Tag: Wide Margin Bible

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

NLT Inspire Large Print Review

 

 

Click here for more photos

 

“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.

 

Click me for photos

 

A Fun Fact to Start:

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

 

The Translation

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cover and Binding

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

 

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

 

Layout, Paper, and Font

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Helps

Footnotes

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

 

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

 

References

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

 

Full Concordance

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

 

Actual Use Scenario

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

 

Should you buy it?

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

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.