According to the Trinitarian Bible Society’s website the Pocket Reference Bible is, “The complete practical choice of Bible for carrying in pocket or handbag. Wide selection including camouflage for armed forces, vinyl, and quality leather. With button snap and zip options.” If you aren’t aware, “T.B.S.” stands for, “Trinitarian Bible Society” not at all related to the horrible cable television station with the same initials. TBS is located in London, England. They are a ministry that produces good quality and value AV KJV Bibles for circulation for the glory of God. Since they are a ministry, they have very good prices. They have kindly sent me a copy of the Pocket Reference Bible with Metrical Psalms in calfskin leather for review on my blog. This TBS Bible is approaching the smallest, usable size a Bible can be. It is 5.2″ x 3.6″ with 6 point font. Let’s just say that, you would have to have very good eyes, or a very good optometrist. That being said, if you are a fan of the Pitt Minion typesetting and are looking for the smallest, compact Bible you can read, covered with genuine calf split or in TBS’s words, “calfskin leather”, with zipper and metrical Psalms, then your search is over. Not a fan of the Pitt Minion? Love the Royal Ruby text typesetting? TBS has you covered with their Royal Ruby Text Bible with Metrical Psalms covered with the same calfskin and in addition, thumb indexes and zipper enclosure. It is a hair larger and the font is 6.5 pt. in size. You can read my review of the older edition here. The Pocket Reference Bible arrived undamaged and carefully packed in a good size cardboard box with packing material.
Inside the box, the Bible was in its retail packaging which is a heavy cardboard slipcase wrapped in clear plastic.
Upon removing it from the packaging I observed that the zipper is a smooth operating nylon zipper. It is flexible and quieter than a brass zipper.
I unzipped the cover and looked at the inside cover first. It is a case bound Bible so the inner liner is a vinyl that is paper backed and glued to the calfskin and end papers of the text block. The corners of the cover are not easily seen as they are covered by the zipper material that is sewn to the perimeter of the cover, making the cover perimeter stitched. There are read and gold head and tail bands decorating the Pocket Reference.
The first page is a presentation page.
You can fill this out and gift this Bible. The person receiving it from you will be sure to remember the occasion. After the presentation page is a few blank card paper pages made of the same paper the presentation page is made from. You can also see some of the thread from the binding.
You’ll notice on the bottom of the copyright page with the publisher information that this Bible is printed in Belarus.
I don’t know much about Belarus except it is a small former soviet country near Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. I know TBS in the past has used a printer there. It would be interesting to know more about this. I think I will ask them next time we correspond. As you keep turning pages you notice, The Epistle Dedicatory and the List of pronunciation of words and proper names. The text of this Bible is a double column verse format with references in the center column in black text edition. (Pitt Minion Reduced)
It utilizes Bible paper and has all edge gilt. There are two black ribbon markers for your daily readings from Old and New Testaments. In the back of the Bible you have A Bible Word List and Reading Plan. Then you’ll find the Psalms in metre.
The Pocket Reference is the winner in portability. Not just because it is very small and thin, or that you could zip its semi-yap cover closed, put it in your pocket and charge off to wherever you need to be, without damaging the pages. Nor is it the winner because it is a complete Bible or even that it includes references. Not even the fact that it is sturdily constructed out of good quality materials or the smyth-sewn binding, or that it should stand up to a mobile life quite well. It is that fact that all of these features are all together in this tiny package that make it the winner. Since it uses the familiar Pitt Minion typeset all of the elements are where you would expect them to be like, page numbers, book names, and chapter numbers, so on.
Be sure to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible on my flickr page.
You can purchase your own from TBS directly here, Pocket Reference Bible with Metrical Psalms (calfskin) ISBN 9781862282728 PS7U/BK (Black) Page Size: 5.2″ x 3.6″ Thickness: 0.8″ Print Size: 6 point