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 ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible, in Black Top Grain Leather.

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Crossway sent me this beautiful Bible for review.  It is a wonderful value.  You get so many great features with this Bible.  It is also a good multipurpose Bible.  Initially I thought the font might be too small for Pastors to use it from the pulpit, but I was wrong.  The verse format layout, terrific paper, and crisp clean print, make it well suited to serve as a preaching Bible.  It is a reference Bible, so it also lends itself to study.  The references and notes are out of the way at the bottom, so it also works good for reading.  If you are in the market for a new Bible to fill a few roles, keep reading.  I think you’ll be as impressed with this edition as I am.

The ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible was packaged in a small white cardboard box.  

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The Bible itself was inside the retail clamshell box.  Keep the box for storage.  This is not a Bible to be stood up on edge like a hardback book.  The Bible arrived undamaged from Crossway.  Inside the packaging the Bible was wrapped in clear plastic.

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Once removed, I was able to begin assessing the top grain leather.  It had a very supple feel to it.  It was nice and soft. There is also a perimeter groove on the cover.

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The inside liner seemed to be a bit different than the outside cover.  I e-mailed Crossway and asked them about it.  They informed me that it is Cromwell® bonded leather.  For those of you who are balking at that, keep in mind that Cromwell® bonded leather is not the same as the low grade bonded leather you are used to seeing in the past.  It is a far superior product and should last as long as the top grain leather cover, if not longer.  One of the bonuses of using this material as a liner is that it can be had in thin sheets.  This makes it possible for the bindery to get the cover mated to the liner with more precision and less bulges on the corners.

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This, being an edge-lined Bible, it is important to not use a heavier material that would reduce the supple feel of the cover.

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In my opinion, it was implemented quite well.  For the price, I would definitely recommend purchasing this edition over the ones with genuine leather or synthetic covers if you can afford the extra money.

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In the front you’ll find a Presentation Page, Publisher’s Page, Table of Contents, Books of the Bible in Alphabetical Order, Preface, and an Explanation of Features.  

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The spine is ornamented with four spine hubs, and gold lettering.

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The page edges are gold gilt and the corners are rounded.  There are also decorative gold and black, head and tail bands.There are two black ribbons that are decent quality.

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They are thicker than some less expensive ribbons.  For me two ribbons or more is a must.  Three ribbons is perfect in my opinion.  You get one for the Old Testament reading, one for devotional reading of Proverbs, and one for the New Testament.  Of course, two will suffice, and is certainly better than only one.  Four just seems supernumerary to me.

Of course where this Bible shines is the paper and print.  Crossway has done a good job utilizing superior paper compared to their competitors.  Rarely do you find Bibles in this niche with paper of the same weight and opacity.  Crossway is employing a 36 g.s.m. Apple Thin Opaque paper.  Keep in mind that many of their competitors call 28 g.s.m. paper top notch.  The print in this black letter edition is sharp and uniform throughout.  I haven’t run into any areas where the print fades or is smudged.  The font is 9 pt. in size and is Lexicon face.  At first glance it seems larger than it is, in my opinion.  I think that is due to the opaque paper, print, and line spacing, making it very legible.  It is easy on the eyes.  

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Preaching from the pulpit and looking down at a 9 pt. font in another Bible with lesser paper and more ghosting would be a bad idea, but with this Bible you could easily do it.  There is also a generous outside margin for some limited note taking.

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The drawback of course is that some of the type gets lost in the gutter.

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In some regards, like the paper and print,  I would rate this Bible up there with the premium ones.  Due to the lack of some of the more ornate features, like art gilt page edges, better ribbons, gilt perimeter lines, and better leather for the inside liner I can’t call it a premium Bible.  Of course the price on this edition more than makes up for what little quibbles I might have.  I’ve paid over $200 for an Allan.  This Bible can be had for a bit over $80.  That makes it an outstanding value.  The suggested retail is  $149.99.  Some publishers list a suggested retail that I would never pay.  This Bible is worth the suggested retail.  On some retail sites it can be found for as little as $84.99.  Other than the gutter complaint, the layout is great.  You get a double column, verse format, with approximately 80,000 cross references located at the bottom of the pages.  You also get a 76 page 3 column concordance, and 8 color maps in the back.

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At the start of each book is a brief introduction.  I personally love well written book introductions.

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You also get a smyth-sewn spine with this edge-lined Bible adding to the durability and flexibility.

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You would be hard pressed to find a Bible with all of these features even in a higher price range.  In my opinion, Crossway has hit the ball out of the park with this edition and set the standard for their competitors in the $80 to $150 range.

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

ISBN-13: 9781433545689

The Crossway, E.S.V. Men’s Devotional Bible, Not Your Typical Devotional Bible.

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If you’re like me, you steer clear of devotional Bibles.  I have found that most of them offer very little in the way of useful or relevant information.  Most of the time it is just happy, slappy, Osteenesque, self-help mumbo jumbo.  Rather than aiding, it usually distracts and is discouraging.  I wonder to myself, “Who could be helped by this nonsense?”  Seriously, who writes this twaddle?  It is not just men’s devotionals that suffer this malaise either.  Women have the same nonsense foisted upon them, perhaps even worse.

So imagine my curiosity when I heard that Crossway was going to make a devotional Bible.  We’ve come to trust them and the E.S.V. over the years.  One of the quickest ways you can incur my scrutiny is to exclaim, “Ahem, over here!  We have a devotional Bible for your consideration Sir!”  Oh, now that is cause for inspection isn’t it kids?  When they offered one for review, I gladly accepted.  I wanted to see for myself what works had been wrought under the cover of night…

I was delighted to see that it far excelled the usual fare.  No cotton candy, no fluff-n-stuff, no silly self help guru quotes, no Sarah Young extra-Biblical revelation, just sound exposition, and application.  The devotional articles explain the text.  They properly connect the heart and the head, as they engage both in a real, and valuable way.  

We are told in the Introduction that the goal was, “…for the heart to be strengthened by grace…” Hebrews 13:9.  You might wonder what that means in the context of a Men’s devotional Bible.  What it means is that the book introductions,  devotional articles, and supplemental articles, are theologically accurate and connected to the text you are reading.  All people have a theology.  

They perhaps don’t know it, but they do.  Theology is important.  Without accurately understanding who God is and who we are in relationship to Him, how would we know if we were worshipping the one true God or an idol we had constructed?  These articles accomplish the goal of strengthening the heart by grace, through facilitating our learning Biblical truths.  

The Bible I was sent arrived undamaged.  

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It was a hardback volume that is case bound.

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It included a dust jacket.  For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know how I feel about dust jackets.  (hint, I don’t like them.  Completely a personal preference thing.)  The spine is sewn to increase flexibility and durability.  This, in my opinion is a necessity.  Glued bindings on a book that is meant to be used extensively are a horrible idea.  Publishers that do that are only interested in selling cheap product to be replaced over and over.  If you had to transfer your notes, underlines, and highlights, every 6 months to a new Bible, you’d be perturbed.  Thanks to Crossway’s experience as a Bible publisher, they know better.  Usually when a publisher has work done in China the product quality begins to suffer.  It seems Crossway has been able to keep the quality control standard high, while having this Bible printed and bound in China.

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The hardback edition I was sent does not have any ribbon markers.  The cover matches the dust jacket in a satin finish, black color.  The only writing on the cover is on the spine where it says, “ESV Men’s Devotional Bible, Crossway” in gold print.

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The spine has been rounded.  There are understated black decorative head and tail bands.  The page corners themselves have not been rounded and there is no page edge gilt.

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The inside paper liner matches the cover in color.  There is one presentation page followed by a couple title pages and publishers information/copyright page.

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After that, there is the table of contents.

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An interesting print feature in this Bible is the use of gold colored text for things like, titles, headings, chapter headings, and page numbers.  It is and unassuming gold color, so it adds just the right amount of pop without glaringly drawing your attention away from the text.

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Drop caps are utilized at the beginning of each supplemental article. I found that this sets the article apart from the pages of Biblical text so you can spot them easily.  At the bottom of each devotion the page number of the next one is indicated.  Since there are 365, a person could use them as a daily reading plan and read from one to the next daily.

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The Biblical text is arranged in a double column, paragraph format, in black text.  The text of the Bible is consistently inked and printed in an 8.5 pt. Lexicon font.

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The devotionals are printed in a 7.5 pt. Gotham font.  The text is dark black and contrasts nicely against the bright white, 36 g.s.m. paper, with an opacity rating of 83.   Line matching was not employed however, the opacity of the paper is sufficient to limit the ghosting effect.

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There are no cross references and very limited footnotes.  This is not intended to be used as a reference Bible or study Bible.  It adheres to the title of Devotional Bible very strictly.  It far exceeds every devotional Bible I have ever read. The devotions are gospel focused and faithful to the truths of God.

I’ve included a list of the contributors.  As you can see, with men of God like these, sharing their hard won knowledge and wisdom with us, we can be edified and encouraged.

 

Devotion Contributors Article Contributors Article Title
Christopher Ash Thabiti Anyabwile A Man’s Inner Life
Alistair Begg Bryan Chapell The Message of the Bible
Jon Bloom Greg Gilbert Life in the Local Church
Mike Bullmore Dave Harvey Calling
Kevin Cawley Kelly Kapic Communion with God
Bryan Chapell Dave Kraft Leadership
Sam Crabtree Tom Nelson A Man’s Work
Andy Davis Ray Ortlund Fathering
Jason DeRouchie Michael Patton Doubt
Dan Doriani David Powlison A Man’s Identity
Zack Eswine Tim Savage Marriage
Greg Gilbert Ed Welch Pornography
Aaron Golstein Jared Wilson The Gospel and Daily Life
Graeme Goldsworthy
Jim Hamilton
John Hannah
Justin Holcomb
Paul House
Kent Hughes
Ryan Kelly
Julius Kim
Dave Kraft
Michael Lumpkin
Jason Meyer
Gary Millar
Paul Miller
Andy Naselli
Tom Nelson
Doug O’Donnell
Dane Ortlund
Rob Plummer
Mike Reeves
Phil Ryken
J.J. Seid
Jay Sklar
Colin Smith
Scotty Smith
Sam Storms
Brian Tabb
Eric Thoennes
Joe Thorn
Stephen Um
Miles Van Pelt
Jared Wilson
Todd Wilson
Fowler White
Bob Yarbrough

Don’t forget to check out the pictures on my flickr page.

Pick up your copy on Amazon or Christianbook

ISBN-13: 9781433548413

Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.38 (inches)