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Tag: Zondervan Bibles

NIV Giant Print Reference Bible Review

NIV Giant Print Reference Bible Review

 

The New International Version is one of the two best-selling English Translations of the Bible and I have enjoyed reviewing a number of them. This time around I am reviewing the Giant Print Reference Bible with Comfort Print, which you may recall seeing in my pulpit. Note: Unlike other Bibles, Zondervan did not provide this Bible for review. It was acquired at my own expense.

Additional Pictures

 

Cover and Binding

When selecting this Bible, I opted for the Burgundy Bonded Leather edition as it was the highest quality cover that is available. It has a paste down liner, making it a little stiff. The stiffness is not too bad and, as all leathers do, it will soften up a bit over time. If you plan to make this a daily Bible, know that bonded leathers tend to need their covers replaced after 5-10 years, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on the quality of the base leather used in the bonding process.

 

This Bible does have a sewn Binding. For the purposes that I have selected this Bible, a sewn binding was absolutely essential, otherwise it would be useless within about 36 months.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

The paper is fairly crisp white. There is mild reflection in bright light but nothing that would irritating. It features half-moon style thumb indexing. I realize that many dislike this feature but I find it almost necessary to my purposes. I did memorize the order of the books of the Bible way back in second grade but in the pulpit, indexing makes for faster access to the text needed. I would say that the paper is sufficiently opaque for marking and, as I tend to do, I recommend the use of ball point pen for marking.

 

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

 

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

 

For Preaching

I have a few NIV, including the Premier Collection Large Print Thin-line (11-point font) which is a phenomenal choice for preaching. However, middle age and diabetes wear on my eyes, leading me to reach for the 13.5 font size in the Giant Print.

 

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

 

In many reference Bibles, the references can be found in center column and that is the format I am most used to. However, the end-of-verse reference format is far preferable to a center column format as the references are still available for rapid use but do not get in the way of the flow of reading the text.

 

Helps

The NIV Giant Print Reference Bible offers a limited scope of helps, a fact which I find refreshing. There are so many NIV Bibles, covering a wide range of needs, with multiple helps that it is quite a relief that we get the essential helps but not a ton more.

 

Cross-References

The cross-references are located following the verse, hence the moniker End-of-Verse references. The reference system in this particular Bible is a condensed version of the Zondervan Reference System, around 12,500 references or so. It is rare for me to use references in sermon prep though there have been situations where I had forgotten a passage I wanted to reference and seeing the reference jogged my memory.

 

Lined Notes Pages

Lined Notes Pages? I am delighted. The presence of lined notes pages begins to answer my wish that every Bible included them. We get about a half dozen pages, certainly not enough for sermon notes but more than adequate for more important notes like the Romans Road etc. If Zondervan would give me my way, they would release an edition of this Bible with 4-5 lined notes pages per book. Pastor’s write in our Bibles, why not have sufficient room.

 

Dictionary Concordance

A condensed version of John Kohlenberger’s excellent concordance is provided for us. Key terms are defined and then given the corresponding textual references for further study.

 

Final Thoughts

I am quite pleased with this Bible. For the price point, you get a very good value for the money. I would like it to have a higher grade leather but that is a niggling little detail easily corrected by a re-binder.

 

I would tweak a few things but they are more aesthetic than utilitarian. I realize that an NIV Preaching Bible is forthcoming in the near future (I am already committed to review) and I think it will be excellent but for preaching, the Giant Print NIV really knocks it out of the park. At its price-point, this Bible is well done and well worth the money.

 

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

 

 

NASB Church Pack (Preacher’s Bible and Pew/Worship Bible)

NASB Church Pack (Preacher’s Bible and Pew/Worship Bible)

Additional Photos

 

I love the Bible; if you have known me more than two minutes you know this. I also love the New American Standard Bible. On 2/20/2020, it will have been with me 24 years. So, when I heard that Zondervan Publishing has resolved one of my biggest complaints in the Bible world (There is not a suitable preaching Bible with a pew Bible counterpart), they had my attention.

They sent me, free of charge in exchange for an honest review, a combo pack of the NASB Preacher’s Bible and the Pew/Worship Bible. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one and I do have a gripe or two but none so severe as to color my opinion.

The Concept:

Many churches provide Pew/Worship Bibles for members of the congregation but the pastor has to have a copy re-bound so that it will stand up to the rigors of day to day pastoral use. This left a huge gap, which Zondervan has jumped into, feet first.

The concept is simple and so obvious that it really annoys me that no other publisher has done so: Release a Pastor’s Bible AND a pew Bible simultaneously with identical page numbers, page layout, and font family. Zondervan has done just that. As I said, it is such an obvious concept that other publishers have no excuse for not doing so. Many churches, mine included, often have people in attendance who have never seen the inside of a Bible or have an extremely limited experience with it. Ergo, being able to say, from the pulpit, turn to page ______ for the morning’s text would be most helpful.

This, then, will be a simultaneous review as a good portion of the review applies to both books.

 

The Font, Layout, and Pagination

We absolutely must talk about this first. Zondervan calls this Comfort Print and it lives up to its name. I was surprised at this for the pew Bible because some Comfort Print Editions (Looking at you, Biblical Theology Study Bible) are not all that comfortable to read.

The hardcover is listed at 9-point. It actually looks to be 8.5 to me; many publishers list font size that includes leading and that is probably the case here. The Preacher’s Bible is listed at 10-point but I think that is a bit of an under-sizing. It looks to be the same size as its NKJV Cousin, the Large Print Thin-line. Both are very easy to read.

Black letter text, as all preaching Bibles ought to have, is what Zondervan has on offer here. There is a delightful little surprise, though. Subject headings, chapter numbers, and verse numbers are all in red for the Preacher’s Bible.

The layout is double column verse-by-verse. Verse-by-verse is the ideal format for preaching, whether single column or double column. You will easily find the verse you are preaching. Also, each book starts on a new page for easier reading.

Since the Preacher’s Bible and the Pew Bible share a common DNA, we are given a text only edition. There are translator’s footnotes provided which include variant readings of the text.

Paper and Binding

The paper in both is a crisp white. The pew Bible is a little brighter than in the Preacher’s Bible but much brighter than in other pew Bibles. The paper is nicely opaque with almost no show through. You can, successfully, mark in either edition, preferably with colored pencil or ball-point pen. I almost never recommend a liquid highlighter but a gel should pose no issue. Note: I encourage you to have a take a copy program if you are going to encourage congregants to write in the Bible. I DO encourage you, most wonderful colleague, to encourage your congregation to mark in their Bibles.

The Pew Bible has a “premium hardcover,” which did arrive in a dust jacket; I presume most churches will remove the dust jacket before putting the Bible in the pew.

The Preacher’s Bible that I received is the black goatskin, but it is also available in brown imitation leather. It is leather lined with a fairly pronounced grain. I am glad to see that a lower price option is available for pastors on tighter budgets or will a modest book allowance.

Both Bibles have a sewn binding. It is obvious to sew the binding in a premium leather Bible, not so much in a Pew Bible but I am glad to see Zondervan include it. It will doubtlessly get knocked around in the pew. If you are like me and like to keep some Bibles on hand for giveaway, it will get knocked around in your bag as well. In both cases, the sewn binding assures that the Bible will survive years of rough and tumble use.

My Gripes

Neither Bible is indexed. I understand that you don’t need to index a pew Bible if you plan to tell the congregation which page to turn to, but I do find it useful for the pastor to have a thumb index so it is not necessary to write down every page number.

My second gripe made me scratch my head a little. There are no congregational/responsive readings included. This feature has been a hallmark of pew Bibles from days gone by. Many churches, Abounding Grace being one of them, feature a responsive reading on Sunday mornings and it would be fairly nice to have readings already provided for everyone to read together.

My last gripe is a frequent one, I wish the Preacher’s Bible had wide margins. Almost every pastor I know of writes in their Bible. Zondervan could do like Cambridge and use a wider footprint in order to have a wide margin which still has the same pagination as the pew Bible.

None of these gripes is enough to make me dislike the Bible.

Real world use

I have gotten so many responses to some teaser photos that I shared that I was not able to wait to use the Preacher’s Bible on Sunday before writing the review. I took in into a counseling session and found that I had no issues using it. I was able to find the text rapidly and, even with some ocular challenges, had no trouble reading the page.

Final Thoughts

Given the combination, I am having a hard time envisioning not opting to use it, unless of course Zondervan’s “Big Sister” decides to do the same with the NKJV Preaching Bible.

For 24 years, NASB has been one of the two translations that are with me every day. I carry multiple translations but no matter which editions are in my rotation, NASB and NKJV are always with me. NASB is one of the two most fastidiously literal translations available and you will not regret its usage.

Note: Either product can be a stand-alone. I do not recommend that, though. The Preacher’s Bible and the Pew/Worship Bible are designed to be used together and that is how you will get the best results.

Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review

Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review

The Life Application Study Bible (LASB)…year after year it remains one of the best-selling in the Study Bible Category and, in fact, it is Tyndale’s best seller. It’s volume is only matched by the ESV Study Bible. They are numbers 1 &2. Now, in 2019 Tyndale has updated the LASB in the world’s two best selling English Translations, NLT and NIV.

Disclaimer: Tyndale sent copies of each edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.

Features Include:

  • Enhanced, updated, and with new content added throughout
  • Now more than 10,000 Life Application® notes and features
  • Over 100 Life Application® Bible character profiles
  • Introductions and overviews for each book of the Bible
  • More than 500 maps & charts
  • Dictionary/concordance
  • Side-column cross-references
  • Index to notes, charts, maps, and profiles
  • Refreshed design with a second color for visual clarity
  • 16 pages of full-color maps
  • Durable Smyth-sewn binding, lays flat when open
  • Presentation page
  • Single-column format
  • Christian Worker’s Resource- a special supplement to enhance the reader’s ministry effectiveness
  • Full text of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT) or New International Version (NIV)
  • Single Column text for Scripture, Double Column for Notes and Side Column References
  • Black Letter
  • Text Size: 8.5 Point and Note Size: 7 Point

 

Translation Choices

Currently the 3rdEdition LASB is available in the New Living Translation and the New International Version. While not confirmed by Tyndale, I have to imagine that this is because these are the dominant two English Translations of the Bible in the English Speaking World. In my case, it is an embarrassment of riches because I love both translations and use both, NLT in the church service and NIV at home for personal devotions. In either case, you get the same great study content. Since some will ask, the NLT will get the most use in my situation as a huge percentage of my audience uses NLT as their main Bible. 

Cover and Binding

Both of my review copies are Leather-touch a.k.a imitation leather. The NLT is teal with silver foil stamping and the NIV is brown and tan with gold foil stamping. Insofar as I can tell, the binding is glued so do be mindful of the heat. With proper care, it should last several years but if you are concerned about the binding it can be sewn by a professional re-binder.

Font, Layout, and Text Coloration

The text is a little small for my taste, but that has more to do with me approaching 40 and having eyesight issues than anything else. The Scripture portion is 8.5-point font size, similar to the Wayfinding Bible and the current edition of the NLT Study Bible. We have the notes and cross-references at 7.5. Again, a little small for my taste but still manageable. LASB has matured and, now, is nearly the same size as the NLT Study Bible and so the font needs to be a little smaller to keep the size of the book manageable.

 

Before I discuss the features, I want to deal with an important question: Would I, a pastor, buy and actually use the LASB?

 

This will actually bring my LASBs current; I have all 3 physical editions plus the iPhone app: The 1stEdition in Burgundy Genuine Leather with the NLT, the 2ndEdition in Hardcover with the Holman Christian Standard Bible, both of which I actually purchased and now I add the 3rdEdition as a review copy. I, regularly, use the LASB in my sermon preparation. There are 3 questions that I answer in every sermon: What does it say? What does it mean? What do I do about it? The LASB is quite helpful for the 3rdquestion as it is the application question.

 

Features

THE TEXT

In offering meaning based translations of the Bible, the LASB makes the Scripture more accessible to the average reader.

 

FOOTNOTES

Tyndale provides two types of annotations and both are equally important in a Study Bible.

 

Translators’ Footnotes

For both the NLT and NIV, the translator’s footnotes include alternate readings, manuscript variants and so forth.

 

Study Notes

There are 10,000 annotations provided, in a double column format below the text. These notes do not simply explain the text, they help with application of the Scripture to your daily life. Of the three questions that we endeavor to answer with the Scripture, these annotations answer the most important question, What do I do about the text/How does it apply to my life?

 

BOOK INTRODUCTIONS

Each introduction contains several sections designed to help open the Scriptures for you.

 

Mega-themes

Mega-themes showcase the most important ideas of each book of the Bible. These ideas are the essential concepts for understanding the various books of the Bible.

 

Overview

The overview section provides a summary of the book. It also provides general application lessons for the Scripture.

 

Blueprint

The Blueprint section of the introduction is fairly straightforward; they are outlines of each book of the Bible. For the Bible teacher, this outline provides a solid teaching structure while the student receives an excellent starting point to break the book into manageable pieces for study.

 

Vital Statistics

Vital Statistics are straight facts about the book: author, date, place of writing etc. These are basic background to the book and are primarily intended as a starting point for further study of the Scripture.

 

General Thoughts:

There are two roadblocks that I have found people to run into more than any other: “I don’t understand the Bible” and “the Bible is not really relevant to today.” Both are based on the faulty assumption that the Bible is nothing more than an ancient book. Thankfully, the Life Application Study Bible blows that idea out of the water. The LASB helps the pastor to accomplish our two most important tasks: helping disciples to understand the Bible and helping disciples respond to the Scripture to the glory of God.

 

I know that a number of pastors frown on the use of a Study Bible but I disagree with them. As a general rule. I advise believers at all levels of maturity to own and use a study Bible. For new believers, this is a great choice in a study Bible to own and use.

 

 

 

Zondervan Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thinline Bible Review

Zondervan Premier Collection NIV Large Print Thinline Bible Review

 

 

Disclosure: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to post positive comments; my opinions are my own.

Crossway, Cambridge University Press, Broadman & Holman, R. L. Allan and Sons, Schuyler, Thomas Nelson (Harper Collins), and now Zondervan (Harper Collins). What do all these publishers have in common? They all publish deluxe/premium Bibles in various English versions and at varying ranges of the pricing spectrum. The closest in materials and price point to the Harper Collins Premier Collections are from Crossway and Holman. We will compare the Crossway and Holman editions today as well.

I am reviewing the Large Print Thinline NIV and I will compare it to the the Holman CSB Large Print Ultra-thin Reference Bible (LPUT) and the Crossway ESV Large Print Bible.

Product Description from Zondervan

This NIV Premier Collection Bible features a soft, fine goatskin cover and many other quality finishes such as art gilding, edge lining, and three thick ribbon markers. The NIV Premier Collection Bible combines fine craftsmanship with ultimate readability and portability. It features the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print font expertly designed for the New International Version (NIV) text, and delivers a smooth reading experience to complement the most widely read modern-English Bible translation.

 

Features:

  • Hand-bound in a supple goatskin leather cover
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art Gilt page edging, with gilt line and perimeter stitching
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print typeface
  • Three satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Premium European Bible paper, 36 gsm
  • Black-letter text
  • Family record section

 

Price Point-

  • NIV Large Print Thin-line $149.99
  • ESV Large Print in Top Grain Leather $139.99
  • Holman CSB LPUT-$129.99

Cover Material and Binding:

  • NIV: Black Goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Crossway: Black calfskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.
  • Holman: Black goatskin with edge-lined leather liner and smythe sewn binding.

Winner: Tie between Zondervan and Crossway.

Among all three, we have the top Bible in its translation and class. Zondervan’s goatskin is quite wonderful. It is smoothly ironed with just the faintest sense of grain. That scent, which only a true book aficionado will love is there; it is intoxicating and it is what I look for most when I open a new Bible. This leather is infinitely more touchable than the Holman and that is part of what sets Zondervan apart; your first sensation when you interact with your Bible is how it feels. It should feel natural in your hand, not too cumbersome, loose but not so floppy that it falls out of your hand if you use it one handed.

When you look at the leather, you will notice tiny variations in the skin and you need to know that this is not a defect. Many times you will see “blemishes” in leather goods and this is a natural result of using real animal skins. I have come to look for these little variations as they make it more unique.

A goatskin leather cover and a sewn binding guarantees your Bible will last for a lifetime, which is exactly what Zondervan guarantees.

Side note: Both Holman and Crossway beat Zondervan with a tighter binding.

 

Font

  • NIV: 11.4-point comfort print font type
  • Crossway: 11.5-point font type.
  • Holman: 9-point font type

Winner: Zondervan

Zondervan uses what it calls a comfort print font that was designed by 2/k Denmark, who also designed the typeface on the Holman and the similarities are obvious when you look at the two Bibles. Zondervan and Crossway give us true large print fonts.

While Crossway offers Zondervan stiff competition, the Comfort Print from Zondervan is, far and away, the easiest font that I have read. Zondervan and 2/k Denmark teamed up to create a font family that is very easy on the eyes and is intentionally designed to minimize eye fatigue.

Paper:

All 3 Bibles use a 36-GSM Bible Paper but this time Holman is the clear winner.

Zondervan’s paper is sufficiently opaque to be easy to read. However, there is a bit of a shine so it can be challenging in the pulpit. I have a tendency to be mildly peripatetic and so there was not really a major issue with the shine.

The remainder of the review will focus exclusively on the Zondervan and my thoughts…

 

Ribbons:

Zondervan gives 3 satin ribbons- Navy blue, light blue, and standard blue. The color variation is an offset to the blue under silver art gilding and is another feature designed to make the Bible easy on the eyes.

Layout:

We have a double column paragraph format that is text only. For classroom teaching, this is an ideal layout. When you are standing before your learners and bringing the Word, you do not want any distractions. Some of my colleagues prefer to preach from a single column format but I just cannot do it. I have taught from a double column for so long that I can’t function without that layout.

As a pastor’s Bible:

The Large Print Thin-line NIV is very portable and fits nicely into my laptop bag. It is very easy to use one handed. Because of its portability, it went with me for one-on-one discipleship, on a hospital visit, and into the pulpit. Overall, I found it to be very practical. If I had one complaint it would be that the sewing is loose enough that the Bible feels very floppy; I would like to see it sewn a little tighter.

Is anything missing?

That is a tough question to answer. A concordance is definitely left out and I’m not sure why. I would like to see end of verse references and a few lined pages for notes. The absence thereof is not problematic, more of nit picking on my part.

Would I recommend the Large Print Thin-line? Who should buy it?

I do recommend the NIV and so I recommend this by default. As for who should buy this particular Bible, I would primarily recommend this edition for someone who is teaching the Bible on a regular basis and especially for missionaries. In my personal opinion, it is the most practical Bible that Zondervan offers.

Final Thoughts:

Zondervan’s sheer size as a publisher enables them to offer a very high quality Bible at what is a fairly low price point for the premium class. Many Christians only have one Bible and it needs to be a good one; when I say a good Bible, I mean a high quality edition that will easily last 25 years or more.

I am glad to see that the world’s best selling English Bible is available in a format worthy of Sacred Scripture. I am also pleased to see that Zondervan is offering a price point that will be more accessible to many Christians.