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.

The Much Anticipated Schuyler Personal Size Quentel NASB Bible!

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I know you’ve heard me extol the virtues of a few different Bibles in the past.  I know there are a lot of truly great editions out there.  I’m not trying to take anything away from them when I say this.  This is the perfect Bible. (for me.)  Keep in mind that the features/attributes of any edition are appreciated subjectively by the individual.  We all like different things.

I have been looking for a Bible like this for a very long time.  Like you, I’ve purchased several Bibles looking for the one that satisfy most of my desired features.  It never fails, I use them for a while and get irritated with one of the design, “flaws.”  They aren’t really flaws folks, just features I didn’t like, or missing ones I do like.  Bible design is difficult.  You have to work with different finite attributes.  I think it is impossible to make one edition that everyone will think is perfect for them.

This of course, is a modern problem.  In the past you didn’t have much choice.  You were blessed to have one.  Go back far enough and it was illegal for you to own one.  Thanks to God and the men of the Protestant Reformation we have God’s word available for almost anyone who wants a copy.  Count your blessings folks if you have one Bible and appreciate the providence of God that you were born in a time and place such as things are where you can get picky about what features you would prefer.  I know I do.

The Personal Size Quentel is just the right size to hold for long reading sessions.  The font is 8.5 pt.  It is a bit small for people with eye problems who don’t want to wear reading glasses or their prescription lenses, but for people like me, or folks who do wear corrective lenses, the font is clear, sharp, uniform, and overall well done.  It is very legible without being too small.  If they had made the font any larger they would have had to increase either the page size or number of pages.  If they wanted to keep the Bible the same thickness they would have had to decrease the paper thickness.  This would have made the paper less opaque.  Everything is tied together.

If you are like me, the full size Quentel is just too large to drag around everywhere.  Compact Bibles are too small, and their font is too small.  Usually 6 pt for them.  The Ultrathins and Thinlines are nice, but their length and widths are too much for holding in one hand unless you fold the cover completely over.  When I saw the dimensions for this edition listed on evangelicalBible.com I was excited and hopeful.  I had been waiting for a Bible with all the stats that they were posting, and it was coming out in NASB to boot!  I was like, “Take my money!” All that was left now was for them to get them and ship them out.

Here are the vital stats from evangelicalBible.com the ones responsible for Schuyler. Natural Grain Firebrick Red Goatskin with Dark Red Calfskin Liner
Same Pagination as the Quentel Series – (all page numbers and format will be identical)
Approximate font size: 8.5
4.7″ x 7.1″ x 1″ (120 mm x 180 mm x 25 mm)
Line Matching
28 GSM Indopaque paper
2 Ribbon Markers (Dark Red)
Art-Gilt edging (red under gold)
9mm yapp
Smyth Sewn
Black letter text (chapter numbers, headers and page number in red)
More than 95,000 entry cross references
Presentation page
Lined note paper
Extensive Schuyler Bible Maps

The Personal Size NASB Quentel arrived undamaged from evangelicalbible.com  There was a small dent in the cardboard box, but the Bible inside was packaged in a bubble wrap.  The retail two piece presentation box was not dented.

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The Bible was wrapped in two pieces of paper to help the Bible keep its shape, and protect it during shipping.  There was a business card from evangelicalbible.com in the box as well as a warranty card.  I’ve never had any problems with a Bible from evangelicalbible.com, but I know people who have had some experience with them.  I’ve heard they are always kind, and ready to replace a Bible you are not happy with.

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As you can see, I ordered the firebrick red.  I like it a lot.  It is a bit darker than my R. L. Allan NASB Reader’s edition, but I think they make a lovely couple.  I find the crosses stamped into the front cover to be a pleasing feature.  I don’t know how well gold stamped lettering would hold up in a cover so flexible, so the stamped crosses make sense.  The perimeter stitching is executed flawlessly.  There are no missed stitches, or mistakes.

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Wow, look at the size of that Bible!  My hand almost covers it.  Just the right size for me.  You might also think that, if you are like me in your tastes.

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Here is an NASB Cambridge Clarion in black edge lined goatskin next to the Personal Size Quentel.  The Clarion is a bit wider across.  This makes it a little harder for me to hold onto with one hand, while reading.

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The Clarion is also quite a bit more thick when compared to the Quentel.

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The head and tail bands are white.  They are understated and clean.

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The spine has five raised spine hubs.  They are all straight and parallel to each other.  The gold stamping on the spine is not too busy.  It gives you the information without putting too many decorations on it.  As usual, Jongbloed has done a great job with this edition.

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The grain of the goatskin along with the red cover is visually striking and attractive.  I think it is something special.

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Here is another picture of the inside cover and corner.  You can see up close the stitching, gilt line, and even pores of the cowhide liner.  The darker maroon color of the inner liner accentuates the firebrick red of the outside.

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Where the text block is attached to the cover the hearty card page stock in the front and back of the Bible are glued up further than needed to strengthen the connection.  This will help your Bible last a long time.  It is not a defect. 🙂

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The stamp on the front cover is barely visible through the inner liner.  This picture gives you a better look at it.

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I think Schuyler did the right thing by keeping the presentation page clean and simple.  I would leave the family record pages to Bibles with more room.

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The copyright information page shows that this bible was made in the Netherlands by Jongbloed.

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Here is a shot of one page singled out with direct light from behind it.  If they had gone thicker it would have ruined the hand feel if you ask me.  I am glad they didn’t.  If they had gone thinner it would have been to transparent and the ghosting would have been a problem.  As it is, I have not had a problem 🙂

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I mean, come on!  Look at that page.  For a Bible this small and paper this thin, for the font to be so good is a rare thing.

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Looks like line matching to me folks.  Gorgeous pages and setting.  I love the use of the page by this layout.  It is the same as the full size Quentel.  The pagination is the same as well.  It would make a terrific companion to a full size Quentel in the same color.

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Just like its big brother, it has some red highlights on the page numbers, book and chapter information, chapter numbers, and cross references at the bottom.

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Brand new right out of the box it stays open.  Not perfectly, but it does.  I’m sure once it is broken in it will be better to.

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The two red ribbons are wider than what you might be accustomed to.  They are also higher quality.  The ends are cut and seared so as to not fray.  I like them much better than the ribbons on the Clarion.

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I love the way the red ribbon looks across the white page.  It looks the way it should.

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There are some pages of ruled paper in the back for limited note taking.  You don’t see this that often in Bibles.  It is a great feature for people who are concerned that there isn’t enough room in the margins.

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Schuyler has a set of high quality maps as well.  They are printed on paper that feels to be about double the thickness of the bible paper without being card paper.  The maps use multiple colors and are printed nicely.

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There are some card papers in the back as well.  You could take some notes on it if you wanted to.

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Mysterious floating Bible, oooh ahh…

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As you can see the Clarion is a bit shorter than the PSQ.  That necessitates it being thicker.  The Clarion is a bit too thick to fold one side over and hold in one hand.  The PSQ does it easily.

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I spilled water on my Clarion shortly after I got it a few years ago.  So the page edges are not a flaw from the publisher it was my fault.

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Prerequisite Bible bending…

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Here it is in its natural environment.

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I would highly recommend purchasing this edition if you are looking for an New American Standard Bible in a size that is between compact and full size.  There aren’t very many out there in that niche.  Bottom line, get one. (If you can responsibly afford it.)

As usual make sure to check out my Flickr.com page for all the pictures!

A Thinline Bible that Will Outlast You, the Crossway E.S.V. Thinline Bible , Heirloom Edition in Brown Cowhide Edge Lined Leather.

 

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I’ve handled quite a few different edge lined Bibles over the years.  Most of them have used something other than the same leather that was on the outside of the the Bible.  They use bonded leather, or some kind of synthetic polyurethane material.  The bonded leather concerns me because it is basically made from leather sawdust and glue.  The inner liner is also what makes the hinge on an edge lined Bible.  The repetitive opening and closing, over a long period of time, might cause the bonded leather to come apart.  The synthetics could stretch out of shape, or deteriorate at a different rate than the natural materials.

This Bible uses top grain cowhide leather for both the inner and outer cover.  Using the same materials ensures a uniform wear throughout.  The leather that Crossway chose for this Bible is not soft.  It doesn’t feel like it will snag and scratch easily like some of the goatskin leather covers.  What is the purpose of the cover after all?  It is to protect the text block and provide structure.  The cover on this Bible is very flexible, don’t get me wrong, but if you are looking for something soft like garment leather, you are looking in the wrong place.

The size of this Bible is another subjective quality.  Everyone has their own favorite size of Bible to read from.  I personally like smaller, personal sized Bibles, but I loathe the small font in most of them.  This Thinline is truly a Thinline Bible.  It measures in at approximately 3/4″ thick.
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This fact necessitates thinner paper and smaller font.  In most Bibles that translates to readability issues.  Not so much in this one.  Since Crossway always uses impeccable paper, and they employed an 8 pt. font, this Bible is very legible.

The size of this Heirloom Thinline lends itself to being held in several different ways to suite your comfort.  I prefer to fold one side over and hold it in one hand.  Other people might hold it at the bottom center.  While others might prefer to hold it in both hands, or rest it on the table.  Since the binding is sewn it will lay flat.

The hinge plays a big part in how the Bible opens and lays when being read.  On top of having a sewn spine, Crossway didn’t go hog wild with the binding tape.  Many of your lower priced premium Bibles that are edge lined, employ a lot of binding tape, that is thick and covered in adhesive.  They use it along the hinge of the Bible to join the cover and text block.  Sometimes they use way too much, or too thick of a binding tape that actually makes what should be a very flexible Bible into a very awkward one.  The rest of the cover and text block could be nice and flexible, but the inch or inch and a half or so, right at the hinge is all rigid and thick.  It pretty much negates the purpose of doing an edge lined binding.  They might as well simply just have done a case bound Bible instead.

Since Crossway did the right thing here by not using too thick a gooey binding tape in the hinge, and instead used the real leather liner, they avoid problems with adhesion and can make a nice durable and flexible hinge.(albeit not so flexible right out of the box)  The hinge will take a bit of breaking in, because it is made of leather, but it should last much longer.
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The leather hinge might take a bit more work, but that is why you pay a premium price.  This Bible is made to outlast you.  Many Bibles come with a lifetime warranty, and the publishers never expect you to use them, while fully expecting the Bible to fall apart in a few years.  The Heirloom Thinline ESV from Crossway will not.  It is called, “Heirloom” for a reason.  It will hold up and become a family heirloom.  I love the idea of having a Bible passed down to me or one that I can pass down to my children.  There is a tremendous sense of a family Christian heritage that can be gifted to the next generations.  All it takes on our part is an effort to do better, to make better Bibles, and to show our kids how much God’s word really means to us.(You don’t have to have a premium Bible to do that so don’t feel bad if you can’t justify the expenditure.  Crossway makes durable Bibles in all price ranges.)

The ESV Heirloom Thinline Bible in brown calfskin leather arrived at my home in perfect condition.  It was packaged in a white cardboard box for shipping.

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Inside the shipping box, the Bible was inside a black, two piece, presentation box, that should be retained for storage, should you ever put this Bible away for a while.
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The Heirloom is also wrapped in paper. I believe that was done to protect it, as the hide cover is more flexible and has a larger yap than other Bibles.
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Another nice feature is the perimeter stitching of the cover. Some people don’t like this, but I do. I like to know there is more than just glue holding the cover together.
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It is evident when you examine the inside cover at the corners that Crossway did an excellent job paring the leather down thin enough to make a nice corner. The perimeter stitching can also be seen well from the inside.
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There is also an attractive looking gold gilt line around the perimeter of the inner cover.
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Usually on thin Bibles they don’t bother rounding the spine. On the Heirloom it appears they rounded the spine and the page corners. I think that shows a bit more attention to quality. So does the art gilt page edges. Extra attention to details and added features are what we’ve come to expect from Crossway’s premium models.
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The front and back, outside covers are blank. The inside back cover has, “calfskin leather” printed on it at the bottom.
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The spine is decorated with 6 spine hub lines, and the words, “Holy Bible” at the head, “ESV” under that, the ESV logo towards the middle, “English Standard Version” and then the Crossway logo at the tail, in gold stamping.
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When you open the Bible up, you’ll notice there is a page that is glued part of the way up.  That is to keep the text block and cover from falling apart.

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In the front of this Bible is a Presentation page,

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Marriages, Births/Adoptions,

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and Deaths.

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On the copyright page you’ll notice that this Bible is not printed in China. It is printed in the Netherlands, by Jongbloed. (not indicated, but verified.)  Jongbloed is the premier Bible bindery and printer.  They are the the people you go to if you want to print a top notch premium Bible.  That is why Crossway used them to print their Heirloom Thinline.  This is the 2011 ESV. After that you’ll notice a Table of Contents, List of the books in alphabetical order, Preface, and Features section.

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The Books of the Bible begin with the name of the book in bold large print at the head of the page aligned to the center. The text is laid out in a double column, paragraph format, with foot notes. The section headings are also in bold. The chapter numbers are in drop cap to set them apart. Page numbers are found at the top, center part of the page.

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The Heirloom Thinline also comes with head and tail bands, and two ribbon markers that match the color of the cover.

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This Bible is a black letter edition with 8 pt. Lexicon font.  It is printed uniformly with sharp contrast against the 28 g.s.m. PDL Indopaque European Bible paper.  The paper has an opacity rating of 79 which is pretty good considering the weight of the paper.
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In the back you’ll find, Weights and Measures, Abbreviations, Concordance, and Maps. The concordance is a three column format and pretty decent for a thinline edition.

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In the back there are 8 color maps.

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Here are some pictures highlighting the flexibility of this Bible.

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There is no reason this Bible should wear out in your lifetime, but if it does fail due to materials or workmanship, it has a lifetime warranty from Crossway.  I doubt you’ll have to use it.  This is a high quality, premium Bible.  The cover is flexible and so is the text block, due to the sewn spine.  Whether you are holding it, or reading it while it lays on a desk or table you won’t have to fight against the cover. (after the hinge is broken in.)  It is comfortable to hold due to it’s size and weight.  The font is big enough to read without undue eyestrain.  The opacity of the paper aids in the legibility as well.  The bottom line, if you are looking for a high quality, edge lined, thinline Bible look no more.  You can pick up a copy direct from Crossway, or purchase one from any of these online retailers, Amazon, Christianbook, or Evangelicalbible.  Make sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my Flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781433541602

 

 

A Review of the E.S.V. Reader’s Gospels in Black Top Grain Leather Over Board Hardback Edition.

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Alright folks, with the recent release of the ESV 6 volume Reader’s set, I thought you might like to read a review about this Reader’s edition of the Gospels.  It would be a less expensive way for you to see if you want to shell out the bucks for the entire 6 volume set.  Maybe you don’t want the entire set, just the gospels?  Whatever the case may be, I offer this review up for your information and pleasure.

The Reader’s edition is an interesting concept.  There are no chapter or verse numbers.  There are no cross references or footnotes.  The paragraph format is done according to where new paragraphs would start in English.  The books are typically arranged other than that.  The only way to tell where you are in a book, is by using the index in the back in conjunction with the page numbers.  All of this is to accomplish the mission of a reader’s edition, to remove obstacles or impediments for the reader.

I find that as I read, I lose track of my progress.  I tend to read more in this volume.  Some of it is due to the lack of chapter and verse numbers, as well as the lack of cross references and footnotes.  While some of the other design and layout features contribute to it as well.  For instance, Crossway utilized a high quality, cream colored, uncoated, heavyweight paper more commonly seen in hardback novels.  It is 80 g.s.m. and you can hardly see through it at all.  The font is 12 pt. in size.  It is sharp and clear.  It is laid out in a single column.  This edition is truly meant to be read through like a book.  There is nothing in between you and the text.  I could go on and list all of the cool features of this edition, and I will, but I want to make sure you understand what the point is.  Reading and experiencing the gospels in a more fluid and retainable way was the goal, and Crossway achieved it.  Bonus is that there is no eyestrain, or headache after a long reading session.

So now that you know how accessible this makes the gospel, let’s look at some pictures and hear about some features of the construction.

The Bible was shipped from Crossway, and well packaged.  It arrived undamaged.

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This volume comes in a nice heavy slipcase.  It is intended to be kept, and used for storing this volume in when not being used.

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Once it is out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is how soft the topgrain leather is.  If you don’t like leather over board, or if you want a Reader’s edition with a smaller price tag while retaining the same text block, you could get it with cloth over board.

Legatoria Editoriale Giovanni Olivotto or L.E.G.O. for short did a wonderful job printing and binding this book.  They are gaining some serious notoriety amongst quality book and Bible collectors here in the states.  Jongbloed in the Netherlands might have some competition in text block production if they don’t watch out 🙂

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Here is a good close up of the cover.

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You’ll notice the page edges are not gilt.  There are decorative head and tail bands in gold and black.  The spine has, “The Gospels” at the head, the ESV logo below that, “English Standard Version” after that, and the Crossway logo at the foot in gold.  There are also four ornamental spine hubs.

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Here is a picture of the inside of this casebound hardcover.

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The book names, headings, and drop caps are printed in an appealing red text.

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I took a picture of one page, separate from the others, and with light behind it so you could see how thick and opaque it is.  I’d never heard of Munken Premium Cream woodfree paper before, but after seeing it I’m sold.

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Here is another picture of the wonderful paper, 12 pt. font, and the crimson colored ribbon marker.

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From this picture you can also see the fat signatures with the ribbon laying on top of the page.

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Of course, like you’d expect on a high quality book, the spine is sewn.  This ensures a durable, and useable binding.

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Of course my favorite picture is the one where I am reading it.

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After reading from this edition, I am eager to purchase the 6 volume set.  I will probably get the cloth over board due to the price.  I am looking at getting the new Schuyler Personal NASB Quentel when it comes out this year, so I have to save my money 🙂  That way I can get both.  I would highly recommend getting this for anyone wanting to try a reader’s edition out.  It is one thing to know the concept, but another to live with it for a while.  Make sure to look at the rest of the pictures I took of this edition on my flikr page.  You can also read about more of the details on Crossway’s product page.  You can purchase your copy at Christianbook or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

ISBN-13: 9781433549823

A Review of the Thomas Nelson NKJV Study Bible, Personal Size, Paperback.

This Bible is the same in content as the NKJV Study Bible that I reviewed here.
The differences are a smaller font, and format size. It measures approximately 8.5″ by 5.5″ by 2″ The font is 7 pt. for the main text and 6 pt. for the notes.  This is a red letter edition.  It is arranged in a double column, paragraph format, with cross references in the center column.  Notes are at the bottom, with different full color features dispersed throughout the Bible.  There are very small margins.  Note taking will not be done in the margins.  The paper is sufficiently thick.  Ghosting is minimal.  The paper is pretty white and contrasts well against the uniformly printed text.

This is a paperback instead of a hardback. I found the font to be a bit too small for my liking and it runs into the gutter of the page. Trying to open this thick of a glued Bible enough to read the text in the gutter is a tedious chore. I don’t think Thomas Nelson considered this when they chose to use a glued binding. It should have been obvious that this would have required a sewn binding or pages with extra width to provide for the pages bending around each other. If the pages are sewn into signatures and then bound together, the spine will arch. This allows for less of a gutter, as the book will open more fully.  The did use a hybrid glued binding which employs signatures glued into the spine.  It is more flexible than a typical glued or “perfect binding.”  Even with the hybrid binding process, this Bible is not as practical as it could have been in a truly sewn binding.  I guess for $20 they figure who will care…  I do, and so do thousands of other potential customers.  Perhaps the people who only crack their Bible at Church won’t mind, because it won’t wear out being used once a week, but if you are going to use it, I suggest getting NKJV from Holman or one of the ones with a synthetic fake leather cover and sewn binding.  Sure they cost more, but they will be more usable and last longer.

This Bible is ok.  It could have been much better.  The notes and aids were somewhat helpful for a general knowledge.  I would recommend the Holman NKJV Study Bible for better notes.  My personal favorite is the MacArthur Study Bible.  If you can afford the ESV in Calfskin, that is the best made one you can currently get.  My advice, don’t waste your time and money on this unless you need a mediocre, smallish, study Bible, to hand out or give away, but there are so many other better choices out there in the same price range that I would get them instead.

ISBN-13: 9780718081980

Review of the Crossway ESV UltraThin in Black Top Grain Cowhide Leather.

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I purchased this Bible on sale from Christianbook.com  I was curious because it was listed as having a top grain leather cover.  I was glad I ordered it.  It turns out that it is now out of print.  So if you can find one, I suggest you purchase it.  I was pleasantly surprised by this less than a half inch thick little gem.  This UltraThin came in a clamshell retail box with a clear plastic window.  I retained the box for storage purposes.  Once you open the box up you smell the leather and not glue or dye.  The leather was very supple and soft to the touch.  The grain appears to be natural.  There is a nice perimeter groove and spine hubs.

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The hubs add to the ornamentation along with the gold letters stamped into it.  From the top of the spine down it reads, “Holy Bible, ESV, the ESV logo, English Standard Version, Then the Crossway logo.”

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The spine is sewn affording this very thin Bible with great flexibility for a paste down, case bound Bible.  In my opinion the cover offers a perfect compromise of flexibility, and structure.

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The head and tail bands are gold and black, complementing the color of the cover, and the gold page edge gilt.  There are two ribbon markers, even though the retail site only lists one.  The ribbon markers are narrow, but thicker than most employed in Bibles under $100.

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In the front of the Bible there is a presentation, marriages, births/adoptions, and deaths pages.  They are printed on a thicker matte finish paper that takes ink well.  Unlike higher gloss papers, these won’t crack or tear as easily.

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Then there is the copyright/publishers page.  Before Genesis begins the Old Testament we have the table of contents, preface, and explanation of features. DSCN5539

 

The text of this Bible is double column, paragraph format.  This is a red letter edition.  The red lettering is not too red or too light.  It contrasts well against the white paper and surrounding black text.  The main text is a 7.5 pt. lexicon font.  Line matching is employed to aid in reduction of, “ghosting” or the appearance of the text from the opposite side of the page showing through the paper due to the opacity allowing it.

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The paper’s opacity is pretty good considering how thin this Bible is.  At just under a half inch, it is one of the thinnest UltraThins I’ve seen.  I had assumed that they used a thinner paper.  That was not the case.  The paper is 31 g.s.m. 20# Thincoat Max.  This is not a thin or lightweight paper.  It looks like they made up for the thickness of the paper by not having any cross references.  There are some footnotes at the bottom of the pages.  This way they could fit the entire text into this UltraThin.

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So we have a nice, legible, well printed, and bound Bible in this truly UltraThin format.  It is also so soft and flexible due to the quality binding and cover, that I can fold it over itself.  It is almost as flexible as an edge-lined Bible. DSCN5688

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At the end there is a weights and measures page, and an abbreviations page.  A three column concise concordance follows.  Finished off with eight maps in color.  DSCN5550

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Make sure to check out the pictures I took of this Bible on my Flickr page here.  You can still purchase these on Amazon until they run out.  Then you’ll have to get them used. ISBN-13: 9781433538834 DSCN5524

 

Review of the Crossway E.S.V. TruTone Single Column Heritage Edition Bible.

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I purchased this Bible because it was on sale for 80% off.  I figured I could write a review, and then gift it to someone.  After receiving it, I might just keep it for a rebind project.  It arrived undamaged.  It was in a cardboard box with two other ESV Bibles, I ordered at the same time.  This one has a clamshell retail box.  If you need to store your Bible, it is always a good idea to keep the retail box.

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This Bible is the soft leather-look, TruTone brown/burgundy, with band design.  TruTone is a synthetic cover material that simulates leather.  It is one of the better synthetic covers on the market.  

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The inside liner is paper as this is a case bound Bible.
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The cover around the spine is ornamented with, “Holy Bible, ESV, the ESV logo, English Standard Version, and the Crossway logo” in gold.  

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There are brown head and tail bands, as well as one brown ribbon marker.  The spine, and corners are rounded.  The page edges are gold gilt.  
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There is a presentation page up front, along with the typical copyright/publisher’s information page.

 
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I really like the size of this little text edition.  It isn’t too big, or small.  It measures about 5.5”x7.5”  It is pretty portable, though not as much as a true compact, pocket size, thinline, or ultrathin.  
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Of course you would lose the font size and paper quality to drop down to those sizes.  I think this is a pleasing compromise in Bible design.  Since it is a single column text edition, it can afford to be smaller than a reference Bible.  It also utilizes a 9 point Lexicon font, which is a great choice for a Bible of this size.  Crossway also employed line matching, which greatly reduces ghosting. (being able to see the text from the opposite side of the paper)  The paper is 31 g.s.m. Thincoat Max, 1720ppi.

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Between the great paper, clear uniformly printed text, and line matching, this Bible is very legible.  
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The spine is smyth sewn.  

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This in conjunction with the soft cover, make this a very flexible Bible.

 
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I can fold it over on itself.  Then, hold it like a magazine in one hand.  This is my prefered way to read.  It also opens fairly flat. I don’t think it is suited well to pulpit duty as it is a paragraph format Bible.  It lends itself to devotional, and daily reading.  It would be perfect for that with one more ribbon marker.  There is not a concordance or any other helps or features except for some colored maps in the back.
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My overall impression of this Bible is favorable.  I think it fulfills the purpose for which it was designed in an exemplary manner.  It is a great value, legible, portable, durable, and flexible.  It is not so nice, that I’m afraid of hurting it.  It is a good value and should provide you with years of service.

You can pick up your copy at Christianbook.  Amazon also sells them.

Make sure to check out all of the pictures of this Bible on my Flickr page.
ISBN 9781433537370