Just a little disclaimer first, I am not a KJV only guy. I love the KJV and I do read the KJV, but I also use the NASB as my primary translation. In addition I use the ESV, NKJV, HCSB, and Geneva. This should be good news to people looking for an honest, unbiased, review. The bad news is that I received this Bible gratis from TBS. Some of you might believe that will make me biased, but if you look at my blog you can see that there are a few publishers represented by reviews of their products, all of which were gratis. I am under no obligation to give a positive review to any of the books or Bibles I review.
That being said, this is an AMAZING reference Bible! I was very surprised to see the quality of this Bible considering the price they ask for it. You can purchase one from TBS directly for $80.00 and they use the proceeds to provide Bibles and resources to Christians around the world. Or you can buy it from evangelicalbible.com for a little less.
TBS took great care in packaging this Bible for shipping. When it arrived at my house it was in a clamshell type cardboard box filled with packing peanuts. The Bible was placed on top of a foam pad inside the box.
Its retail packaging is a blue clamshell box with product information on it. Save the box for storage.
I was so glad to see they took good care to ensure the Bible arrived undamaged. I have received numerous Bibles that have had bent corners, wrinkled covers, and scratches on them due to insufficient packaging.
When I opened the box I could smell the calfskin leather. It was soft to touch and has a fairly smooth texture. It isn’t heavily textured. The cover is lined with typical vinyl looking material that is glued down. It is a case bound book.
The first and last pages are glued up higher to ensure the text block is securely fitted to the cover.
The printing and binding were done by Jongbloed in the Netherlands. They are well known for producing luxury Bibles like R.L. Allan, Schuyler, and Cambridge.
The spine has, “Holy Bible” at the head, “Westminster Reference Bible” in the middle, and the TBS logo at the foot. These are written in gold lettering. The page edges are gold gilt as well.
The binding is smyth-sewn and very flexible. Fresh out of the box the Bible lies flat on the table from the first book to the last.
When you hold it by the spine it drapes over your hand. The cover has some rigidity due to the lining. This is only a con if you are looking for a cover that edge lined. I have had both types of covers on Bibles. For a time I thought it was the mark of a good quality Bible to have a lining as flexible as the cover material, but I have come to appreciate some rigidity in the cover. It helps to hold onto the Bible, if there is something to hold onto. Some of the Bibles without it are more difficult to read because they are too flexible. They tend to flop around. This one has a great quality cover and it adds to the utility of the Bible. The fit and finish of the text block to cover is very clean and well done. It is obvious that they are doing this work with honoring God in mind.
The Bible comes with four ribbon markers. There are two red ones in the Old Testament and two black ones in the New Testament. Both sets of ribbons are good quality and about a quarter inch wide. I really appreciate this feature. Often times Bibles only have one ribbon marker if you are lucky. Sometimes you can get them with two, but four is almost unheard of. I end up gluing more in on my own. I love having four. I can use one from the Old Testament for my daily reading plan and the other for following along with the sermon. I do the same with the two in the New Testament.
The first pages are made out of a heavier paper and TBS instead of just leaving them blank has tastefully printed some scripture quotes on each one of them. Instead of being out of place, they were quite a propos and well done. After that we have a presentation page on the same paper, and then the paper changes over to Bible paper for the, Translators to the Reader, Epistle dedicatory, and the, Guide to Using the Westminster Bible, pages.
At the beginning of the books there are verses that are helpful for the reading of each book and the Chapter numbers are larger and bold. The text is in a double column verse format with over 200,000 references printed on the gutter and page edge sides of the page. I love these cross references, the TBS Westminster lives up to the claim of being a reference Bible. They aren’t there to be pretty. They actually are relevant to what you are reading. One of my favorite features, is the archaic words are in the margin with an * by them in the text and in the margin. In the margin you get the modern word or short definition. This makes reading the KJV much simpler.
In the top outside of the page you get the Book and Chapter, the inside has the heading, while the bottom outside has the page numbers. The font is clear and sharp 9.6 point, with consistent ink distribution making it quite legible and easy on the eyes. The paper is opaque and a bit thicker than some of the very thin paper used in lesser Bibles. It is a bit off white, but not so much as to diminish the contrast against the text.
At the back of the Bible there is a, Tables of Weights and Measures, List of Words and Proper Names with their Pronunciations, Daily Reading Plan, Maps and an extensive concordance. I was impressed with the size of the concordance. Most Bibles have one, but generally they are little more than a few pages. This one is actually large enough to be useful.
After spending some time using this Bible and reading from it, I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a King James Version Reference Bible. I have some Local Bible Publishers Bibles and the TBS is superior in the printing and binding. Compared to the ones made in China and Korea the TBS wins hands down.