Tag: Wide Margin Bible

CSB Pastor’s Bible (Recovered Content)

CSB Pastor’s Bible (Recovered Content)

The following content has been recovered and reposted for your enjoyment.

 

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The most important tool any pastor carries is his Bible and a number of publishers have released special Bibles for pastors, all of which are worth consideration.  Previously, we have reviewed the EVS Pastor’s Bible from Crossway and today we are reviewing the CSB Pastor’s Bible in brown genuine leather. (Note: This Bible was acquired at my own expense; no review has been solicited by Holman Bible Publishers.) 

 

Before we begin, some information from Holman… 

Product Description 

Available in two editions, Genuine Leather or Deluxe LeatherTouch-theCSB Pastor’s Bibleis ideal for pastoral use during preaching, officiating services, or personal study. Helpful features include a single-column setting, large type, wide margins, a special insert section in the middle of the Bible. Also contains outlines for officiating weddings and funerals, and extensive tools and articles from some of today’s respected pastors and church leaders. TheCSB Pastor’s Bibleis a valuable life-long resource for Pastors. 

 

Features include: 

  • Smyth-sewn binding 
  • Single-column text 
  • Footnotes 
  • Black-letter text 
  • 10-point type 
  • Concordance 
  • Presentation page 
  • Two-piece gift box 
  • Over 17 articles on leadership and ministry by experienced pastors and leaders disbursed throughout the Bible’s pages 
  • Outlines for officiating weddings and funerals 

The CSB Pastor’s Bible features the highly reliable, highly readable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), which stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity. The CSB’s optimal blend of accuracy and readability makes Scripture more moving, more memorable, and more motivating to read and share with others. 

A Few Remarks About CSB 

The choice to preach and teach from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is one that more and more pastors are making and I can see why. On a number of occasions, I have described the CSB as the perfect blend of NASB (the most literal) and the NIV (the most popular). CSB is fastidiously literal yet very easy to read. I would estimate at an approximately 8th grade level, which is excellent because it will afford the teacher of God’s word the broadest audience spectrum possible. I have mentioned, in previous articles, that CSB is one of the 3 main translations that I use for regular reading. I am happy to commend the CSB to you; you will find it to be very accurate, readable, and most importantly, faithful to the original text.  

Cover and Binding 

I selected the brown genuine leather version, for myself, and I want to tell you two things about it. 1. Brown genuine leather is a total understatement. This is actually goatskin leather, as you will see stamped on the back of the Bible. 2. This goatskin cover is absolutely exquisite and I cannot believe that you can find a goatskin Bible at this price ($99.99). The brown  goatskin has an ironed cover which provides a smooth texture and a softer feel. The coloration is similar to milk chocolate and is reminiscent of a cup of hot cocoa. Brown is not, normally, a favorite of mine but I really enjoy this. 

The liner is a paste down, which I think contributes to the pricing. Here, in Phoenix, the heat can make a paste down liner a little problematic because if you leave it in your car, you can melt the paste (This has actually happened to me in the past.). 

The block, itself, is sewn. If you know anything about bindings, you know that a sewn binding is the only type that will stand up to the near constant punishment a pastor will subject his Bible to and I can confidently state that the cover will wear out before the sewn binding will.  

One other note, there is no stamping on the front cover and I find it to be most appreciated. The Pastor’s Bible should be a reflection of the pastor, reserved but accessible and focused on the glory of Christ. 

Layout, Font, and Margins 

This Bible is laid out in a single column paragraph format. The margins are approximately 1-inch. A wide margin is essential for a pastor so that you can mark out your notes and references.  In all honesty, a wide margin is an often overlooked feature In the Bible a pastor chooses but it is a very smart feature to have because it is not always practical to carry notes into the pulpit with you but you can easily put the essential notes into the margins so you are still able to preach a passage.

 

2k/Denmark designed the font and, even though it is officially a 10-point font, it reads more like an 11-point to my eyes. The text is black letter and I have found this to be much more useful in the pulpit than a red letter.  

The single column paragraph format works out well for large scale consumption of the Biblical text and, since consuming the Biblical text is a pastor’s most important undertaking, this format is highly desirable.  

 

Helps 

At the end of the Bible are the various pastoral helps.  These include a “where to turn” section with Scripture references to help (pictured below), “A Brief Biblical Theology of Leadership,” “Eight Traits of Effective Church Leaders,” “Pastor, Find Your Identity in Christ,” “Glorifying God in Your Ministry,” “What is Biblical Preaching?,” “Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures,” “What is Doctrinal Preaching?,” “Four Keys for Giving an Effective Invitation,” “Five Ways to Improve Congregational Singing,” “Soul Care: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love,” “Letter to the Church,” “Five Steps to Start and Keep an Evangelistic Culture,” “How Do You Disciple Others?,” “The One Thing You Must Do as a Student Pastor,” and “Sharing the Gospel with Children.”   

 

In between Psalms and Proverbs is where you will find the “Life Events” helps. These are for weddings, funerals and so on.  Noticeably absent are helps for communion and baptism as well as cross-references, which can all be found in the rival ESV Pastor’s Bible. Whether or not missing these helps is problematic will depend entirely upon who you are as a pastor. The helps that are “missing” I have in other books that are in my library. 

 

There are 3 ribbons provided so you can mark your spot in each of the 3 major sections of the Bible: Old Testament, Worship and Wisdom, and New Testament. 

 

As A Carry Bible 

The Pastor’s Bible is not small but it is not overly large, either. I would list it as just right. It fits in my bag easily, I can hold it one handed without my hand/arm getting tired, and it pairs well with my iPad when placed on my pulpit.  

 The Pastor’s Bible is, essentially, in the sweet spot for Bibles. Like many of my brethren, I preach from a tablet but I still carry a physical Bible as I always recommend to my colleagues.

Final Thoughts 

Would I recommend the CSB Pastor’s Bible? Yes. I use different translations (NLT, CSB, & NASB) for different purposes and I definitely plan on moving the pastor’s Bible into rotation as my pastoral care and discipleship Bible. I will also be using it alongside my Tyndale Select NLT Reference Bible for large scale consumption of the Biblical text.  

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

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 is 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.

 

NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, Premier Collection Edition

NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, Premier Collection Edition

 

 

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The Academic Standard Text of the English Bible has joined the Premier Collection and I am delighted. New Revised Standard Version (hereafter NRSV) has been finding its way into my studies more frequently as I endeavor to be more well-rounded in my studies and in bringing NRSV to the Premier Collection, Zondervan has offered an edition that is equally suitable to the desk and the pulpit. (Incidentally, Zondervan sent this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own as I was not asked for a positive review, just an honest one.)

Translation Choice

With Zondervan being the primary publisher of the NRSV, it makes sense that they would bring a spectacular offering to the Premier Collection…

NRSV is what we call an essentially literal translation, like its cousins ESV and NASB. There are some notable differences in the three, but by and large NRSV is pretty literal. It does tend more toward the mediating end of the translation spectrum because it is a little more free flowing. It is more formal equivalent than either the NIV or CSB, the dominant mediating translations on the market.

I have referred to the NRSV as the Academic Standard Bible for two reasons: 1. All of the general reference Study Bibles (the standard texts in most seminaries) and two because that is how it was presented to me. The Translation Committee included Jews, Catholics, Mainline Protestants and conservative Evangelicals. The NRSV has the broadest spectrum of thought in the realm of textual criticism.

Cover and Binding

If you have never handled a Bible in the Premier Collection, you are in for a real treat. To say the leather is a tactile delight is a beautiful exercise in understatement. There are very few Bibles anywhere which are more touchable than the Premier Collection. Previously, I had thought that Harper Collins had used their best leather on the NASB Bibles in the Premier Collection-I was incorrect. The NRSV has the most incredible goatskin that I have ever touched, even beating the leather used by Cambridge University Press, the leader in the Premium Bible Market.

The grain is nicely pronounced; it lights up every nerve ending in your fingertips. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I could sit and just run my fingers over the cover for hours on end. Naturally, as with all of its cousins in the Premier Collection, this is a leather lined cover, making the cover incredibly flexible but still sturdy.

The binding is, of course, sewn, BUT, it is not sewn as tightly as in the rest of the collection. It is almost as if Zondervan had designed this Bible for a peripatetic pastor. It is perfectly balanced for one handed use. Adding to the durability of the Bible, Zondervan has provided overcast stitching on the first and final signatures. This overcasting not only reinforces the binding, it also helps with laying flat in Genesis and Revelation.

Layout

This Bible is laid out in a single column paragraph format with a couple surprises in the layout. Zondervan’s Complete Cross Reference System is placed in the outer margin and that margin, incidentally leaves 1 inch of space for annotations, symbols etc. Previous to receiving my copy, I had not been told that it was wide-margin (my preferred feature in a Bible geared toward study) and I was pleasantly surprised to find wide margins. Margin space has been my biggest complaint with the offerings for NRSV. For a Bible billed as the Academic Standard, wide-margins are essential and I am glad to see that Zondervan has finally added them.

In the footer, you will find the Translator’s Footnotes. Unlike its NASB cousin, the NRSV Single Column  Reference Bible includes the full set of Translator’s Footnotes. You may be asking why this is important and here is why, it is not always possible to go back to the Greek or Hebrew so having an insight as to why a particular choice was made is most helpful. As with all Zondervan Bibles, the Translator’s Footnotes include variant readings from the source text as well as textual variants from other original language manuscripts.

Comfort Print Font and Paper

Like the rest of the Premier Collection, this Bible is in Harper Collins’ Comfort Print Font. For reasons unknown to me, I find the NRSV’s Comfort Print the easiest to read followed by the NKJV Comfort Print Font (NKJV is published by Zondervan’s older sister, Nelson Bibles). Ironically I have not seen a comfort print from the 3rd Imprint under Harper Collins Christian Publishing, Harper Catholic Bibles though it is possible that is still in the works.

I was expecting a deep rich ebony for this black letter text and that is exactly what I got. It is no secret that I prefer a black letter text because I annotate in blue or red ink. Besides that, red letter can be a bit distracting in the pulpit, especially since it is, frequently inconsistent. 2k/Denmark plied their trade as master craftsmen and, in the NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, gave us the most readable NRSV that I have set my eyes on. Though it is not billed as large print, it most certainly is large print at approximately 10.5-point font. To my surprise I had no issues with reading the text. (I wear bifocals and anything below a 12-point is a challenge). I did not experience the expected eye fatigue, a welcome relief since sermon prep requires I spend hours with any given text every week. I am pleased to say that the text did not stress my eyes at all.

The paper is a crisp white and very opaque, 38 gsm I believe. If you did not know, a higher number on the gsm indicates a heavier paper and one which will stand up better with underlying and annotations. There will be absolutely no issues annotating in pen, colored pencil, or standard pencil. Clearly Zondervan wants you to write in this Bible and, for that matter, so do I. There is no sight more beautiful than a heavily marked up Bible. You will enjoy marking up this Bible and making it your own.

There is another delightful surprise, one that would go unnoticed by a good many people. The edge gilting is purple under gold. Traditionally, the gilting it either red under gold or blue under silver. The purple under gold is a nod to whimsy {we don’t normally think of academicians as being fun_ but it also a nod to the majesty of the Scriptures. Purple is the color of royalty and, beloved, the Bible reigns over all othre books as King so it is proper and fitting that the color of royalty should be on the most regal of all books.

Which NRSV?

There are 3 Editions of the NRSV: The Protestant Canon, The Catholic Canon, and the Orthodox Canon. Each canon has a different number of accepted books and, for this Bible, Zondervan relied on the Protestant Canon. As it happens, the Protestant Canon is not in dispute which is to say that all 3 traditions will recognize and accept those 66 books. If you are Catholic or Orthodox and reading this article, I would encourage you to not be disappointed that the Protestant Canon was chosen. In doing so, Zondervan can actually get the Bible into the hands of more people since we all know and read those 66 books.

For use as a preaching Bible

Many denominations use NRSV for their weekly liturgy and this would be a logical choice for preaching in those churches. I was surprised to find it be easy to use. There is nothing wrong with a single column; I just happen to not be used to it in the pulpit. The font size and lay out lead me to believe that this Bible is designed to be equally practical for the Expositor as well as the general reader. It is very easy to do what I did-sit in your favorite recliner with this Bible open and just read for a couple hours.

Should you buy this Bible?

Decide, first, if the NRSV will be a main translation that you will use. The Premier Collection is not inexpensive but it is worth every penny. Ergo, if NRSV is either your translation or choice or a major use translation, then yes, this is absolutely the NRSV to own.

If you are in seminary, using the NRSV is probably not even a question and I have a twofold recommendation for this particular Bible- get the edition that is not in the Premier Collection for your classwork and get the Premier Collection edition for your time in the Pulpit, your preaching Bible does not necessarily have to be your workhorse.

Final Thoughts

I must confess to a gripe- I am annoyed that there are no lined notes pages included in this or any other in the Premier Collection. The Premier Collection is the ideal choice for anyone who teaches the Bible, regardless of whether that is Sunday School, Preaching, Classroom or any other capacity and I cannot fathom a logical reason for the exclusion of notes pages.

Other than that, as I told my contacts at Zondervan, I can sum up my opinion of the NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, Premier Collection Edition, in a single sentence: Finally, an NRSV worth the money!

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

 

 

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“Coloring Bible verses helps me to remember what the Bible says.”-Donna Sherro (my wife)

 

Among journaling and wide margin Bibles, there is a class called art-journaling editions. This is my first time reviewing an art journaling Bible; I am reviewing the large print edition of the Inspire Bible from Tyndale House. Tyndale provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are the views of my wife and I.

 

Translation Choice

Inspire is offered in the New Living Translation, a translation which is very close to my heart. The NLT is the translation that the Lord used when redeeming my wife.

 

The NLT is an extremely readable translation of the Bible. NLT is frequently confused with its predecessor, the Living Bible Paraphrase and is branded a paraphrase. It is most assuredly a translation and one that you can trust. Many of the people that I have instructed from the New Living Translation have responded with something to the effect of “Oh! It makes sense now.” NLT is a Bible that will speak to your heart.

 

Cover and Binding

The cover is imitation leather. There is no color name listed but it has a lilac coloring and an impressionist style paining of flowers on the bottom. My wife said, “it’s very pretty and now it’s mine” upon seeing it being taken out of the box.

 

Inspire is printed in large reflective letters on the cover, approximately in the exact center. The embossing is rather eye catching.  Tyndale has provided a paste down liner and a sewn binding. It should prove to be a very durable Bible.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font

“It’s very easy to read. It feels more like a regular book” -Donna

 

As my wife pointed out, Inspire is laid out more like a traditional book. It is a single column paragraph format. The font is completely black letter and I would estimate around a 9.5-10-point font. The margins are approximately 2 inches wide, some of which include Scripture art and some of which are lined for annotation.

 

The paper has a cream color which makes it very easy to read in most light situations. The texture is rather soft and touchable for how thick the paper is. Most marking and coloring instruments will work nicely in the Inspire Bible. As usual, I do not recommend markers but pencils, crayons, archival pens, ball-point pens etc would work out quite nicely.

 

My Thoughts vs Donna’s Thoughts

Admittedly, this class of Bible is not a favorite of mine. I am both a pastor and a theologian and a very reserved one at that. As a consequence, I sometimes overlook something very helpful where Donna does not miss it. Here is what she says about Inspire:

  • It makes the Bible mine because I can add my own notes
  • Coloring the verses helps me to memorize what the Bible says
  • It will help visual people remember what they are reading.
  • Inspire makes me want to read the Bible more.
  • NLT is easy to understand for everybody.

 

As it happens, my wife can find herself being more astute than I am. I am very good at forgetting that experiencing the Bible is a very personal thing. Inspire is as much an experience with the Scriptures as it is the Scriptures.

 

Who should buy Inspire

First and foremost, visual learners should buy Inspire. The coloring aspect will make it very enjoyable. Secondarily Inspire is a good fit for any ladies who are looking to add more of the Bible to their lives.

 

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.

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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.

God’s Word Translation Wide Margin Bible Review

God’s Word Translation Wide Margin Bible Review

 

I love a good wide margin Bible and the one I am reviewing, here, is one of the best that I have seen at this price point. Before we go any further, I would like to point out that God’s Word to the Nations Missions Society provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review and I was not obligated to provide a positive review. My opinions are my own.

The Translation

I am opening the review by revisiting the translation first. God’s Word Translation (hereafter GW) is done in a style called Closest Natural Equivalent.  It is a type of meaning based translation that, as its name suggests, attempts to render the original languages into the closest English possible. If I had to put in a reading comprehension scale, I would say probably 4th to 6th grade.

As English has become one of the two most used languages on the planet, GW is uniquely placed among English translations of the Bible because of its ease of comprehension.  Many of my readers have English as a second or third language and when one of them asks me to recommend a Bible, GW is one of my top choices (I always give three recommendations so that the choice belongs to the reader.)

Comparatively speaking, GW is very close to NLT on the Dynamic Equivalence end of the spectrum. I have been pairing it side-by-side with my NKJV and the experience has been very enlightening. I would compare it this way: NKJV is like talking to my peers (NKJV and I are both 37 and somewhat academic) and GW is like telling the same story to an Elementary Grade Sunday School Class. I would not say that it has a commentary feel when read in parallel but it does feel more like having a conversation with “regular people” as opposed to my theologically trained peers.

GW is a translation you can know and trust. Its position in my ministry is evolving. Currently, I am using it with new believers but I foresee it taking a more active role in my pulpit ministry. In many cases it will provide an excellent supplement to my NKJV. As a matter of fact, I can easily see the God’s Word Translation becomming one of my three main translations.

I find myself liking this translation much more than expected. It’s like spending time with my niece; I always come away more energized and having loved the time we spent together.

The Paper and Margins

The paper in this Bible and the margins are the shining stars. The paper feels to be about 36gsm. However, I have been advised that it is 39gsm. This is important becasue you want a thicker paper in a Bible that is designed for journaling etc. The paper is fairly heavy and opaque but the pages are still very easy to turn. The paper is kind of an off-white, not as cream colored as what Crossway uses but not a bright white either. I took it out into the Arizona sun and had no issues reading off the page; the glare that I expected was not there and neither was there much see through.

The margins are 1.5” and among the best that I have encountered in a wide margin Bible. My regular readers will know that I love a wide margin Bible and even had my favorite wide margin rebound in Bison Leather. Most Bible publishers consider a 1” margin to be wide but I don’t go less than 1.25” to call it a wide margin Bible so the margin size, here, makes it very easy to recommend the GW wide margin Bible to someone who wishes to get into Bible journaling. There is not really an inner margin (gutter) which I don’t consider an issue since I never write in the gutter anywhere.

In point of fact, I consider a wide margin to be the best format for a Bible. In a wide margin you have a true study Bible as you make a record of your studies and grow in your walk with the Lord.

The Cover, Font, Layout, and Binding

The GW wide margin is offered in a type of imitation leather called duravella. Much like trutone, it is a polymer based imitation leather that will easily hold up for 20 years or so. Depending on your usage it may last longer or you can follow some of my colleagues and rebind it in a more premium leather.

It is a sewn Binding which surprised me considering the price point. Sewing the binding matters because it ensures the Bible will last through years of use.

The layout is a line-matched single column paragraph format in a 10.5-point font. It is totally black letter, which in the case of a wide margin Bible is to be preferred. Many, myself included, annotate in red ink and a red letter Bible would most probably be a distraction. I would say, without reservation, that Crossway has found a rival in the typography department. Single-column paragraph format is not generally a favorite of mine due to visual acuity issues but this Bible is very easy on the eyes and a delight to read.

Would I Change Anything

There are a couple things I would add but they are mostly niggling details. I would like to see, at least, a second ribbon or, preferably, three ribbons total. The ribbons are frequently used to mark your place in a reading plan so I think we should always have at least three ribbons in a Bible.

The other addition that I would make is less niggling but I am not really certain how others would feel about it…I would like to see lined notes pages. I would, personally, prefer a couple lined pages with each book of the Bible and if not there, some at the end of the book itself. A Bible that is so clearly designed for note taking really demands that there be as much space as possible for doing just that.

How to Use

First and foremost, for pastors and other teachers, I would put lesson notes in the margins. Since we cannot always have lesson notes with us (I frequently find myself teaching with no advance notice) it is a definite plus to have teaching notes in the margins. As it happens, I like to place small word studies and key phrases in the margins of my Bibles.

For my non pastor friends, I recommend annotating points from sermons that you wish to remember. Symbols are often helpful and some even make drawings/charts to help remember.

As a Carry Bible

Some wide margin Bibles do not really lend themselves to being an Every Day Carry Bible. Thankfully, that is not the case with the GW wide margin Bible. At 6” x 9” it is fairly portable. I am pleasantly surprised, not by the portability of the Bible but at its readability. Normally, you do not get such a readable layout in this size of a Bible.

It’s fairly lightweight, maybe 32oz but I am not 100% certain. It is extremely easy to use one-handed. If you were so inclined, you would not have any issue using this as your main Bible.

Writing in the GW Wide Margin

I wrote in 2 places, for the review, and with 2 different pens. I do not, as a general rule, use a fountain pen to write in a Bible but I used a Pelikan m600 Souveran fountain pen with Diamine Imperial Purple ink on the presentation page. There was moderate show through but it is not in an area which will impact enjoyment of the Bible.

For the other writing, I used my normal Bible writing implement, a Uniball Jetstream. The Uniball did not leave any show through and I was rather impressed with that fact.

Many of my friends and colleagues use colored pencil for their marking and color coding, I recommend Prang as a 1st choice and Crayola as a 2nd choice, and the paper seems to be quite ideally suited to that.

I cannot recommend use of a Pigma Micron Archival Pen this time around. It is virtually guaranteed to bleed through

Final Thoughts

Overall I am much more pleased than I had expected. Considering a price point below $75, I had not expected the quality of paper that we are presented with. I am happy to say that I was wrong. The font and margins were in line with my expectations.

I would have to say, this is the perfect choice for 2020: a new format in a new translation that you may not have considered before. You may or may not make it your primary translation, but you should definitely use it. I think you may find the Bible speaking to your heart in new and exciting ways.

ESV Story of Redemtion Bible

ESV Story of Redemtion Bible

 

Redemption…It’s the greatest story in history, the centerpiece of the entire Bible, and this time, it is beautifully displayed in the ESV Story of Redemption Bible. (Note: This Bible was given as a gift. Crossway has not asked for this review and my opinions are my own.) In this review, we are looking at the jacketed hardcover edition.

Features

  1. 9.25-point Milo type (Bible text); 8.5-point Milo type (notes)
  2. Single-column, paragraph format
  3. 897 notes written by pastor Greg Gilbert interspersed throughout the full ESV text 
  4. All-new introductions to each book of the Bible
  5. 80+ maps, illustrations, and timelines
  6. Generous 1.25 inch margin space
  7. Premium cream-colored paper
  8. Smyth-sewn binding

 

Cover and Binding

A jacketed hardcover is the perfect choice for the student of Scripture who finds himself on the go frequently. It will hold up really well going into and out of a backpack or laptop bag. It works very well in the classroom and even in the sanctuary  on the pulpit. Ordinarily, a hardcover does not excite me and yet Crossway makes their hardcovers special. A Crossway hardcover almost always feels more durable than competing products, most probably because Crossway sews the text block in almost every Bible they produce.

Speaking of sewn bindings…A sewn binding from Crossway is a very special sewn binding-they are generally sewn tighter than other publishers products and, the biggest advantage is the lack of a cockling sound. Sewn bindings last almost forever and this hardcover is no exception.

Margins, Paper, Layout, and Font

I am happy to see that Crossway has finally made one of my wishes come true, wide margins in a study Bible and not just wide margins but very generous ones at that. A wide margin is where the amazing happens in a Bible because it is where  you notate your experience with the Bible and the illuminations which the Holy Spirit brings to your mind.

The combination of the paper and font is amazing. The Milo font family tends to be one of the most reader friendly fonts that I have encountered in any book; it is accentuated by being on a lightly cream colored paper.

The single column paragraph format, presented here, has become a Crossway signature. The layout is more akin to a traditional book so that a reader will spend more time with the Bible.

Story of Redemption Notes & Helps

The Notes and Helps begin with Book introductions, each of which shows the main events of Redemptive History which are recorded in the book. This, naturally, gives the reader a better idea of how each book in the Bible comes together in the unified Story of Redemption.

There are approximately 900 notes interspersed throughout the text. Each of these notes shines a light on redemption as the overarching theme of the Bible.

At the end of the text, you will find a fold out timeline/overview of the Story of Redemption. This timeline is quite beautiful and provides a stunning glimpse at how God has worked through the ages to bring about His plan to redeem us unto Himself.

Could you preach from the Story of Redemption Bible?

Yes. I might add that the Story of Redemption Bible has a virtually identical layout to the ESV Preaching Bible, the differences being a slightly larger font and no notes in the Preaching Bible. Both have exquisite 1.25 inch margins for your own personal annotations, cross references, diagrams, etc. Because I am not used to using a single column paragraph format in the pulpit, it did pose some functional challenges for me. However I am confident that it will not be an issue for most people/

Who should buy the Story of Redemption Bible?

I would recommend this Bible for parishioners (people in the pew) than for pastors. As pastors, we should be intimately familiar with the overarching Story of Redemption that is in the Bible and be able to communicate it effectively. Many Christians may be coming from a background that does not effectively communicate the overall story of the Bible and this edition is ideally suited to help them to learn the unified theme of the Scriptures, the Story of Redemption.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this has been a highly enjoyable study Bible and I think that any disciple will be blessed by it. I hope that you will find it in your library and reference it regularly; maybe you will even call this edition your main Bible.

 

God’s Word Translation Review

God’s Word Translation Review

“A most interesting translation.” That is my overall impression of the God’s Word Translation of the Scriptures. Before we go further, I need to point out that God’s Word for the Nations Missionary Society provided this Bible for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Let’s begin with some information from the publisher:

THE THEORY USED TO PRODUCE GOD’S WORD

  • Closest Natural Equivalence
  • Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Form Equivalence
  • Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Function Equivalence
  • Closest Natural Equivalence Maintains the Balance

 

Closest natural equivalent translation attempts to be exactly what its name implies. Above all else, it provides readers with a meaning equivalent to the source language (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek in the case of the Bible) in the target language (English in the case of GOD’S WORD). Second and equally important, it seeks ways to express that meaning naturally in a way that a native English speaker would have spoken or written. Finally, it expresses the meaning naturally in a way that is as close as possible to the way the source language expressed the meaning.

This translation most certainly falls into the dynamic equivalence/thought for thought/meaning based end of the Bible translation spectrum. It is an incredibly easy version to read and understand and I really appreciate that. Many of the people that I minister to have English as a second language and I would be confident in placing the God’s Word Translation in any of their hands.

I would mark this translation as a 3rd to 4th Grade Reading Level. For a Bible to be translated at this level of understanding is absolutely fabulous. Matthew 18:3 tells us that we need to become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and the English used here would certainly be simple enough for most children to understand.

There is the question of gender in translation and God’s Word Translation endeavors to be what is considered to be gender accurate. What this means is it chooses the most accurate pronouns based on the audience addressed. This is different from being gender neutral which seeks to eliminate the patriarchal aspects of a patriarchal society. I am not sure how some of my conservative colleagues would receive this aspect of the translation but I have no issue with it.

I have used GWT alongside three translations: my New American Standard Bible, my New International Version, and my King James Version. Like the NIV, the GWT is very easy to understand and accurate to the thought of the original language documents. Similar to the New Living Translation, the GWT provides a very illuminating, almost commentary feel to the Scripture.

Who should use the GWT? My recommendation for GWT is to provide it to those who have English as a second language. I would also advise giving the GWT to elementary school students looking to read the Bible for the first time.

How should you use GWT? My recommendation for use depends on a couple factors.

Personal/Small Group Study: I recommend GWT in use alongside an essentially literal translation such as NASB or ESV. The GWT will provide a more well rounded understanding of the Scripture.

1st Time Readers: Given the ease of use, I highly recommend the GWT for 1st time Bible readers. There are a number of reading plans and devotional sources available for use. I would pair the GWT with a reading plan designed to get you through the whole Bible in a year, Tyndale’s One Year Bible is an excellent choice.

Pastoral Use: GWT is an excellent choice for an alternate translation from the pulpit. We always want to have two or three translations in use when preaching and GWT will most definitely help you to communicate the clear meaning of the Scripture.

All in all, the GWT was very interesting and I will be using it more in the future. It will be added to our distribution inventory for those who have never had a copy of the Scripture and for our chaplaincy visits to leave behind for prisoners and hospital patients that are in need of the Bible. I commend it to you for your use. Whether or not to make it your primary translation, I leave up to you but I do think it is well worth your investment.

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.