The search for that perfect Bible. What are the most common Bible features available today? (Part 1, Covers)

DSCN3175It is difficult to find that perfect Bible, but this is where many of us start out. When you finally decide to get a high quality Bible, you want to get all of the features you like in one edition. The problem is that rarely is there one Bible that will satisfy all of your requirements. In this article we are going to look at some of these features, a few of the pros and cons of the features, and a little basic Bible design and layout. Hopefully this will help you make an informed purchase, and keep you from having unrealistic expectations.

I know many people ooh and ah over floppy, natural hide, edge lined covers, but these aren’t always the best Bibles to have. There are also a bunch of folks who have no idea what the difference is between bonded leather, genuine leather, and calf skin leather. So, let’s start off by learning about covers. After all, it is the first part of the Bible a person sees and touches.

The least expensive covers are equivalent to those you’d find on a paperback book. Not much to know here. Some of the pros are that they are inexpensive to mass produce. Usually you find these covers on evangelism Bibles. Perhaps you’ve been handed a Bible with a paperback cover? They are only a couple of bucks to buy, and they get the job done. The biggest con is that they are not durable. They tear and dog-ear very easily.

Hardback covers are next. These types of covers are common and inexpensive like the paperback covers. Everyone should be familiar with them. They are a cardboard sheet known as a book board, that is underneath a paper, cloth, or hide cover. In the past these were often made out of wood. They provide rigidity to the text block so the book can be stored standing on its edge. They also support the pages while you hold them. One of the problems with a rigid board is that if you drop it on a corner it will deform and stay that way. If you do store it on a shelf, as you take off the shelf, and replace it on the shelf, the edge will become worn. Also the text blocks tend to pull away from the book boards over time and require repair.

thomas nelson nkkv study bible hard cover 005

Synthetic covers are the next step up. They offer a wide range of appearances and styles. They are also inexpensive to make. They can be made to simulate leather or just about anything else you might cover a book with. They can be made with various designs in them making them very attractive compared to paperback and hardback Bibles. The covers don’t stand up to skin oils, sunlight, and other environmental hazards like being scratched or scraped when compared to the durability of a good quality hide cover. They also lack the smell and texture of real leather.

three bibles 006

Bonded leather used to be one of the most common inexpensive covers before the rise of synthetic covers. I would just like to say, there are no pros to bonded leather… Ok fine, maybe they were not as expensive as a genuine leather cover, but come on! They are basically leather sawdust and scraps, bonded together with adhesive and dye, and then they have a fake leather grain stamped into them. They are generally not very flexible either. They are more durable than paper or had back. They are even more scratch and scuff resistant than synthetic covers, but when the surface is compromised, the oils and salts from your skin will sink in and make the damage worse. It will swell, and flake apart where the crease or cut is. There is a new bonded leather called Cromwell bonded leather that is supposed to be a very durable, long lasting bonded leather. I’ve just never liked the feel or smell of the bonded leather covers.

DSCN2970

Now for the genuine leather covers, but wait, all is not as it seems! You might think that if it is labeled, “Genuine Leather” that it is cow leather, but you’d be wrong! Oh no my friends, don’t be deceived by this clever marketing. Many of the bibles sold in the $40-$80 range listed as genuine leather are actually… pig skin leather. Yep, pig skin leather is much less expensive than cowhide leather. It is split thinner, it is colored, and gets a grain stamped into it, and it is shiny like plastic, and not that flexible. These covers are pretty tough though. I have to give that to them. They don’t smell as good as cowhide leather either due to all the processing they go through. Because the pig skin is so tough they can use very very thin splits of it.

DSCN3009

Just under the premium category of covers are the calfsplit leather, French Morocco leather, and genuine cowhide leather covers. There is not a market standard on this so there is quite a bit of variance from publisher to publisher. For instance a cowhide leather cover from TBS feels like the French Morocco leather from Cambridge. Basically they take the section under the top grain and stamp a grain pattern into it. It is stiffer and more fibrous, but still smells like cowhide leather because it is. You get all of the great durability of a good cowhide leather cover at a lower price. Honestly this is probably the lowest quality leather I would want on a Bible. All of the others I mentioned before this I would not buy for myself. I expect a Bible to be something I can hand down to my kids and hopefully my grandkids. I won’t buy anything under this. I recommend shopping calfsplit/genuine cowhide and above. French Morocco leather doesn’t necessarily have to be from a cow either. It is also split thinner typically than calfsplit. Don’t get French Morocco mixed up with Moroccan either. Moroccan leather is much higher quality goatskins from Nigeria that are imported and finished in Europe.

DSCN3109

tbs windsor text Bible 047

The next class of covers is the premium range. It includes top grain cowhide, calf hide, Vachetta calfskin, Buttero calfskin, and goatskin. There are other hides that are available from rebinders and are occasionally available from publishers. I am not going to address those as they are not commonly available from mass produced Bibles from major publishers.

The top grain cowhides can have natural grain, they can be ironed flat to reduce the grain, they are generally tough and supple, which is a good combination. Calfskin is even softer because it is taken from well, young cows. It is also a bit thinner. It isn’t as resistant to scratches and scuffs as the top grain cowhide. All of these leathers take color during processing very well.  Goatskin covers usually have a nicely pebbled grain to them making them aesthetically pleasing.  They can be dyed in a wide range of colors, are supple, durable, and more expensive.  You don’t get as many covers out of a goat hide.  Goats are smaller than cows 🙂   

DSCN2856

DSCN3224

Keep in mind this is just about covers.  The next article will be about the difference between case bound and edge lined Bibles.  Thanks again for reading, and if you haven’t already make sure to follow my blog.  God bless!

Oxford NKJV Scofield Study Bible, Reader’s Edition, Genuine leather, Black Thumb-Indexed

I received the Oxford University Press New King James Version Scofield Study Bible III in the mail gratis from Oxford, for the purpose of review.  It was shipped in a cardboard box with paper packing.  

DSCN5043

It arrived safe and sound, with no damage.  Inside the shipping box, was the retail box.  It is a two piece box, with a clear plastic window in it.  It is sturdy enough to retain for storing the Bible in.  

DSCN5050

Inside the retail box, the Bible is wrapped in plastic wrap.  This Bible is black in color, and is listed as genuine leather.  It feels like pigskin leather.  It is hard and shiny like pigskin leather.  This one had an odd impression across the front cover. It has been being used for a couple months now and the impression is still there. If I had purchased this Bible I would have sent it back for an exchange, even though it does not affect the function.

Upon opening it, I was struck with a strong odor.  It smelled strongly, and not in a pleasant way.  I have had it opened for a few days now, and the smell has dissipated quite a bit.  There is a groove around the perimeter, and on the inside there is a gilt line.

DSCN5055

DSCN5056
This Bible has a decorative head and tail band.  It also has a gold/yellow colored ribbon marker.  The spine and corners of this Bible are rounded.
DSCN5057

DSCN5085

The thumb indexes are pretty typical of other thumb indexes.  Some people love them, I don’t really use them.  This Bible is printed and bound in Korea.  They seem to be the new middle of the pack printers as far as quality and price go.  Most of the Korean made Bibles are a good value.  They aren’t as well made as the Jongbloed Bibles, and they aren’t near as expensive either. They far exceed the quality of the Chinese made Bibles and are generally about a third to twice the cost.  In my opinion, it is worth it to spend the extra money.  The Chinese quality is so hit or miss, it is ridiculous.

DSCN5078

DSCN5067

This Bible seems to be pretty well made.  The binding is sewn and overcast stitching is employed to further strengthen the binding. This is a very desirable feature. The leather is decent grade pigskin genuine leather.

DSCN5064

DSCN5054

I am pretty pleased with all of the features this Bible has for the price.  It seems to be a good value.  The presentation and family records pages are attractive compared to most.  They are printed on a textured, colored paper.  They look fancy compared to the plain paper ones, and they take ink better than the glossy paper in others.

DSCN5060

There are a lot of articles, cross references, chain references, maps, footnotes, and other helps dispersed throughout this Bible.  Book introductions at the beginning of each book are just enough information without being information overload.

DSCN5077

DSCN5086

The Bible is a bit thicker than some study Bibles, but not near as large as others, like the ESV Study Bible.  I think they made a decent compromise between features and size.  Sometimes it seems there is never enough in a study Bible to please some customers, and if there were, it would be so large they couldn’t carry it.  A good editor is a must.

DSCN5052

The paper is opaque enough so that ghosting is minimal.  The 9 point font is inked uniformly and printed clearly, to contrast well with the paper.  The layout is double column, verse format, with side column references in the gutter and margin, notes are at the bottom of the page.  The text that is in red is also printed uniform, and clean.  The verse numbers are in black regardless of whether or not they precede black text or red.  The page edges are gold gilt.   There is a large, useful concordance, and 12 color maps in the end of this Bible.

DSCN5080

DSCN5082

DSCN5091

DSCN5093

DSCN5106

Here is what Oxford says about this Bible on their product page;

This book, which represents a quantum leap in the development of the respected Scofield® Study Bible, combines a popular modern Bible translation with the highly regarded Scofield® study system. The new edition includes a host of useful features that are sure to enhance the augmentation (not revision) of this renowned one-volume resource, thereby broadening its readership.

 

Bound in beautiful black genuine leather, this style features sewn pages, gold page edges & fillet, 1 ribbon marker, Presentation Page & Family Record, a gift box, and helpful thumb-indexing.

 

Includes a subject-based topical chain reference system for following major themes throughout the entirety of Scripture; over 100 factual articles, charts, and lists that put a wealth of fascinating information at the reader’s fingertips; expanded introductions that include detailed outlines of each book; study note biblical references in the familiar, “chapter-and-verse” format; bottom-of-the page study notes that permit quick retrieval of interesting data; a striking page design and easy-to-read typeface; in-text black and white maps that orient the reader to geographical references in the biblical text; notes crucial to understanding the Scofield® are formatted in accessible, in-text articles; sectional headings have been added for ease in following God’s guiding hand in human history; and, there are 16 pages of accurate, full-color New Oxford Bible Maps (with index of places and natural features) that illustrate the biblical world.

 

* An exclusive, subject-based topical chain reference system.

* Over 100 boxed factual articles and lists.

* Expanded introductions with detailed outlines of each book.

* An expanded Subject index.

* Study not biblical references are in “chapter-and-verse” format.

* Side-column references are grouped by chapter and verse.

* Over 550 in-text definitions of proper nouns for people and place names.

* Nearly 70 in-text black and white maps and charts.

* In-text articles of nearly 250 notes crucial to understanding the Scofield®.

* Indexes to Proper Nouns, Chain References, and Subjects.

* 16 pages of accurate, full color New Oxford Bible Maps (with index of places and natural features).

* Bottom-of-the-page study notes.

* Sectional headings.

* Select NKJV Concordance.

 

You can purchase your copy at Christianbook, Oxford University Press, or Amazon.

Don’t forget to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible on my Flickr page.

 

ISBN-13: 9780195275360

474RRL

A Review of the JOT Bible Life-Notes Journal in Black Genuine Leather.

DSCN4999
Do you study your Bible?  I don’t mean devotional reading.  I mean, do you sit down with your Bible, a journal, Greek/Hebrew resources and some commentaries, to unpack God’s word?  If you are a serious student of God’s word, you’ll love this journal.  Pastors study to prepare for sermons, Teachers study to instruct, Evangelists study to make the gospel known, Apologists study to make reasonable arguments, Christians study to be discipled.  As Christians we all should be studying God’s word.  Out of the available tools we have at our disposal, recording our thoughts on paper is one of the most effective ways of revisiting them.  Considering the above callings, it is very beneficial.  

DSCN5006

As a student, I’m often frustrated with the journals available on the market today.  They don’t open flat.  You always are fighting the cover of the journal.  They are small.  You can’t fit all of your thoughts from the entire Bible in one journal.  You end up with several unmatched journals floating around your house.  It ruins the continuity.  I also find that I lose them.  If you are going to a few different places in your Bible during a lesson, you have to remember which journals you wrote in.  You have to gather them and bring them with you.  The covers are usually flimsy card paper or moleskin.  

I realize some of you might be wondering what the fuss is about.  “Isn’t that why the invented wide margin Bibles?”  Well, yes and no.  Anyone who has used a wide margin Bible has run into the problem of not having ruled lines.  This might not seem like a big problem to those of you who have been blessed with the “spiritual gift” of beautiful handwriting. (just kidding. I know that is not one of the gifts.)  No ruled lines, is a real problem for me.  My notes meander all over the margin, not to mention that there is never enough room for some of the most elementary notables to be notated 🙂  While, wide margins have their place, they don’t fit the bill for some of us.  Space is the next issue with wide margin Bibles.  There is never enough blank space for notes.  You can never seem to get all of what you are thinking down on the paper next to the verses you are meditating on.

I often wonder what will happen to all of my journals?  They are all disorganized, and haphazard.  Will my kids toss them out after I’m gone?  Will they know what is in them?  I want to have my all of my ruminations in one volume, organized, durable, functional, and easily referenced.  On more than a few occasions, I’ve wondered if that was too much to ask.  After talking to several other Christian friends over the years, I found that I wasn’t alone.  We just consigned ourselves to the notion that our notes would forever be a collage of our faith journeys.

DSCN5167

I’m glad to say that someone has finally remedied this malady.  The JOT Bible Life-Notes is the perfect receptacle for your meditations, ruminations, and contemplations.  It matches your Bible in looks and size.  It is a fitting companion to bring to the pulpit with your trusty Bible.  It looks like a Bible, but it isn’t.  

DSCN5021


It matches the Bible book, chapter, and verse.  For every verse of the Bible there are two ruled lines with the verse number next to them, printed on fine, acid free, highly opaque, 42 g.s.m. Bible paper!  I mean what!?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  That is far superior to most paper used in Bible printing, and they have an entire journal made from it, sweeeeeeet!  I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but I am a pencil masher.  I tend to push pencils and pens through the page when I write.  If I am writing on thin paper, fogehtaboutit…  I hope you can tell from the pictures that this paper holds up to pencil quite well.  I would recommend pencil, as you can go back and edit notes later on.  We are always learning more, every time we read the Bible so sometimes you have to go back and add things to your notes or fix misunderstood verses.  Pencil erases nicely from this paper without leaving the paper wounded.

DSCN5165

DSCN5166

I did write notes in John 1 in black ink. This section of scripture will always assure me of Christ’s power, and the truth of God’s Word. This is what it looks like when you use ink. Just be sure it is something you aren’t going to change. I will only use pencil for the rest of my notes.

DSCN5170

DSCN5169

The printing of the lines and features of this journal is done in a consistent fashion.  I haven’t noticed any breaks in the lines.  The page edges are gold gilt.

DSCN5032

DSCN5023

DSCN5010

The JOT comes in a heavy duty two piece box that should be retained for storage.  It is seriously built better than most Bible boxes.

DSCN5002

The cover is supposed to be genuine leather.  I can’t place it though.  It seems too nice to be pigskin leather, but it is tougher than other cowhide leather covers.  Regardless, it is flexible and durable.  It is a work of form and function.

DSCN5008

The binding is a smythe-sewn spine in a case bound cover.  The spine of the JOT Bible Life-Notes is ornamented with five raised spine hubs.  The perimeter is stitched.  There is a presentation page in the front that includes a spot for you to write your contact information incase you lose your journal so that the person who finds it can get it back to you.

DSCN5016

DSCN5014

DSCN5007

DSCN5036

DSCN5017

There are three ribbon markers in, black, red, and blue. This thing is pretty much built like a quality Bible, but beefed up for note taking.  Again, to be clear, THIS IS NOT A BIBLE, IT IS A JOURNAL!!!  Don’t buy this thinking it is a Bible.  I know it looks like one, but it isn’t.  

DSCN5037

So just to recap the high points here; durable, useful, all your notes in one place, attractive, helpful, heirloom possibilities, preaching aid, study tool, memoirs from time with God’s word.

To be honest there is only one drawback that comes to mind.  It is a hefty tome, but if you know anything about book design, you’d know there are finite attributes that are interrelated.  When you change one thing it affects the others.  Using thick paper, and giving us room to write, necessitates a larger volume.  It can’t be helped.  I’d much rather have ample room along with function and form than have all form.  This thing is meant for work and does not need to be forgiven for that.  So if you are in the market for a high quality depository for all of your meditations instead of just a smattering of them, this is the journal for you.  Give it a try and recommend it to your friends, I know I am.  Make sure to check out all of the close up pictures I took of this journal on my flickr page here.  You can purchase yours on Amazon.  You can also check out their site here.
ISBN: 9780692396193

A Review of the Local Church Bible Publishers Hand Size Text Bible in Black 1 piece Ironed Calfskin Leather, the Item #: 180E1B.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black Hand Size 051

I know many of you haven’t heard of Local Church Bible Publishers, or LCBP.  I would like to remedy that problem for you.  I say that it is a problem because you are missing out on a very well made Bible.  The only caveat is that you must be a fan of the Authorized Version of the King James.  LCBP only prints KJV Bibles.  If that is not a problem for you, then you have a good selection of low priced, high quality, edge lined Bibles to choose from.  Usually Bibles of this quality would sell for $100 or more.  These range from the $20 New Testaments up to the $70 Super Giant Print.  Here is a link to their page, Local Church Bible Publishers

The 180E1B is the 180 Hand Size, Text Bible in the Executive line, with a one piece cover, in black ironed calfskin leather.  When closed, it measures 6″ x 8.5″ x 1.5″ It is an attractive looking Bible.  The grain has been ironed out of it.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black Hand Size 073

It is smooth and flexible.  There are decorative spine hubs and gold gilt page edges.  On the spine is written, “Holy Bible” at the head, “Authorized King James” at the middle, and, “Church” at the tail.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black Hand Size 049

There are decorative gold and black, head and tail bands.  It comes with two, black ribbon markers.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black Hand Size 056

There is a perimeter line on the cover.  The cover is perimeter stitched to the inside liner.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black Hand Size 052

The Bible is edge lined and smyth-sewn, making it very durable and flexible.  You would not get this quality without spending much more.  LCBP Bibles are an extremely good value.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black Hand Size 077
When you open this Bible you first see some blank pages made from a heavier card stock, then the presentation page, and the family records pages.  Then the Title page as well as the Preface to the King James Version 1611, “THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER.”  We then get into the meat of the Bible.  It is laid out in a double column, verse format, with a line separating the columns.  This is a text Bible so there are no cross-references or footnotes.  It is also a black letter edition that utilizes the self-pronouncing text in a 10.5 pt medium font.  It looks like an old typesetting of the text.  The font is not sharply printed like modern methods would produce.  It is well inked and dark.  The paper makes up for the font.  It is very opaque and heavy.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black Hand Size 057

If I could only get this Bible in NASB I’d be happy.  I know the people at LCBP would not like that last bit 🙂  There is a robust 197 page concordance in the back as well as some blank sheets for note taking.  There are six maps printed on the same cardstock paper as were in the front of the Bible.
If you are in the market for an AV KJV Bible that will outlast you,  and don’t want to spend a bunch give LCBP a look.  You might be pleasantly surprised.  Make sure to check out all the pictures of this Bible on my Flickr page.

A Pleasant Reacquaintance with an Old Friend, the Lockman NASB Side Column Reference Bible in Black Genuine Leather.

DSCN4358

This Bible arrived undamaged and in good condition. It was shipped in a cardboard box, cushioned with paper packaging.

DSCN4357

The Bible was in a sturdy 2 piece retail box that should be retrained for storage.

DSCN4361

I love the fact that this is covered in genuine leather instead of bonded leather or faux leather of some kind. For under $40 this is a big plus.

DSCN4363

It would be worth the purchase price just for getting an NASB in a genuine leather cover, but wait, there’s more. It has a flexible sewn binding.

DSCN4397

I’m getting ahead of myself. The genuine leather is better than expected for the low purchase price. The front cover has no markings. The spine has, “Holy Bible” at the head, “New American Standard Bible 1995 Edition” in the middle, “Side-Column Reference” under that and, “NASB Foundation Publications” at the bottom.

DSCN4370

On the back cover the isbn is printed along with the cover type and model number.

DSCN4369

The corners are mechanically folded. The inside cover is lined with black vinyl to match the outside cover. This is a case bound book.

DSCN4371

There is a presentation page and a family records page in the front of this Bible.

DSCN4373

I hope some people still use these. They seem antiquated to some, but I do write in them. It helps me remember important occasions. There’s no other book we should be in more than the Bible. If we are picking it up everyday we can look at those dates.

DSCN4378

After these pages you come to the copyright and publisher information page.

DSCN4381

It tells us that this Bible is made in China.

DSCN4382

The next pages are the translation information and the Table of Contents.

DSCN4384

DSCN4383

This is one of my all time favorite layouts for a Bible. It is a single column of text, in verse format, with cross references in a side column in the margin of the page. There are over 95,000 cross-references to enrich your reading and study.

DSCN4386

Layout is a very personal and subjective preference. That is why there are so many. I am not a fan of the single column layout when done in paragraph format. Many of the newer Bibles from publishers are being set up this way. People claim they are easier to sit and read. This might be so for some people, but for me it doesn’t work. I get distracted easily and need still and quiet to sit and read. Even movements on a television that has been muted will distract me. When I get distracted, it is difficult to come back to where I left off. With a verse format Bible I find it easier to resume reading.
The font is printed in 10 pt. size so it is large enough to read with the Bible resting on my lap. This black letter edition is printed with modern digital font that have clean and clear edges.

DSCN4387

The paper could be a bit more opaque.

DSCN4398

I find that with artificial lighting pointed at the page the ghosting is worse, than when I am reading with natural or ambient lighting. This is not something I measured, it is just my personal opinion. There are healthy 1” wide margins to jot down your thoughts in.

DSCN4389

There is one black ribbon marker, black and gold decorative head and tail bands, and gold gilt page edges.

DSCN4392

DSCN4368

In the back is an 82 page concordance. It is pretty helpful compared to many concise concordances you’ll find in the back of Bibles. There are also 9 pages of book introductions and 8 maps.

DSCN4400

DSCN4403

DSCN4403

This Bible measures 9.75″ x 7.00″ x 1.50″ Even though it isn’t small it is not cumbersome.
My overall impression is that this Bible is one of my favorite layouts and I find myself using it pretty often. the single column layout helps me read with fluidity while the verse format helps me keep on track. I can also look up verses quickly. The only flaw is the somewhat less than opaque paper. The purchase price makes this Bible a great value and the quality binding makes this a long time friend. I would suggest this Bible to anyone looking for a full sized reference Bible with a genuine leather cover in a single column layout. One of my all time favorites from Lockman Foundation.
Make sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my flickr page.
ISBN-13: 9781581351590

863W

A Side by Side Comparison of the Oxford NRSV with the Apocrypha and Book of Common Prayer in Black Genuine Leather, to the Cambridge KJV with the Book of Common Prayer in Purple Calfsplit Leather.

DSCN3702

You can look at all of the pictures on my Flickr page. Here is the link for the Cambridge album.  Here is the link for the Oxford album.  I received both Bibles undamaged. They were packed in their own cardboard boxes and were inside retail boxes that were both sturdy enough to be used for storing the Bible in when on the shelf.

DSCN3617

DSCN3554

DSCN3618

DSCN3556

Upon opening the boxes I was impressed with the purple color of the Cambridge Bible. The Cambridge cover was also more supple out of the box. This is due to the Cambridge being covered in calfsplit leather which is split cowhide leather as opposed to the Oxford’s cover which was your typical pigskin leather. The Oxford was ornamented with a gold stamped cross on the front cover as well as a gilt line around the inside perimeter of the cover. Both covers have a perimeter groove pressed into them.

DSCN3701

The Cambridge and the Oxford alike have gold gilt page edges. I thought the two purple ribbon markers were attractive. The Oxford has three yellow/gold ribbon markers that were pretty nice even if they were a bit more narrow. I would have liked to see three ribbon markers in the Cambridge because of the added BCP.

Here is the Cambridge

DSCN3633

Here is the Oxford

DSCN3616

The Oxford was surprisingly smaller than the Cambridge even though it had the Apocrypha and the Cambridge did not. Due to all of the added text there had to be a compromise. I don’t think it was a very wise one. The Biblical text in the NRSV is very small. At 6 pt. it is still legibly printed, but does present a strain for longer reading. I think it would be fine for carrying to Church as long as you bring your reading glasses. If you do have poor vision I would not recommend this Bible for the Bible portion.

DSCN3609

The BCP is perfectly legible being printed in 8 pt. font.

DSCN3586

The Cambridge suffers from the same problem albeit not of necessity in my opinion. Of course I am not privy to all design constraints and I am certain there are reasons for making the Biblical text 6 pt. and the BCP text a very generous 11 pt. I would have liked to see the BCP down to 8 pt. and the KJV up to 8 pt. I think that could have been achieved.

DSCN3685

DSCN3664

Both Bibles have sewn bindings and are case bound. The Cambridge is printed and bound in Italy by L.E.G.O. SpA. Vicenza. It is the KJV Pitt Minion, Reference Second Edition setting.

DSCN3682

That would be a double column, paragraph format layout with references in the center column. The small 6.75 pt. font is clearly and uniformly printed on very good and opaque Bible paper.
DSCN3693

The Book of Common Prayer is mostly single column format. It is printed in large 11 pt. font making it easy to read. It is also printed to the same standards as the rest of the text.

DSCN3678
Both Bibles were designed and had their layouts done by Blue Heron Bookcraft in Battleground Washington.

DSCN3597

When we compare the two Bibles there are some big differences in quality. The Korean printed and bound Oxford uses a less opaque paper that tends to wrinkle, while the Cambridge is very smooth.

Here is the Oxford

DSCN3608

Here is the Cambridge

DSCN3684
The print in the Oxford is not as well inked as the Cambridge. The Oxford is a double column paragraph format with very limited footnotes. It is the NRSV translation. Both Bibles are black letter editions.

DSCN3602
The Oxford does have some gold colored and heavily textured papers utilized for the presentation and family records pages. They look nice, but can be a chore to write on contrasted to the typical Cambridge presentation pages.

DSCN3579
The Book of Common Prayer is mostly single column and printed with large 8 pt. font.

DSCN3589
The Apocrypha is printed the same as the Biblical text.

DSCN3606
Neither have maps or helps in the back. The Cambridge has, “Common Prayer” at the top, “Holy Bible” in the middle and, the Cambridge logo at the foot of the spine stamped in gold. The Oxford has, “The Book of Common Prayer” at the top and, “The Holy Bible” underlined and, “Apocrypha” immediately under it in the middle, and, “Oxford” at the bottom of the spine.

DSCN3698
The Cambridge is a bit larger in length and width, but they are about the same thickness.

The Oxford might be a hair thicker. Both are aesthetically pleasing and pleasant to hold, however the Cambridge is the winner in the tactilely pleasing category. The calfsplit leather just is so much better than the shiny pigskin leather of the Oxford. I honestly thought the Oxford was bonded leather when I opened it. The head and foot bands on the Oxford were not properly glued down either. For quality of assembly I would have to give the Cambridge the win. Here is a look at the inside covers of both. You can see that they are both case bound.

Here is the Cambridge.

DSCN3696

DSCN3637

Here is the Oxford. It has a gilt line around the inside cover.

DSCN3575

DSCN3614
The Cambridge is geared more towards Anglicans and the Oxford is geared more for Episcopalians in my opinion. At least after reading much out of the BCP in each one that is my impression. The Cambridge utilizes the 1662 Book of Common Prayer while the Oxford uses 1979 Book of Common Prayer. If you are looking for an in depth list of what both BCP’s include I’m not going to do that, however I do have pictures of the table on contents pages that have those lists. You can see them on my Flickr page. Click here for the first page of the Cambridge Table of contents. Click here for the second page.  Click here for the first page of the Oxford Table of Contents. Click here for the second page.  The Cambridge is almost twice the price of the Oxford, but in my opinion it is worth it. I also like the KJV more than the NRSV. I am neither Anglican nor Episcopalian so I am not biased one way or another towards one of these Bibles. If you must have an Apocrypha in your volume then you would have to go with the Oxford. Both are sturdy and well made. They should provide years of service… as long as your eyes can take the small text. Make sure to visit the links to the Flickr photo album pages for both Bibles so you can get a good close look at all of the features.

If you are interested in purchasing either one here are some links for you,

Cambridge or Amazon or Christianbook

Oxford or Amazon or Christianbook

Oxford University Press, King James Version, Scofield Study Bible III, Red Letter Edition, in Burgundy Genuine Leather, with indexes, Model 524RRL.

 
DSCN3227

I received the Oxford University Press King James Version Scofield Study Bible III in the mail gratis from Oxford, for the purpose of review.  It was shipped in a cardboard box with paper packing.

DSCN3226
It arrived safe and sound, with no damage.  Inside the shipping box, was the retail box.  It is a two piece box, with a clear plastic window in it.  It is sturdy enough to retain for storing the Bible in.  Inside the retail box, the Bible is wrapped in plastic wrap.
DSCN3232

This Bible is burgundy in color, and is listed as genuine leather.  It feels like pigskin leather.  It is hard and shiny like pigskin leather.  Upon opening it, I was struck with a strong odor.  It smelled strongly, and not in a pleasant way.  I have had it opened for a few days now, and the smell has dissipated quite a bit.
DSCN3236

There is a groove around the perimeter, and on the inside there is a gilt line.

DSCN3244

This Bible has a decorative head and tail band.
DSCN3240

It also has a gold/yellow colored ribbon marker.

DSCN3243

The spine and corners of this Bible are rounded.  The thumb indexes are pretty typical of other thumb indexes.
DSCN3268

Some people love them, I don’t really use them.  This Bible is printed and bound in Korea.  They seem to be the new middle of the pack printers as far as quality and price go.  Most of the Korean made Bibles are a good value.  They aren’t as well made as the Jongbloed Bibles, and they aren’t near as expensive either.  They far exceed the quality of the Chinese made Bibles and are generally about a third to twice the cost.  In my opinion, it is worth it to spend the extra money.  The Chinese quality is so hit or miss, it is ridiculous.  This Bible seems to be pretty well made.  The binding is sewn and the leather is decent grade pigskin genuine leather.

I am pretty pleased with all of the features this Bible has for the price.  It seems to be a good value.  The presentation and family records pages are attractive compared to most.  They are printed on a textured, colored paper.  They look fancy compared to the plain paper ones, and they take ink better than the glossy paper in others.
DSCN3246

There is a lot of articles, cross references, their version of chain references, maps, footnotes, and other helps dispersed throughout this Bible.  Book introductions at the beginning of each book are just enough information without being information overload.  The Bible is a bit thicker than some study Bibles, but not near as large as others, like the ESV Study Bible.  I think they made a decent compromise between features and size.  Sometimes it seems there is never enough in a study Bible to please some customers, and if there were, it would be so large they couldn’t carry it.  A good editor is a must.  The paper is opaque enough so that ghosting is minimal.  The 9 point font is inked uniformly and printed clearly, to contrast well with the paper.  The layout is double column, verse format, with side column references in the gutter and margin, notes are at the bottom of the page.  The text that is in red is also printed uniform, and clean.  The verse numbers are in black regardless of whether or not they precede black text or red.

DSCN3273
DSCN3262
DSCN3276
The page edges are gold gilt.   There is a large, useful concordance, and 12 color maps in the end of this Bible.

Here is what Oxford says about this Bible on their product page;

Packed with new supplementary materials, each Scofield® Study Bible is durable and made to withstand daily use. Each volume includes a presentation page for gift giving, a full-color map section, and attractive binding in a variety of styles to suit any occasion.

This burgundy genuine leather edition combines the renowned Scofield® study notes and reference system with the historic King James Version translation. Generations of Bible students have chosen the Scofield® Study Bibles for its unique study and reference features. Clean, clear text and annotations are laid out in an easy-to-read format, guiding readers to a fuller understanding of the Bible.

The Scofield® Study Bible III KJV includes cross references that link topics and words together, introductions to the various books of the Bible, a superb system of chain references, the concordance, study notes, charts and diagrams, a subject and a proper name index, and much more.

* An exclusive, subject-based topical chain reference system.
* Over 100 boxed factual articles and lists.
* Expanded introductions with detailed outlines of each book.
* An expanded Subject index.
* Study not biblical references are in “chapter-and-verse” format.
* Side-column references are grouped by chapter and verse.
* Over 550 in-text definitions of proper nouns for people and place names.
* Nearly 70 in-text black and white maps and charts.
* In-text articles of nearly 250 notes crucial to understanding the Scofield®
.
* Indexes to Proper Nouns, Chain References, and Subjects.
* 16 pages of accurate, full color New Oxford Bible Maps (with index of places and natural features).
* Bottom-of-the-page study notes.
* Sectional headings.
* Select KJV Concordance.
* Red Letter.

I have 70 pictures you can see on flickr.com 

 

ISBN-13: 978-0-19-527860-6

ISBN 9780195278606