Bible Rebinds · Bible Reviews · Bibles · Uncategorized

A Review of The Berean Study Bible (B.S.B.)

I was unaware of this translation being available in a printed physical edition until I saw one on social media. One of my online friends had recently been touting it as possibly being, “The one.” He has been looking for an accurate translation that reads well. Many of us are longtime fans of Lockman’s 1995 New American Standard Bible. (N.A.S.B.) It has been a reliable formal equivalent translation since its release. We haven’t been looking for a new translation, but some were not satisfied so the 2020 NASB became a reality.

The 2020 NASB has been well received by many, but others like me, were not happy with many of the translation choices made in this most recent work. Some of us have been looking for a replacement that reads, “better.” This subjective preference is responsible for the majority of NASB readers opting to adopt the 2020 NASB.

Others like myself are waiting for something with a stricter translation philosophy. Enter the Legacy Standard Bible (L.S.B.) Master’s Seminary has been working on tightening up the translation work of the 1995 NASB. They have released a New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. The entire Bible will be released later this year, God permitting. I’m still in this camp. (For the time being.)

My friend and his like-minded counterparts insist on an accurate translation, that handles the Hebrew and Greek gendered words properly without the addition of modern sociopolitical ideologies being utilized in the interpretive process. Along with these core principles they also want a translation that is more accessible than the 1995 NASB was in their opinion. This is where the BSB comes in.

I really didn’t want to like the BSB, and was looking at sections of scripture, and their translation choices very critically. I wanted to find a reason to not like it. I attribute this bias to the fact that a bunch of the people I know on social media were fawning over it ad nauseam. It was like being forced to watch your friend and his new girlfriend baby talk each other. So, being the reasonable adult that I am, I requested a Bible for review. I hadn’t really considered my bias against the BSB until I began using it for my daily reading. I am usually critical of, “new” translations. Especially given the horrible track record of some new translations. I proceeded to use the BSB the way I normally do when I get a new Bible for review. I try to live with it for a while and use it side by side with my 1995 NASB, and some language tools on my computer. (I like Olive Tree’s Bible Study program. I’ve invested a good amount of cash on these tools, but not as much as my Logos friends.) When I read a section that seems different to me, I compare it the NASB, then I look up the Greek in Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28) in the Bible Study app.

I need to state a disclaimer here. I am not a Koine Greek expert. I have had more Koine Greek than some Preachers, but not as much as I would need to be a translator. With that out of the way, keep in mind that all translation involves interpretation. You can have a valid translation of a section of scripture that is quite different than another person’s. This is why you need to have an education in the original languages instead of simply using concordances, and computer programs. It is like having a semester of philosophy and presuming you can fix all the worlds problems. Without the education, you aren’t aware of the period in history, the idioms, ways in which a specific word was primarily used, other extrabiblical contemporary texts to cross reference usage, regional differences, translation conventions, some textual criticism, and so on.

Since God is the author, and we want to understand what He intended to communicate, we need to seek to interpret what we are translating in such a way that His intended ideas are communicated. Just because a translation is linguistically valid does not necessarily make it a good or bad translation.

I started coming around after the first week of using the BSB. I don’t think it will be, “the one” for me, but it is one that I will use. I am still waiting for the LSB. I’d be very very interested in the Berean Literal Bible. I asked about it in one of my e-mail correspondences with John at Bereanstudybible;

Q: “Are there plans to make a physical edition of the BLB?”

A: “We are hoping to offer the full draft OT and NT of the BLB online around the end of the year or early in 2022. Following that time there will be a period for additional translation input, public comment, and consistency checking. For the full BSB this period was about 2 years before finalizing and beginning the printing process, so a comparable time period is expected before a BLB printing.”

I am excited for this translation. After using the BSB, it seems to me to be more formal than the first era NIV’s, which utilized a dynamic translation philosophy, and less formal than the ESV. I’d add it seems more formal than the CSB in my opinion. I do like the translation, in as much as I’ve been exposed to it. I can tentatively recommend the BSB as a translation.

Beyond the translation we have to talk about the actual physical Bible itself. It was shipped in a card-paper envelope with minimal protection. Inside it was in plastic. I hoped it wasn’t damaged. When I opened it up, it was apparent that the text block was exceptionally manufactured. I was impressed at how flexible it was, as well as the paper’s thickness. My first impression was that the spine was smyth sewn. I thought to myself, “Surely it isn’t sewn since it only costs around forty bucks?” I made sure to ask about it.

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Q: “What process was employed to manufacture the spine?”

A: “The Printer was Sheridan in Grand Rapids MI and the Case Binding for the Softcover was done at Bintech in Nashville, TN. The Bibles are Smyth Sewn Flex bound (Caseside).”

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As many of you know by now, there has been further verification of this by the re-binders who have since posted pictures of the spine to social media. The paper is 45 g.s.m. which is 30.5# with 88% opacity. The inside liner that connected the text block to the cover was a nice change. It was flexible, tough, and didn’t wrinkle as bad as traditional materials.

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The cover material is called, “Alpha Aston” manufactured by Ecologicalfibers Inc. The cover material is already starting to show damage from use. I would not trust this cover material to last a long time. Synthetics can be cost effective, but they are rarely as durable as a good quality leather.

This Bible was printed by Sheridan in Grand Rapids Michigan U.S.A. I am happy about that. I really don’t like it when slave labor is used to print a Bible.

The print is a double column, paragraph format, black text edition, in 10 point font. It is clearly printed for the most part with only a few noticed smears of the text. There are some translation notes at the foot of the page.

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Here are some more questions and answers from my correspondence with them;

Are you structured as a ministry, not for profit, non-profit, or something else?

Bible Hub is privately owned. I would say it is structured as a ministry (but supported by advertising so does not take donations.) The translation work was commissioned using ad revenue from the Bible Hub site.

How important is it to the translators to directly translate, when possible, gendered nouns, and pronouns, and allow the reader, with the surrounding scriptural contexts, to come to the correct conclusions?

The translators seek to be true to the original Scripture text regarding gender. Pronoun clarification was permitted where helpful to the reader. Clarifications, parsing, and variants are indicated in the word by word translation tables which are freely available at: https://berean.bible/downloads.htm

Are there plans to make a physical edition of the BLB?

We are hoping to offer the full draft OT and NT of the BLB online around the end of the year or early in 2022. Following that time there will be a period for additional translation input, public comment, and consistency checking. For the full BSB this period was about 2 years before finalizing and beginning the printing process, so a comparable time period is expected before a BLB printing.

Q: “Are there any plans to produce different text blocks? i.e. single column, verse format, personal size, thinline, so on and so forth?”

A: “Depending on sales, a personal size is most likely next. The other options are also strong considerations for the future, but not likely in the very near future.”

Q: “What has your experience been working with an American printer for this edition?”

A: “We have worked with Sheridan (formerly Dickinson) in Grand Rapids for both the NT and full printing and are very happy with their work. Since we are printing in smaller volumes in this early stage, printing in the US is a cost effective solution. Since we are located in the US we prefer to work locally as long as it is reasonably cost effective.”

Overall, I found the translation to be sound. The Bible size was just right allowing for a very comfortable and legible font size. The binding was my favorite feature. The flexible text block should also prove to be durable. The only negative I really have is about the flexible synthetic soft cover. I don’t think it will last long. The text block really deserves a better cover option. I think many people agree as I have seen numerous rebinds on social media. I am looking forward to their future work. Make sure to check out the rest of the photographs on my Flickr page, and watch the youtube video.

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Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Uncategorized

A Review of the Crossway E.S.V. Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition.

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Crossway was kind enough to send me a copy of the Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling edition. This particular one is a burgundy colored, cloth over board, hard back, case bound Bible. It comes in an ornate slipcase that you should maintain for shelf storage to keep your Bible looking good, and to make it last.

We’ve all seen pictures or videos of books from the dark ages that have ornate drawings, and stylized artistic renderings of plant vines, leaves, fruits, and other various things on the covers, spines, page edges, and on the pages themselves. When a book has these features, it is said to be, “illuminated.” Imagine a monk in an abbey some place in Europe, bent over a page of vellum, (animal skin) using a quill, a dip pen, different colored inks, along with gold leaf, to decorate the page of a hand copied Bible. Books were not mass-produced back then. They were very expensive, and time consuming to make. The most valuable book of all time is the Bible. That is not up for debate.

In today’s era of mass-produced clones, it is nice to see something different, but the nagging truth comes back to ruin the illusion for me. This is a mass-produced Bible. It is a very nice mass-produced Bible, but it is mass-produced. The novelty of having all of the art inside, and on the cover is nice, and many people will enjoy this embellishment.

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The immense upside of having a mass-produced illuminated Bible is that everyone can afford to have one, and enjoy the word along with the supporting art. Even in today’s day and age, if you were to commission a one off Bible to be made to your desired specifications, retained an artist to do the work, and then had the thing printed and bound, you would be spending a small fortune. I can’t even estimate how much it would cost. This Bible can be had for less than sixty bucks.

Here is a link to the product page if you just want to look at the specifications. Here is a link to Crossway’s page about how it was made, and here is one about illumination.

For those of you who are still here, and didn’t skip out, I have some other information for you that isn’t on those pages. I’ve already told you about the slipcase. Now we’ll get into the details of the Bible. The artwork is done in what looks to be a gold colored foil stamping of some kind. It is very pleasing to look at.

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The spine has four raised decorative hubs. Between them we have, Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition, English Standard Version, and the Crossway logo at the foot. The flowers, leaves, and vines harken back to traditional illumination features. The cover is also decorated in a similar fashion. The burgundy colored cloth is pretty typical of cloth covered hardback books. This Bible has cream colored head and tail bands, as well as a burgundy colored ribbon marker. The page edges are gold gilt. The spine doesn’t look rounded. The corners are not either.

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There was an issue with some pages that the corners had folded into the text block during trimming. When that happens, they don’t get trimmed. When you unfold them, they stick out further than all the pages. I believe that would be covered under warranty, but I usually take care of it myself with a razor blade. You have to be very careful. If it is more than a couple of pages, you’re better off sending it back because those pages were not gilt if they were tucked in. Since this was only a couple pages, it wasn’t a big deal. It does happen from time to time though.

I know I shouldn’t like the end papers as much as I do, but I can’t help it. I assume the same artist, “Dana Tanamachi” did the art for them as well. This is a case bound, hard back, with paste down end pages attaching the text block to the cover. Two blank end pages precede the ornate presentation page. The sewn spine’s threads contrast with the darker presentation page, making them easier to see. The darker colors on the presentation page do remind me of some of the illumined books I’ve seen over the years. After that is a burgundy colored title page with gold stamped art. Then there is the publisher’s page, Table of Contents, About the ESV, and an Introduction for this illuminated edition.

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Each book starts with a full page of gold colored thematic art. There is a drop cap at the beginning of each book and full page artistic scripture quotes interspersed. The page numbers, chapter numbers, and address references at the head of the page are all in gold colored ink. The text is laid out in a single column, paragraph format. The font is a uniformly printed 9 point Lexicon type. This is a black letter edition. The page margins are approximately 2 inches wide. They are not ruled. There is art interspersed throughout in the margins as well.

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One of the more impressive features in my opinion is the 42 g.s.m. cream colored paper. It is easy on the eyes, and contrasts nicely with the text. Since it is so heavy it helps to reduce ghosting dramatically. In conjunction with the wide margins the paper is good for taking notes. With all of the bold lines in the art the paper can’t stop it from showing through from the other side. This is only distracting when it is the full page art at the beginning of the chapter as it is visible through the text on the opposite page when it is turned over it. At the end of the Bible there is an Index of Title Pages. It includes explanations of how the art expresses some of the themes found in the book. Finally, at the end there is a page with the names of the people who comprised the team that published this edition. There were also 4 blank end pages to write on if need be.

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I like this edition on an aesthetic level. If that were the only reason to buy it, I think I would probably hold off. If you are like me, that just isn’t enough to warrant the purchase, but when you consider the 42 g.s.m. paper, and the 2 inch margins, as well as the price, it start to make a lot more sense. Perhaps more art influenced thinkers would buy this solely because of the art? I’m sure you folks are out there, and probably already own this one. For some of the more curmudgeonly among us, add a little flair to your life while getting a solid translation along with great print quality, terrific paper, and a good value. You can see more pictures on my Flickr album for this Bible.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7099-5

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway

Review of the E.S.V. Bible with Creeds and Confessions

Crossway was kind enough to send me a copy of the, “E.S.V. Bible with Creeds and Confessions.” This particular Bible has a burgundy, Trutone cover. It comes in a handsome slipcase. I thought the design of the slipcase cross and surround, were excellent. Many people discard the case their Bible comes in. I would caution you not to. It is a very important piece of protective equipment. It stops shelf wear and works to protect your Bible during travel. Don’t waste money on a fancy, improperly sized Bible cases. They never protect as well as the original case, and they often do damage by allowing your Bible to slop around inside. They also tend to encourage people to put things inside them, with their Bibles.

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The case is not the most interesting thing about this edition. Forgive me for going on a tangent about the case 😊 The feature that makes this Bible special is that it includes most of the historic Christian creeds, and confessions in the back. Here are the included creeds and confessions;

“The Apostles’ Creed (ca. 200–400), the Nicene Creed (325), the Athanasian Creed (381), the Chalcedonian Definition (451), the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Articles of Religion (1563), the Canons of Dort (1618–19), the Westminster Confession (1646), the London Baptist Confession (1689), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647).”

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As you can see, this is a pretty good list for an overview of historic Christian beliefs. If you read all of them, you can see for yourself what doctrines we have always held to be true, and necessary. They can be traced through the history of the Church. We don’t exist separately from our Christian forefathers. If you are interested, and you would like to have all that information at your fingertips in one volume, this is the Bible for you.

You get the excellent English Standard Version. As well as the thirteen creeds and confessions with introductions to them written by Church historian Chad Van Dixhoorn. Also, an easy on the eyes 10.5 point Lexicon typeface font printed on 36 g.s.m. paper. The paper is also coated. This paper has an opacity of 85% Which is quite good for a Bible costing less than fifty dollars. Did I mention that the text is line matched? That means that the lines of text on a page are printed directly behind the lines of text on the other side of the page. This helps the legibility of the text. With a paper that is not completely opaque, you can see the text through the paper. When the printer uses line matching, this mitigates the muddying of the text. This reduces eye strain from reading and makes it more pleasurable.

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This edition has a burgundy colored, Trutone cover. The cover is perimeter stitched to keep it from coming apart. If you are not familiar with Crossway’s Trutone covers, they are a synthetic leather like material. It has been my experience that they are flexible, and durable. They look good for a long time, and do their job protecting the text block. There are five raised decorative spine hubs. “Holy Bible, with Creeds and Confessions, ESV, English Standard Version, and Crossway” is hot stamped in gold colored foil on the spine between the spine hubs. The inner liner is pasted down, brown paper. The inner liner is pasted to the end papers and connects the text block to the cover. The spine is rounded, as well as the corners. There are two burgundy ribbon markers. The page edges are gold gilt. This Bible’s spine is smyth-sewn. For those of you not familiar with what that means, it is when the pages are printed out in stacks, folded over into signatures (think pamphlets) and sewn to binding cord or ribbons in the spine, and also sewn to each other, until a text block is complete. This makes for a durable and flexible text block. This particular edition lays flat right out of the box. No break in time with this one folks!

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There are three end papers in the front. Then there is the presentation page, marriages page, births/adoptions page, and deaths page. These are not for extensive family records but suffice for immediate family.

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Next is the publisher’s page with copyright information. This edition was printed and bound in China. The table of contents is next, along with the preface and explanation of features. At the end we have a weights and measures page, a concordance, the creeds and confessions with an introduction, and eight pages of maps.

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This is a double column, paragraph format, black letter, edition with cross references, and foot notes. I find this volume to be superior in function. The flexibility of the cover, spine, and text block, aid in the holding, and reading of this Bible. The large 10.5 pt. font, the layout, the features, everything about this begs to be used. Considering the finite constraints of Bible design, I’m amazed at how much is packed into this Bible. Even with the large font, and the confessions and creeds this thing still manages to have some cross references, footnotes, a concordance, and maps. This is a great value, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it. You can purchase it directly from Crossway, or you can pick one up from Christianbook.com, Westminster Bookstore, or Amazon. If you’d like to see more pictures go to my Flickr album here.

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Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway

Review of the Jake Weidmann Artists Series Single Column E.S.V. Journaling Bible from Crossway.

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I hadn’t realized how long I had went in between reviews until recently. I hope to do more reviews, as I will be retiring from my full time job as a Corrections Officer in a few months. Someone I know wanted me to review this Bible, so here’s to you friend. I hope you enjoy the review, and thanks again to Crossway for providing this Bible for the review.

The Artist Series from Crossway highlights the talents of select artists to embellish Bibles. This one has had some line art from Jake Weidmann placed on the outer cover. This is a hardcover Bible. Here is an excerpt from Crossway’s information on the product page about their Artist Series. “The ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, Artist Series is a collection of journaling Bibles meant to celebrate the treasure of God’s Word through the artistic talents of his people. These Bibles feature commissioned cover artwork designed by Christian artists such as Peter Voth, Ruth Chou Simons, and Joshua Noom. Each artist offers a visual entry point focused on a particular biblical theme or passage, setting a tone of reflection as readers engage with the Bible.”

If you are interested in looking at the product page, here is a link. I haven’t written a review on the E.S.V. English Standard Version for a while, so let me reiterate, it is a splendid translation. It is one of my favorite formal equivalence translations. Beside the 1995 NASB, and now the Legacy Standard Bible, it is my next favorite translation. It remains accurate, without watering down the Word, or destroying the majesty of scripture.

This Bible arrived with a slightly dinged corner. I think that is due to the way it was packaged for shipping. It was not in a box with padding, inside another box. It was sent in a sleeve type box. I know this is popular these days, but keep in mind, if your Bible shows up damaged, you can send it back for an exchange. If this happens often enough, the publishers will need to go back to using more expensive packaging. This cost will be passed on to the consumer, but in my opinion, it would be worth it to make sure the customer is happy.

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Instead of having a clam-shell, or two piece box, this Bible is wrapped with a plastic, or cellulose band, that has some information about the Bible’s features, and a bit about the artist Jake Weidmann on it.

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When you open this Bible up, you’ll see a card with a picture of the artist on one side, and an explanation of the cover art on the other. As a fan of the German Bauhaus design philosophy, I was more concerned with the layout, typeface, paper, and other features than the cover art. That being said, the line art on the cover is not gaudy, or in any way excessive, or irreverent. Weidmann’s line art combines nicely with the sparrow. One doesn’t overpower the other.

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I asked a friend who was interested in this Bible due to their knowledge of Weidmann and his work to provide a short note about him. Here is what she had to say,

“Jake Weidmann is a master penman, one of only 14 in the world. He earned his Master Penman in 2011, well before the resurgence in interest in decorative calligraphy and the writing arts. He uses calligraphy in his artwork to “give both the words and the pictures more life and a stronger message”. He was fascinated with art, coloring and drawing by age 3. He was obsessed with making his handwriting beautiful and would take all the time in his classes to practice his handwriting. Even in college he didn’t think he would become an artist; he was getting his degree in psychology and when he applied for an art minor in college, he was told that his work wasn’t right for the department. Before he completed college he received requests for commissions of his work, and has been working as an artist ever since.

He uses single line calligraphy to make graphic images primarily of Christian theological themes, such as hymns, bible verses and portraiture. He notes that his work is a kind of iconography, writing a story in the form of a pictograph. He speaks to the heart of the viewer by layering different images, symbols and texts. They are meant to draw you in, to make you think and consider the image on a deeper level.Several videos have been produced of him creating an image, which can take hundreds of hours to complete. His work can be found on jakeweidmann.com and he has his own YouTube channel.” S. Eddy-Kissell

This particular Bible is a single column, journaling Bible. It is a black letter edition. The spine is sewn. That feature makes for a long-lasting, lay flat, Bible. There is a shiny blue ribbon marker. The ribbon’s blue stands out against the cream colored paper. The paper is a smooth, thin, and cream colored. The smoothness of the paper reminds me of the paper used in premium Bibles, although this one is printed, and bound in China, and sells for a value price. The font is 7.5 pt. lexicon typeface that appears to be line matched. These two features, along with the uniform, and consistent print throughout, make this edition easy on the eyes. If you have older eyes, you might want to think about something in a 10 pt. font, or getting some reading glasses if you want to read anything 8 pt. or under. The corners are square, while the spine looks rounded. There are blue and white decorative head and tail bands. The margins are two inches wide, and ruled. This should be splendid for note taking, or journaling.

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I don’t think the paper is thick enough to write on with a wet fountain pen. Using a fine, or extra fine tip might be alright, but if it is scratchy at all, it might damage the paper. I’d probably stick to pencils, or Pigma Micron pens for note taking, or journaling in this one. Your opinion may be different. If you are looking for a wonderfully laid out, single column, journaling Bible, at a value price, look no further. This Bible would work well in that role.

I have more pictures of this Bible on my Flickr page if you’d like to look at them. Here is the link. Besides being available on the publisher’s site, you can also purchase this Bible from Christianbook.com for a big discount. You can also find it on Amazon.com.

ISBN 978 1 4335 7266 1 list price of $49.99 U.S.

Bible Reviews · Bibles

A Review of the Legacy Standard Bible, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs, in Brown Shamar Goatskin.

Legacy Standard Bible

I preordered this Bible when I found out it was going to be published. Three Sixteen Publishing/Steadfast Bibles sells it on their site. Master’s Seminary in California, connected with John MacArthur, got permission from the Lockman Foundation to tighten up the translation a bit. I think this was an admirable goal, as I believe the 2020 NASB to be heavily influenced by Zondervan. Zondervan is a major licenser of the NASB from Lockman. I think the 2020 is not as good as the 1995. After looking the LSB over, I can say, I still have some questions about certain translation choices. The LSB does use Yah, and Yahweh, in place of the small uppercase LORD that has been adopted as a convention. Of course in the New Testament where kurious was used, it remained Lord, obviously. I’m sure that will make some cult members mad. I’m not a Hebrew Roots guy, nor am I an Assemblies of Yahweh cult member. I do like the more accurate translation. Doulos has been translated as slave, just like they said it was. My problems with certain choices in translation are few, and not very significant. I just find the translation choices in certain parts to be curious. I would have liked to ask why they did certain things. I was wondering why they didn’t translate Christos as anointed. There was also a spot (I can’t remember where it was now) that inserted the word Jesus into the text, even though in Greek, Insous wasn’t there, but to make the sentence make sense, considering English sentence structure, and context, Jesus was added. It was obvious from the information that was there that the verse was something that Jesus was saying. I guess I was hoping for less italicized words, and an even more strict translation. That being said, it is still a very good translation. So far, I would put it up there with the 1977, and 1995 NASB translations.

The Bible I purchased was printed and bound by Jongbloed in the Netherlands. It is every bit as good as a Schuyler, or Crossway premium that Jonglboed produces.

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It arrived undamaged, and in a shipping box. Inside that box was a 2 piece box that is pretty well constructed. It should keep your Bible safe for many years.

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As you can see, it was also shrink wrapped in plastic, and double banded with black paper. I unwrapped it before I thought to take pictures. I wasn’t planning on doing a review. Since I was excited to get it, and unwrapped it, I had to kind of put it back in the plastic, and paper bands to take some pictures.

Here are some of the vital statistics from the publisher’s page;

  • Black letter editions only
  • Two-column verse-by-verse format
  • 8.5 pt. font size
  • Line-matched Scripture text
  • French-milled, 32 gsm paper (same as our Preacher’s Bible Handy Size)
  • Sewn binding
  • Gold gilding on page edges
  • Durable foil-stamped cover with perimeter stitching
  • 2 sided satin ribbon marker, matching the exterior binding color
  • 4.5 x 6.2 inches
  • 640 pages

Like I said earlier, if you have had a Schuyler, or a premium Crossway, you can expect the same high quality. The cover is goatskin leather. I chose the deep brown. It is very supple. There isn’t much there as far as texture goes. It is not deeply pebbled. It is pretty smooth, and soft. The edge lined binding makes this Bible a joy to hold in the hand, and yes you can hold this Bible in one hand, and comfortably read it. The line matching, and 8.5pt. font add greatly to this.

The cover is perimeter stitched, and there is a gold perimeter line around the interior cover.

Legacy Standard Bible
Legacy Standard Bible

The spine is hot stamped with, “Legacy Standard Bible New Testament Psalms & Proverbs” It has the logo on the head, and, “Steadfast Bibles” on the tail. The page edges are art gilt. Not simply gilded. The less expensive editions are probably the ones that are simply gilded.

Legacy Standard Bible
Legacy Standard Bible

It is a black letter edition, with a double column layout, in verse format. There are no cross references, footnotes, or any other helps/features in this edition. (No maps or concordance) The idea for a N.T. edition like this is portability, and readability. An elder on the go will be well served by this design.

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You can check out the rest of my pictures of this edition on my flikr album here.

If you’d like to purchase your own copy, you can do so here, 316 Publishing.

Bible Reviews · Uncategorized

My Review of the King James Version, Giant Print Leather Bible from www.KJVBibles.com and Christian Art Publishers.

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If you are like me, you probably have not heard of Christian Art Publishers or KJVBibles.com. It seems they are newcomers to the scene. We are all familiar with names like Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Broadman & Holman, Christianbook.com, Lifeway.com. Unfortunately, some of the big names have been bought out by unbelievers over the years and don’t care as much about quality of materials or content. Hopefully we will see new independent companies/ministries arise who do care about quality of construction and content. We will see over time how things play out.

A representative of KJVBibles.com contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their Bibles, and I was. They promptly sent me a copy of their Giant Print, thumb indexed, double column, red letter, edition, in brown genuine top grain cowhide leather. When I unboxed the copy, I discovered there was a minor defect. I informed them about it, and they sent me another copy without complaint, or difficulty. It arrived in the expected condition. Upon removing it from the shipping box, I was presented with a handsome two-piece retail box, that should be retained for storage when not in use.

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Upon picking the Bible up, I could tell from the feel of the cover, and the looseness of the text block, that this was a good value for the suggested retail price. It is a visually interesting cover as well as tactilely. The words, “Holy Bible King James Version” are hot stamped in gold colored foil prominently on the front cover. The cover is perimeter stitched, and there are five decorative hubs ornamenting the spine. There is more hot stamping of gold colored foil on the spine. It reads from head to tail, “KJV,” “Holy Bible,” “King James Version,” and “CA” as a logo. The texture of the cover is not dramatically pronounced. It isn’t particularly thick either which explains the price.

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The publisher’s page in the front indicates that the Bible was printed and bound in China. This also sheds light on the low price, but don’t let that scare you. Many Bibles are printed in China these days. The key is to implement strict quality control. If a publisher is able to do that successfully, you will receive a good quality product. Whether or not Christian Art Publisher has been able to do that will be seen over time.

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The inside cover is lined with a sheet of what looks to be a thin vinyl sheet, glued down to the inside of the cover. I hope it holds up. It looks as if it could come unglued from the cover due to there not being any peach-flex acting as a stiffener and gluing surface. Of course, if there were, the cover would not be so flexible, and comfortable to hold, and there are worse things than an inner liner coming unglued. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they were done away with, and another section of hide were used as an inner liner, but this would add to the cost of the addition. It is why the edge lined R. L. Allan’s, and Schuyler’s are at the top of the premium Bible market pecking order. The durability of this inner liner will also be seen over time.

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As I mentioned earlier, the text block has just the right tension on the signatures to make it flexible, and durable. I was pleasantly surprised to see this. The page edge gilt took some flipping through the pages to get them separate. Take care not to tear them when separating the pages. I’m not one for thumb indexing. I find it slows you down, and the stickers have a bad habit of falling off. These do look like they are glued down well. Hopefully there won’t be any problems with them down the road.

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The paper is a bit more toothy than what I am accustomed to in Bibles, but it does offer decent opacity at 75% and is 28 g.s.m. The 14 pt. font is nicely printed with sharp clean edges, and uniform consistency throughout. Even the red lettering is printed with similar quality. The red lettering is a bit lighter than some other publishers, but it is still quite legible thanks in part to the 14 pt. text.

The text is laid out in a double column, verse format, with footnotes, and limited cross references at the bottom. Due to the size of the text, and the volume, the page gutters are small. The looseness of the sewn text block does allow you to open it up far enough to read the text without it getting lost in the gutters. It lays nice and flat on your reading surface.

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There is one narrow brown ribbon marker that matches the color of the leather cover, head and tail bands, and the inner liner. Overall it is an appealing edition.

There is a useful, if not small concordance in the back, as well as a reading plan, and scripture verse finder, and 8 color maps. I really like the paper that the maps and presentation pages are printed on. They are thick enough to take ink well, and not glossy. The glossy ones don’t take ink well, and often crack. These look much better and I think they will hold up well. I would however, swap out the scripture verse finder for a larger concordance, or a KJV glossary for archaic words that are unfamiliar to modern readers, if it were up to me. Trinitarian Bible Society on their Westminster KJV has a neat system where they have a star next to the archaic word in the body of text, and then a star in the margin with a modern replacement for that word in the margin. I’d love to see some system like that employed. I think it would help the younger readers appreciate the KJV translation better.

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After using this Bible for a while, I’ve come to appreciate the easy to read text, the comfortable size, and the flexible cover. For the sub one-hundred-dollar niche this is a tremendous value. I’m all about finding a good value. Add in durability, good looks, and a great form factor, and you have a winner. If you are looking for a new KJV Bible for yourself, or as a gift, this would be a great choice. You can purchase yours from their website.

Here is a link to KJVBibles product page for this edition.

You can also purchase a copy on Christianbook.com

Don’t forget to check out more pictures at my Flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781432127008

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Uncategorized

A Snyder’s Soapbox Review of the, “John MacArthur Study Bible in the E.S.V. Translation” with a Genuine black leather cover.

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     I know this Bible has been out for quite some time, but Crossway was kind enough to send one out for review. This is one of their Bibles I have not reviewed yet, and perhaps you haven’t looked into it yet either. I have two other John MacArthur Study Bibles. One is from Thomas Nelson, and it is a N.A.S.B. The other is the 25th Anniversary Edition in N.K.J.V. The things that struck me between the three different editions are the qualities of the papers, the printing, the spine/binding, and the cover options. In all of the qualities, except one, the Crossway comes out on top, and not just by a little.

     The genuine leather cover is more like a genuine calfskin leather, and not at all like the pigskin leather that came on the Thomas Nelson made N.A.S.B. The quality of the 25th Anniversary N.K.J.V. leather cover was slightly better than the Crossway edition’s. The 25th Anniversary edition’s cover was a bit thicker, perimeter stitched,and had an inner liner which moire silk. You would not expect a simple genuine leather edition to come anywhere near the quality of a premium Bible, but it does. The spine of the 25th anniversary edition has raised hubs, the other two do not. This is not a big deal. It is only decorative.

     The paper on the Crossway far exceeds the quality of the other two. The other two are less white, and have almost a newsprint color to them. They are also made of toothier paper. The Crossway is smooth, and white, but not too bright. It is just bright enough to offer the proper contrast between the uniformly, and sharply printed font.

     The spine of the N.A.S.B. from Thomas Nelson is not sewn, but glued. It is a case/perfect bound Bible. The Crossway, and the 25th Anniversary N.K.J.V. are both sewn. The Crossway is about the same thickness as the Thomas Nelson. Both are much thinner than the 25th Anniversary N.K.J.V. I’m not sure why it is so thick. I’m guessing it is due to the type of paper. They all have relatively the same amount of content. They could all use better ribbons. The Crossway has nicer maps, of course 🙂 If you are interested in it,hurry up and get it while it is on sale for Christmas!

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     The Crossway, English Standard Version, in genuine black leather comes in a two piece retail box. The box isn’t as sturdy as some other boxes, but I would still hold onto it to store your Bible in when not in use. The Bible itself is full of helpful features that will be of great value to you while you endeavor to learn more about the God who saves.  

Here is a list of the Bible’s features from Christianbook.com’s product page; 

Features

  • Complete ESV Bible text
  • Nearly 25,000 explanatory notes from Dr. John MacArthur
  • Bible text in 8.7 point type, 7.6 point study notes
  • More than 140 two-color maps, charts, timelines, and illustrations
  • Complete introductions to each Bible book
  • Concise articles on How We Got the BibleHow to Study the Bible, and Introduction to the Bible
  • 80,000 cross-references
  • An extensive concordance
  • Bible reading plans
  • Index to Key Bible Doctrines
  • Outline of Systematic Theology
  • Presentation Page & Family Record Section
  • Center-Column References
  • Timeline of Old Testament Kings and Prophets
  • Timeline of New Testament Chronology
  • Harmony of the Gospels
  • Durable smyth-sewn binding
  • Presentation page
  • Family record pages
  • Ribbon marker
  • Gold page edges
  • 8-point text size
  • 9.75″ x 7.00″ x 1.75″

Product Information

Format: Genuine Leather
Number of Pages: 2144
Vendor: Crossway
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 9.50 X 7.00 X 1.75 (inches)
ISBN: 143352144X
ISBN-13: 9781433521447
References: Center Column|Cross References
Text Layout: Double Column
Text Color: Black Letter
Text Size: 8 Point
Note Size: 7 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn
Page Gilding: Gold

You might have noticed there is a discrepancy between the two lists, one says the font is 8.7 pt. for the main text, and 7.6 pt. for the notes, the other list says it is 8, and 7 pt.  When I contacted Crossway they confirmed that the font is 8.5 pt. for the main text, and 7.5 pt. for the notes.  They also provided me with the font type, which is ITC Stone Serif.

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For people who are curious, this Bible is printed, and bound in China.  I know, I know, Chinese made stuff is junk…  Well Crossway has ensured that the quality is top notch.  I’m not sure how they do it, but I would like to find out.  Hopefully one day, I’ll get the chance. 

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 The cover has a nice grain to it, and a perimeter groove on the outside.  The inside liner looks like your typical vinyl.  There is a nice gold perimeter ornamentation hot-stamped on the inside of the cover as well.  The page edges are gold guilt, and there are head and tail bands too. 

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 My biggest gripe about cheap Bibles is that they use glued spines, and all the pages fall out.  They are also notoriously difficult to keep open, or get to lay flat.  You won’t have that problem with a good sewn spine.  The Crossway MacArthur Study Bible has a nice sewn spine as you can tell from the following pictures.  It also has one ribbon marker.

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I really like the simple style of the spine.
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One of the things I like about this Bible is the use of the color blue for the chapter numbers and features.  

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This is a black letter edition, with double column, paragraph layout.  The cross references are in the center column, and the notes are on the bottom.  With the quality of paper, and printing this Bible is not hard on the eyes.

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After looking over this Bible, and comparing it to other editions, I can give it a thumbs up.  It is a great value, especially when it is on sale.  You can get your copy from Christianbook, or Amazon.  Make sure to check out all of the pictures of this Bible on the Flickr page.

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Uncategorized

Snyder’s Soapbox Review of the, “E.S.V. Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set Cloth over Board with Permanent Slipcase.”

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I received this set from Crossway some time ago, and wanted to use it for a while before writing a review. This review will differ from my others in the lack of a listing of the physical attributes like, paper weight, cover material, binding, font size, and layout, as all of that information and more can be found here. The Reader’s Bible is unlike any other Bible I’ve reviewed. This one is a six volume set, intended for undistracted reading. That is not to say that other Bibles aren’t for reading. It is to say, that the focus of the layout, and construction was to be conducive to reading.  This is necessarily at the exclusion of other purposes. For instance, study, easy reference, citation, and so on, as there are no chapter or verse numbers, no footnotes or cross references. There is a chapter index in the back of each volume.  For older folks like myself, it is so different from Bibles we’ve used for such a long time, that it takes some getting used to. It isn’t a bad experience, just different.
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I am a slow reader, and tend to study as I go. Other people can speed through the Bible, and retain information. When I simply read the Bible, I have to remain very conscious of what I am reading, and be diligent to properly regard it. When I start to read sometimes I start to drift.  I find myself going back over the same section a few times, to make certain I have understood what I’ve read. With the Reader’s set, you can read without getting side-tracked by interesting cross references, or footnotes.
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The first thing you notice is the volumes are constructed as a quality hardback, cloth covered book. Each volume has a marker ribbon, sewn spine, heavy paper, and easy to read font. Then while reading you start to experience what Crossway intended. You have a smooth progression through large sections of scripture. As you read, you don’t make your decision on where to stop by chapter numbers, or section headings. Instead, you stop where it seems natural, usually at the end of an idea. As you read, you’ll also notice that your eyes don’t tire as easily due to the very thick paper, and font. (For all the stats follow the link in the first paragraph of the review.) With the longer sessions, you tend to cover more ground. I would not let my reading, exclude separate study of the Bible. Having the Reader’s Set does force you to make time for reading, and study. I think I need that in my daily routine. Separating the two activities does seem beneficial. DSCN6918
I think this set should hold up well, as long as they are cared for properly. I would be careful around moisture, as the pages are not coated, and would absorb water, finger oil, and dirt readily. Which brings me to my next suggestion, don’t eat, drink coffee, or have dirty hands when reading this set. You will stain the cover, mess up the pages, and make it look messy.
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My final thought, is that they are nice to have when you want to sit and read God’s word. My eyes aren’t what they used to be, and even though the font isn’t large, it is easier to read. I like the feel of them. It is an awful lot like reading a hardback novel in certain ways.  
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You can view Crossway’s product page here. You can also read more about this specific sets production here.  Be sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my flikr page. 
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Crossway ESV Reader's Set in Cloth Covered Hardback

 

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Uncategorized

A Review of the Crossway Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House Cambridge in Hardcover.

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Admittedly the market for Greek New Testaments is smaller than that of English Bibles.  However, there is indeed a market.  For those of you who have a desire to own a Greek New Testament, I imagine it is because you are either studying Greek, or already read Greek.  The most prevalent Greek New Testament out there is the Nestle Aland 28.  Crossway decided to produce this edition because of some scribal discrepancies that have come to light.  Here is a link to their page with a video that explains more of the reasons why they produced this edition.  Here is a link to their FAQ site.  I found it helpful.  You will too.  My review will be more about how well this edition is made.


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Judging the copy I was sent, I would say that Crossway used some pretty good materials in this edition.  The paper was impressive.  It isn’t a higher cotton content hardback novel type paper, and it isn’t a thin Bible paper.  It has a smooth texture to it and a bit of weight without being as thick and heavy as 80# paper.  Crossway says, it is a 70gsm Salzer.  I like it.  It doesn’t have much ghosting, but is thin enough to make a lighter volume.  It is also evident that they employed line match printing.  This also makes it easy on the eyes.  I know that I started in the wrong order by talking about the paper first.  It just impressed me 🙂 the print is nothing to be laughed at either.  It is a 10 pt font.  That is just about perfect for reading.  This edition also comes with a higher quality black ribbon page marker.  Most Bibles skimp on the ribbon markers, not this one.

The New Testament comes with a cardboard slipcase.  It is pretty sturdy and handsome.  Make sure to keep it for storing your New Testament on the shelf.  Better to have the slipcase take the ware and tare of being shelved than the edges of your hardcover.  

 

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This edition has a sewn spine for many years of use and flexibility.  The spine didn’t take hardly any break-in time.  This edition is case bound obviously.  It couldn’t be edge line bound because it is a hardcover.  There is a genuine leather edition, but I believe it is also case bound.  You could always have it sent out for a rebind if you desire an edge lined edition.  This wouldn’t be possible if it didn’t have a quality sewn binding.

This is a single column, paragraph layout with book titles, chapter and verse numbers, and page numbers.  It is easy on the eyes, very legible.  Reading it is more of a strain on my brain as a neophyte, than it is on my eyes.  If you are in the market for a Greek NT to read daily, this would be an excellent choice.  I am no Greek expert, but I do know about quality in materials and manufacture.  This edition is put together well, and should last you a long time.

Make sure to look at all the pictures I took of this edition on my flickr page.  You can purchase your copy from Christianbook, Amazon, or directly from Crossway.
ISBN-13:  9781433552175

https://www.crossway.org/bibles/the-greek-new-testament-produced-at-tyndal-hconly/

Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Theology · Uncategorized

The Systematic Theology Study Bible from Crossway, in E.S.V. Black Genuine Leather, and the Hardcover Edition.

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I am giving away a hardcover edition of this Bible.

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The Systematic Theology Study Bible from Crossway, is a different kind of Study Bible.  It isn’t really accurate to call it a reference Bible, or a Study Bible.  It is technically a study Bible in the sense that it has study aids in it, but it looks more like a reference Bible with a systematic theology book blended in with it.

For my conservative paedobaptist friends, you’ll notice the notes seem to be in favor of credobaptism.  For my friends who don’t believe in God’s sovereign election, you’ll notice the notes don’t agree with you.

Some people would like it if a broad range of theologians worked on this Bible, but they didn’t 🙂  It was mostly Reformed Baptists, and conservative Presbyterians, from what I gathered reading the list of men involved with writing the theology articles.

Contributors:

  • Gregg Allison
  • Bruce Ashford
  • Gerald Bray
  • Bryan Chapell
  • Graham Cole
  • David Dockery
  • John Frame
  • Michael Horton
  • Kelly Kapic
  • Michael Kruger
  • Robert Letham
  • Donald Macleod
  • Chris Morgan
  • Stephen Nichols
  • J. I. Packer
  • Michael Reeves
  • Fred Sanders
  • Sam Storms
  • Scott Swain
  • Stephen Wellum
  • David Wells

The systematic theology seems to lean towards a general Reformed position, which is good, because… well, I think it is the right position lol. 🙂  I think any person who affirms the reformed position on soteriology will be appreciative of this Bible and the articles in it.  It is broad in appeal to people who are reformed.  It might not get all of your more nuanced secondary, or tertiary doctrines just the way you want them, but we will all be in accord over the treatment of the primary ones.  I can definitely see the Reformed Baptist position reflected in the work.

There is basically a mini systematic theology book in the back of the Bible along with some other very useful features.  Here is a list of features you’ll find;

“Double-column, paragraph format

  • Footnotes
  • Book intros
  • Topical index of sidebars
  • Cross-references
  • 400+ doctrinal summaries explaining core doctrines and connecting them to specific Bible passages
  • 25+ longer articles on key theological topics
  • Lifetime guarantee on leather and TruTone editions
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: J-Card (Hardcover); Box (Genuine Leather and TruTone)”

When we look at most study Bibles they either are one man’s theology, like the Ryrie, Scofield, and MacArthur, or they are a compilation of a wide range of theologies like the massive ESV, NIV, Thomas Nelson NKJV study Bibles. The last three are humongous study Bibles with a little bit of everything. The Systematic Theology Study Bible is a neat hybrid. It isn’t one man’s theology, or a broad, neither here nor there conglomeration of positions. (Excluding the ESV which does a great job.) It is from the reformed position. The theology is systematic, which means that it is harmonized. Verses are not put against verses. They are all contextually harmonious.

You’ll find book introductions and outlines before each book.  You’ll also notice that the Bible looks a lot like a Cross Reference Bible.  It seems to me that Crossway integrated their systematic theology features into the Bible very well.  The articles are relevant to the scriptures they appear with, and are indexed in the back along with several theological articles.

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This Crossway Bible was packaged well and delivered in a cardboard box.  The Bible was in a two piece retail box.  You should always keep the retail boxes for storing your Bibles in if you are swapping it out with another one to read for a while.
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DSCN6644 The spine is decorated with the ESV logo at the top, then, “Systematic Theology Study Bible.”  English Standard Version at the bottom, with Crossway’s logo hot stamped in gold colored foil.  DSCN6642

The page edges are also gold gilt.  There are yellow and black, head and tail bands, and one black ribbon marker.
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The cover is joined to the text block via case binding.  The spine is sewn for superior flexibility, and durability.

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In the front of the Bible there is a presentation page, and some family records pages.
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If you look at the copyright page, you’ll be pleased to see this edition was printed and bound in the United States.

DSCN6655 The book introductions are well done. I found them to be informative, and concise, but not to a fault. DSCN6662

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The main font is an easy to read 9 pt. Lexicon, and the features are an 8 pt. Gotham, printed crisply on 30 g.s.m. Apple Thin Opaque paper. The paper is smooth, and offers a decent contrast, and due to its color reduces eyestrain.

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If you don’t already own one of these, you should get one. It is a times saver if you are intending to read a systematic theology book. You can kill two birds with one stone. It is available from Crossway, Amazon, or Christianbook for a very fair price.

Since you stuck around for the entire review, if you comment on this review, and ask to be in the running for the hardback copy of this Bible I will select a winner out of those who commented.  Be sure to check back so I can get your mailing address.  I will only mail this to an address in the U.S.
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ISBN-13: 9781433553394