A Review of the E.S.V. Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible from Crossway.

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Crossway, for a long time now has been manufacturing terrific quality premium, and value Bibles, as well as helpful Christian books. Oft overlooked are the study resources they publish. Today we are going to look at the, ” ESV Exhaustive Concordance.” If you’ve been a Christian for a while you probably already know what a valuable aid a good concordance can prove to be.

If you don’t know what one is, let me tell you. A concordance has every word in the Bible, no matter how small it is, listed in alphabetical order, along with every occurrence of that word, and where in the Bible it occurred. This one goes a bit further and includes Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek glossaries, with entries for those words in the original languages. There is also a list of the words followed by their scripture references only, so you can find every occurrence quickly.

If you aren’t quite sure what to do with a concordance here are a few suggestions; Do a word study. Check to see if the English word being used is translated from one or more different Greek words. Verify the veracity of someone’s claim. Trust me, once you start using a full concordance instead of the very abridged on at the back of some Bibles, you never want to be without one.

This concordance is well made for many years of use. It is a hardback edition. The spine is sewn, and rounded for easy use, and durability. There are black head and tail bands. The paper is 36 g.s.m. and opaque. I think it was about as thin as they could go without sacrificing legibility, considering the 6.5 Lexicon font. It strikes the perfect balance for a book of this size. The paper is white, and the type is clearly, and uniformly printed. Concordances, as you can imagine are not small books. This one is a hair thinner than my Strong’s. In the front of this concordance in the introduction you’ll find helpful diagrams of how to use this tome properly, as well as a Preface by Drayton Brenner who compiled it.

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You should always have a hard copy of your most important books. Electronic copies, and apps, are nice, and convenient, but they can be changed in one update overnight. Some apps make it difficult to browse to the information you want. Sometimes, it is just easier to look it up in a book. To that end, I encourage you to go out and pick up this concordance for your ESV Bible. You can purchase it on Amazon, Christianbook, or Crossway’s page. To see more pictures of this concordance please see my flickr album.

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

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

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 (2015) ESV New Classic Reference Bible in TruTone Synthetic Cover.

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Let’s see what the 2015 New Classic Reference looks like, and compare it briefly to the edition it replaces.  I think you’ll find that there aren’t very many changes.  I ordered this Bible from Amazon.  It arrived in generally good shape.  It does not have a retail box.  Instead, it has a sleeve.  I prefer clamshell or two piece style boxes for storage. You tend to see clamshell style with premium Bibles, not value editions.  
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After tossing the sleeve away, I scrutinized the cover.  I like synthetic covers more than bonded leather.  If I can afford them, I purchase ones that are edge lined and covered in goatskin leather.  This synthetic cover was not bad.  It was soft and flexible.  I did get a crease in it by folding it over.  Once you get the paper liner creased it shows through the cover.  I don’t know how durable it will be.  I’ll get back to you on that on in a couple of years.  There is a good lifetime warranty on these Bibles.  I’m not worried about service should anything go wrong.  
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Here is the old edition in genuine leather
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Both Bibles have family records pages and presentation pages in the front

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One of the major qualities that I love about Crossway Bibles, is even their value Bibles use better paper than almost all of their competitors.  The paper in this thing is as good as some of the paper in the cost prohibitive premium Bibles.  It is very opaque and seems pretty heavy.  The old edition was printed on 24 pound (36 g.s.m.) Thincoat™.  The paper in the new edition is uncoated.  It remains the same weight.  It is whiter than the earlier edition which in comparison seems a little more off white.  It could be that since I’ve had the other Bible for a few years the paper has yellowed a bit, but I doubt it.  It is more likely that the coated paper of the earlier edition was responsible for the slight color difference.  

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Here is a look at the previous edition.
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There is a slight tradeoff when using a heavier paper.  The Bible, by necessity of finites becomes thicker.  That being said, I would much rather a Bible be thicker and very legible than be thinner and barely legible.  Ghosting is a real problem on thinner paper and can make daily reading a near impossible task.  The New Classic Reference is not too heavy or big.  It feels good to hold and read from.  The fact that it is a tad bit thicker doesn’t make it uncomfortable to use.  I find it to be subjectively, one of the most comfortable Bibles I’ve spent hours reading from.

Both the older edition and the new one, offer good contrast between the paper and the text.  The text is a modern setting of Lexicon font in 9 pt size.  It is sharp and crisp against the backdrop of the page.  This is a red letter edition with the words of Christ printed in red.  Some people like this feature and others think it detracts from the entirety of the word being inspired.  I don’t have an opinion either way.  If it is done well, I like it.  The red and black ink is consistent throughout.  

Here is the new one
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Here is the old one

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There are book introductions at the beginning of each book.  

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This is pretty helpful without adding the bulk that a study Bible would have.  The New Classic Reference is laid out in a double column, paragraph format, with center column references.  

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This is pretty standard, but again due to the paper quality, uniform printing, and smyth-sewn binding this Bible stands out.  I am thinking about rebinding it in goatskin leather.  It is an excellent candidate for rebind because of the low initial purchase price, paper, print, and the sewn binding.  If you couldn’t tell by now, this does have a sewn binding making it flexible and durable.  

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It has one ribbon marker that matches the color scheme of the Bible.  It is a pretty thin ribbon.  


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The spine has also been rounded.  

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The older edition has a flatter spine that doesn’t appear rounded.  

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The older edition was manufactured in the United States, while this one was manufactured in China.  As long as Crossway can ensure quality control, this shouldn’t be a problem.  Other publishers have not been able to, and have suffered the consequential negative effects to their reputations.

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An excellent three column concordance is included in the back with 32, color maps and illustrations.  

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The overall impression I got was that this is still the same reference Bible that so many people have loved over the years with some small changes.  The most important qualities have not changed.  It remains very legible, and easy on the eyes for long bouts of reading.  It wins, hands down over many other similarly priced Bibles due to the paper, print, and binding.  Throw in the formal equivalent English Standard Version (ESV) translation and you have a great reference Bible.

Make sure to check out all the pictures of the New Classic Reference here, and the old one here.

Here are the stats and info from the Crossway product page,

About the ESV New Classic Reference Bible

The ESV New Classic Reference Bible is a new edition of the first ESV Bible edition ever published in 2001—the ESV Classic Reference Bible. This practical and popular format combines the ESV text with a robust concordance and one of the most comprehensive and useful cross-reference systems available today—more than 80,000 references conveniently located in the center column on each page. This edition adds 32 pages of full-color maps of Bible lands and illustrations of historic biblical sites, structures, and objects for ready reference and insight. The ESV New Classic Reference Bible’s balance of helpful reference features and convenient size make it an ideal Bible for everyday use—at home, at church, at school, and on the road.

  • Size: 5.5″ x 8.4375″
  • 9.0-point type
  • 1,344 pages
  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • Words of Christ in red
  • More than 80,000 center-column cross-references
  • 32 full-color pages of maps and illustrations
  • Introductions to each Bible book
  • Extensive concordance
  • Ribbon marker
  • Presentation pages
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Lifetime guarantee

Specifications

Format: TruTone
Page Count: 1,344
ISBN-10: 1-4335-4557-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4557-3
Trim Size: 5.5 in x 8.4375 in
Weight: 31.8 ounces
Published: January 31, 2015
Type Size: 9.0
Page Layout: Double Column
Additional Features: Sewn Binding

Maps

Illustrations

Lifetime Guarantee

Cross-references

Concordance

Book intros

Ribbon

Gilded edges

Words of Christ Red

ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4557-3
ISBN-13: 9781433545573

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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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It also lays flat while held in one hand.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

He said, “It is a Waterproof Bible!” I said, “What?”

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Review of the English Standard Version (ESV) Waterproof Bible from Bardin & Marsee Publishing

The first time I saw a waterproof Bible it was a local Christian book store.  It seemed like a good idea.  At that time in my life I was planning for the end of the world, doomsday scenario.  The Bible was a KJV, so I wasn’t that interested.  Fast-forward a bit and now they make one in ESV.  I was very curious as to how they accomplished this feat of Bible construction.  I requested one for review from the publisher.  They sent one for me gratis for the purpose of honest review.

I’m not going to lie.  The idea of pouring water onto any book without damaging it is pretty novel. That novelty earns it some points.  Aside from the novelty, there are many practical reasons for having a waterproof Bible.  I like the notion of having a Bible I can take to Church Camp or Men’s Retreat, and not have to worry about it getting wet or dirty.  I can put it in my bag with my toothpaste and not worry about it getting messed up if the cap comes off.  I can read it at the table and not worry about spilling my drink on it.  If it does get messy from food, drink, dirt, mud, etc. I can just rinse it off and dry it with a towel or rag.

Some of the active peeps I know love their apps.  Bible apps are fine, but one update and the enemy can change all the content of the Bible so that it isn’t the same anymore.  Try pouring some coffee on your tablet or phone while reading your Bible via an app!  Good luck with that move.  Don’t drop your tablet in the dirt next to the fire pit.  You’ll break your screen.  What about when that battery gets low bro?  What then?  I love having a printed copy in hand to read from.  So if it is the Bible you run to the hills with, it won’t get remotely updated.  I jest… not really… OK, I’m kidding…

The Waterproof Bible was shipped to me packed in a cardboard box cushioned with paper packing material.

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The Bible is a bit heavier than a comparably sized conventional Bible.  I think this is due to the materials used in the manufacture of this Bible.  It was in pretty good shape when it arrived.  The corners were a little bent, but not bad.

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The Bible is printed in China.

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The page material seems to be some kind of plastic material that is very, very opaque.  This is a good thing.  You can’t see the text through the page.

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One problem with this Bible is that the pages and text are a bit glossy.  In sunlight they are pretty bright.  The cover is blue and white. The signatures are sewn and glued together. 

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If you look closely enough you can see that they use a pretty heavy looking cord to sew them together. 

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Since the pages aren’t conventional paper, I don’t see this Bible getting damaged.  It is a good investment even if you aren’t looking for a Bible to take into the wild.  It will survive the urban jungle as well.  Youth Pastors know what I mean.  There are short book introductions before each book.

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The 8 point font text is arranged in a double column format with references at the bottom of the page. 

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You can underline with pencils and ball-point pens.  Pens will dent the pages and sometimes skip.  Pencils do the same.  I wouldn’t buy this with the intentions of putting a bunch of notes in it.  I found that underlining is very doable, but note taking would be tough.  Wet highlighters won’t work, but dry ones and sharpies will.  There are no maps, concordance, or any other helps.  The Bible would be too heavy if it did have them.

If you are in the market for a very tough Bible that will live up to your active life, then this is the Bible for you.  Clearly printed font, no ghosting, rugged, and practical, this Bible is perfect for extreme applications.  Take it anywhere and no worries.

9781609690120

You can purchase one directly from the publisher at the link below,

http://www.bardinmarsee.com/p-69-esv-waterproof-bible.aspx

or you can purchase one here, Amazon or here, Christianbook

The Voice isn’t the Word!

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Don’t listen to the, “Voice” because it isn’t the Word!

I am pretty picky about Bible translations.  Call me crazy, but I think we shouldn’t try to make the Bible easier to read.  I mean come on, how hard is it to read already?  What more do you want?  It has been translated into English in the KJV, NKJV, NASB, and ESV.  If you can’t understand the last three a new translation isn’t going to help you however, a G.E.D. or E.S.L. class might.  People don’t fail to read the Bible because it is over their reading skill.  They fail to read it because it is beyond their desire scale.  They simply don’t want to.  The unregenerate find it boring at best and offensive at worst.  The, “Voice” claims that people need this version because the others are too difficult to understand.  I say, “Hogwash!”  Thomas Nelson got purchased and now it is all about the bottom line.  They have to have their own copy written versions to print so they can keep all the cash.  Lockman Foundation and Crossway made their translations copy written to keep other from changing them.  They did it to protect the translation from those who would do violence to the Word.

If a person is regenerate and has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we know that they will desire to read the word and it will be understood by them.  We also know that God’s word is always relevant and efficacious.  So instead of twisting it all around to fit some emergent church movement agenda how about we just do good faithful translations and leave all of the Creative Teams and Writing Teams out of it.  Hers is the, url for the list of contributors on the Voice Writing/Creative Team, http://www.hearthevoice.com/team Notice these names on the list Brian McLaren, and Phyllis Tickle.  They are two of the most heretical emergent church movement leaders.

So for my litmus test I always compare what the new version says in John 1:1-14 to my good old NASB.

Here is the text from the, “Voice”

1Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.

 

The Voice was and is God.

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. I believe the NASB is actually easier to understand here than the Voice lol.
2This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator; 2He was in the beginning with God. Ditto my previous statement.
3His speech shaped the entire cosmos.

 

Immersed in the practice of creating,

 

all things that exist were birthed in Him.

3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. Nope, I checked the Greek, they added all the artsy verbiage.
4His breath filled all things

 

with a living, breathing light—

4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· Word for Word the NASB is the same as the Greek.
5A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,

 

blazes through murky bottoms.

 

It cannot and will not be quenched.

5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. Light thrives? Did these clowns even read the Bible first?  Hey Phd’s do a word study κατέλαβεν.
6A man named John, who was sent by God, was the first to clearly articulate the source of this Light. 6There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. So they just added,” was the first to clearly articulate the source of this Light.” Because, you know, they are smarter than God…NOT!
7This baptizer put in plain words the elusive mystery of the Divine Light so all might believe through him. Some wondered whether he might be the Light, 7He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. Tell me again how the Voice is supposed to be a simpler, easier to read version ha! What a joke.  It is a perversion.
8but John was not the Light. He merely pointed to the Light. 8He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. Μαρτυρέω to testify or bear witness…  I wonder where they got, “pointed?”
9The true Light, who shines upon the heart of everyone, was coming into the cosmos. 9There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. The English word, “cosmos” doesn’t have the same meaning as the Greek word, ”kosmos.”
10He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. Again, NASB more accurate and simple.
11Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him. 11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. ditto
12But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God; 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, ditto
13He bestowed this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God’s will. 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. The Voice loses some of the meaning retained in the NASB.
14The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor—the one true Son of the Father—evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth. 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Λόγος Logos!!! Not voice.  You just called Sovereign God a voice when He called Jesus the Word!  Repent! ARRRRGG!!! I can’t go on!

 

So in conclusion, DON’T READ OR BUY THE STINKING VOICE VERSION OF THE BIBLE!!!  IT ISN’T THE BIBLE, IT IS A SCAM TO MAKE MONEY AND TWIST THE WORD OF GOD SO EMERGENT NUTS CAN CORRUPT THE TRUE FAITH!!!