I begin by referring you to my previous review of the Cameo from Cambridge. The two Bibles were delivered in the same packaging from Cambridge. Both have the sewn bindings and both are covered with the same brown calfskin. You can read about those aspects in that review.
The Clarion from Cambridge is an example of modern Bible design done right. Here is a quote from the Cambridge website about the Clarion in NKJV;
“A Cambridge Clarion edition represents an unusual and attractive combination of features – a very readable text in a paragraph style, with a single-column layout – all within a personal size reference Bible format. Here, the NKJV text is presented in a single column with the cross-references in the outer margin, giving the page a very well laid out appearance. The font size is a little under 9 point with generous line spacing. It is typeset in Lexicon No.1, a modern digital font which has many of the characteristics usually associated with traditional Bible typefaces – in particular, a degree of readability more usually associated with much larger type. The Bible has 15 new colour maps and a concordance. There are two ribbons to keep the place in different parts of the Bible. This is a Bible of the very highest quality, printed on India paper with art-gilt edges, Smyth-sewn for flexibility and endurance, and bound in brown calfskin leather”
Chances are if you are considering the purchase of the Clarion NKJV Bible in brown calfskin, you have a list of desired attributes in mind; manageable size, legibility, quality sewn binding, beautiful and durable cover, and so on. The Clarion fits the niche almost perfectly in my opinion. It brings together many desirable features without sacrificing too much in the other areas of design. The Clarion is larger than the Cameo. It is definitely thicker. The thickness of the Clarion does make it a bit more to hold than the Cameo, but the font is so much more legible. The tradeoff is well worth it. Because of the thicker format the Clarion can use a larger font. It is a modern font, printed with modern technology making it very clear and sharp. The Cameo’s font was cleaned up, but still doesn’t compare to the font of the Clarion.
Another wonderful attribute is that you can get the Clarion in different translations. Currently it is available in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), the King James Version (KJV), and the New King James Version (NKJV), which I am reviewing.
So besides the size, font, and available modern translations, the Clarion also breaks in very well. I have been using an NASB Clarion in goatskin for my daily reading and it has become my standard for comparison. The NKJV in calfskin adds some rigidity to the cover. Instead of being edge lined and perimeter stitched with a very flexible material it uses a more common process of vinyl inner liners glued down to the outer cover. The added structure can be a pro to some and a con to others. In my opinion, if this Bible were thinner the stiffer cover would be a pro, but it is just a bit too thick. I can’t roll the cover all the way around like I can with the goatskin covered Clarion. It makes it a little less comfortable for me. The cameo gets the size right for this type of cover, but at the sacrifice of font size, line spacing. These all have an effect on the ease of reading. If you are going to buy the Clarion, I’d suggest the goatskin. Of course this is just my opinion. Everyone has different sized hands and preferences. I suggest looking one over in the Christian book store, or getting your friend to let you borrow theirs for a few minutes. It is not a small investment for most people. Because of the quality of craftsmanship and materials used it will be with you for a long time. So it is important that you do your research before buying a lifetime companion like the Cambridge Clarion.
This Bible is covered with a genuine calfskin in brown.
It is very supple and soft. On the front of this Bible is hot stamped, “Holy Bible” in gold. The spine of the cover has, “Holy Bible” at the top, “New King James Version” immediately under that. At the bottom of the spine is, “Cambridge” in gold as well. There are modest hubs worked into the spine as well.
The inner vinyl liners are black and glued neatly to the calfskin.
The calfskin has been folded over and finished uniformly. The corners are all perfectly finished. There are two ribbon markers that are color matched to the cover. The ribbon markers are about a quarter inch wide.
The page edges are art gilded. This gives them a distinctive look that you won’t find on less expensive Bibles.
The paper is high quality opaque paper. It is slightly off white and contrasts with the black font nicely. The text is printed in a single column, paragraph format with line matching. Line matching is when the lines of text are printed in such a way so as to make the text on one side of the page directly opposite of the text on the other side of the page. This aids in legibility. The font is large enough to be easily read yet small enough to keep the size of the Clarion down. It is clearly, and uniformly printed.
It has a useful concordance and the maps are printed on a heavier paper with a matte finish.
The sewn binding is of the quality I’ve come to expect from Cambridge. The Clarion opens well and lays flat when opened.
To sum up, the Clarion is an excellent Bible that fills a big niche in the Bible market. Many Christians are on the lookout for a Bible that travels well, is easy on the eyes while reading, and is well made. The Clarion fits the bill and is available in some great translations. Check out Cambridge Press’ Page. You can pick up a copy of this Bible on evangelicalbible.com for about $140.00 and you can also get it from Amazon for about $120.00 and Christianbook for about $155.00
NKJV Clarion Reference Bible NK485:X Brown Calfskin Leather