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Tag: Readers Bible

The Book

The Book

 

Photos of The Book (Cllick Me)

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One of the most popular categories, in Bible Publishing, today, is what is called the Reader’s Bible. In this article, we are looking at the volume that created this category and we have to go back in time to 1971, the year when Tyndale House Publishers revolutionized the way people interact with the Bible and released a volume simply titled, The Book. Note: I acquired this copy of The Book on my own; Tyndale House Publishers did not ask for this article and my opinions are my own.

The Name

Calling this edition of the Bible The Book was quite apropos for two reasons: Christians and Jews are called, pejoratively, called the People of the Book and secondly, this particular edition of the Scripture is laid out like a normal book.

The Concept

When you go to the Bible section of the bookstore and you pick up a Bible, most of them are fairly intimidating and many of them are rather busy. There are all manner of “helps” but those “helps” are often times a distraction to our interaction with the Bible This is where The Book comes into play and really shines. It is laid out like a normal book, really it’s laid out very similarly to a novel. I will cover the layout more in the next section but, suffice it to say, you could sit in your favorite chair with The Book and your favorite beverage and, easily consume, large amounts of the Bible in a single sitting. 15 years ago when I got my first copy (I have worn out 3 or 4 copies over the years), I read the entirety of the Gospel According to Mark in a single sitting and without even realizing the time lapse.

Layout, Font, Paper

The Bible text is laid out in a single column paragraphed format, exactly how any secular book would be laid out. There are 3 and only 3 helps in the text itself and they are chapter numbers, verse numbers, and subject headings. It rather blends a novel and a text book. There is one other set of “helps” in the front of The Book, a topical guide to read about the Christian Life.

The font, which is entirely black letter, is very crisp and easy to read, which should not be a surprise in a volume designed to be read in large quantities of pages. It looks to be in the Lexington Family with the chapter numbers being bold, dark, and very large.

The paper is not your normal Bible paper which is often fairly thin; this paper is a little thinner than in a textbook but very well suited to its purpose. To my surprise, many of the people that I have seen with this volume do highlight and make other markings in The Book. I would venture to say that if you were inclined to write in The Book, you will have no issues with just about any writing implement.

Translation

Originally offered in The Living Bible Paraphrase (the green one in the pictures), the Book is currently offered in the New Living Translation. The New Living Translation is what we call a meaning based translation. It is more free flowing and endeavors to capture the original thoughts as the original readers would have understood them. It is not a technical or a woodenly literal translation.

Cover and Binding

The Book is offered in both Hardcover and Softcover (Paperback). It is considered a milestone in the publishing world when a book goes paperback and The Book has done that in both editions.

The binding seems to an adhesive binding. You might expect me to be disappointed in this fact but, in the case of The Book, I am not disappointed at all. It is exactly what I expected. Since The Book is designed to be as close to a “regular” book as possible, a glued binding fits.

As a Carry Bible

The Book is an incredible choice for an everyday carry Bible. First, it is the perfect format for reading and second, people see the cover and cannot help asking, “so what is The Book about?” and when that happens, it opens the door to a conversation about the Bible and the Gospel.

As a Giveaway Bible

The price point is not my favorite level for a giveaway Bible but The Book is a very practical choice for a Bible to giveaway. In this format, people that otherwise will not read the Bible, will find themselves with an option that they not only will read but will actually want to read it.

Final Thoughts/Overall Impression

The Book is a great choice for gift giving, especially for new disciples. The most important aspect of our faith is the actual reading of the Bible. For 49 years, The Book has been helping Christians to do just exactly that. It will continue to do so for many years to come.

NLT Select Reference Bible

NLT Select Reference Bible

This review was from 2015 but was “lost” as a result of a server failure. It has been recovered and is being shared again for your enjoyment.

 

 

NLT Select Reference Bible Review

On a recent trip to the Philippines, I was invited to take another look at the NLT. While there, the opportunity to review the Tyndale NLT Select Reference Bible was opened to me. The experience of both was, to put it mildly, a most unexpected pleasure.

(A quick disclosure and we will get into the review: Tyndale House Publishers provided a black goatskin NLT Select Reference Bible at no charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to provide positive feedback.)

Let’s begin with some official remarks from Tyndale House Publishers:

“The New Living Translation is an authoritative Bible translation rendered faithfully into today’s English from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars. The NLT’s scholarship and clarity breathe life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages—but even more powerful are stories of how people’s lives are changing as the words speak directly to their hearts.

The NLT translators set out to render the message of the original texts of Scripture into clear, contemporary English. The result was a Bible that is faithful to the ancient texts and eminently readable.”

Now the official product description which can be found at http://www.tyndale.com/Tyndale-Select-NLT-Select-Reference-Edition/9781496404749#.VkAXaYSMCCQ

 

Tyndale Select Bibles are the highest quality bindings available in the New Living Translation. Select Reference Editions are the premier Bibles in the Tyndale Select line. Select Reference Editions deliver God’s enduring word in a fresh, yet timeless, reading experience. Each full-grain leather Bible is meticulously handcrafted with excellence, and Smyth-sewn with the greatest of care to ensure durability, flexibility, and a lay-flat binding.

Handsome editions are available in black or brown full-grain goatskin leather. Goatskin leather covers are edge-lined to maximize the suppleness for a luxuriously soft leather Bible that is a pleasure to hold. Other premium features of the goatskin leather edition include perimeter stitching, two ribbon markers, a gold foil frame around the inside cover, and luxurious art-gilded page edges, revealing red under gold gilding.

The attractive single-column interior of the Select Reference Edition makes this Bible enjoyable to read. The line-over-line setting and top-quality paper maximizes the brightness of the page and minimizes show-through for optimal readability. Other premium interior features include the generous 8.75 font, spacious margins, and over 40,000 cross references. Printed, bound, and meticulously handcrafted at Jongbloed’s premier bindery in the Netherlands, Select Reference Editions are Tyndale’s finest-quality Bibles available in the New Living Translation

Now on to my review:

The Translation

The New Living Translation is, technically, classified as a Dynamic Equivalence Translation but in more common language we would call it a meaning based translation. Much to my surprise, I find myself liking meaning based translations more and more as I grow in ministry.

The NLT was originally intended to be an update to Ken Taylor’s Living Bible Paraphrase of the American Standard Version. However, Tyndale House felt a new translation would be better. (You can read all the details at the Tyndale website). It is translated at a middle school reading level there by making comprehension of the Bible more accessible to a wide audience.

Many of my “conservative” colleagues do not seem to like the NLT, not that I understand why. I can think of nearly a dozen people whose first time reading the entire Bible was in the NLT; I think that is part of the reason for my growing fondness of the NLT. NLT actually holds a special place in my heart because it is the Bible Christ used to draw my wife unto Himself for redemption.

Cover Material

This Bible is available in both goatskin and calfskin, both of which will last you a lifetime. A reader had asked, with regard to another Bible, if goatskin is better than calfskin. Technically speaking, the answer to that would be yes. However, in choosing a Bible, either one is considered to be a premium cover material.

As mentioned earlier, the edition being reviewed, here, is the black goatskin. I have read the reviews from several colleagues and have not seen mention of what kind of goatskin we are using. I will assume (dangerous, I know) that we are being treated to highland goatskin since this is bound by the master craftsmen at Royal Jongbloed in the Netherlands. It is as glorious to the touch as anything I have ever felt. There is a pronounced grain, meaning you can feel the “bumps” in the skin which I much prefer to ironed hides.

Binding

The binding is hand bound and smyth sewn so that the book itself lays flat when opened to any section. Jongbloed has a distinctive spine hinge that is a little stiff when the book first comes out of the box. A number of my colleagues do not like this feature but I, actually, think it makes the Bible a little more special. There is a feeling, when you take a Jongbloed bound Bible out of the box for the first time, that this Bible was crafted just for you by a master artisan and when you get to “break it in” it makes the experience all the more personal. To be sure, the spine loosens up rather quickly and the stiffness becomes no bother.

Why Cover and Binding Matters

For most of my readers, and indeed Christians all over the world, all that they have available is a single Bible, and said Bible might well be the only Bible they have for their entire life and ministry. Cover and Binding should be in your top two deciding factors because they determine how long you will be able to utilize your Bible. As an example, I have a Bible that has been in my family for over 50 years and aside from some scuffs where the Bible was dropped, it is as good today as it was the day it came out of the box. For lifelong use, you want to choose a sewn binding and the highest quality leather that you can find.

What comes in the box?

Aside from the glorious Bible, which is protectively wrapped in black paper, you will find a double sided insert from Tyndale. One one side, there are Bible Care Instructions. This seems like such an obvious inclusion, but you would be surprised at just how many Bibles do not come with this in the box and, as a consequence, how many people damage the spine on their Bibles. On the second side is a little snippet about the design and then the guarantee information. Like all premium Bibles, this is guaranteed for life against failure due to a defective manufacturing process.

The Text Block

Layout

This is a single column paragraph format of which I am, normally, not a fan. However, this time it really works. With no disrespect intend to the Sacred Writ, this feels more like a normal piece of literature. You can easily get lost in the moment while doing your daily reading and take in much larger chunks of the Bible.

References are in the outer margin and I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I am glad to see that the placement was carefully thought out so that the text is not broken up. On the other hand, this is one Bible that screams for a margin wide enough to notate.

The inner margin, often called the gutter, is better in this Bible than in most of the other Bibles on the market today. It is sufficiently large enough to not have the text block curl into it which would cause difficulty reading.

Font, Coloration, Readability

This is the only area where I have a gripe, but it is a legitimate one. The 8.75 font size will be difficult for some to read. I have found that a 9-9.5 font size is the sweet spot. While I can easily read this Bible in most circumstances, a low light setting, such as the one on my bedside table can pose problems.

This is a complete black letter text. I know that red-letter editions have their fans but I do not mind a black letter text. The choice to go completely black letter ensures that if you were to take this into the pulpit you would have an easier time reading it and it also ensures that if you use other colors to annotate, you will have distinctive coloration for your eyes to fixate on.

Paper

The paper is, from what I have read, Indopaque paper with 28gsm and 79% opacity. In English, that simply means that you don’t have that pesky ghosting effect nor will you have bleed through.

In daily use

This Bible has been with me every day since it arrived approximately two and a half weeks ago. It has gone into and out of my laptop bag several times a day, come to church with me, done my daily reading before bed, done some supplemental reading on my lunch break and even found its way into conversations with others.

The NLT Select Reference Bible was quite a surprise to me; with the exception of wide margins, it brought everything I could want into a Bible. There are 40,000 cross references (Scripture interprets Scripture) a 119-page concordance/dictionary combo for study aids, and the NLT itself.

Overall thoughts

I have a confession to make: I did not expect to like this Bible. Sure it is a premium edition and it hits on all my key points. However, previous to my trip to the Philippines, I had more or less dismissed the NLT off hand as being more of a paraphrase. Then, while overseas, reality came along and slapped the taste out of my mouth. I read the NLT again (like it was the first time) and I got excited. Yes, it’s translated to be easy to read but that is part of its charm. You get a very easy to understand translation that doesn’t just invite you to read the Bible but instead invites you to fall in love with the Bible all over again.

Had Tyndale asked my opinion in advance, I might have suggested verse-by-verse for the layout but that might then cause it to lose its attractiveness. I would sum up my thoughts this way: NLT, read it again for the first time.

 

 

ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible

ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible

 

Crossway has delivered some amazing Bibles, true works of art that make the Sacred Book a delight to read and to touch. I have owned a number of them and I have always been impressed but I don’t think any of Crossway’s Bibles have ever left me speechless…until now.

The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is, I think, the perfect reader’s edition. (Note: this review was not solicited by either Crossway or EvangelicalBible.com and neither organization provided a review copy.) This Bible is available in five colors, three of which are exclusive to evangelicalbible.com. The exclusive colors are Ocean Blue (I am reviewing today), Purple, and Green. Black and Brown are available from both Evangelical Bible and Crossway.

A little from the publisher and then on to the review:

“The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a special edition of the original ESV Single Column Legacy Bible. Based on the Renaissance ideal of a perfect page, the Single Column Legacy Bible features a simple, clear layout with generous margins.

As with Crossway’s other Heirloom Bibles, the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is printed in the Netherlands on high-quality European Bible paper and features art gilding, three ribbon markers, and an extra-smooth sewn binding. This exclusive edition is available in green, purple, and blue goatskin covers. The Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a fine edition that combines elegant design with the best production materials available. Features include (Your art gilding and ribbon colors will vary depending on color purchased.):

  • Black letter text
  • 9 pt. font
  • 28 gsm paper
  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • Concordance
  • Art gilding (blue under gold)
  • Three ribbon markers (Navy)
  • Leather lined in dark blue
  • Sewn binding
  • Raised hubs on the spine”

 

 

The Reading Experience Part 1: The Perfect Page (design layout)

When Crossway released the original ESV Single Column Legacy Bible in 2012, they stated that the design was based on the Renaissance idea of a perfect page. I have to say that they have achieved this goal; even the most untrained eye can see the care that has gone into the layout. Subject headings are shifted to the outer margin and the gutter, even with translation footnotes is more than generous. A 9-point font came as a bit of a surprise; it is sufficiently large enough for reading in large blocks of time without your eyes getting tired and small enough to keep this Bible from becoming a behemoth. The layout of this Bible is so perfect, in fact, that it has caused me to no longer care about the major complaint I had on the original, tiny verse numbers. I find myself getting “lost” in the text and I love it. As a teacher, I forget, sometimes, that the Bible is meant to be read and enjoyed and there is none better, in my opinion, than the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible. Simply look inside one and you will understand the joy that comes from reading the Bible. If I did not know better, I would swear that an ophthalmologist oversaw the design because it so perfectly caters to the human eye.

The Reading Experience Part 2: Paper and Font

The design layout is the most important feature of the Heirloom Single Column Legacy; it has to be because this a “Reader’s Bible.” I think we tend to forget that the Bible is literature. We know about its life changing power but we forget the literary experience of reading the Bible.

The Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is one of the best in the reader’s category. Two major factors affecting this are the paper and font. Crossway chose a cream colored paper for this Bible, in fact they use cream colored paper in a number of their Bibles. I cannot say enough about how smart this decision was. Reading this Bible outside in the Arizona sunlight was absolutely no challenge at all. I also read in my office with my bright overhead lights and did my bedtime reading with a softer white light. The bedside reading took about 90 seconds for my eyes to adjust but that is more an issue with my eyes than this Bible.

At 28gsm the paper is quite thin but the opacity is amazing; I do not think that I had to deal with any show-through at all.

Verse numbers are quite muted, so much so that I find it very easy to “get lost” in the reading. To the best of my knowledge, the Heirloom SCL uses a Lexington font which, I believe makes a frequent appearance in Crossway’s lineup. The font in crisp and clean in a rich deep black. While discussing this Bible with a colleague, I was asked if a red-letter edition is available and, thankfully, the answer is no. In some cases, I do not mind a red-letter edition. Here, though, a red-letter edition would prove an unnecessary distraction.

The goatskin

The feel of goatskin is unmistakable on a Bible and the feel of this goatskin is even better. The grain is pronounced but not overly pronounced. When I run my fingers over it, it feels like every nerve in my fingertips is awakened. In truth this is probably the same goatskin as on my Allan NASB Reader, or my Cambridge Concord, or even my Schuyler ESV w/Confessions a fact which would be due to the fact that they are all bound by famed Bible bindery, Royal Jongbloed. However, it feels just a little different and I can’t explain why. The best way I can describe it is to say that it reminds me of my grandmother’s rocking chair, it feels already broken in and ready for me but at the same time new and ready to be with me for ages.

Just the right amount of ribbons

3 ribbons are, in my estimation, just the right amount; you get one for Old Testament Reading, one for Psalms and Proverbs, and one for your New Testament Reading. It is true that there are other reading plans which require a larger number of ribbons but for this Bible I cannot complain. 2 ribbons would not be enough and any more than three would be too many.

Minimalist helps

There really are not a ton of helps/study tools in the Single Column Legacy Series. There are translation footnotes, subject headings in the margins, and a concordance. Don’t let that disappoint you, though, as this edition is more about the quality of your personal worship reading than your study and lesson prep.

Leaving a legacy of faith in your legacy Bible

With legacy in its name, I would be hard pressed to pass up mentioning leaving a legacy of faith to your children or grandchildren. This is not a traditional wide margin Bible nor is it per se a journaling Bible and yet there is room on every page to do just exactly that. One of the most unique features of the Bible is the fact that, even though they all have the same words on the pages, God creates personal relationships, with His people, through the Bible. Keeping records of that relationship is an ideal choice for using the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible so that, in the end, it will live up to its name and be an heirloom for your family.

How does the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Compare to others?

I do not wish to overburden you with a ton of comparisons, but there is one Bible that I would like to compare the Heirloom to, the Tyndale NLT Select Reference Bible. Both are single column and worthy of a place on your desk. The Select Reference features a slightly smaller 8.75-point font that is equally readable. Both Bibles feature exquisite goatskin from Jongbloed with a smythe sewn binding to ensure that they lay flat when opened.

The one “advantage” that is offered by the Select Reference would be the references in the outer margins, 40,000 in total but I’m not sure that really is an advantage. Both Bibles are spectacular and represent what I believe to be the pinnacle format from the respective publishers.

Why buy an Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible?

I am not even going to entertain the question of if you should buy, I think you should. Instead I want to summarize my thoughts as an explanation of why you ought to own an ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible.

  1. It is as perfect as you are going to get in terms of a reader’s Bible
  2. The craftsmanship guarantees that this Bible will live on in your family for generations.
  3. Using this edition will enhance your spiritual growth because you will consume larger portions of the Bible.

Overall Thoughts

If it is not obvious, I love it. Crossway offers a huge selection of Bibles, but for me this the best they offer. The ESV that I normally carry is the Schuyler ESV w/Confessions but I can say with confidence that this Bible will get plenty of use. As a matter of fact, I have been looking for a new primary translation for my audience and have narrowed the field to the ESV and the NLT and since I will be using both translations for different reasons, I think both the Heirloom Single Column Legacy and the Select Reference will end up being my main two Bibles for a while.

 

NKJV Readers Reference Bible Review

NKJV Readers Reference Bible Review

NKJV Reader’s Reference Bible Review

Scripture interprets Scripture; perhaps you have heard that before and you have wondered how that works out. Sure, there are plenty of reference Bibles on the market; some are end of verse and some are center-column but all of them can leave you wondering which passages are most relevant to the passage you are studying. It happens that Holman Bible Publishers has remedied that problem by bringing us the NKJV Reader’s Reference Bible. Note: This Bible was acquired at my own expense; Holman did not solicit this review and they did not receive advance notice of its writing.

About this Bible

Translation

Holman made an excellent choice in using the NKJV; it is a very well done translation with excellent footnotes and utilizes the Textus Receptus Greek NT. I would absolutely love to see the Reader’s Reference Bible to be released in CSB as well.

Text Block

For this Bible, Holman has used a single-column paragraph format, which is commonly called a Reader’s Edition. It is called this because it lays the text out more like a traditional book thereby making it easier to read. Under normal circumstances, this would not be my preferred format. That being said, I find the layout very useful. We will discuss further in the section on the refences.

The text block is bound in hardcover with a sewn binding. To remind you, a sewn binding is to be more desired because sewn bindings will last significantly longer than a glued one.

Font, Paper, & Readability

We have been given a bright white paper with fairly strong opacity. I believe that the paper is the same gsm weight as the HSCB Study Bible, perhaps even a little thicker or it might even be more on par with the HCSB Minister’s Bible. There is a tiny amount of see through, not so much as to be irritating, though; it is more of a faint shadowing on the page.

This is a 9-point font, which many publishers consider to be a large print. Holman does not bill this particular Bible as a large print so I will not bill it as such either. This Bible has a black letter text but there is a surprise with the references. They are in a bright blue text. At first the color takes a little adjustment but it is very clever; almost all of the major Bible publishers offer a red-letter edition and to the best of my knowledge, I have never seen a blue-letter edition. Overall, this coloration is quite interesting, which is part of the reason why I decided to purchase and review this Bible. As is my habit, I compared the text in a number of lighting settings. The only issue I found was very slight and it was in direct sunlight; it can be a bit severe in direct sunlight because of how white the paper is.

I found the Bible to be quite readable. It is often the case that, with a reader’s edition, you can easily get lost in the text. It is easily possible to consume large amounts of text in a single sitting, which I have done repeatedly.

References

Holman has provided the references in two different formats for us, traditional end of verse and full text references. The full text references are what I was referring to earlier when I said that Scripture interprets Scripture. In the Old Testament, you can see the foreshadowing of the New Testament with the appropriate references provided. In the New, you can look back to the old to see the continuous harmony of the text as the singular Word of God. We often refer to seeing the “scarlet thread” of redemption throughout the Bible but, in this edition, we can follow a “blue line” through the unity of the Bible. There are also end of verse references and I would like to see many more of those.

Some things left to be desired

Despite Holman giving us an excellent tool for understanding the Scripture, there are a couple items left to be desired. Here are my suggestions for what could be added.

Introductions

There needs to be some measure of an introduction. We don’t need the usual study Bible introduction but since Scripture interprets Scripture and that fact is the main point of this Bible, it would be nice to see, at least, a small introduction showing how each book fits into the whole of the Scriptures.

Wider Margins

If ever there was a Bible that screamed for wide margins, this is it. The likelihood of learning something new is extremely high and a wide margin would be a perfect fit for the student of the Bible.

Notes Pages

I have seen several of the premium Bible publishers include lined note pages in the back of their Bibles. Notes pages would be ideal for the same reason as wider margins. It is extraordinarily likely that you will find new insights that you want to jot down for ready reference. 

Footnotes

The NKJV text has some excellent footnotes that are provided. However, they are noticeably absent here.

Final Thoughts

This is one Bible that I can recommend without any reservation. I can virtually guarantee it will provide a noticeable impact into your study. I would imagine that this will be a first edition and it is very well done. I hope to see Holman take the suggestions that I have offered, it may well be the best reference Bible ever made.