matthew Sherro. Do not forget that a major and extremely conservative publishing house, AMG, has licensed the CSB for their Keyword Study Bible.

All that to say…In the pulpit, in the classroom, or in your living room, you can trust that the CSB is a faithful and accurate translation. You can build your teachings and devotions on the CSB without worry.

Cover and Binding

There are two options available, brown bonded leather (which I am reviewing) and black goatskin. The bonded leather has a paste down lining with a bit of a pebbled grain. To the touch, this is a higher quality of bonded leather than what other publishers are using so I do not think it will wear out quite as fast.

Most Bible publishers have gone back to sewing their text blocks which is outstanding. Now if they would just print and bind in the U.S.A. There are publishers who do and yet keep the prices affordable but I digress… The sewn binding ensures the text block will hold up well over the years.

Layout, Paper, and Font

The layout is double column verse by verse with each verse beginning on a new line. The Bible looks to be line matched which lends to the readability of the text. Verse numbers are in cranberry red to aid in finding the number.

Why is verse by verse important? Verse by Verse is the ideal format for those who preach and teach. Each verse begins on a new line making it much easier to locate the verse which you will use for preaching.

The font was designed by 2k/Denmark. Many Bible publishers have been using them and a single glance is all that is necessary to understand why. Their fonts are the perfect blend of utility and aesthetics. This Bible is no exception, in my estimation, it is the most reader friendly font offered in a Holman Bible. Of course this is a black letter edition, however, the chapter headings, verse numbers, and page navigation are all in cranberry to make navigating the text easier.

The paper is soft white, far more muted than in other Bibles, and, so, is very easy on the eyes. Being gloriously opaque does not hurt that Bibles cause at all.  Sometimes Bible paper can reflect the dazzling brightness of the sun into your eyes if reading outside. Thankfully this does not happen here.

It is a wide-margin edition, hitting two of my sweet spots in Bible design. Margins measure approximately 1.1 inches wide. I am using this Bible in conjunction with the Bible from AMG so I have not decided, yet, if I will write in this one as well. I do like the option and may add some mini word studies which I would not want to forget in the pulpit. It is not a journaling Bible, the margins are too small for that. Rather, it is clear to me that Holman desired to give the Bible teacher his best tool possible.

Helps

Footnotes

Holman is well noted for having the most translation footnotes in a mainstream translation at around 30,000 annotations depending on edition. The NET does have twice as many but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of pastors I know who are in possession of an NET Bible full notes edition (I actually have it on 3 different software platforms but I am a huge nerd.)

It looks as though we get the full body of footnotes and I am delighted to see that. We are treated to alternate translations, manuscript variants, etc. Got a question about the text? Look at the bottom of the page and chances are the translators have provided it for you.

References

There are around 63,000 organic references in the Scriptures (One verse illuminates another without being part of a topical chain.) and Holman gave us all of them. On each page, they can be found at the bottom of the right hand column. I have grown to prefer this as it prevents the flow of the text from being interrupted.

Full Concordance

Holman has provided a full concordance (though not an exhaustive one). It runs to 75 pages with 3 columns of entries per page. Sufficient content is provided to teach on just about any topic you can imagine.

Actual Use Scenario

I am pairing this with AMG’s Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible with the latter for study and this for preaching and teaching. I have told a number of colleagues that if there were a verse by verse CSB available, I would use it more and I aim to make good on that promise. I have also made the statement that this is what the CSB Pastor’s Bible ought to have been in the first place. Allegedly most pastors want a single column paragraph Bible for preaching, but I have not met a single one who shares that sentiment. The CSB Verse by Verse is the ideal CSB Preaching Bible and Holman should change the name and call it exactly that, the CSB Preaching Bible.

Should you buy it?

For CSB users, this is one of two must haves. If you have been paying attention, you have already deduced the other. I will go a step further…If you preach from CSB, don’t take any other Bible into the pulpit than this.

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.

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.

Nelson Preaching Bible…Nearly Perfect

Nelson Preaching Bible…Nearly Perfect

 

The Preaching Bible from Thomas Nelson is nearly perfect, nearly. There is only one negative in this Bible and I will address is right away so we can move on to what I like about the Bible. It’s missing wide margins. I will deal with that more later.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson provided 2 copies, one in NKJV and one in KJV in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review- my opinions are my own.

First, some details from Thomas Nelson

Book Summary

Every detail of the Thomas Nelson Preaching Bible is tailor-made with preaching in mind. With features crowdsourced from actual pastors, the verse-by-verse format, large type, and an edge-lined calfskin binding makes the Preaching Bible ideal for both sermon preparation and pulpit use.

About the Book

Every detail of the Thomas Nelson Preaching Bible is tailor-made with preaching in mind. With features crowdsourced from actual pastors, a flexible calfskin cover, durable sewn binding, and elegant layout, the Thomas Nelson Preaching Bible is the ideal choice for those who have been called to the sacred task of preaching the Word.

Features include:

  • Verse-by-verse layout for easy navigation
  • Thomas Nelson’s exclusive Comfort Print® fonts
  • Premium high-contrast Bible paper
  • Ultra-flexible calfskin binding and durable edge-lined construction
  • 3 satin ribbon markers
  • 11.5-point print size

Translation Choices

The preaching Bible is available in both KJV and NKJV, the most conservative and faithful English translations available. I preached from both enjoyed both. Truthfully, I am very hard pressed to prefer one to the other.

A Side Story about the NKJV

I started teaching Sunday School in 1996 at the age of 14 and I have taught the Bible in various capacities for the last 22 years. Over the course of those years, the Bible that I have used most has been a Thomas Nelson product, model 334, the Giant Print Reference Bible. That Nelson 334 has been with me through 12 years and over 1000 lessons (an irony because I thought the NASB was my favorite) and so, it is the Bible against which all other Nelson Bibles are judged. Time and time again I have marked in that Bible, tossed it in a backpack, left it in the car in Arizona’s unforgiving heat, and it stubbornly holds on; no matter how much I use it, it does not wear out and I love that. I hope to get the same usage out of the Preaching Bible.

Cover

We start with a calfskin cover with edge-lined leather liner. The KJV that I received was brown while the NKJV was black. The leather is not quite ironed but the grain is not very pronounced either. It is very pleasing to the touch though.

The brown calfskin has a very natural look to the color, similar to the natural leather covers from Crossway. I grew up not too far from Amish country and this particular leather coloration is very familiar to me. It brings back fond memories even though I am very partial to the black calfskin.

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.

My friend and colleague Randy Brown (Bible Buying Guide) loves to rave about the paper and I heartily agree with him. The choice that Nelson made is just right and would be the ideal paper for a wide margin 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.

As I mentioned earlier, 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. I did notice an interesting, sort of niggling little detail while using both Bibles- the KJV lays flat with more ease than the NKJV. I have no clue as to why that is the case, it just is.

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 both editions daily for ten days. For personal study and devotions, I turned to the KJV edition and for person to person ministry, the NKJV. It is very bright in Arizona and I expected to have some challenges reading in direct sunlight but I did not experience any issues.

Final Thoughts

The best compliment I can give the Preaching Bible is that it has retired my model 334 Giant Print Reference Bible which served for 12 years and 1000+ sermons