Bible Reviews · Bibles

Christmas Shopping? BUY BIBLES!!!

If you love high quality Bibles, evangelicalbible.com is the site for you. They have great deals on Schuyler Bibles Crossway Bibles The Lockman Foundation (NASB, Amplified, LBLA, NBLH) Bibles R.L. Allan & Son Publishers Ltd Bibles Cambridge Bibles and Trinitarian Bible SocietyBibles. These would make excellent Christmas presents.

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Bible Reviews

The Cambridge NASB Wide Margin Reference Edition NS741:XRM, is the Quintessential Wide Margin Bible for Writing in.

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I know this might sound like heresy on the level of Arius but, I like this Bible more than its goat skin, edge lined, art gilt, counterpart.  This has got to be about as close to perfect for note taking as one can get.  I reviewed the goat skin leather one a while back.  You can read about that edition here.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying it is better quality or better in features.  What I am saying is that the goat skin leather edition was so nice that it was difficult for me to write in.  That might sound strange to you, but it wouldn’t if you held it and realized how much it cost.  It is probably the first or second best Bible I’ve ever owned.

The hard back edition has the same lovely, enlarged, Pitt Minion typeset.  It has the same generously wide margins.  It has the same durable, flexible smyth-sewn binding.  The quality binding ensures that it will open easily and lay flat right from the get go.   That means you don’t have to put a paper weight on one of the corners to keep it open, like some cheaper bindings.  It was printed and bound by Jongbloed in the Netherlands just like the luxury goat skin leather edition.  It is exactly the same except it has a hard back cover.  It is case bound.
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The page edges are not gilt.  There is one lovely, red ribbon marker, contrasting beautifully against the thick, white, paper.

The hard back is much less expensive.  You can buy it online for approximately $50 to $70.  I’ll include links at the end of the review.  The cover is a built in desk, for when you are in Church, or at Bible study.  With the goat skin covered edition you really can’t write in it unless it is on a desk or table.  The cover is just so flexible.  The hard back of course doesn’t have that issue.
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The biggest ooh and ahh feature to me is the gorgeous paper.  I just love the paper in this Bible.  Look at this close up picture of the signatures and tail band.
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Here is a picture of the paper from the Bible opened flat.
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From the pictures you can see the outstanding quality of the paper.  It is smooth, opaque, uniform in color and texture, as well as being thick.

The print is 8 point in size.  It is a larger version of the Pitt Minion.  I know some of you might expect larger text in a Bible this size, but don’t forget, this is a wide margin.  If you want room for notes and you don’t want a two inch thick Bible you have to compromise someplace.  I think the text is just the right size.  It is so wonderfully done that it is easy to read, very legible.  The printing is uniformly done and consistent throughout.  Even the red text is printed with the same quality.  Just look at the picture above closely and you will see.  The text is arranged in a double column paragraph format, with references in the center.  The margins are nice and wide.  The extensive Lockman Foundation cross references are very helpful.  I use them often.
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I wanted to show how well the paper took ink, pencil, and highlighter.  I used a Lammy fountain pen, with and extra fine nib, and Waterman’s black ink.  I also used a medium point ball point pen, with black ink, and a #2 graphite pencil.  You can see that neither the fountain pen or ball point ink pen showed through the page significantly.  The wet highlighter did much better than I expected.  I thought it would bleed through more than it did.  On most other Bibles it is like highlighting the verses on the other side of the page as well.  Since this paper is over 30 g.s.m. it takes the stands up to ink better.
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There is a useful concordance in the back along with 15 maps that make use of the big pages.

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Cambridge included several pages of ruled paper in the back for notes as well as an index section that is blank so you can fill it in yourself.  I would highly recommend this Bible for anyone looking for a wide margin.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon.com, Christianbook.com, and evangelicalbible.com

Be sure to look at all of the pictures I took of this Bible here on my Flickr page.

isbn: 9780521702638

Bible Reviews

The Best Bibles in the World! Yes, Premium Bibles are Still Being Made. R. L. Allan’s Readers NASB R1 R.

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The perfect Bible…  For me, that is.  Let’s face it, perfection can be subjective, when it comes to Bibles.  Everyone has different deal breakers and necessities, when it comes to features.  I know for me, a glued binding is a deal breaker.  It is the unpardonable sin amongst Bible publishers.  They really need to just stop trying to save a buck and do it right.  Of course that is my opinion.  Many people don’t even know the difference between a sewn binding and a glued one.  To them other features are more important.  They might insist on having a specific study Bible.

There are three premier brands today that I know of, Cambridge Press, Schuyler(skyler), and R. L. Allan.  I’ve done reviews of Cambridge Bibles.  They have been very generous providing me with review copies.  Schuyler does not provide gratis review copies and neither does R. L. Allan.  I had to wait for a time when I could afford to purchase one.  I had seen a Schuyler.  Our Pastor at Church received one for his Ordination.  His is an E.S.V. Quentel in green goatskin.  Reviewing Bibles exposes you to the differences between materials, features, and manufacturing methods.

With the knowledge gained by reviewing so many Bibles, I knew the attributes I wanted.  I knew that first of all, it must be as legible as possible.  I’ve reviewed several Bibles that either used paper that isn’t opaque enough, old typesets with edges that are not sharp, small font, thin font, poorly inked and inconsistently printed font, and cheap paper that offers little contrast.

Second, it had to have a sewn binding.  Without a sewn binding it would not be flexible enough to make it easy to read, and it would not be durable enough to last a lifetime.

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Third, it had to have a high quality, edge lined, goatskin cover.  This might not seem like a must, but if you have held one of these Bibles before, you would agree.  It is durable, flexible, and the grain is tactilely pleasing.

Fourth, it had to be in the New American Standard Bible translation.(NASB)  This is by far my favorite translation, to both read and study.  If you haven’t read this translation, you should.  It is a formal equivalent, and very accurate.  This is the translation to read, if you have ever wanted to get as close to the original languages, without learning them yourself.

Fifth, I wanted a double column, verse format, with center column references.  I know, I know, it is old fashioned of me, and I need to get with the times, but it is so much easier to find a verse, in a verse format Bible.  I have the Cambridge Clarion.  It is a single column, paragraph format Bible, with references on the outside of the page.  People informed me that this is the easiest to just sit and read.   Well, that might be so, IF your brain, and eyes haven’t been trained to read a double column, verse format, over the years.  I tried to teach an old dog a new trick, and it just didn’t work out for me.  So this was a necessary feature.

Sixth, was size.  I wanted a Bible for reading out of in my chair.  It couldn’t be too heavy or big.  Arm fatigue is a real thing people.  Perhaps I’m just getting old, but if you are holding a big Bible in your hands for an hour or so, it gets heavy.  Plus they can be downright unwieldy.  I despise fighting against a Bible or the cover while trying to read.

Finally, it had to have more than one, crumby, cheap, nasty, ribbon marker.  I know it seems minor, but I like to follow Ligonier’s TableTalk reading plan.  It has readings out of the Old and New Testaments, daily.  For that, I need, at least two ribbons.  I didn’t want a Bible with the cheap, thin, anemic, looking ribbons, that fold over, and get wrinkled either.  I wanted some ribbons of substance that would lay flat and help me turn to the page, without tearing the paper or rubbing the gilt off of the page edges.

The only publisher to publish a Bible that met all of my demands is R. L. Allan formerly of Scotland, now located in London.  Robert Allan established R. L. Allan’s in 1863.  They are still making some of the finest Bibles in the world.  In 2013 they moved to London.  The NASB R1 R uses the Lockman Foundation’s NASB double column, verse format, reference Bible, typeset.  The reason I didn’t purchase the Lockman Foundation produced Bible is quality.  Lockman is printing and binding their Bibles in China.  Although they are less expensive to purchase, they did not measure up to the standards that I set for my, “perfect Bible.”  R. L. Allan’s NASB R1 R is printed and bound in the Netherlands by Jongbloed.  Jongbloed is, in my estimation, the premier Bible printer and bindery in the world.  Cambridge Press, and Schuyler, use Jongbloeds as well.  It is no coincidence that the three Best Bible publishers use the same printer and bindery.  They all use Jongbloeds because of their continued excellence.

My choices were limited right off the bat.  There are literally no other publishers making the Bible I was after.  I could have compromised on a couple of things like,  cover material, or case bound instead of edge lined.  Providentially, I didn’t have to compromise.  It really is a blessing to be able to find a Bible just like I wanted.  I feel so very blessed to be living in a country, during a time, like this.  The Reformers went through much persecution to get us translations in our native tongues.  There are people today, deprived of God’s word by law of their governments.  So I don’t take the blessing lightly.

I received my order less than two weeks after I placed it.  It arrived in a cardboard box.  It was cushioned with bubble wrap and little foam puffs.

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The Bible was in a two piece box.  The box is covered with a woven blue material.  I am keeping it to put my Bible in when I am not using it.  It will sit by my chair safe and sound.

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It was wrapped in paper inside the box.

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It arrived undamaged from shipping.  While unwrapping the Bible I was welcomed with the aroma of quality goatskin leather.  Some Bibles smell like chemicals and adhesives.  The cover is thicker than I expected.  It is a rich crimson red.  There are two channels around the perimeter of the cover.

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It has a wide yapp, that is the overhang of the cover.  It protects the page edges.  The inside cover is lined with dark blue leather.  There is a gilt line around the inside perimeter.

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The edges of the cover are folded over and glued perfectly.  The corners are nice, neat, and tight.  The spine of the Bible is stamped in gold with, “Holy Bible” at the top, “New American Standard Bible” under that, and, “Allan” at the bottom.

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It has white, head and tail bands, art-gilt page edges, and three lovely, navy blue ribbon markers.

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In the front you’ll find the presentation page, family records pages for parents, children, marriages, grandchildren, and deaths.  These are printed on heavier paper, but not so heavy as to inhibit the opening of the Bible.  Then, there is the Title page, Publishers info,Foreward, and a list of the Books of the Bible.

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As I mentioned earlier, the Bible is in a double column, verse format, with center column references.  The center column is bordered by a single line on either side of it.  The chapter numbers are bold and large.  There are topic headings throughout. This is a black letter edition.  Lockman has over 95,000 cross references in this luxurious publication from R. L. Allan.

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The font is 10 point in size.  It is one of the sharpest and uniformly printed Bibles I’ve seen.  The black contrasts against the off-white Bible paper, making it very legible. The paper is beautiful and opaque.

The concordance in the back is large enough to be useful, but not so large as to bulk it up.  There is 40 pages of lined writing paper in the back for notes.  Lockman’s colored maps are retained, but printed on the same type of paper that is used in the front for the records pages, instead of the glossy paper that Lockman uses.  There are 8 maps.  The glossy paper tends to crack and tear, so I am glad to see that it was not used in this edition.

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This is a pretty thin Bible.  It measures 1″ thick.  The text block is 9″ tall by 6 1/4″ the Bible when closed measures almost 10″ tall by 7″ across.  It is very handy.  Just the right size to contain all of my desired attributes, while not growing too large with undesired features.

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Since this Bible has everything I could want in a Bible it is no surprise that I would think so highly of it.  I can’t get over how satisfied I am with it.  I am so happy with it that I mailed several of my other Bibles to friends.  This one replaces about 5 others I was holding on to for various uses.  I have taken some ribbing that was unexpected. It was brought to my attention that this should be called the, “Spiderman Bible” due to the red and blue colors.  I thought that was amusing, but come one?  If I’m going to associate it with a super hero it would be Superman not Spiderman lol.  In all seriousness, this is probably the best Bible I’ve ever owned.  That is saying a lot, because I’ve been sent some pretty good Bibles.

If you decide you need a premium Bible, you should purchase one from

evangelicalbible.com  They are the best online retailer of premium Bibles.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/snyderssoapbox/sets/72157651327362360/

Bible Reviews

The Cambridge KJV/RV Interlinear Bible, in Black Calfskin Leather, A Bible you might not have known that you needed.

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The KJV/RV Interlinear is an amazing tool.  For anyone who has had difficulties with the Early Modern English of the KJV, you are not alone.  The Revised Version was the first big translation to come from the Authorized 1611 KJV.  The 1611 KJV was in Early Modern English.  By the late 1800’s English had changed significantly.  On May 6th of 1870, at Canterbury, England, the general assembly of Episcopal clergymen, met and determined to, revise, for public use, the authorized 1611 KJV.  This was notable for a few reasons, my favorite of which is that it was a cooperative effort between British and American theologians, who were experts in the Biblical languages.  Their objective was, “From the outset the object sought by the revisers has been “to adapt King James’ version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary,” and further, to adapt it to “the present standard of Biblical scholarship.” Since 1611 this latter has made great advances, especially during the last quarter century.”  Here is some information I was given from Cambridge, “A little historical data/background: The Interlinear Bible is really two Bibles in one. It combines the King James Version of 1611 with its first authorized successor, the Revised Version of 1885. This edition includes the highly respected cross-references from the Revised Version, which are considered to be among the finest ever produced. It also carries the footnotes from both versions, giving at times four different renderings of difficult passages.”

A little later in 1901 American theologians made a few more revisions to come up with the American Standard Version.  This translation of course is where we get my favorite translation the New American Standard Bible.  For all of the NASB fans out there, be glad this work was done.

When you have an interlinear Bible usually the texts are run linearly parallel with one as the superscript and the other in subscript.  When you have a parallel Bible usually there will be at least two columns of text, where one column is a translation and the other in the column running parallel to it side by side.  This gives the reader an easy way to compare the two translations.  This Bible however, is unique to my knowledge.  Where the two translations are the same you will see only one line of text.  Where they are different from one another the text will be more like an interlinear.  The Revised version text when different from the KJV will be written in superscript and the KJV will be in subscript.  It looks like this.

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When there are a lot of differences, in a short space, it can get a little confusing, or distracting to read.  This doesn’t happen very often.  I find that this method, with these two specific translations, works quite well.  When I come to a difficult section in the text, I have the RV to look at.  It does help.  Another attribute of this type of interlinear is that it avoids the bulk usually associated with parallel Bibles and other interlinear Bibles.  Most interlinear Bibles have both texts in their entirety.  This one only becomes interlinear when the text is divergent.  This cuts down on the space needed.

It is a nice addition to any Bible collection, and for modern application, it makes the KJV more accessible, without losing the old world style of the KJV.  Granted, there are more modern translations, and there are modern parallels, but they do make you aware that you are reading a modern translation.  So if you love the KJV, but sometimes have difficulties with it, and you love the way the English language sounded then, this is a Bible you should own.

Aesthetically, this is a very nice Bible to look at.  Cambridge has a good reputation for producing high quality Bibles that will last longer than you will.  This Bible came packaged in a cardboard box.  It arrived at my house undamaged and in good condition.

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It was inside of a clamshell designed retail box that should be retained for storage.

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The KJV/RV Interlinear is not a small Bible.  It is about the size of my NASB, MacArthur Study Bible.  The Cambridge is covered in very nice black calfskin.  The cover is obviously, leather.  There is no shiny, artificial look to it.  It doesn’t feel hard, and slick, like the cheaper, pig skin leather covers on lesser Bibles.  The leather smell also reinforces in your mind that this is not a synthetic cover or overly processed leather.

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The binding is smyth-sewn.  The Bible is case bound.  The inner cover is lined with a black vinyl adhered to it.  The corners are nicely cut and glued.

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The cover is stamped with, “Holy Bible” in gold.  The spine also is stamped in gold with, “The Interlinear Bible” at the top, “King James Version” under it, and “Revised Version” under that.  On the bottom is the Cambridge logo with the word, “Cambridge” under it.

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The page edges are art-gilt.   The red under gold gives the page edges a warm look, when the Bible is open.

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There are decorative red and gold, head and tail bands.

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The two black ribbon markers are higher quality than you would find in cheap, mass produced Bibles.

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I know some people complain about page corners curling with some Cambridge Bibles like the Clarion.  When I first opened this Bible, the paper did seem a bit wrinkled and the page corners curled just a bit.

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After being out of the box and giving this Bible a while to come to a state of homeostasis with the dry Idaho air, the page edges flattened out and the wrinkles went away.  I do wish I had waited a while to take the pictures.  The paper is behaving much better now that the Bible has been opened for a while.  I personally, like the page corners to curl up just a bit.  Have you ever tried to get the pages apart to turn them, on a Bible with very thin paper, only to be frustrated page after page?  There you have it; I made a negative quality into a positive feature.  Now don’t get me wrong, I hate it when the entire page edge curls up, and interferes with my reading, but let’s not get too crazy with our demands.  After all, the paper on this Bible is very nice.  It has wide margins and is thick enough to take notes on.  The margins are about an inch.

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It is also a pleasant off white color that contrast well against the dark, 10/11 point Millers 2n Small Pica No.4 (small body) typeface.  It does look like an older typeset, but unlike some of the very old ones it has held up pretty good.  It is also a larger size which helps.  Again, thanks to the way this interlinear is set up.  This is a black text edition.

In the front of the Interlinear you’ll find a presentation page.

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After that, the publication information including that the Interlinear is printed in the Netherlands.  I verified with Cambridge that Jonglboeds did the printing and binding.  They are the premier bindery for Bibles.  You can’t buy better that I know of.

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Then there is some information about the Interlinear and translation information about the KJV and RV.  The Old and New Testaments are both introduced with a Preface.  Usually the older type settings of the KJV are verse format.  This was one of the first editions to use paragraph format.  It does so in a double column layout with center column cross references.  Notes are at the bottom of the page.

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At the end of the Interlinear there is a section called the, “Bible Companion” which is basically a Bible reading plan.  Also there is an alphabetically arranged blank index.  This is great for adding your own notes and references.

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After that we have fifteen color maps, a map index, and a large list of variant readings preferred by the American Standard Version translation committee.  All of this together makes for one highly usable, functional, and handsome Bible.  If you like the majesty of Early Modern English, but need a bit of help from time to time, or if you just like the KJV and the RV because of their rich history, the KJV/RV Interlinear Bible from Cambridge is an excellent addition to any Christians library, even if it is the only book in it.

Be sure to check out the picture gallery at the bottom.

RV655X  isbn: 9781107630932

You can purchase the Cambridge KJV/RV Interlinear in black calfskin on these online retailer’s sites,

Cambridge University Press

Amazon.com

Christianbook.com

Evangelicalbible.com

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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