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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.

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

The Abide Bible and Journals are a very interesting offering from Thomas Nelson. They are not a study Bible system and neither are they a devotional system. Rather, I would describe them as a personal worship system. The Abide Bible is offered in both New King James Version (NKJV) and New English Translation (NET) and the Abide Bible Journals are offered with the NET. In this article we will review the Abide Bible in the NET alongside the 1st and 2nd Peter journal. (Both Bible and journal were provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As I was not required to give a positive review, my opinions are my own.)

 

 

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Abide Bible_Thomas Nelson Official Page

Abide Bible-Taylor University

From Thomas Nelson on the Abide Bible Journal

The Abide Bible Journals are designed to help you experience the presence of God and grow in your relationship with Him as you read and interact in Scripture. Each volume contains a book or section of Scripture in a clean, single-column format along with powerful passage-specific journaling prompts. And most important, right within the Word, lightly lined pages invite you to respond to what you’ve read and abide with God in active prayer and reflective response through the act of putting pen to paper.

The prompts within the text are based on four ways of engaging deeply with the Bible:

Praying Scripture: Pattern your prayers after biblical texts

Picture It: Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant

Journal: Focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life

Contemplate: Follow the simple 4-step practice of feasting in God’s Word

 

The Concept:

The concept for the Abide Bible comes from John 15:4,

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

As I understand from Thomas Nelson, the Abide Bible is designed to take you beyond simple reading of the Bible and to move you into the arena of actually living the Bible; having a vital, active relationship with Holy Scripture and more importantly, its author.

 

The Translation

I am reviewing the New English Translation. I have commented on this translation before, if you will recall, I rather like it. NET is a meaning based (dynamic equivalent/thought-for-thought) translation completed by the students and faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary. They Full Notes Edition carries with it all 68,000 translators’ notes, a fact which makes in the most heavily annotated English Bible available.

 

Many of my colleagues will say that a meaning based translation is not suitable for study but in the case of the Full Notes Edition, I could not disagree more. It is designed for study.

 

In the case of the Abide Bible, the footnotes are not provided, not that such a deprivation would negatively impact your experience with the Bible. While I love the NKJV, I think that the NET is a better choice for the Abide Bible. Given its intended use, I want a translation that does not require me to reach for a lexicon but instead, I want a translation that feels like I am with friend, which you definitely will get from the NET. I am also quite glad that the journals are in the NET Translation for the same reason, I want something that is easy to use.

 

Cover and Binding

The journal is softcover with an adhesive binding. I would have preferred to see a hardcover option but I understand that it would be enormously impractical given the groupings of the books.

 

The Abbie Bible that I was sent is the brown leathersoft. Thomas Nelson has really stepped up their game with their imitation leathers. Having handled many leathers over the years, I could tell from the touch that it is not real leather but I am not sure most people would pick up on that-it is very convincing. The binding appears to be sewn. I am glad to see sewn bindings return to the Thomas Nelson Lineup. Sewn bindings wil, literally, last you a lifetime of use.

 

Paper Layout and Font in the Journal.

The paper is a crisp white but not so bright as to cause glare. It performs very well in most light settings, including the Arizona sun, which is quite unforgiving.

On the left page we have the text of Scripture in a single column. On the right page we have the Abide Journaling Prompts and a lined column for journaling. Following the last page of journaling prompts we have an additional 15 lined pages for additional thoughts.

The font in the journal is quite a bit larger for the Scripture portion than what is found in the Abide Bible. I would gauge it at 9-point font while the journaling prompts come in at 8-point. Both, though, are quite readable.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font in the Bible

I am told that the paper is 36 gsm. You can see that it is quite opaque so it should work rather well for marking, highlighting, or journaling. There is a little bit of a newspaper texture to the paper which makes it rather easy to turn the pages.

Unlike the NKJV edition, this is a black letter Bible. The text is laid out in single column paragraph format, which is ideal for the intended use of the Abide Bible.

The Abide Prompts are in the outer column. Many of the pages, I would guess about half, include ample space for journaling.

Helps and Prompts

Introductions

 Each Introduction includes the usual material  including historical and literary context. It also adds a section called Prepare which is designed to help you to engage with Scripture.

Journaling Through Scripture

This section is not for a personal journal or even prayer requests. Instead, guided prompts help you to interact with scripture and to record/catalogue insights that you gather. Journaling is a critical component of Inductive Study which is the essential method to understand and internalize the Scripture.

Engage Through Artwork

“Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.” The Bible, itself, is art; it is God’s masterpiece and has inspired countless artistic works over the years. The artwork provided does not simply help us to visualize what we see in scripture, it spurs us on to worship by bringing the text to life.

 

Praying the Scripture

“Pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayer and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you want to express.” This is a similar concept to the Prayer Book used by some denominations. Many of us do not really know how to pray but the Abide Bible helps to guide us through the process.

Picture It

“Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant in important events.” The Bible IS literature, among other things, and the best literature invites us into the story. We identify with the characters and, on varying levels, the story speaks to us.

Contemplate

We are given a  4-step practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture.

Assorted Articles

There are some articles explaining how to engage with Scripture, studying vs engaging, and why we read the Bible. These are more of background material rather than what will take you through the process.

 

Final Thoughts

The Abide Bible and Journal  is an excellent resource when used as a complete system. Could you use each one separately? Yes but they are better together.

My preference is for the NKJV for study and teaching though the NET will do quite well for understanding and internalizing the Scripture.

It is important to remember that this will take time and discipline, but this is to be expected; nothing worth having comes easily. I think you, dear reader, will enjoy the Abide Bible and Journal and they will help you with your growth.

The NIV Open Bibles

The NIV Open Bibles

 

Following the 2019 and relaunch of the NKJV and KJV Editions of The Open Bible, Thomas Nelson has FINALLY released the NIV Edition of the Open Bible, an edition that I have been waiting 20 years for and some have been waiting nearly 40 years to launch

 

Pictures of the Open Bible

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Disclaimer:  Thomas Nelson sent one black imitation leather with thumb indexing free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Some information from Thomas Nelson

Product Description

The Open Bible is a great way to explore Scripture with the tools and helpful information that you need to understand it better. It features an easy-to-use topical index of over 8,000 names, places, concepts, events and doctrines. It also includes book introductions and outlines to with information on the historical context and themes of each book in the Bible. The Open Bible is sure to help you glean more from God’s Word.

Features include:

  • Topical index with 8,000 plus names, places, concepts, events, and doctrines
  • Book introductions and outlines provide historical context and themes of each book in the Bible
  • References include both verse and page number
  • Visual Survey of the Bible
  • 9-point print size

 

Layout

We will start with the biggest change first…The layout has always been a double column verse by verse format and that has not changed. Happily, in the NIV Edition, Nelson returned to not having a center column full of references.

There are 3 types of notes, each of which is laid out differently. Translators footnotes are found at the bottom of the right column. References, separated by a solid black line, are located at the bottom of the page, similar to what you will find in the NKJV Preaching Bible, except when there is a section of expositional notes. When expositional notes are provided, the references are placed into a box above the notes.

My review copy includes Nelson’s readily identifiable half-moon thumb indexing tabs.

Cover, Ribbons and Binding

I’m reviewing the imitation leather one but there are also genuine leather and hardcover versions available as well. The text block appears to be sewn as the Bible does not have any issues lying flat where I open it. There is some cockling (that popcorn sound) when you open the book. The cockling sound is a little irritating but it is not overly terrible. Like the NKJV, the cockling sound will go away with more use. We receive two ribbon markers for your daily OT and NT reading.

Font

We have Nelson’s Comfort Print series in 9-point font. The Open Bible is a red-letter edition and the red is really well done. Different publishers will often have trouble with the red lettering but Nelson executed quite nicely; The red letters are deep and rich.  For most people the font should be very easy to read.

The NIV Edition is, to my eyes, more readable than its NKJV cousin, even though it is not verse by verse like its counterpart. With the center column removed, the page looks less busy and if, like me, you need glasses, you will find this much easier to read.

Biblical Cyclopedic Index, now called The Topical Index

This is the standout feature of the Open Bible but it had been renamed for 2019 and is now called the Topical Index. There are 8000 entries cataloguing various topics in scripture. I have always found this to be most useful. It is very similar to the indexing that Kirkbride does with the Thompson but its keyed to NIV Reference System.

I would argue that this is one of the most important features in the NIV Open Bible. Many teachers lack resources for lesson preparation and this Topical Index easily provides a lifetime of lesson preparation material

Paper

The paper is surprising. It is fairly heavy (maybe 30-34 gsms) and quite opaque. This would work really well with colored pencils or with very fine tipped liquid highlighters.

We have similar paper in the NIV and NKJV editions BUT the paper is much less ostentatiously white in the NIV. That, coupled with the darker black in the NIV font makes readability much less of a chore.

Christ in the Scripture

Each book introduction includes a section showing how that book portrays Christ and shows Him throughout the whole of Redemptive History.

Survey

Each introduction also includes a brief survey of the book to be studied. The survey provides an overall summary of the book to be studied.

Exegetical and Expository Notes

Unlike most Study Bibles, the notes in the Open Bible are not commentary but exegetical and expositional in nature. The notes give you a solid foundation for your exegesis of Scripture.

Additional Helps 

The Front and Back Matter includes the Following Articles and Charts

How to Study the Bible

Christian’s Guide to the New Life

Guide to Christian Workers

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Harmony of the Gospels

Laws of the Bible

Miracles of Jesus

Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Christ.

Parables of Jesus

As a Preaching Bible

The Open Bible’s size leaves it ideally suited to preaching ministry, it is challenging for my bifocals and I. A pastor who is not visually impaired should not have any issues. 

Overall Thoughts

The Open Bible is a Bible which I have enjoyed regularly in the past. Overall it will be something I will continue to enjoy.

I am quite glad to see that my dissatisfactions have been addressed. It has been worth waiting 20 years for an NIV Edition.

 

Giant Print Thin-line NKJV Review

Giant Print Thin-line NKJV Review

NKJV Giant Print Thin-line Bible Photos

 

Many is the Bible that has tried to unseat my Nelson 334 Personal Size Giant Print NKJV Reference Bible {I have tried to retire it four times but it just won’t quit} and today, I am reviewing the nearest contender to do just that, the Giant Print Thin-line NKJV. (Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.)

The Translation

As you can tell from the title, this is offered in the New King  James Version. NKJV and I are the same age (both issued in 1982) though we have not been together that long. That being said it has been 13 years in service for me with  800 1 on 1 discipleship sessions, 300 Sunday school classes, 25 Sunday morning services, 3500 daily readings and 1 international trip. For as much as I have thought I enjoy other translations, NKJV is my go to translation.

Like its predecessor, the KJV, NKJV is a formal equivalence translation with the New Testament based on the Textus Receptus, the same manuscript which undergirds the New American Standard Bible. In fact, NKJV has only one rival for literalness, accuracy, and excellence for study, the NASB. I would put the NKJV at a 10th grade reading level- it isn’t difficult to comprehend but it is not a simplistic translation either.

The Cover & Binding.

This is the black leathersoft edition but, if you did not handle a true leather on a regular basis, you would never know that. Thomas Nelson even managed to add a grain to the imitation leather, a feat that is quite impressive when you stop to think about it; it is a touch you would not expect to find and it is a tactile delight. As far as imitation leathers go, this is the best I have ever handled. I will make a bold statement and say that the feel of this edition even surpasses that of Crossway, who has virtually defined the imitation leather market.

Thomas Nelson has returned to sewing the binding in their Bibles and I am glad to see that. A sewn binding ensures your Bible will last a lifetime. Not only is a sewn binding incredibly durable (Ask my model 334 if you do not believe me), it will lay flat virtually anywhere you open the Bible, a feature which comes in handy if placing the Bible on a lectern.

Layout and Font

The NKJV Text-block is laid out in a double column paragraph format in the new Comfort Print Font, which comes in at a 13-point measurement. I do wish it was in a verse by verse format but that is a little nitpicky.

With the deep rich coloration of the ink, it is very easy to read, so easy as a matter of fact, that I was able to swap out Bibles in the middle of a sermon and deploy this Bible when a smaller print verse by verse Bible became challenging to read. Among Bible publishers, Thomas Nelson has some of the best red ink you can find for your red-letter editions and this edition is no exception. The Giant Print Thin-line is beyond easy on the eyes and if you find yourself headed for bi-focals, as I am, you will find this Bible an excellent choice.

I specifically asked to review a thumb-indexed copy because Nelson handles thumb-indexing much better than most. Something that almost no one realizes is the fact that thumb-indexing is completed by hand so no two thumb-indexed Bibles are identical. The thumb indexing is just the right size and each tab covers about three books each.

Paper

The paper is a touch thin, most likely 28gsm, and fairly opaque; there is a bit of show through nowhere near as bad as with some of its competitors. Despite being fairly thin, the pages turn rather easily.

What about writing in this Bible?

If you use the correct writing implement, there should be no issue with writing or other marking in this Bible. For pencils, Prismacolor or Prang are preferred and for ball-point, Pilot or Zebra will provide you with the best writing experience. Realize, of course, that this is not a wide margin Bible so your ability to write in it might be somewhat limited unless you have really tiny handwriting.

Helps

This is a plain text Bible so the only helps you are given are the translator’s footnotes. As a teacher this does not bother me; I want the men and women who are in my audience to do the work of searching the Scriptures on their own rather than relying on someone else’s work as their primary source of understanding. The footnotes include textual variants and are as well annotated as the NASB or HCSB- you will find them most useful.

Use in Preaching/Comparison to the NKJV Preaching Bible

As I mentioned, I swapped this Bible onto my pulpit mid-sermon. The deep ebony of the black letters and the larger font made it very easy on the eyes and I had no issue quickly returning to the morning text as the verse numbers are rather bold for rapid locating.

The Giant Print Thin-line can easily hold its own against the NKJV Preaching Bible when in the pulpit. The font is a touch larger, compensating for not being in a verse by verse format, with the added benefit of thumb indexing, an option not available in the NKJV Preaching Bible.

Making it incredibly difficult to choose one or the other is the fact that each Bible offers a preferred feature, perhaps even two, that the other does not. The Preaching Bible is verse by verse with references at the bottom of the page while the Giant Print Thin-line offers the larger font and thumb-indexing, both of which make for faster text navigation.

For Every Day Carry

Tall and thin, the Giant Print Thin-line will easily fit into most briefcases/laptop bags. It clocks in at ¾”-1” and weighs around 1.5lbs. It is not a feature you often hear about in technical terms, but this Bible is incredibly well balanced. What I mean by that is that many of its competitors are a touch unwieldy for one handed use and a person who is peripatetic while using their Bible could easily drop the book. Not so here. I cannot go so far as to say that Nelson intentionally designed this for single handed use but I would encourage you to try using one handed and you can draw your own conclusion.

The overall design makes it very readable in most lighting situations. I gauge a Bible’s readability by using it with my bedside lamp which offers a muted white light for reading before sleeping and I will say I was delighted; many Bibles do not perform well in that setting because of issues with paper or font. With the Giant Print Thin-line, Thomas Nelson has a winner on its hands- it is very readable indeed.

Final Thoughts/Should you buy it?

I can easily recommend this Bible to anyone considering it. A number of solid use cases come to mind for this particular edition of the Scriptures; I use it under several of those scenarios. It would not be a regular visitor to my pulpit simply because I have been using a verse by verse format for nearly 25 years and that is not a habit I have any plans to break.

This Bible is incredibly affordable which does lend to an ability to use this Bible for gift giving (Many churches give a Bible to the newly baptized and this would be a great choice.) and also lends itself to being able to keep several copies on hand if one were in college/seminary.

I do not really envision any situation where you would be dissatisfied with this edition of the Scriptures. The only suggestion for improvement I might offer would be to offer it in a good quality leather but a good re-binder can easily replace the cover for you. If you buy the Giant Print Thin-line, you will be quite satisfied.

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

 

 

THOMAS NELSON PREMIER COLLECTION GIANT PRINT KJV BIBLE REVIEW

THOMAS NELSON PREMIER COLLECTION GIANT PRINT KJV BIBLE REVIEW

 

Disclosure: This Bible was acquired at my own expense. Thomas Nelson did not solicit this review.

I have had terrible trouble finding a KJV for my pulpit but I believe Thomas Nelson has solved that problem for me. Read on to find out why… 

Product Description from Thomas Nelson

The Premier Edition of Thomas Nelson’s KJV Giant Print Reference Bible combines fine craftsmanship with the depth of a complete cross-reference system. Typeset in Thomas Nelson’s KJV Comfort Print. in an extra-large size, you will enjoy a smooth and easy reading experience in a beautiful King James Bible designed to last. Featuring a supple goatskin leather cover, durable edge-lined binding, premium Bible paper, beautiful art gilding, and four ribbon markers, this special edition is a treasure for a lifetime in God’s Word.

Features include:

  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Fine goatskin cover
  • Presentation page
  • Black-letter text
  • 12-point type
  • Concordance

 Initial Impression:

Previously, I reviewed the Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thin-line and I was quite impressed. That being said, the Premier Collection KJV Giant Print Reference Bible (hereafter, Premier KJV) takes that impressiveness up a notch. It is the best KJV that is available at this price point, $149.99, and I would dare to go so far as to say that the Cambridge Turquoise and Concord Reference Bibles, the definitive KJV reference Bibles, have met their match.

Silly as it may sound, There is something special about holding a high quality KJV in your hands. To me, at least, it feels different, almost more reverent.

Font:

The font is the stand out feature of the Premier KJV. It was designed by the preeminent font type foundry, 2K/Denmark. As part of the Harper Collins Family, Nelson calls this font, Comfort Print and it is aptly named as you can easily spend hours with this text and not have any eye fatigue.

A 12-point font size is what we are given here; it is just right for use in the pulpit or the classroom. I have tried a number of different Bibles trying to get the right font size and typeface for my preaching and have not had any success, until this Bible. What we are given, here, is absolutely perfect.

When I stand before the saints to open the word, the last thing I want is a Bible that I struggle to see since I don’t always hold it up close to my face when I read the text. As I mentioned earlier, I have tried over a dozen different KJV Bibles in my pulpit and this is the one that works the best. 12-poin hits the sweet spot for text size. Previously, I had been using a specialty KJV with a 13.5-point font but it was a little cumbersome in the pulpit.

Layout, Coloration, References

The Premier KJV is laid out in a double column verse by verse format with center-column references. This is the format that I have used for most of my ministry career and so it is quite familiar to me. It will sound cliche but this is the way I expect a Bible to look. I have used this format for over 20 years and I find to to be the most practical.

Verse numbers, Chapter Headings, Page Numbers, and the 1st letter of each chapter is in a cranberry red. This is a crisp rich red that really stands out on the page.

Unlike other Bibles, the center column for the references is not broken off by a harsh black line. It makes the page more pleasing to the eyes. Nelson offers around 70,000 cross-references.

Cover, Ribbons and Binding:

The Premier Collection all have goatskin covers and a sewn binding. The binding is tighter than on the NIV so it feels less likely to fall out of my hand. It also has a better feel to my finger tips; I think the leather is a little thicker but it is still edge-lined. The leather smell, which I always look for, is not as pronounced as I would have expected but it is there and is still intoxicating.  There are three silk ribbons, 3/8″ wide to use for marking your readings.

There is a signature, in Genesis, where the sewing is quite clear. At first this was a concern to me but after speaking with some of the folks at Thomas Nelson, I am not worried about it any more. This particular signature is sewn in such a manner as to help the book, itself, lay flat when opened to Genesis. This was quite a smart play on Nelson’s part as it can be very frustrating to try to preach a text in Genesis if the Bible will not stay open.

Paper

Even though I know they use the same paper, I prefer this one over the Premier NIV. It seems to be more opaque and there is less of a shine in the sunlight. I would be more inclined to mark in this vs the Premier NIV, though I would only use a ball-point pen or a gel highlighter for marking.

The paper is 36 GSM European Bible Paper and it is similar to what you will find in Cambridge Bibles. Tactile perception on this paper is incredible, almost as if the Bible screams, “hold me. Study me. Preach from me.” I have mentioned in a number of reviews that you really want a Bible that feels comfortable in the hand and this Bible pushes all the right buttons.

As a carry/daily use Bible

The KJV has more girth so I like carrying it better than the Premier NIV. It feels more substantial. As expected it fits quite comfortably in my laptop bag.

I don’t think there is anything more recognizable than the King James Bible and this Bible is no exception. Several times, people have seen it on my desk at my secular job and it has sparked conversations about the Bible, why I carry it, and given opportunities to share the Gospel.

Final Thoughts

You may have noticed that I have not covered every feature of this Bible but I have covered the ones that are important to a buying decision. At $149.99, the Premier KJV puts a premium reference Bible within reach of many more Christians than Cambridge, Allan, or Schuyler Bibles. It is well worth your money.

 

Vines Expository Study Bible Review

Vines Expository Study Bible Review

Let me start by saying, “It’s not what I expected and everything I want in a study Bible.” Years ago, there was Vines Expository Reference Bible and, at first, I thought that this was a re-release of that Bible; it is not. On some levels it is so much better and on other levels it is equal to the old Vines Expository Reference, both of which were published by Thomas Nelson.

Disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided a hardcover edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

From the Publisher…

Product Description

The Vines Expository Bibleoffers scriptural truth alongside guided explanations of key passages from influential preacher Dr. Jerry Vines. With biblical exposition and practical teaching culled from years of faithful ministry, Dr. Vines presents helpful insights from God’s Word are presented in a warm, pastoral manner.

Features Include:

  • Paragraph-style text with in-text subject headings
  • 200 “Presenting the Message” detailed outlines from Jerry Vines’ sermon archive
  • 100 “Living the Message” articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
  • 200 “Applying the Message” notes that help you see the relevance of Scriptures for your walk with Christ
  • 300 “Discerning the Meaning” word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
  • Book Introductions
  • Topical Index
  • Concordance
  • 9.5-point print size

 

Content

200 “Presenting the Message Outlines”

These are sermon outlines that were taught by Dr. Jerry Vines in the pulpit of his church. They serve a couple of helpful functions: explaining the point of the passage to the reader and guiding a teacher through explaining the passage. One could, in theory, consider this to be four years of material to get your church an overview of the Bible. I always recommend doing your own work but if you had absolutely no experience with lesson prep, these outlines would be very helpful.

100 “Living the Message” Articles

These are practical application articles demonstrating “real life” applications of the text.

300 “Discerning the Meaning” Word Studies

Even though W.E. Vines and Jerry Vines are two different pastors, one could hardly have a Vines Resource without word studies. These articles cover key words that are essential to understanding the Bible.

200 “Applying the Message Notes”

The Applying the Message Notes, much like the Living the Message Articles are designed to help you apply the text of the Bible to your every day life. They are designed to answer the question, “I understand this passage, now what do I do about it.”

Topical Index

The Topical Index breaks down the major subjects of the Bible for study. While I recommend book-by-book study, I realize that topical study is the most common method of lesson preparation and the topical index, here, will give you several years worth of material for study/teaching.

The Physical Book

Paper

The paper is a touch thin. This is not necessarily bad as you need thin paper in order to pack a lot of content into a study Bible. If you were going to mark in this Bible, you definitely do not want a liquid highlighter. A ball-point pen or a hi-glider from Luscombe would be your best choice here.

There is some shadowing (see through of the other side of the paper) but not enough to be overly bothersome.

 

Font

We have Nelson’s new Comfort Print font in 10-point. It is much easier to read than some other font families on the market. As its name indicates, the Comfort Print Font prevents eye strain so you can study for long periods without developing tired eyes or a headache. 

Cover and Binding

The edition I am reviewing is the jacketed hardcover. The cover is red cloth over a book-board. It is fairly sturdy and will hold up to normal wear and tear fairly nicely. For a Bible that will remain on your desk or go into your backpack, hardcover is your best choice.

The binding is sewn to ensure a lifetime of use.

Ribbons

Nelson provides us with 2 red silk ribbons, 3/8″ in width. I generally use the ribbons to mark OT and NT daily readings. I also use them to mark passages relevant to ministry texts based on the upcoming ministry activity such as a hospital visit or discipleship.

Who is this Bible for?

The Vines Expository Study Bible is designed for the new teacher/student. If I were to recommend this Bible to a particular group of people, it would be to pastors in Asia and Africa who may not have access to the resources needed to prepare expository lessons on the Bible.

Overall Thoughts

I am a Bible teacher, so I am a little biased here but I really like the Vines Expository Study Bible. Some may consider this to be entry level and, to a degree, it is. That being said, for its intended audience, it is an excellent tool.

I would rate it 4.5/5. The shadowing is what caused me to withhold a perfect score. Nelson should be able to get us better paper. They are, after all, part of the Harper Collins Group, the largest publisher in the US.