Bible Reviews · Bibles

A Review of the Trinitarian Bible Society’s KJV Classic Reference Bible in Black Calfskin Leather.

DSCN4862

As many of you know TBS is a Christian ministry that provides high quality, good value KJV Bibles to many Christians in need, worldwide. To support the ministry, we purchase Bibles from them and are also blessed. Not only do we get to be a part of providing God’s word to our brothers and sisters, we also get a durable, well built Bible for our own use. Knowing the proceeds go to furthering the Kingdom is a comforting thought as well. I hope you will consider purchasing your next Bible from TBS after reading my review of the Classic Reference Bible.

As always TBS exceeds my expectations in the packaging and shipping department. They go above and beyond to ensure that your Bible gets to you undamaged. They are the winner, hands down, when it comes to packaging. The Classic Reference Bible arrived undamaged in a heavy duty, white, cardboard box, cushioned inside with foam packing peanuts.
DSCN4859

DSCN4860

DSCN4861

The Bible itself was inside a sturdy cardboard slipcase, that should be retained for storage.

DSCN4863

DSCN4865

After removing the plastic wrap from the slipcase, I could take the Bible out. It is not a large Bible and it is not as small as a typical compact Bible. It is a full KJV Bible and it does have the Cambridge Concord cross references. It is just a very handy size. It measures about 4 ¾” across, by 7 ¼” tall, by 1” thick.

DSCN4866

Here it is to the right of the TBS Windsor Text Bible. You can see that it is smaller than the text version while retaining the cross references.

DSCN4908

Most typical reference Bibles are around 6” across, by 9” tall, 1 ½” thick. So you can see there is a substantial difference in size. Of course a compact is smaller yet. If this Bible were the size of a typical compact the font would be too small for normal use. Fortunately, the font in this Bible is a legible 8 pt. in size. Since it is the traditional typesetting instead of a modern digital setting, the font would contrast a bit less against the page if not for its boldness.

Here it is laid over a page from the Windsor.

DSCN4909

The cover is listed as, “Calfskin” on the website. Keep in mind there is no industry standard. Technically the French Morocco Leather cover is made of calfskin, so it is true, but if you are expecting supple calfskin like some premium Bibles use, you will be disappointed. I don’t know why anyone would think that though considering the value pricing of this edition. I seriously don’t understand how a person could complain about this cover. Especially in light of the low cost and how much they are getting. For under fifty dollars they are getting a full KJV reference Bible, smyth-sewn binding, and genuine leather. Even if it is French Morocco, it is far superior to the covers of other Bibles in the same price range. Other Bibles in this price range use synthetic covers or bonded leather. The front cover is blank. The only gold lettering on the outside of this Bible is on the spine. It has the words, “Holy Bible” at the head, “Classic Reference Bible” directly under that, and the TBS logo at the tail. The cover is uniform in thickness and has a nice pattern pressed into it. It is on the smooth side and feels very durable. My first impression was, “This is a tough little Bible.”

DSCN4872

This Bible is case bound, and as such utilizes black vinyl covered paper as an interior liner and to join the cover to the text block.

DSCN4873

The front, inside, bottom edge has, “French Morocco Leather” in gold lettering stamped in it. Red and gold colored head and tail bands decorate this edition. It also includes two, black ribbon markers. The page edges are gold gilt. The corners and the spine are rounded. From the outside this Bible looks like what you’d expect a Bible to look like. It is a venerable style, and is very familiar.

DSCN4867

The front inside of this Bible has a nice presentation page on card paper with a couple of blank card paper pages following it. Then you have the title page and copyright/publisher’s information page.

DSCN4874

DSCN4875

DSCN4878

There is a list of the contents after that. It is followed by a guide to the pronunciation marks for self pronouncing text and an explanation of the bold-figure Concord cross reference system. Finally, there is the Epistle Dedicatory, the Translators to the Reader, and the list of the Books of the Bible.

The text of this edition should be familiar to KJV readers. It won’t take anytime at all to get right into and read. It is laid out in a double column, verse format, with center column references. The font is 8 pt. in size making it easy on the eyes. The center column references are pretty small and a bit tough to see, but they are discernable. The paper is thin Bible paper. It is opaque enough that the ghosting is mitigated. It does use the self-pronouncing text. Speaking of text, this is a black letter edition. The entire word of God is all the same color.

DSCN4886

DSCN4890

There are two black ribbon markers to help you keep your place. This is very helpful for people who read out of the Old Testament and New Testament on a daily basis.

DSCN4891

One of the more significant, yet underappreciated features of this Bible is the smyth-sewn binding. Many publishers go for a cheaper glued binding. While TBS opts for a superior sewn binding in this edition. It is a bit tight at first, but as you use this Bible, the binding loosens up. Sewn bindings are much more durable and flexible. They add to the usefulness and longevity in a way that no other features do. I would say that it should be a prerequisite.

Contrary to popular belief, this edition of the Classic Reference Bible is not printed by Cambridge. Cambridge oversees the printing. It is also a typesetting of the Cambridge Concord that has been shrunk, and maintains the pagination. It is printed and bound by Printcorp in Minsk, Belarus for TBS. These distinctions can change depending on the production run at the time. It is acceptable to ask. TBS is always willing to answer specific questions. They are just an e-mail away.

Finally, in the rear of this Bible we have, Bible word list, Daily Bible reading plan, and 8 Color maps with Gazetteer.

DSCN4903

The long list of features are understated by the very familiar appearance of this Bible. It is a conveniently sized workhorse that should provide many years of service. I recommend this Bible to anyone in the market for a reference Bible that is a tad smaller than the usual fare, but not limited in helps like a compact.

You can get one from TBS at the site, except on Sunday it is closed.

You can also purchase one from evangelicalbible.com

4U/BK (Black)
ISBN: 9781862281950

Bible Reviews

The Perfect Size Bible to Sit and Read, The Cambridge KJV Concord Reference Bible in Black Edge-Lined Goatskin Leather, Red Letter Edition.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 011

Before I get into the vital features of this Bible I want to expound on its subjective qualities that have endeared it to me. At first glance most people won’t notice the exceptional quality of this Bible until they pick it up and give it a closer look.  Some folks won’t even notice even after picking it up.  That is not to say the Cambridge Concord Reference Bible is average or plain.  It is because the Concord is how a Bible is supposed to be.  It is the quintessential archetype of reference Bibles.  It smells like a Bible, it looks like a Bible, and it feels like a Bible.  When I pick it up to read from, I don’t have to struggle with it.  It does exactly what it should do.  It stays out of the way and allows me to focus on reading God’s word.  Everything about it is conducive to that end.

For me, it is the perfect size and weight to hold in one hand. I can comfortably read it while sitting in my favorite chair.  It isn’t heavy or unwieldy enough to require being laid on a table or desk.  It isn’t so small as to necessitate being held close.  It is not a thick Bible, yet contains many references and some helps.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 012

It is not printed on such light paper that the pages curl up and blow around while you are trying to read.  The pages are not a bright white.  They are off white.  Bright white pages tend to make my eyes strain during long durations of reading the word.  The India paper is strong and opaque.

There is approximately 7/16ths of an inch in the margins for note taking.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 044

The text is a nine point font that is printed appears pretty bold.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 043

The Concord is a double column verse format with pronunciations.  It has the references in the center column.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 041

Even with the references, 128 page Bible Dictionary, Concordance, Glossary, and 15 color maps, the Concord maintains a thin profile without sacrificing paper quality.  The pages are art gilded.  An art gilded page edge compared to a gilded page edge looks a bit more attractive.  It gives the page edges a red tint behind the gold color.  Before they put the gold colored aluminum foil on the page edges they first coat them with a red ink.  Then they apply the gold color gilding.  When the Bible is closed the edges show gold, when the Bible is open you can see the red show through the gold.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 015

The binding, outside cover, and inside liner, make it supple and comfortable to hold.  This one is edge lined not case bound.  It is rigid enough to not flop around like some unlined Bibles do, while it maintains flexibility with its synthetic liner that is stitched to the outside cover edges with black thread.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 016

The Binding is a smyth-sewn binding done by Jongbloed in the Netherlands.  They are famous for their quality work and history of Binding Bibles.  Currently, most luxury Bibles are bound by Jongbloed.  A sewn binding is a must in my opinion.  If you hope to hand a Bible down to your children and for them to use it a sewn binding is the only option.  With a sewn edge lined binding all of the pages are stacked in separate pamphlets called signatures.  These are then stacked and sewn to tapes or strings in the spine of the Bible as well as being sewn to each other.  This is why you don’t have the front and back pages falling out of a sewn binding like you would with a glued case bound perfect binding where the pages are cut, then stacked, then rubber cemented together.  Those pages are not connected to each other in any way.  If you bend the spine in a glued Bible, eventually pages will start falling out.  Not so with a sewn binding.  If you take care of it and treat it with respect it will last and last.  The other benefit of this binding is the functionality of it.  The Concord lays flat right out of the box.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 047

The cover doesn’t flop up and get in the way.  The covers can be rolled backwards and out of the way even.  I wouldn’t do this as a practice, but that is how flexible this Bible is.  This particular Bible is a red letter edition.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 048

That simply means that the words of Jesus are printed in red text, including places where He is quoted by the apostles.  Some people find this to be a very helpful feature.  The Concord has two black ribbon markers.  They are good quality without being too thick.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 046

I have had some Bibles with thicker markers that actually imprint on the pages they are between.  I have had other Bibles with markers that were so thin that they crinkled up and are almost useless.  It is very unattractive to open the Bible up to crinkled pages or markers.  The Concord has neither problem.  The Bible ships in a clamshell type retail box.  I would keep the Box for storage.  This Bible is to supple to stand on its edge.  It should be laid flat on a flat surface when not in use.  There was a slight problem with the shipping.  You can read about that here.

cambridge kjv, holman ministers kjv and funky lil kjv 004

Cambridge has assured me they are looking into this and it shouldn’t happen again.  This Bible is as pretty close to being perfect.  If Cambridge would produce this in an NASB I would be satisfied.

Here are a few good places on the web to purchase this Bible if you are in the market.

evangelicalbible.com

Amazon.com

Christianbook.com

Cambridge.org

Here are a few pictures of the Concord compared to the TBS Westminster

1599geneva 010 1599geneva 009 1599geneva 008 1599geneva 007 1599geneva 006 1599geneva 005 1599geneva 004 1599geneva 003 1599geneva 002 1599geneva 001

Over all, I found the Concord to be a superlative Bible. It stands out from the mass produced Chinese and Korean Bibles as an example of what they should be aiming for.

KJV Concord Reference Bible, Black Edge-Lined Goatskin Leather, Red Letter Text KJ566:XRE

Black Goatskin Leather RCD266

isbn: 9780521512978