Before I get into the vital features of this Bible I want to expound on its subjective qualities that have endeared it to me. At first glance most people won’t notice the exceptional quality of this Bible until they pick it up and give it a closer look. Some folks won’t even notice even after picking it up. That is not to say the Cambridge Concord Reference Bible is average or plain. It is because the Concord is how a Bible is supposed to be. It is the quintessential archetype of reference Bibles. It smells like a Bible, it looks like a Bible, and it feels like a Bible. When I pick it up to read from, I don’t have to struggle with it. It does exactly what it should do. It stays out of the way and allows me to focus on reading God’s word. Everything about it is conducive to that end.
For me, it is the perfect size and weight to hold in one hand. I can comfortably read it while sitting in my favorite chair. It isn’t heavy or unwieldy enough to require being laid on a table or desk. It isn’t so small as to necessitate being held close. It is not a thick Bible, yet contains many references and some helps.
It is not printed on such light paper that the pages curl up and blow around while you are trying to read. The pages are not a bright white. They are off white. Bright white pages tend to make my eyes strain during long durations of reading the word. The India paper is strong and opaque.
There is approximately 7/16ths of an inch in the margins for note taking.
The text is a nine point font that is printed appears pretty bold.
The Concord is a double column verse format with pronunciations. It has the references in the center column.
Even with the references, 128 page Bible Dictionary, Concordance, Glossary, and 15 color maps, the Concord maintains a thin profile without sacrificing paper quality. The pages are art gilded. An art gilded page edge compared to a gilded page edge looks a bit more attractive. It gives the page edges a red tint behind the gold color. Before they put the gold colored aluminum foil on the page edges they first coat them with a red ink. Then they apply the gold color gilding. When the Bible is closed the edges show gold, when the Bible is open you can see the red show through the gold.
The binding, outside cover, and inside liner, make it supple and comfortable to hold. This one is edge lined not case bound. It is rigid enough to not flop around like some unlined Bibles do, while it maintains flexibility with its synthetic liner that is stitched to the outside cover edges with black thread.
The Binding is a smyth-sewn binding done by Jongbloed in the Netherlands. They are famous for their quality work and history of Binding Bibles. Currently, most luxury Bibles are bound by Jongbloed. A sewn binding is a must in my opinion. If you hope to hand a Bible down to your children and for them to use it a sewn binding is the only option. With a sewn edge lined binding all of the pages are stacked in separate pamphlets called signatures. These are then stacked and sewn to tapes or strings in the spine of the Bible as well as being sewn to each other. This is why you don’t have the front and back pages falling out of a sewn binding like you would with a glued case bound perfect binding where the pages are cut, then stacked, then rubber cemented together. Those pages are not connected to each other in any way. If you bend the spine in a glued Bible, eventually pages will start falling out. Not so with a sewn binding. If you take care of it and treat it with respect it will last and last. The other benefit of this binding is the functionality of it. The Concord lays flat right out of the box.
The cover doesn’t flop up and get in the way. The covers can be rolled backwards and out of the way even. I wouldn’t do this as a practice, but that is how flexible this Bible is. This particular Bible is a red letter edition.
That simply means that the words of Jesus are printed in red text, including places where He is quoted by the apostles. Some people find this to be a very helpful feature. The Concord has two black ribbon markers. They are good quality without being too thick.
I have had some Bibles with thicker markers that actually imprint on the pages they are between. I have had other Bibles with markers that were so thin that they crinkled up and are almost useless. It is very unattractive to open the Bible up to crinkled pages or markers. The Concord has neither problem. The Bible ships in a clamshell type retail box. I would keep the Box for storage. This Bible is to supple to stand on its edge. It should be laid flat on a flat surface when not in use. There was a slight problem with the shipping. You can read about that here.
Cambridge has assured me they are looking into this and it shouldn’t happen again. This Bible is as pretty close to being perfect. If Cambridge would produce this in an NASB I would be satisfied.
Here are a few good places on the web to purchase this Bible if you are in the market.
Here are a few pictures of the Concord compared to the TBS Westminster
Over all, I found the Concord to be a superlative Bible. It stands out from the mass produced Chinese and Korean Bibles as an example of what they should be aiming for.
KJV Concord Reference Bible, Black Edge-Lined Goatskin Leather, Red Letter Text KJ566:XRE
Black Goatskin Leather RCD266