As many of you know TBS is a Christian ministry that provides high quality, good value KJV Bibles to many Christians in need, worldwide. To support the ministry, we purchase Bibles from them and are also blessed. Not only do we get to be a part of providing God’s word to our brothers and sisters, we also get a durable, well built Bible for our own use. Knowing the proceeds go to furthering the Kingdom is a comforting thought as well. I hope you will consider purchasing your next Bible from TBS after reading my review of the Classic Reference Bible.
As always TBS exceeds my expectations in the packaging and shipping department. They go above and beyond to ensure that your Bible gets to you undamaged. They are the winner, hands down, when it comes to packaging. The Classic Reference Bible arrived undamaged in a heavy duty, white, cardboard box, cushioned inside with foam packing peanuts.
The Bible itself was inside a sturdy cardboard slipcase, that should be retained for storage.
After removing the plastic wrap from the slipcase, I could take the Bible out. It is not a large Bible and it is not as small as a typical compact Bible. It is a full KJV Bible and it does have the Cambridge Concord cross references. It is just a very handy size. It measures about 4 ¾” across, by 7 ¼” tall, by 1” thick.
Here it is to the right of the TBS Windsor Text Bible. You can see that it is smaller than the text version while retaining the cross references.
Most typical reference Bibles are around 6” across, by 9” tall, 1 ½” thick. So you can see there is a substantial difference in size. Of course a compact is smaller yet. If this Bible were the size of a typical compact the font would be too small for normal use. Fortunately, the font in this Bible is a legible 8 pt. in size. Since it is the traditional typesetting instead of a modern digital setting, the font would contrast a bit less against the page if not for its boldness.
Here it is laid over a page from the Windsor.
The cover is listed as, “Calfskin” on the website. Keep in mind there is no industry standard. Technically the French Morocco Leather cover is made of calfskin, so it is true, but if you are expecting supple calfskin like some premium Bibles use, you will be disappointed. I don’t know why anyone would think that though considering the value pricing of this edition. I seriously don’t understand how a person could complain about this cover. Especially in light of the low cost and how much they are getting. For under fifty dollars they are getting a full KJV reference Bible, smyth-sewn binding, and genuine leather. Even if it is French Morocco, it is far superior to the covers of other Bibles in the same price range. Other Bibles in this price range use synthetic covers or bonded leather. The front cover is blank. The only gold lettering on the outside of this Bible is on the spine. It has the words, “Holy Bible” at the head, “Classic Reference Bible” directly under that, and the TBS logo at the tail. The cover is uniform in thickness and has a nice pattern pressed into it. It is on the smooth side and feels very durable. My first impression was, “This is a tough little Bible.”
This Bible is case bound, and as such utilizes black vinyl covered paper as an interior liner and to join the cover to the text block.
The front, inside, bottom edge has, “French Morocco Leather” in gold lettering stamped in it. Red and gold colored head and tail bands decorate this edition. It also includes two, black ribbon markers. The page edges are gold gilt. The corners and the spine are rounded. From the outside this Bible looks like what you’d expect a Bible to look like. It is a venerable style, and is very familiar.
The front inside of this Bible has a nice presentation page on card paper with a couple of blank card paper pages following it. Then you have the title page and copyright/publisher’s information page.
There is a list of the contents after that. It is followed by a guide to the pronunciation marks for self pronouncing text and an explanation of the bold-figure Concord cross reference system. Finally, there is the Epistle Dedicatory, the Translators to the Reader, and the list of the Books of the Bible.
The text of this edition should be familiar to KJV readers. It won’t take anytime at all to get right into and read. It is laid out in a double column, verse format, with center column references. The font is 8 pt. in size making it easy on the eyes. The center column references are pretty small and a bit tough to see, but they are discernable. The paper is thin Bible paper. It is opaque enough that the ghosting is mitigated. It does use the self-pronouncing text. Speaking of text, this is a black letter edition. The entire word of God is all the same color.
There are two black ribbon markers to help you keep your place. This is very helpful for people who read out of the Old Testament and New Testament on a daily basis.
One of the more significant, yet underappreciated features of this Bible is the smyth-sewn binding. Many publishers go for a cheaper glued binding. While TBS opts for a superior sewn binding in this edition. It is a bit tight at first, but as you use this Bible, the binding loosens up. Sewn bindings are much more durable and flexible. They add to the usefulness and longevity in a way that no other features do. I would say that it should be a prerequisite.
Contrary to popular belief, this edition of the Classic Reference Bible is not printed by Cambridge. Cambridge oversees the printing. It is also a typesetting of the Cambridge Concord that has been shrunk, and maintains the pagination. It is printed and bound by Printcorp in Minsk, Belarus for TBS. These distinctions can change depending on the production run at the time. It is acceptable to ask. TBS is always willing to answer specific questions. They are just an e-mail away.
Finally, in the rear of this Bible we have, Bible word list, Daily Bible reading plan, and 8 Color maps with Gazetteer.
The long list of features are understated by the very familiar appearance of this Bible. It is a conveniently sized workhorse that should provide many years of service. I recommend this Bible to anyone in the market for a reference Bible that is a tad smaller than the usual fare, but not limited in helps like a compact.
You can get one from TBS at the site, except on Sunday it is closed.
You can also purchase one from evangelicalbible.com