I was aware of this translation a while back, but haven’t had the time or ability to look into it until now. I was gladly sent a copy of the, “NET Bible Full Notes Edition” covered with Tuscany style brown Cromwell bonded leather for review on my blog. It was well packed in a cardboard box with paper packing. Inside the shipping box was another two piece box containing the Bible. The two piece box was not your typical retail box. It was less sturdy. You could retain it for storage, but I don’t think it will make a difference either way.
The NET Bible was also wrapped in plastic, and was shipped with a book mark.
I was very curious about the notes and the results of the translation methods. Let me begin by saying that I am a big fan of open access, whether it is software or public domain books and music. The NET translation is available for free on the internet. You can read their copyright information on their page. With the knowledge that this work has been made available for free, I was inspired to do a little more research. I found that there are some groups that hate this translation. That would be you KJV onlyists, and some of your folks who are like me with their love for formal equivalent translations. The formal equivalent lovers usually love formal equivalent translations because they love the word of God, and appreciate the hard work of translators. Sometimes they are just Bible snobs. (Myself included) The NET Bible doesn’t seek to be a formal equivalent, but I wouldn’t lump it in with agenda driven dynamic equivalents like the NRSV, NIV, or NLT. The NRSV has, as part of their translation agenda, the direction to be gender inclusive, even if the text does not indicate doing so. In my opinion the NIV has the same type of agenda, but watered down and minimized, so as to keep selling copies to the folks who don’t know anything about the agenda. I thought the NLT was just extremely dumbed down, until I obtained a review copy. It is just as gender inclusive as the NIV, if not worse. The NET however, seems to be concerned with accurately conveying the intent of God in His progressive revelation. So rather than changing a word based on a gender agenda, the translators would make changes based on how they understood the intended communication. I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe they are honestly attempting to make a genuine dynamic equivalent true to God’s word. It reminds me of the 1984 NIV in that regard, but not in how it reads.
From looking at this Bible’s size you might erroneously assume it is a study Bible. With a cursory perusal you might think it is a reference Bible. Both assumptions are somewhat incorrect. Unlike a conventional study Bible this one is full of translation notes. Notes that cite Hebrew and Greek texts, with explanations as to how and why the translators translated a passage the way they did. There are notes besides the translation notes, but predominately the notes are about the translations. These notes are not just every few pages, but instead are extensive. There are approximately 60,932 notes.
I couldn’t find any information about where the NET Bible was printed and bound. I e-mailed the publisher and asked them. They informed me that the, “NET Bibles were printed by World Wide Printing whose office is in Dallas, but the actual printing was done in Belarus.” I thought that was interesting. I have a TBS ruby text KJV that was printed in Belarus. I wonder if they used the same printer. I was pretty happy with the smyth-sewn binding. It is a large Bible and the binding is good and flexible.
There is one ribbon marker that matches the color of the cover. It is a pretty good ribbon compared to the anemic, twisted, little things you find in most Bibles.
The paper is as thick as it can be at 28 g.s.m. considering the bulk of this volume. If it were thicker, this Bible would be as well, and it is already quite thick. The paper is just opaque enough. The page edges are gold gilt.
The layout is double column, paragraph format, with the notes underneath.
The font is a good compromise in size and legibility at 9.5 pt. The notes are 7.5 pt. making them easy to read as well. Since there are so many of them it is a good thing they are very legible. The face is Times New Roman. It works. There are certain finite qualities that when changed cause necessary changes in other qualities. If they would have used a larger or different font, then the Bible would have been even bigger. Considering the publisher’s goal, I agree with their choices in design.
The end pages are marbled brown pattern, and pasted down to the bonded leather cover.
The cover has an artificial texture to it. It feels like it will withstand scratches, and abrasions better than some natural hide covers. According to the publisher, the bonded leather used for this cover is the top of the line for this type of application. They say the modern bonded leather is not the same old bonded leather of the past, that we have all come to dislike. I am told that the leather fibers are bonded to polymer instead of paper like in the old fashioned bonded leather and that this cover could last more than 100 years.
The corners are pretty typical. This is a case bound Bible. The spine is stamped with, “The NET Bible, with 60,932 notes, Bible.org.”
There are five sheets of card paper in the front and in the back, that could be utilized for notes. Hebrew and Greek alphabet charts are included in the back. The black and white maps in the back are nice, and they are bolstered by a unique set of satellite image maps printed in full color on a glossy paper. These include a fold out to.
Here is an excerpt from their description page,
“Full Notes Edition
The NET Bible is a completely new translation with tens of thousands of notes! Completed by more than 25 scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts this translation is the most accessible ever due to the unparalleled detailing in the notes and up-to-date language.
To read this translation along with all the notes go to net.bible.org where it was the first translation to be made available free online. You can read more about the NET Bible translation process, see sample pages and view the state of the art maps on bible.org. Or check out the short video about the development of the NET Bible.
“The NET Bible is ingenious. Its continuously updated translation, supported by an array of quality footnotes on the original languages, will be an invaluable resource for pastors, missionaries and well-trained laymen. Bringing instant access to the best research with just a few clicks, the NET Bible has truly brought a visionary form to a timeless function. It’s a great step in the Church’s preparation for the next millennium.” — Dr.Gene Getz
Full Notes Features: • All 60,932 translators’ notes
• Full color satellite maps of the Holy Lands
• 9.5 point font
Print Bible features: • Premium Cromwell Leather
• Premium Bible paper
• Premium Smyth sewn binding
• Gold gilded edges and a premium ribbon
Bible Specifications •Width – 6 3/4″
•Length – 9 5/8″
•Thickness – 2″ ”
This Bible seems to be for a niche of Greek and Hebrew students at first glance, but after using it for a while I can say that all Bible students could use the Full Notes edition of the NET Bible. They have done an excellent job at explaining why they chose the words they chose during the translation. You might not agree with them all of the time depending on your expertise or lack there of, but you can’t deny that they have well documented their work. I would recommend this to any serious Bible student. It comes in very handy.
Make sure to look at all of the pictures I took of this Bible on my flickr album.
You can purchase your own copy at these sites,
Christianbook.com Amazon.com and the publisher’s site Bible.org