They don’t get much better than this! The Cambridge Clarion, ESV Bible in black edge-lined goatskin leather.

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What qualities do you look for in a Bible?  Clear print, font size, paper opacity, sewn binding, quality cover, solid translation, lifetime warranty that you probably won’t have to use?  Well the Cambridge Clarion, ESV Bible in black edge-lined goatskin leather has it all.  I know you are probably getting tired of me giving these Cambridge Bibles such good reviews, but if they weren’t simply better than the others I wouldn’t.  I think the other publishers might even wish I would stop reviewing Cambridge Bibles.  Their publications don’t look as good compared to the Cambridge Bibles.  Now, I know there are plenty of good Bibles out there, but when contrasted with the outstanding ones they fall short in some areas.  With Bibles I’ve noticed that you get what you pay for in general.

The ESV is a solid translation from Crossway.  Here is a link to some information about the translation.  It is not a dynamic equivalent or thought for thought translation.  It is more of a formal equivalent or word for word translation.  Hebrew and Greek don’t have the same sentence structure and grammar as English.  In translating the words are translated directly into English, but are arranged as English sentences so that we can understand them.  In a dynamic equivalent the sentence or paragraph is read and studied by the team and they basically paraphrase it in English to convey the meaning in the most accurate way they can.  The NIV is a dynamic equivalent.  Dynamic equivalents may be easier to read, but in my opinion are by nature less precise.  That is why I prefer formal equivalent translations like the ESV or NASB.

Here is a link to a chart that lists some common Bible translations and their translation philosophy.  Keep in mind that several of the translations there were translated with the added agenda of being gender neutral and going beyond gender accuracy.  They call their translations gender inclusive, but it is at the purposeful abuse of scripture.

Besides being an ESV this Bible is like Goldilocks and the baby bear’s stuff.  It is just right.  It isn’t too big, or too small.  The paper isn’t too thick or too thin.  The print isn’t too big or too small.  The cover isn’t too soft or too rigid.  It gets just about everything right.  The Clarion arrived in an easy to open cardboard box along with an REB that I will review later.

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Both Bibles arrived undamaged and in good condition.  The Clarion was in a one piece clamshell box.

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The box should be retained for storage, should you ever decide to put this Bible down for a bit to read another…  I doubt that will happen.  The first thing you’ll notice is the smell of the leather.

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The next thing you’ll notice is the supple, perimeter stitched, edge lined, black goatskin leather cover.

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If you have never owned a Bible with a cover like this, you don’t know what you are missing.  For durability, functionality, and comfort, you can’t beat it.  The cover works in concert with the sewn binding and quality paper to allow this Bible to open well and lay flat on a table or desk.

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It also lays flat while held in one hand.

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This makes it a joy to read.  I love that you forget you are holding something.  You aren’t constantly fighting the cover, the paper, or the binding.  The Spine of the Clarion has, “Holy Bible” at the top.  Under that is, “English Standard Version”.  On the bottom of the spine is, “Cambridge.”  They are all hot-stamped in gold.  There are five small decorative hubs as well.

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The grain of the goatskin cover is more pebbled than a top grain cowhide.  It is softer than the shiny genuine leather covers that are made from pigskin.  The perimeter stitching is uniform and well done.

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The corners are stitched as well so you won’t see the typical corner treatment.

When you open the Bible, you’ll see the end papers are glued to cover and text block so that they will be more durable.

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There is a simple presentation page that is made of heavier card paper.  It has several blank lines on it.

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Then there is a Title Page. After that is the copyright page with the font size and type.  It list the font as 8.75/10.5 pt. Lexicon No. 1 A (Enschede ff) We also can see from this page that this Bible is printed by Jongbloed in the Netherlands.

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For those of you in the know, that is a big plus.  They have been doing great work for many years.  One truly great feature of this Bible is the line matching utilized by Jongbloed.  The lines of text are printed exactly opposite of the lines on the other side of the page so that the text isn’t distractingly visible through the paper.

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The paper is a little off white and the black text contrasts against it nicely.  It is printed clearly and uniformly throughout.  The text is laid out in a single column paragraph format with the cross-references on the outside edge of the page in the margin.

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This layout is conducive to long sessions of uninterrupted reading.  The paper is smooth.  The page edges are art gilded with red under gold.  I think this is a pleasing aesthetic.  When the Bible is open the red shows through and while it is closed the gold is prominent.

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There are two red ribbon markers for keeping your place.  Most other Bibles only give you one ribbon.  It is nice to have to so you can mark your reading in the Old and New Testaments.

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There is a useful concordance in the end with a map index and 15 color maps printed on a heavier card paper.  I like this approach better than the glossy maps as the high clay content in their paper makes them crack easier.

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With all of the features like, quality construction, quality materials, attention in design, you can tell why I love the Clarion Bibles from Cambridge.  If you are in the market for a premium Bible, look no further.  You can purchase them on these sites;

Christianbook.com

Amazon.com

evangelicalbibles.com

9780521182911

ESV Clarion Reference Edition ES486:XE
Black Goatskin Leather

Hey women! Are you tired of the pink, “so-called” Study Bibles, that are full of fluffy self-esteem candy?

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Well, Holman has got a surprise for you!  Their, “Study Bible for Women” in the HCSB translation.  It comes in this quality chocolate color, genuine cowhide leather, with thumb indexes.  It was a very pleasant surprise to see some actual study aids as opposed to junk food.  There is academic quality here.  There are some notes on hermeneutics, theology, some original language notes and transliteration help.  Most women’s Bibles are pink and have a bunch of Osteen-esque, self help, self-esteem, feel good, prattle in them with little in the way of useful exegesis of scripture or how to apply it today.  This study Bible has significant work in it from two established Christian women.  Here are short bio’s from Holman’s site,

Dorothy Kelley Patterson is Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a homemaker, popular speaker, and successful writer, editor, and compiler of numerous books including A Handbook for Ministers’ Wives, The Family, BeAttitudes for Women, and Touched by Greatness: Women in the Life of Moses. She is co-editor of the two volume Women’s Evangelical Commentary:Old Testament and New Testament. Her husband Paige is President of Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary.”

and,

Rhonda Harrington Kelley is President’s wife and Adjunct Professor of Women’s Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a frequent speaker for women as well as an author of books including Divine Disciple, Life Lessons for Women of the Bible, and Personal Holiness: A Biblical Study for Developing a Holy Lifestyle. She is co-editor of the three volume Women’s Evangelical Library including Women’s Evangelical Commentary: Old Testament, New Testament, and The Study Bible for Women. Her husband Chuck Kelley is President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.”

There is some of the fluff, don’t get me wrong.  It is just kept in its proper place and proportion.  I think that women should find this very helpful.  However, I am not a woman and am just commenting because I want one like this for men.

Here is what the Publisher has to say about this Bible,

Publisher’s Description

The Study Bible for Women will equip you to reach deep into God’s Word.  Perhaps the single most powerful aspect of this Bible are the “threads” of specialized study thoughtfully woven throughout, pointing you to God’s larger story and allowing the Holy Spirit to write His revealed truths on your heart.In The Study Bible for Women, you’ll join a host of other women, all academically trained in the original languages of the Bible and passionate about God’s Word, for an intimately deep dive into Scripture that will equip you to unlock the riches and majesty of His Word, and ignite a passion to mentor others in your life to do the same.  The Study Bible for Women includes the full text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a clear, contemporary English translation that’s faithful to the original languages of the Bible.

Features include extensive commentary notes, word studies, answers to hard questions, doctrinal notes, Biblical womanhood articles, character profiles, Written on My Heart applications, extensive book introductions, presentation pages, in-text maps, charts & timelines, full-color maps section and concordance.”

The Bible was shipped in a cardboard box with paper packing material.

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The Bible was inside a two piece retail box.  It arrived undamaged and in good condition.

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Inside the retail packaging it was wrapped in two pieces of black construction paper to keep it from getting bent corners.

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The genuine cowhide is a chocolate brown color with a soft texture.  I can’t stress enough that this is not some cheap synthetic leather, nor is it some hard, shiny, pigskin leather you would find on other Bibles in this price range.  This is a soft and supple cowhide leather.

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The spine is hot stamped with, “HCSB” at the top, “The Study Bible for Women” orientated horizontally along the spine in the middle, and at the bottom is the Holman logo.

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The page edges are gilded gold.  The Bible is thumb indexed with gold text on black for the Old Testament and gold text on Red for the New Testament.

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The pages are white with a faded blue color that becomes more solid as you approach the page edges and perimeter of the page.

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It kind of gives it an art gilded look of blue under gold.  It might have been better to gild this with silver instead.  However, the effect is minimal so as not to be unattractive.  The paper is 30 g.s.m. making it pretty opaque.  Lighter paper would not have been good.  With this weight of paper you don’t have much in the way of ghosting (seeing the text on the backside of the page show through)

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There are numerous decorative designs throughout.  I don’t know what your opinion is of that, but I could do without them.  The font used for the main text is 10 point in ITC Clearface Standard. (Open-type)  This makes it easy on they eyes unless you have bad eyesight.  The coloring of the page perimeters could cut down on the contrast of the text to the paper.  The paper could be a little brighter white where the text is, but then the perimeter effect would be lost.  The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format with the cross-references on the outside of the page instead of at the bottom or in a center column.

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Interspersed throughout are other features.  The inside cover is made of vinyl of the same color and glued down.  They did a good job with the corners.

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There is one ribbon marker and it is matching in color as well.

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The binding on this Bible is a South Korean, sewn binding. They have been doing a lot of Holman’s bindings and are holding up quite well. This also makes them flexible on top of being durable. Way better than a glued binding.

Even though this is a study Bible, I don’t want you to be afraid that it is a behemoth. (funny right?)  For a study Bible this thing is very manageable.  It is just the right size for ladies who don’t want to use a hand-truck to carry their study Bibles to Wednesday night Bible Study.  I think it is a very good investment if you are looking for a women’s study Bible that has good content instead of the motivational junk you get pushed on you nowadays.

ISBN: 9781586400941

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/products/the-study-bible-for-women-chocolate-genuine-leather-indexed/

You can purchase this Bible on Amazon  or on Christianbook

Review of the Matthew Henry Study Bible in black flexisoft synthetic leather.

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I received the Matthew Henry Study Bible gratis from Hendrickson for honest review.  Despite Hendrickson’s fine job of packaging their Bibles for shipping, this one arrived damaged.  The two piece retail box was packed inside a cardboard box with air bag type packing material.

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I noticed the damage upon opening the Bible.  The material that joins the cover to the text block was torn along the hinge at the bottom.  The tear is about 1 1/2 inches long.  I suspect it was due to the size and weight of the MHSB.

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I think it is too heavy for the cheaper materials it is made from.  That in conjunction with being shipped from China where it was made could also be responsible for the damage.  I contacted Hendrickson about the damage and asked about getting a different copy to review.  They wanted me to go ahead with the review of the damaged Bible.  I can definitely understand that.  It gets expensive sending out free review copies.

The cover material is very rubbery looking and feeling.

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In my opinion it isn’t a very attractive choice of cover material. I would go with the hardback if you are thinking of buying this product.  I think it would hold up better.  It has the words, “Holy Bible” in gold on the front.  The spine has the words, “Matthew Henry Study Bible” at the top.  In the middle there is a tree graphic and then, “King James Version” under it.  On the bottom is, “Hendrickson Bible.”

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The head and foot bands did not stay glued down.

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There is a gold colored ribbon marker.

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There is a presentation page and then an article about Matthew Henry.

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The paper is a 30 gsm weight.  The print does not seem dark or bold enough.  If the paper were whiter, the text would have more contrast against it. The words of Christ are in read.  Since the paper isn’t as bright, the red font doesn’t contrast well either.  This also is hard on the eyes.  The font is 10 point Garamond Pro.

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There are book introductions before each book.

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The text is laid out in a double column paragraph format with in-text quotes from the Matthew Henry’s writings.  Side column references appear in the inside gutter area.  Footnotes are at the bottom of the page.  The notes are 8 point Myriad Pro.  This does accommodate the 10 point font of the main text.  The pages are thumb indexed on this edition.

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There are eight full color maps and a concordance in the back.

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With a Bible this size there has to be some compromise during the design.  One trade off would be a thinner paper so that the already large Bible doesn’t become gargantuan.  Keep that in mind when considering this Bible for purchase.

I know it like I don’t like this Bible, but don’t worry.  There are good things about this Bible.  The binding is sewn and pretty flexible.

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Even if the cover, paper, and binding, were done in China. The binding is still pretty decent.  The Bible opens well and is easy to hold despite its size.  It is very flexible for a large Bible.  The cover material does allow for lots of flexibility as well.  Perhaps if the cover offered a bit more structure the tear wouldn’t have happened.  My thoughts are that the hardcover would hold up better.  I haven’t looked at the hardcover though so this is an assumption.

A. Kenneth Abraham did a good job of condensing the venerable Matthew Henry’s commentary down to Study Bible notes.  I know that in many reviews people have mentioned that they didn’t think there were enough notes in the Old Testament.  In sections of Historical Narrative I don’t know that you’d need study notes.  I found the editing to be good.  I think the task of cutting down the Matthew Henry’s Commentary would be daunting and was done satisfactorily.  Keeping in mind that it would be extremely difficult to get every bit of even the concise commentary in here without making a ten pound Bible.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the English Puritan, Matthey Henry.  He compiled an exhaustive commentary which he did not finish and a more concise commentary.  Henry was a nonconformist. In other words he didn’t conform to the act of uniformity 1662.  In England, at that time, the Anglican Church was about the only game in town.  If you didn’t play by their rules, you often times didn’t get to.  Matthew Henry only lived to 52 and died suddenly.  His work of making an exhaustive commentary was finished by his peers.  Charles Spurgeon spoke highly of his work.  Modern day, Reformed Baptists also like his work.  His commentary was exegetical and devotional.  It is just as good now as it was then.  Having it in even more concise fashion as Study Bible notes is nice.

If you’re buying this Bible it is probably because of the notes.  If that is the case I think most people would be happy with this Study Bible.  I would recommend the hardcover unless Hendrickson comes out with genuine leather or starts making these in the States out of tougher cover material.

ISBN: 9781598565461

ISBN-13: 9781598565461

Hyper-Arminianism, What!?

I’m a Calvinist. I get very tired of hearing people say, “Hyper-Calvinist” as if that is a thing. Instead of just addressing the particular heresy that a Pseudo-Calvinist embraces, people label them, “Hyper-Calvinist.” Do we see Calvinists labeling Arminians as, “Hyper-Arminians” if they are actually Semi-Pelagians or Free Grace heretics? No, we just site the specific heresy. Then, inform the heretic of their error in hopes that they are a material heretic. We hope that they would then repent and adhere to orthodoxy. Sometimes of course they will not repent. In their refusal they prove themselves to be formal heretics. Labeling a heretic a, “Hyper-Calvinist” casts Calvinists in a negative light. Often times Arminians will launch into a polemic against Calvinists. They do this, because in their minds there is such a thing as a, “Hyper-Calvinist.” This artifice is a construct of a prejudicial person. The bias is one that we as Calvinists must start to debunk. We have been guilty of embracing this term. It needs to be retired from our nomenclature.

Credit to Sacredsandwich.com for the meme 🙂

A Review of Todd Friel’s Book, “Jesus Unmasked: The Truth Will Shock You”

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The title of this book is pretty indicative of the subject matter.  The author succeeds at explaining who Jesus was and is.  He teaches that Christ is the focus of the Bible in its entirety.  He demonstrates how Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies, shadows and types.  All of this is done with simple terms when possible.  When it is not possible Mr. Friel explains the nomenclature for the laymen.

I have to make a small disclaimer here.  I am a big fan of, “Wretched Radio.”  It is a radio show and podcast.  Todd Friel is the host/on-air personality.  I have learned a lot, a lot, a lot, from the show over the years.  My review will be from the perspective of a Reformed Baptist and a fan of the show.  So don’t expect much in the way of negativity.  I honestly agree with all of what is said in the book.  I find it to be Biblically sound and interesting to read.  It is a, “must read” for everybody.  If you’ve just been born again or if you’ve been 50 years into the sanctification process this book will edify you.

In the first chapter the author deals with world views, specifically post-modernism.  This was a great place to start as a philosophy class on epistemology would not be beneficial for the target audience.  This is a short chapter that sets the tone for the rest of the book.  You get a look at the serious subject matter and a look at some of Todd’s humor that makes him such an interesting fellow to listen to.  It is obvious that he has a level of mastery of the subject matter without coming off as an aloof overlord.

The following chapters flesh out some basics of Christian theology in simple terms.  Then he gets down to the bulk of the work, which is highlighting Christ from the beginning of the Bible to the end.  Vary rarely in Christian books of around 200 pages do we get such a complete and profound picture of Jesus.  Most of the books I’ve reviewed in the recent past have been theological fluff, Christian cotton candy, hardly worth reading at all.  You know how you feel after eating junk for a month?  Yep! That’s how most “Christian books” leave me feeling after reading them.  They were time killers with not nutritional value.  I probably would have got more out of them if I’d eaten them.  Well, that is not so of this work.  I would rank it up there with, “The Holiness of God” by R. C. Sproul, or maybe, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.

The main way that the author highlights Christ throughout the entire Bible is by expounding on the prophecies, shadows, and types, that Jesus fulfills.  This can be a bit tricky.  I’ve seen some pretty bad attempts that only make the Bible look disjunct.  When done correctly, as in this case, the Bible comes alive.  The harmony of scripture sings to the heart and mind of the believer who sees the richness and majesty of the true faith established once and for all by God.  Being able to see the ark Noah built and understand that it is a look forward to Jesus.  Seeing the rock that sprang forth lifesaving water in the desert for the Israelites, and how Jesus is the better fount.  Seeing the Sabbath, from our perspective, looking back to recognize rest in Christ’s work.  These and many more examples fill the pages of this book.  The gospel is fleshed out fully and explicitly.  You won’t find a list of, “do’s” to check off, and you won’t find some silly, formulaic, “pray this prayer.”  You will understand who Jesus is, what you are, what He has done, and how you should respond.  If you have loved ones who aren’t saved, get them this book.  If you have friends or family who are young in their faith, get them this book.  If you have become a crusty old codger, get yourself this book.  It will blow the carbon out of the old exhaust and get you fired up again.

You can buy this book from the wretched store.

You can pick up a copy at Christianbook.com

You can purchase it from the publisher Newleaf

or you can get it on Amazon in different formats including audio.