Bible Reviews

They don’t get much better than this! The Cambridge Clarion, ESV Bible in black edge-lined goatskin leather.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 044

What qualities do you look for in a Bible?  Clear print, font size, paper opacity, sewn binding, quality cover, solid translation, lifetime warranty that you probably won’t have to use?  Well the Cambridge Clarion, ESV Bible in black edge-lined goatskin leather has it all.  I know you are probably getting tired of me giving these Cambridge Bibles such good reviews, but if they weren’t simply better than the others I wouldn’t.  I think the other publishers might even wish I would stop reviewing Cambridge Bibles.  Their publications don’t look as good compared to the Cambridge Bibles.  Now, I know there are plenty of good Bibles out there, but when contrasted with the outstanding ones they fall short in some areas.  With Bibles I’ve noticed that you get what you pay for in general.

The ESV is a solid translation from Crossway.  Here is a link to some information about the translation.  It is not a dynamic equivalent or thought for thought translation.  It is more of a formal equivalent or word for word translation.  Hebrew and Greek don’t have the same sentence structure and grammar as English.  In translating the words are translated directly into English, but are arranged as English sentences so that we can understand them.  In a dynamic equivalent the sentence or paragraph is read and studied by the team and they basically paraphrase it in English to convey the meaning in the most accurate way they can.  The NIV is a dynamic equivalent.  Dynamic equivalents may be easier to read, but in my opinion are by nature less precise.  That is why I prefer formal equivalent translations like the ESV or NASB.

Here is a link to a chart that lists some common Bible translations and their translation philosophy.  Keep in mind that several of the translations there were translated with the added agenda of being gender neutral and going beyond gender accuracy.  They call their translations gender inclusive, but it is at the purposeful abuse of scripture.

Besides being an ESV this Bible is like Goldilocks and the baby bear’s stuff.  It is just right.  It isn’t too big, or too small.  The paper isn’t too thick or too thin.  The print isn’t too big or too small.  The cover isn’t too soft or too rigid.  It gets just about everything right.  The Clarion arrived in an easy to open cardboard box along with an REB that I will review later.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 001

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 003

Both Bibles arrived undamaged and in good condition.  The Clarion was in a one piece clamshell box.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 045

The box should be retained for storage, should you ever decide to put this Bible down for a bit to read another…  I doubt that will happen.  The first thing you’ll notice is the smell of the leather.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 046

The next thing you’ll notice is the supple, perimeter stitched, edge lined, black goatskin leather cover.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 048

If you have never owned a Bible with a cover like this, you don’t know what you are missing.  For durability, functionality, and comfort, you can’t beat it.  The cover works in concert with the sewn binding and quality paper to allow this Bible to open well and lay flat on a table or desk.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 070

It also lays flat while held in one hand.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 087

This makes it a joy to read.  I love that you forget you are holding something.  You aren’t constantly fighting the cover, the paper, or the binding.  The Spine of the Clarion has, “Holy Bible” at the top.  Under that is, “English Standard Version”.  On the bottom of the spine is, “Cambridge.”  They are all hot-stamped in gold.  There are five small decorative hubs as well.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 094 Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 047

The grain of the goatskin cover is more pebbled than a top grain cowhide.  It is softer than the shiny genuine leather covers that are made from pigskin.  The perimeter stitching is uniform and well done.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 051

The corners are stitched as well so you won’t see the typical corner treatment.

When you open the Bible, you’ll see the end papers are glued to cover and text block so that they will be more durable.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 054

There is a simple presentation page that is made of heavier card paper.  It has several blank lines on it.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 057

Then there is a Title Page. After that is the copyright page with the font size and type.  It list the font as 8.75/10.5 pt. Lexicon No. 1 A (Enschede ff) We also can see from this page that this Bible is printed by Jongbloed in the Netherlands.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 060

For those of you in the know, that is a big plus.  They have been doing great work for many years.  One truly great feature of this Bible is the line matching utilized by Jongbloed.  The lines of text are printed exactly opposite of the lines on the other side of the page so that the text isn’t distractingly visible through the paper.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 068

The paper is a little off white and the black text contrasts against it nicely.  It is printed clearly and uniformly throughout.  The text is laid out in a single column paragraph format with the cross-references on the outside edge of the page in the margin.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 067

This layout is conducive to long sessions of uninterrupted reading.  The paper is smooth.  The page edges are art gilded with red under gold.  I think this is a pleasing aesthetic.  When the Bible is open the red shows through and while it is closed the gold is prominent.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 071

There are two red ribbon markers for keeping your place.  Most other Bibles only give you one ribbon.  It is nice to have to so you can mark your reading in the Old and New Testaments.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 089

There is a useful concordance in the end with a map index and 15 color maps printed on a heavier card paper.  I like this approach better than the glossy maps as the high clay content in their paper makes them crack easier.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 076 Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 077

With all of the features like, quality construction, quality materials, attention in design, you can tell why I love the Clarion Bibles from Cambridge.  If you are in the market for a premium Bible, look no further.  You can purchase them on these sites;

Christianbook.com

Amazon.com

evangelicalbibles.com

9780521182911

ESV Clarion Reference Edition ES486:XE
Black Goatskin Leather

Bible Reviews

Another Excellent Bible from Cambridge, the Clarion NKJV Bible in Brown Genuine Calfskin.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 046

I begin by referring you to my previous review of the Cameo from Cambridge.  The two Bibles were delivered in the same packaging from Cambridge.   Both have the sewn bindings and both are covered with the same brown calfskin.  You can read about those aspects in that review.

The Clarion from Cambridge is an example of modern Bible design done right.  Here is a quote from the Cambridge website about the Clarion in NKJV;

A Cambridge Clarion edition represents an unusual and attractive combination of features – a very readable text in a paragraph style, with a single-column layout – all within a personal size reference Bible format. Here, the NKJV text is presented in a single column with the cross-references in the outer margin, giving the page a very well laid out appearance. The font size is a little under 9 point with generous line spacing. It is typeset in Lexicon No.1, a modern digital font which has many of the characteristics usually associated with traditional Bible typefaces – in particular, a degree of readability more usually associated with much larger type. The Bible has 15 new colour maps and a concordance. There are two ribbons to keep the place in different parts of the Bible. This is a Bible of the very highest quality, printed on India paper with art-gilt edges, Smyth-sewn for flexibility and endurance, and bound in brown calfskin leather

Chances are if you are considering the purchase of the Clarion NKJV Bible in brown calfskin, you have a list of desired attributes in mind; manageable size, legibility, quality sewn binding, beautiful and durable cover, and so on.  The Clarion fits the niche almost perfectly in my opinion.  It brings together many desirable features without sacrificing too much in the other areas of design.  The Clarion is larger than the Cameo.  It is definitely thicker.  The thickness of the Clarion does make it a bit more to hold than the Cameo, but the font is so much more legible.  The tradeoff is well worth it.  Because of the thicker format the Clarion can use a larger font.  It is a modern font, printed with modern technology making it very clear and sharp.  The Cameo’s font was cleaned up, but still doesn’t compare to the font of the Clarion.

Another wonderful attribute is that you can get the Clarion in different translations.  Currently it is available in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), the King James Version (KJV), and the New King James Version (NKJV), which I am reviewing.

So besides the size, font, and available modern translations, the Clarion also breaks in very well.  I have been using an NASB Clarion in goatskin for my daily reading and it has become my standard for comparison.  The NKJV in calfskin adds some rigidity to the cover.  Instead of being edge lined and perimeter stitched with a very flexible material it uses a more common process of vinyl inner liners glued down to the outer cover.  The added structure can be a pro to some and a con to others.  In my opinion, if this Bible were thinner the stiffer cover would be a pro, but it is just a bit too thick.  I can’t roll the cover all the way around like I can with the goatskin covered Clarion.  It makes it a little less comfortable for me.  The cameo gets the size right for this type of cover, but at the sacrifice of font size, line spacing.  These all have an effect on the ease of reading.  If you are going to buy the Clarion, I’d suggest the goatskin.  Of course this is just my opinion.  Everyone has different sized hands and preferences.  I suggest looking one over in the Christian book store, or getting your friend to let you borrow theirs for a few minutes.  It is not a small investment for most people.  Because of the quality of craftsmanship and materials used it will be with you for a long time.  So it is important that you do your research before buying a lifetime companion like the Cambridge Clarion.

This Bible is covered with a genuine calfskin in brown.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 050

It is very supple and soft.  On the front of this Bible is hot stamped, “Holy Bible” in gold.  The spine of the cover has, “Holy Bible” at the top, “New King James Version” immediately under that.  At the bottom of the spine is, “Cambridge” in gold as well.  There are modest hubs worked into the spine as well.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 052

The inner vinyl liners are black and glued neatly to the calfskin.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 053

The calfskin has been folded over and finished uniformly.  The corners are all perfectly finished.  There are two ribbon markers that are color matched to the cover.  The ribbon markers are about a quarter inch wide.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 067

The page edges are art gilded.  This gives them a distinctive look that you won’t find on less expensive Bibles.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 065

The paper is high quality opaque paper.  It is slightly off white and contrasts with the black font nicely.  The text is printed in a single column, paragraph format with line matching.  Line matching is when the lines of text are printed in such a way so as to make the text on one side of the page directly opposite of the text on the other side of the page.  This aids in legibility.  The font is large enough to be easily read yet small enough to keep the size of the Clarion down.  It is clearly, and uniformly printed.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 062

It has a useful concordance and the maps are printed on a heavier paper with a  matte finish.

cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 069 cambridge nkjv clarion and kjv cameo 073

The sewn binding is of the quality I’ve come to expect from Cambridge.  The Clarion opens well and lays flat when opened.

To sum up, the Clarion is an excellent Bible that fills a big niche in the Bible market.  Many Christians are on the lookout for a Bible that travels well, is easy on the eyes while reading, and is well made.  The Clarion fits the bill and is available in some great translations.  Check out Cambridge Press’ Page.  You can pick up a copy of this Bible on evangelicalbible.com for about $140.00 and you can also get it from Amazon for about $120.00 and Christianbook for about $155.00

ISBN-13: 9781107664425

isbn: 9781107664425

ISBN: 110766442X

NKJV Clarion Reference Bible NK485:X Brown Calfskin Leather