I’m pretty sure, most of us have felt frustrated, and angry with what we see going on around us. Many of us have probably thought, “Stop the world! I want off!” I know that I have. I’ve also been very angry as of late. I think it stems from being lied to. As Christians, we should be on the inside track with the truth. We have a corner on the market. Sure there are folks with bits of truth, but we have the truth. If you don’t believe that, you need to check yourself. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
When I read God’s revealed word, (the Bible) I get informed as a person, and I get transformed. I think, and feel, “This is right, and good. This is what I should be about.” I notice when I watch the news, or online videos, I get more angry. I hear all the lies, and the people telling them act as if they are blessing us with the truth. The truth about gender, economics, sexuality, personhood, infants, marriage, children, health, disease, coronavirus, vaccines, and worst of all, people seem to believe the lies, and act as if nothing is wrong. I guess it is a good testimony that at least I know the truth, but I am tempted to respond with anger, and malice towards the lost when they repeat the lies. We can’t expect the lost to act, and believe, as if they were among the church. I have to take a moment to remember, “There for the grace of God go I.” I think we all would be helped by doing that, and then, share the truth in love. Share the only truth that will win them as brothers and sisters. Share the gospel (good news) of Jesus. Help them see their sin, their need for the Savior, and then tell them what He did so that they can be with Him in eternity instead of being in hell where we all justly belong. Repentance and faith are the ideas to get across to them. Help them understand the grace of God, and maybe they will be with us here and now, but even more importantly, they might be with us all in our heavenly family.
It is easy to be angry, and prideful. It feels good to be right, but we have to remember, this is a temporary life with eternal consequences. There is only one way into the family, and Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
While driving in my car, I can smell the vapors exhaled by the person driving, and vaping 15 yards in front of me. The person’s breath goes out the slightly opened window. It swirls in the air behind their car, and gets sucked into my car, even with the windows up, and I can smell the sweet candy scent of the vape of the day. My car has a filter for the cabin air. I tell you this to ask you, “Do you truly believe that you can protect yourself from a virus with a silly little mask?” I bet you could smell the vape through a mask while riding in the car. You people who wear your masks in the car with the windows up, have you ever smelled the vapes from someone driving in front of you? Did it not occur to you, that your mask was as useless as a screen door on a submarine? Covid sucks. I get it. Heck I even got it, but come on man!? Where am I? What’s this place? Oh, I’m the President?… You don’t say… Whoops, wait a sec, I thought I was Brandon for a moment. By the way, “Let’s go Brandon!” Stop wearing masks. Stop acting as if you are o.k. with the lies they are telling you. It isn’t o.k. for them to lie to us. The people mandating things, are the same people who would urinate on your back and tell you it is raining, and you are going, “Well, ok… I guess if you say so… It must be raining…” Stop covering your faces with freedom filters! It is a psy-op by satan and his globalist forces.
I can’t believe we are still talking about this! I know people who are going to lose their jobs because they won’t get the vaccine. I don’t want it. I’m getting sick of being called anti-vax, or a vax-denier, when I have taken several vaccines over the years. I’m not a vax-denier! They are side-effects-deniers! They deny there have been an unacceptable number of horrendous negative side-effects. I personally know people who have had, and are suffering long-term negative side-effects from the necro-nectar. I know people who have died from this lab-created bioweapon. It ticks me off to no end! Yet people are still so dumb, stupid, slow, and gullible! We need to fight back! We need to refuse to comply! Obey God! Defy tyrants!
Yes, that time of year is upon us once more. The dreaded pagan holiday where people put up scary decorations, and attempt to frighten off the demons that come around extorting them for treats, or else tricks. As Christians, most of us have had the debate internally as well as externally, over whether or not to celebrate Halloween due to its pagan roots. No matter where you land on that issue, I have an alternative to offer you, “Reformation Day!”
The Protestant Reformation was a pivotal instance in world history. In public education, little is made of it. In the same way little is made of the spread of Christianity being responsible for the Renaissance era. The world actually credits humanism for the Renaissance, and blames Christianity. Without a Christian world-view, we’d all still be stuck in the dark ages. This is my assertion, and opinion. You are free to go argue the point somewhere else if you don’t agree. I’m not going to argue over it. I do believe it is factual. I’m old enough to remember how history was taught when I was a kid in school, as opposed to now. When I was a kid the pilgrims were heroes, and the puritans were too. Now the indians are considered peaceful, spiritual, earth hippies, who were victimized by the pilgrims. It seems that the, “Ministry of Truth” Orwell wrote about is in full effect.
Anyway, back on task. On October 31st in 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 thesis to the Church door, he started something big. A movement began. People started to question what Rome had been telling them. Soon they would have the Bible in their own language to read for themselves. Armed with God’s word, they were able to analyze Rome’s lies against the truths of the Bible. The movement only picked up more steam from there.
It wasn’t without problems. The peasant uprising occurred. Much to Luther’s dismay many of his countrymen died. They were fighting against tyranny and lies. Much like then, tyranny lives on today in the form of secular-humanism, globalism, and leftism. All of these can be sub-categorized under satanism. I believe we must continue to protest against spiritual tyranny in all of its manifestations. One way to do that is to teach our children about what happened, and what to do about it. We commemorate Reformation Day, as a memorial to the past saints, and martyrs, who travailed and suffered for the one true faith. We also must remember that our turn may well be upon us, and if we forget the lessons of the past, our futures will be that much more spiritually impoverished.
So, on October 31st, don’t just had out candy, do trick or trunk, or hide out with the lights off. Watch the 2003 movie, “Luther” with Joseph Fiennes. Read the 95 Thesis and try to figure out what that Luther fellow was all upset about. Have a Bible study on the doctrine of justification, or how to resist tyrants. Consider the effects, both good, and bad, of the Reformation. Wonder at the grace demonstrated by God in bringing the world out of the dark ages. Hand out some gospel tracts to the kids knocking on your door. Put up some decorations that might make your neighbors ask, “What the heck kind of Halloween decoration is that Ted?” Educate someone about freedoms they enjoy due to the Reformation. The gospel of Christ will not disappear from the Earth. The truth and light will not be extinguished. We can thank God, all of us, for justification by faith alone, and the other four Solas that came out of the Reformation. You could even do a little lesson on the Solas.
Don’t forget what happened, and teach the kids to remember as well. Have a great month, and enjoy the holiday by enjoying God, and the peace you have with Him, in Christ.
This was the first Reformation Boise Conference since the Coronavirus hit. I was concerned that it wouldn’t have a good turnout due to people being limited in their travel from other states, or being hesitant to gather together, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how many folks did attend. In my estimation it was over 400. I’m not sure how many actually were there. This was just my personal estimation… Don’t be hatin’ if I got that wrong.
I went with a friend from my local Church. We both had a great time. It was good to see that we are not alone in Idaho. I don’t know how much you know about the spiritual state of Idaho. It has been predominately Mormon for an exceedingly long duration. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) For those of you who don’t know what Mormonism is, it is a works-righteousness cult developed by a con-man and false prophet named Joseph Smith. Like all cults, they insist they are Christians while denying, the deity of Christ, the trinity, the nature of sin, and righteousness, monogamous marriage, and the aseity of God just to name a few key points. I hope you get the picture. They are not the only cult in Idaho. There are the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, and a few other minor ones. The rest of the religious landscape is filled up with different Arminian, Pelagian, and Semi-Pelagian anthropocentric denominations.
I had never known an Idaho, my entire life, that wasn’t Mormon primarily. That is why it has been so very encouraging to have this convention annually. I, along with others who believe like I do, get to meet up, and listen to intelligent, and educated men, give discourse on topics of great theological import. This is edifying to the body of Christ. I can’t speak for everyone, but I assume they feel similarly, else why would they return year after year? It is wonderful to see the same people year after year, and have fellowship. It is also a great blessing to be able to purchase books at the book tables. This year they were offered at cost simply to get the resources into the hands of those who need them, and would use them.
I know they are probably tired of hearing it, but thanks for putting the conference on. It takes a lot of planning and work.
Here is a link to the youtube playlist if you’d like to watch the entire conference. https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJv5lK3Eybk1p4AmaCrpk0tx94XcLNx2M
If you are like me you’ve probably not heard of Paul Dirks. As it turns out, we’ve been missing out. He is a very thoughtful man. Here is a short bio I pulled from Amazon, “Paul Dirks is Lead Pastor of New West Community Baptist Church, where he has served for 12 years. He lives in New Westminster, BC, Canada, with his wife Rachel and their five children. Dirks has published on other topics including sexuality and gender at The Public Discourse.”
When I was contacted via e-mail about doing a review, I was a bit dubious. Most of the people who contact me for reviews are from backgrounds that eschew deeper theological thinking. I refuse some, and others I warn, and ask if they are certain they want me to do a review. After reading a bit about the book’s topic, and corresponding with Paul a couple of times, I became more enthusiastic about his work.
The book was a much more thorough treatment of the topic of Hell than I anticipated. Paul cites many source texts, and they are included in the Bibliography for one to verify. This was a pleasant relief from the hearsay that floods arguments from social media keyboard warriors and, “Biblical scholars.”
The notion of Hell, and the included eternal suffering, is very unpleasant. So much so, that most people attempt to convince themselves it doesn’t exist, or that they are a good person, and would never end up there. As a Christian, it has bothered me, and it was one of the main reasons I began to read the Bible before I was a Christian. Before I understood certain attributes of God, I couldn’t figure out how to make hell fit with what I knew. All I could do, was trust what the Bible said. A book like this might have saved me some time. I don’t want to give away the key arguments against Hell, and for Hell, because Paul does a great job of laying those out in the book. I do want to encourage you to give it a read if you have been struggling to understand how the fact that there is a Hell, and people will end up there, and it is a good thing. This book does a pretty good job of explaining it all. However, at times, it might be a bit too much for some newer Christians, or people who aren’t used to following a thought through. It isn’t as accessible as some other works on the topic, but it is more thorough, and nuanced. On the other end of the spectrum, high minded theologians might see it as an offering for the neophytes among them. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you are on, I do think you’ll agree about the value of this work for the body. With that in mind, I recommend his book. I Think it adds value to the individual Christian’s library, and can be a valuable aid in helping a friend understand as well. Get a copy for yourself, and one to give away. You can buy them on Amazon.
Since Paul was amicable to the idea of doing some Q. & A. I thought I’d include that as part of the review. Those follow below. My Questions are numbered and his answers follow each one.
1. I think understanding God’s authority in juxtaposition to our human subjection to that authority, properly understood, should bring sharp contrast to the monolithic difference between the two. Do you think that this contrast of an infinitely authoritative Creator and His subject creatures, is sufficient for most Christians to understand the justice of an eternal Hell? Why/why not?
I think that goes a long ways to understanding the justice of hell, but there are hurdles for most people in how God’s characteristics (love, goodness, mercy, justice) interrelate. Furthermore, there are questions like those the apostle Paul asks and answers in Romans 9 concerning God’s authority itself. But I think you are generally correct. Cultures which tend towards understanding authority and subjection, even in society, tend to have far less concerns with the doctrine of hell.
2. The thought of going to Hell is very disturbing. There are times when Christians doubt that God has justified them, and they begin to fear that they will end up in Hell. Could you briefly explain where assurance is found?
Eternal torment in hell is indeed disturbing. Praise God that He offers absolute assurance of salvation in an historical and objective work–the substitute death of Jesus Christ upon the cross for our punishment –the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God (1 Pet 3:18). The saint ought to now hear “it is finished” (Jn 19:30) echo in his soul when faced with doubts, and claim passages like Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” A proper understanding of inherent (if imperfect) righteousness also helps for assurance. When rightly understood, unbelievers do not thank God, acquiesce to His will, or love the brotherhood of believers. All these and more are “green shoots”–signs that a person is a new creature in Christ, in spite of remaining sin and struggles. The book of 1 John is helpful in this regard.
3. Do you hate neck ties? I was just curious. Thought I’d throw you a softball.
Nope! In a different cultural context, I would have no problem wearing a necktie most days.
4. How has the governments response to the coronavirus impacted your local Church?
In my view, our government (and most around the world) significantly overreacted to COVID. There were points over the last year or so that the uneven application of their regulations were unfair towards churches and certainly undermined guaranteed charter rights of worship. At almost every point we have opened to in-person services as soon as possible, while also offering on-line services. I am thankful for the unity of our church and elders, without which we could not have navigated the complexities of this time. Even with that unity, it has been challenging. I do wish I had given more time to doing personal visits during what was a more extended lockdown than I expected, but our church has mostly weathered the storm and is doing quite well. The maturity of our saints has been evident in all this.
5. How has good theology helped keep fear in its proper place?
Yes, it has been crucial. I see so much fear around us, and not only from unbelievers. Truths like the immanence of death, the providence of God in health and healing, the focus we are to have on eternity, the fear of God which drives out the fear of man, are all helpful for peace during these difficult times.
6. What was the deciding factor in determining to write your book?
As I state in the introduction, a statement from a man I greatly admire that he “wished there was no such thing as hell,” really provoked me. As a reformed theologian who believes in God’s sovereignty, election, and that He does all things ultimately for His glory, there was something not quite right about that statement. I think that thought also reflects what I see in practice, that many preachers speak of hell in a biblically imbalanced way, emphasizing the sinner’s choice to be there and describing it as a place apart from God. These things are not untrue, but they don’t capture the centre or balance of Christ’s words on the subject. So I guess that I saw within my own tribe an imbalance that needed to be corrected and a puzzle that needed to be solved. I love digging into theological puzzles and I felt like there was a book in it that had never been written (Hartman’s Divine Penology is probably the closest thing). Since then I have come to realize how many otherwise-mature Christians struggle with the doctrine of hell, and it has been encouraging to offer help and some answers.
7. On page 133 I found Anselm’s argument “…that our sins are worthy of an infinite punishment because they are committed against an infinite majesty…” to be sufficient. This concept is where I stopped when I was looking into the justice of Hell as an expression of God’s love. I found satisfaction there, so I didn’t delve deeper. How difficult was it for you to read many of the other arguments, isolate them, and refute them after dealing with this argument?
I think different people find different arguments compelling or sufficient. Anselm’s argument is brilliant because it ties God’s infinite honor (a somewhat abstract concept) to our infinite obligation to Him and then proves it’s infiniteness by a ratcheting measurement of differing obligations (there are places in Jonathan Edward’s preaching that he also makes many of these connections.) Those who dismiss Anselm’s argument by saying it is tied to his feudal context haven’t understood him at all.
To be honest, I love reading the opposing arguments. It’s another puzzle. I know enough (God’s word is sufficient) to know they are wrong, but there is reward and even enjoyment in discovering how they are wrong and seeing what truths or emphases surface in refuting those positions (as well as which nuggets of truth are there in the erroneous positions.) For instance, I remember coming across Kronen and Reitan’s argument in “Species of Hell” and thinking, “now finally, that is a decent argument against hell–how are they wrong?” (See chapter 9). Conundrums are some of the best aids to developing clarity.
9. I understand that a loving God must also be just. How difficult was it for you to connect in your arguments God’s justice via hell, and His love?
I think the challenge for some people, and a challenge also to communicate, is how justice requires punishment. We live in a world in which the retributive aspect of punishment is routinely downplayed, if not denied altogether. Once you have arrived at the understanding that justice requires punishment of evil, then the connection to God’s love (or goodness) is easier to make. For much of history, starting with the church fathers, it has been an accepted axiom that the one who loves love must therefore hate hate and punish it, as the two are necessarily equivalent. I don’t think most people today, including Christians, would consider that axiomatic.
10. Do you have any other writing projects in the pipe?
My wife would laugh at this question! Yes. The question is what will actually see the light of day anytime soon. I am currently working on a study guide for Is There Anything Good About Hell? Within a month or two I will be releasing L. B. Hartman’s peerless but obscure work on hell and justice, Divine Penology. I wrote an extended biographical introduction for the book, which was very enjoyable. No biography exists of this notable 20th century Baptist pastor and author. I am also doing a significant amount of reading and work for a future book on the Trinity, very tentatively called The Eschatological Trinity, but it may be five or six years before that sees the light of day. I have a couple other smaller projects that might be published prior to that, including a fictional short story which I may release in serial fashion, chapter by chapter, via podcast.
11. What Bible are you currently using, and which one would you like to get in the future? I know this is unrelated, but it is relevant to my platform.
I’m a big fan of the ESV, although I am not dogmatic about translation choices. A year and a half ago I “splurged” on a Schuyler Personal Size Quentel in calfskin. Beauty is a virtue and though I tend towards being economical, I have enjoyed having a bible that is aesthetically pleasing to look at and a pleasure to use. It’s relatively small, but the typography and layout compensates significantly for the font size and its close to perfect for carrying around with me everywhere. Because I use Logos for much of my study, I don’t buy print bibles very often. I was intrigued with the Weidmann ESV journaling bible you recently reviewed, and that might go on the gift list for my wife. I think I can get away with saying that–I doubt she’ll read this!
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.
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).”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The folks over at Trinitarian Bible Society were kind enough to send me a copy of their Slimline Pocket New Testament for review. It has been a while since I’ve written a review of one of the Bibles they produce. I thought it would be a good time to take a look at a very affordable, and lightweight New Testament. This New Testament is shipped in minimal packaging. It was in a sleeve and wrapped with clear plastic. The pictures on TBS’ site look a bit browner than in reality.
The color is burgundy just like the site states. It is a two-tone cover with the darker color on the bottom. There is one ribbon marker that matches the burgundy of the cover.
The front cover has, “New Testament” pressed into it. The perimeter of the cover is stitched down. Since the spine is so narrow, there is no writing on it.
The inner liner is white pasted down paper which joins the text block to the cover. The spine is sewn.
The page edges are gold gilt. I did encounter a bit of a problem when opening this New Testament. The pages stuck together. I ended up tearing the front page while trying to separate the pages. I wasn’t careful enough. This volume indicates that it is printed in Great Britain by Eyre & Spottiswoode H.M. Printers, Cambridge University Press Cambridge. The paper is fine, and very light weight. It is opaque enough to not cause eye strain. The 8 point font is large enough to be of use, but small enough to keep the size of this New Testament down.
If you are considering a slimline pocket New Testament, I assume the primary features you are looking for are light weight and portability. This edition is one of the lightest New Testaments I have owned. It is also one of the slimmest. I forget that it is on my person while I am carrying it. I have had some New Testaments that are shorter and thus also thicker. Even though they fit into a pocket, it is evident to me that I am carrying one. This is so light and thin that it doesn’t cause my jacket to wear as if it is burdened. From outward appearances, it would be almost impossible to see that I was carrying it.
If I had to pick my other favorite feature of this edition, it would be the inclusion of a KJV wordlist. There are some English words that have gone out of use since the publishing of the KJV Bible. Peradventure you purchase this edition, you’ll encounter this, and observe that it is commodious to your reading. If you’d like to look at the rest of the pictures of this Bible I took please visit my flickr album.
Here is the product page for the Slimline Pocket New Testament (Vivella) – Burgundy [65E] This page has some of the measurements and other specifications I may have left out.