Review of the Zondervan NASB Classic Reference Bible in Black Genuine Top Grain Leather ISBN-13:9780310931294

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I had to buy this one folks because Zondervan doesn’t send me free ones.  I hope you appreciate it. 🙂   I was looking for an Ultrathin to replace my black Lockman NASB in genuine leather.  I came across this one from Zondervan.  Now, it is not marketed as an Ultrathin, but it is almost exactly the same dimensions as my Lockman.  The Lockman I reviewed here is burgundy, but it is the same as my black one that I kept in my lunchbox for a few years until I wore it out.  I really loved the size, layout, cover material, binding, and of course the NASB translation, but it had thin paper.  I was hoping that I would love this Zondervan as well, but there are a couple of areas where it falls down.  First, the cover material is advertised as, “top grain leather.”  It may be top grain leather, but not from a cow.  I don’t know, but it looks and feels like the cheap pigskin leather marketed as, “genuine leather” on less expensive Bibles.  Pigskin leather is shiny, and usually has a grain stamped into it.  The binding tape they used for this Bible also fights against you.  It should loosen up a bit as it gets broken in.  Combine that with the cover material, and it is kind of a let down considering the price.  It is also not as supple, or flexible as top grain cowhide leather.  I really like Vachetta calfskin leather.  It is so soft to the touch, it makes you want to pick up and hold your Bible.  Here is a review I did of a Cambridge Cameo in Vachetta.  The Zondervan borders on false advertising, and relies on the consumer’s ignorance, as well as a lack of industry standards.

The Zondervan does have a sewn spine.
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This is a necessity as far as I’m concerned.  I won’t purchase Bibles with glued bindings.  I think we should respect that we aren’t purchasing just some book.  We are purchasing a copy of God’s word, to be studied and daily utilized.  The amount of wear and tear daily use, along with travel, will cause is incomparable to a novel.  So why in the world would publishers think it acceptable to print Bibles as if they are some story book?  Well, we all know the answer to that, money $$$.

While this Bible isn’t extremely expensive.  The cover is made from a genuine hide of some kind.

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I have had this Bible for a little while now.  The cover is softening up a bit.  The binding is also getting broken in.   It lays flat now when I put it on the table to read from it.
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There is a presentation page in the front.
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The standard notes from Lockman about the NASB translation are present as well.    This Bible is printed in China according to the publisher’s information in the front.
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The page edges are gold gilt, with rounded corners and a rounded spine.  The pages are printed well.  It would be a bit better if they had utilized a bolder font.  As it is, the text is clearly printed and uniform.
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It is laid out in a double column, verse format, with center column references, and footnotes.  There are pilcrows, or paragraph markers noting the start of new paragraphs.  This is a helpful feature when you are using a verse format Bible like this one.
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The paper is acceptably opaque.  Ghosting is not bad considering this is a less expensive Bible.  The ghosting on this Zondervan is not near as bad as it is on the Lockman.  So in that category it is a win for the Zondervan.
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The Zondervan is on the right, with the Lockman on the left.

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The words of Christ are in red, making this a red letter edition.  The red is not too bright.
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The Lockman is lacking something this Zondervan has, brief book introductions.  They might not seem that important, but they are a welcomed addition to any reference Bible. You get an introduction and concise outline. The introduction consists of, title and background, author and date of writing, and the theme and message.
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This Bible also includes decorative head and tail bands, decorative gilt line around the perimeter of the inside cover, a perimeter groove on the outside cover, and one black ribbon marker.
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In the back of the Bible we have a useful double column concordance, Promises from the Bible, Perspectives from the Bible, and 8 color maps.

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Overall, this is a great little Bible. If you are after a verse format, ultrathin reference Bible in NASB with a leather cover, this has got you covered. There are more expensive Bibles. There are better built Bibles, but this one is in the sweet spot. It is better than your regular cheap bargain bin Bibles, and better than the value line Bibles. This would make a great gift for the Christian on the go, who wants a full reference Bible in a thin package. You can pick one up on Amazon.com, or Christianbook.com  You can read more about it on Zondervan’s product page.  If you would like, go to my flickr page and look at all the pictures of this Bible.  As always, thanks for reading and have a great Christmas.

Cambridge Pitt Minions, a Tale of Three Covers.

Comparison Review of Morocco, Calf Split, and Goatskin Leather Covered Pitt Minion NASB Bibles.

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I’m fortunate to have been sent review copies of the same Bible, covered in three types of leather that Cambridge uses. They have sent me three Cambridge Pitt Minions in NASB Bibles. One of them is covered in black Morocco leather, another in black calf split leather, and the last one is covered in brown goatskin leather.

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This review will depart from my other reviews in that I am not covering the same points over again. You can read about the Pitt Minion typeset and binding information here. Instead, I am going to compare the different types of leather covers. You can view the Cambridge page with information about their leathers here.
Here is their definition of what Morocco leather is, “Leather taken from a split hide – sheepskin, calf or cowhide. Slightly thinner than the other grades of leather and therefore relatively flexible and soft even when new. A French Morocco binding offers high-quality real leather at an economical price.” This is the cover material for the lowest priced Pitt Minion at approximately $60.00 available at online retailers.

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Here is their definition of what calf split leather is, “A superior grade to French Morocco leather, tanned to approach the quality and feel of full-grain calfskin leather.” This is the next step up from the Morocco leather and can be purchased for about $80.00 online.

calf split

Finally, here is their definition of goatskin leather, “A beautiful and very resilient top-quality, natural grain leather. Traditionally known as ‘Morocco’ leather, it is strong yet supple and is used in the finest bindings.

The best goatskins for bookbinding come from an area of northern Nigeria where environmental conditions are ideal for producing hides with the necessary balance of strength and suppleness. Here they are partially tanned using the same vegetable materials and methods that have been used for several thousand years. Traditionally, they were transported by camel across the Sahara desert to merchants in Morocco (hence the term ‘Morocco leather’) from where they would be distributed throughout the ancient world.

Cambridge uses Nigerian goatskins finished in the United Kingdom for our top-of-the range bindings.”

I understand there can be some confusion when talking about cover materials. There really isn’t a standardized nomenclature. I hope this information clears it up for anyone with questions as to why the Morocco covers were more expensive than the calf split covers. I know I’ve been asked this question before. I’ve included plenty of pictures and a video to help you see as much of the differences for yourselves, but I have to tell you, only by handling these Bibles will you be able to appreciate the qualities of each one. All three are wonderful Bibles and offer specific benefits. The price of the Morocco covered Pitt Minion makes it exceedingly affordable. You get all of the great features of the Cambridge Pitt Minion text block, like the sewn binding, thin profile, compact size, complete Bible, clearly printed modern digital font, references, and red letter text. This cover has a bit of a glossy look to it and the grain is not pebbled. It is also quite a bit thinner than the other two. However, it is vastly superior to other Bibles on the market that advertise having, “genuine leather” covers. Many of the lower quality Bibles that claim to be genuine leather are covered in split pigskin leather with an artificial grain pressed into it. They almost look plastic and are very shiny. This Morocco cover is much better and the price has remained very affordable.

For just about $20.00 more you can get the calf split leather, again with all of the great Pitt Minion features, plus a more supple, thicker, leather with a deeper natural texture. The calf split is also less shiny or glossy than the Morocco cover. This gives it a much more tactilely pleasing feel in your hand. I’ve also noticed that it softens up quite well after it is broken in.

For about $100.00 you can acquire the Pitt Minion covered in goatskin leather.

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I know it seems like a lot of money, but when you pick one up you’ll understand why it is more. The goatskin covers have a finer pebbled grain that is soft to the touch. It is softer than the calf split or top grain leathers while remaining durable.

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If you have ever held a sheepskin leather Bible you would find that it is very supple, but susceptible to scratches and tears. The goatskin is great because it has the best features of both types of leather. It is soft and supple while remaining effective at protecting the text block. None of these three are edge lined so you won’t be doing any, “Bible yoga” with them. I wouldn’t recommend bending them that much regardless. Even if a Bible is flexible enough to bend like you might see some people do online, it isn’t a good idea.

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Over time it will loosen your binding too much and prematurely wear it out.
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No matter what your budget is you can find a Pitt Minion to fit and be assured that it will last long enough for your kids to enjoy if you treat it with respect.

Make sure to check out the rest of the pictures on the flickr page.

You can purchase these Bibles on Amazon, Christianbook, or Cambridge Press.

The NASB Pitt Minion Reference Edition NS446XR in Brown Goatskin Leather is the Best Compact NASB You Could Purchase.

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In my opinion this is the number one, of the top ten compact/ultrathin NASB’s you will find on the market today.  The top three are Cambridge Pitt Minions.  First place, goes to the goatskin leather.  Second place, to the calfsplit leather edition.  Third place goes to the edition covered in black French Morrocco leather.  Here is a picture of the brown goatskin Pitt with the black calfsplit one.  They are both gorgeous.

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I’ve reviewed Lockman Foundation Bibles. I’ve looked at cheaply constructed Zondervan’s. If R. L. Allan made a compact NASB, they would be the only serious competition on the market. That would only be true because Cambridge and R. L. Allan would be using the same printer and binder, the world famous Jongbloed of the Netherlands. They are the premier printer and binder of almost all the high quality Bibles available today. Chances are, if you have a luxury Bible it came from Jongbloed. It makes sense that the Cambridge Pitt Minions are the highest quality Bibles in this market niche. 

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The attention to detail and quality is what sets the Cambridge Pitt Minions apart. When you hear, “You get what you pay for.” Many times you disregard it as a sales pitch, but with Bibles it is usually quite true. I strongly urge you not to balk at the initial price. Consider how many cheaply made Bibles you will buy over the next sixty years of your life. This is assuming, of course, that you are a serious student of God’s word, and read it daily. Now, multiply the twenty to fifty dollars that you would spend on a glued together, poorly covered, mass produced Bible, times the number of replacements you would purchase of that sixty year period. Let’s arbitrarily say you’ll need to replace it 6 times, and that is a conservative estimate on my part. Thirty times six is one hundred and eighty dollars. That is less than the price of the top of the line Pitt Minion. Not to mention the amount of time and energy it will take to transfer your notes/highlights/underlines.

The Pitt minion can be handed down to your children and if taken care of I dare say their children. The Cambridge Pitt Minion comes with a lifetime warranty from Cambridge and I fully expect these Pitt Minions to outlast me. How loving would it be for you to hand down one of these to each of your Children with your personal highlights and underlines? They could read from the same Bible that you held lovingly in your hands each morning and remember how faithful you were. Your zeal for God and His word would be an inspiration to them.

My Pitt Minion arrived in a cardboard shipping box safe and sound.

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The retail box is a clamshell design and should be retained for storage.

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The first thing I noticed about this Pitt Minion when I removed it from the box was the brown goatskin leather cover. It has a simple elegant perimeter line, and a naturally soft and supple feel.
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Goatskin leather offers the best of both worlds. It is tough and supple, sacrificing neither quality as you might see with other leathers. The leather covered Bible smells the way a Bible should. It doesn’t reek of chemicals. The brown reminds me of a milk chocolate color. It might be difficult to see in the pictures.

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This Bible is a case bound one. It is not edge lined.

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The spine is smyth-sewn. All of the pages are part of a group of pages called a signature. These pamphlets called signatures are stacked up and then sewn together offering a supremely flexible and durable Bible.

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The corners are and the end pages are well done.

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There is a simple, yet attractive presentation page in the front.

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Decorative head and tail bands cap the ends.

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The spine is stamped with, “Holy Bible” at the top, “New American Standard” under that, “Cambridge” at the bottom in gold.

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The page edges are art gilt, with red under gold.

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There are two brown ribbon markers. I appreciate when a Bible has at least two ribbons. Many of us read daily from both the Old and New Testaments. It is very convenient to have a built in marker for each. I don’t like using a book mark for one and the ribbon for the other. I wish all Bibles would come with at least two ribbon markers and a third for the Proverbs as devotional reading. Here is a picture of the Pitt Minion on top of my Clarion. The Clarion has red ribbons. The Pitt Minion has brown to match the cover. I’m not sure which I like more 🙂

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Upon opening the Bible the texture and opacity of the Pitt Minion’s India paper was very impressive for a compact. It is uniform in texture and color.

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The typeface is 6.75pt on 7pt Lexicon No 1.

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Here is an excerpt from the products information page on Cambridge’s site,

…a stylish modern digital typeface which like its predecessor combines utility and elegance. It uses the Lexicon typeface, carefully chosen for its economical use of space. This is the font used for dictionaries and encyclopaedias because it accommodates a lot of characters in a small space. The result is a classic Bible for the twenty first century produced in a remarkably compact yet readable form.…

I agree with them, that it is very legible. It also employs line matching. The text on the other side of the page is printed directly behind the text on the other side. This dramatically reduces distraction while reading, which is especially important in a compact Bible.

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The text is laid out in a double column, center column, paragraph format in this red letter edition.

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Book and chapter are located on the upper, outer corners of the pages, with the page numbers on the upper inner page corners, making it much easier to look up passages as you flip through the pages.

It is remarkable to have a full reference Bible of this size, approximately 7.5″ x 5.25″ x 0.75″ that remains legible. It is a testament to the design work that went into the Pitt Minion. There is even a useful concordance in the back along with a map index and 15 color maps.

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If you are in the market for an ultrathin or compact high quality Bible look no further. The Cambridge Pitt Minion is the only choice.

You can purchase your copy on;

evangelicalbible.com

Amazon.com

Christianbook.com

or also on Cambridge’s site

Make sure to check out all of the pictures I took of the Cambridge NASB Pitt Minion in Brown Goatskin Leather NS446:XR-B1168 on my flickr.com page.
ISBN:9780521604116

isbn: 9780521604116

Need a Complete Bible in a Handy Size to Slide into a Pocket? The NASB Compact Bible in Black Bonded Leather with a Snap-Flap Fills the Niche at a Great Value.

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As a fan of the NASB translation, I find myself needing a copy of it for several applications.  The problem is that my choices are limited once I demand a sewn binding.  If I want a compact NASB with a sewn binding, I can either spend around a hundred dollars for a Cambridge, or I can spend around twenty for a Chinese made Lockman Foundation.  I know how nice a Cambridge can be, but I there are some benefits to spending less, especially when you are getting a compact Bible.  If you tend to carry the compact with you everywhere, it can get worn out from travel.  You might also forget it on a table somewhere after a talk.  Not to mention the accidental spills and drops.  If you spend around a hundred dollars on a Bible, and then have all of that happen, it would probably give you some heartburn.

Then there are the numerous glued Bibles from companies like Yawn-durp-ven, you know who I mean.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate glued bindings.  Constantly losing the front pages and pages from the back, the spine breaking in the middle, I mean, come on already!  I’ll pay the extra few bucks for a sewn binding.  Wait, what’s that?  Lockman Foundation makes a value priced, compact Bible, with a sewn binding?  Do tell.  Yes, it is true.  Now don’t get me wrong, these are not premium Bibles, but if you need to have access to the printed word and you don’t want to use an app on your phone, this little Bible could do the trick.  I know, I know, “It has rubber on the flap…  It smells funny…  The pages pucker where the treads secure the signatures…  It is covered with bonded leather…”  I understand the complaints, but there has to be a compromise.  Like I just got done explaining, do you want to lose a hundred dollar Bible at a coffee shop?  I didn’t think so.  Do you want to open your Bible up to help someone out, and have pages fall out on the ground?  I didn’t think so.  So you see there is a niche that this little Bible fills quite well.

As for some of the gripes, the rubber flap holds up much better than just having a bit of bonded leather there.  The smell is not as strong after it airs out for a couple days.  The puckers are there, you have a sewn binding, deal with it.  Better to not have pages falling out.  The bonded leather keeps the cost down.  Hides are expensive.  This is a value Bible.  You can even afford to lose them or give them away.  I think I saw this one online for like fifteen bucks.  Come on, that is extremely affordable.  So, don’t be a Bible snobs like Bob, get what works for your application.

Time for the rundown, this Bible was shipped in a cardboard box, packed with paper padding.

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It was in a two piece retail package.  Inside the retail package it was wrapped in plastic.

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Some of the features of this Bible are a sewn binding,

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verse format with section headings,
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bonded leather cover, protective snap-flap,

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gilded page edges, presentation page, black ribbon marker, 6.8 pt. font, and compact size. (4.5″ x 6.5″ x 0.75)

Due to the sewn binding this Bible can be opened up without hurting the spine.  The spine is stamped with, “New American Standard Bible” in gold.  The snap-flap protects the page edges, so you can just slip it in a pocket.  The verse format helps you find verses quickly.  The 6.5 pt. font makes it legible.  The end pages are a bit flimsy, but I think that is to keep this small edition from being too rigid.  Overall, this Bible performs the purpose it is intended for.  I would recommend it based on the low price and sewn binding.

be sure to check out the rest of the pictures on my flickr page

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this Bible here are a couple of links,

amazon.com

Christianbook.com

 

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/

A Workhorse of Lockman Foundation is the NASB Large Print Ultrathin Bible in Black Genuine Leather.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lockman Foundation, they are responsible for the New American Standard Bible translation.  (NASB)  They keep the copyright so it doesn’t get changed.  They are not in it for the money.  They are a non-profit corporation.  The money goes back into making Bibles.

The NASB is my favorite translation because of the accuracy.  When you look up Greek words and compare them to how the NASB has rendered them in English, I think you will find that it is the most reliable translation out there.  I encourage you to read up on the history of the Lockman Foundation.  I am encouraged when I see how God used Dewey and Minna Lockman to spread His word.

This typeset is one of the most popular typesets Lockman Has produced.  It is a favorite among the NASB fans.  There are plenty of good reasons for this.  First it is a pretty good sized font coming in at 10 pt.  Second, it is arranged in a double column, verse format, with center column references.   Third, it is a modern typeset.  It is clear and sharply printed.  These are the top reasons why it is so popular.

The text block is smyth-sewn.  This means that instead of what is called a, “perfect binding” which is, stacking the papers together, cutting the ends, and then gluing them together at the spine.  They stack up pamphlets called signatures.  These are stacked up and sewn to signature tapes.  Then, they are sewn to each other as well.  The spine is sometimes glued to reinforce it.  A smyth-sewn binding holds together much longer because the pages are sewn together, and sewn to cords or tapes in the spine.   Glued bindings often lose pages from the front and back of the book, as the glue loses its flexibility, and hardens.  A sewn binding opens better, and it stays open, once it is opened.

This Bible was shipped to me gratis for review.  It arrived packaged in a cardboard box with paper packing.  It was not damaged during shipping.  It comes in a two piece retail box that should be retained for storage.  This Bible looks like it will be heavy, but it isn’t.  It is pleasant to hold and read.  It isn’t too heavy or big, even though you get a nice size font.  The cover is genuine leather, not to be confused with more expensive cowhide/calfskin, or less expensive bonded leather.  Genuine leather is a good durable choice in Bible covers.  This Bible is case bound.  The corners are cut and glued well.  The vinyl liner matches the cover in color.  The front of the Bible has a presentation page as well as family records pages.  These are printed on a glossy paper.  Sometimes ink will smudge so make sure if you write in pen on these that you allow the ink to dry before you close it.  Maybe pat them with a tissue as well.  Then, there is a section about the translation.  It is pretty informative.  You should read it at least once if you never have.  The text of this Bible is as I mentioned before, a double column, verse format, with center column references.  The NASB has over 95,000 cross references.  This makes it an extremely useful reference Bible.  This is a black text edition.   That means all of the words are printed in black text.  Some Bibles are red letter editions.  Those have the words of Jesus printed in red.  Well, since the entire word of God is God’s word, we should have it all printed in red, or we could just print it all in black.  The paper is decent quality.  For the price of this Bible you really do get a lot.  There is a pretty good sized concordance at the end.  In the back are eight, colored maps printed on the same glossy paper as the presentation and family records pages.  I would recommend this Bible for anyone looking for a good reference Bible that will get used.  It will provide you with a good translation and a utilitarian functionality.  Since it isn’t a premium Bible, and it is pretty tough, you don’t have to be afraid of hurting it.  You can purchase them here.

 

 

ISBN-13: 9781581351316

A Tome of Tomes, The Lockman NASB New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem.

tome of tomes, get it?  Well, I thought it was funny.

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The Bible has been called the, “Book of books.”  This Bible gives you the impression that it is a, “Tome of Tomes.”  It is large and substantial.  The size of this thing is not in vain.  The paper is terrific, the print is great, and the binding is sewn.  Not to mention all of the 436 interesting photographs. (Yes, they are from real photographs, not pictures snapped by a teenager with their phone, while on vacation.) The photographs are from the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  They give you the feel that you are looking at an Israel before modern tourism.  Of course there was tourism in Israel back then.  These are just lacking modern accoutrements. The pictures help you to connect the places that you are reading about, to their actual locations.  The photographs enrich the readers experience.  I don’t know of any other Bible out there like this one.  It isn’t really a family Bible.  It isn’t one that I would take to Church, or carry around, due to the size, but it definitely scratches an itch for those of us who want to see the sites.  It fills a niche that leaves it with little competition.  There are archeological Bibles with pictures, but there is a distinct difference in their purpose, design, and layout.

It is also appealing because of the cover.  I realize it is not genuine, tooled leather.  It is a synthetic cover, but it does a good job of masquerading as an ancient tome that you discovered in an old library, far from home.  That makes it kind of fun to have and put on display.  I put it on the coffee table for a while and now it is on the mantle.  Here is what the description on Lockman Foundation’s page says about it,

From Sacralion Publishing House, Includes 436 pictures of Holy Places taken between the middle 19th – early 20th centuries. These images are spread throughout the whole biblical text and correspond exactly to the specific verses in the Holy Bible.

Features include, Concordance, Maps, Full Column Cross References and notes, Verse Format, Black Letter, Two Column Text, Photograph Index,  Two Marker Ribbons, Old Testament Genealogy Tables, and Illustrations.

Lockman Foundation credits Sacralion Publishing House with the NASB New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem.  If you are interested in them you can check out their pages here and here.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the NASB translation of the Bible, I can assure you it is one of, if not the most accurate translations out there.  Lockman Foundation is dedicated to being loyal to God in their translation work.  You won’t find any gender inclusive agenda with them.  Some people say it is a bit more difficult to read, but I have never experienced that.  I have found it an accurate translation that conveys the majesty of God’s word in a modern English translation.

So without further eloquence I will now show you the pictures.

The Bible arrived packaged in two boxes.  One was inside the other cushioned with paper.  I imagine this was due to the size and weight of this Bible.  It arrived undamaged and in good condition.

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It was shrink wrapped and labeled.

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The spine is hot stamped with, “Holy Bible” at the top, “The New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem” next, and then, “Updated New American Standard” and finally at the bottom, “Sacralion Publishing House.”  The front cover is stamped with, “Holy Bible.”  As well as being gilded it is ornately decorated like the cover.

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As I mentioned earlier the synthetic cover is stamped to look like tooled leather.  It does add to the aesthetic value of the Bible as well as the tactile experience.  Of course this leads one to wonder what this Bible would look like with a tooled leather cover.

The first few pages are an, “Introduction to the New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem.”

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Then we have, “A note to readers.”

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The, “List of Photographic Illustrations” in the front of the Bible is very helpful in being able to match a photograph to scripture and its real location, as well as the page number it is on.

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The Bible is wonderfully formatted.  It is a joy to read.  The double column, verse format has a  center column reference.  The center column is black text on a grey background.  The font is printed sharply and well inked against the cream colored paper.  The paper is very opaque.  There is virtually no ghosting making this one of the least distracting Bibles to read.

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There are two ribbon markers that are quite different from what I am accustomed to.  They aren’t flat.  They are round.  The ends are frayed, and it looks like they are supposed to be this way.  I have a Greek New Testament that has the same style ribbon marker.  It was bound in Germany.  Since both came new out of the packaging like this and I have seen others like this, I assumed this is the style.  One is a white and the other is blue.

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The photographs are black and white.  They are placed with relevant scriptures to help the reader connect to what they are reading.  Here is an example of some of the photographs you’ll see in this Bible.

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The binding on this large Bible is sewn.  That is in my opinion a must for a large book of any kind.  It enables a book of this size to fully open.  At the end of the Bible is a Concordance, The Old Testament Genealogical Tables, and 11 maps.  I think that this is a compelling enough edition that every home library should have one of these.

If you want to order one of these you can find them here Lockman.org and here Amazon.com and here Christianbook.com

ISBN: 0984234306
ISBN-13: 9780984234301

Do you want a large print compact NASB? Review of the Lockman Foundation Large Print Compact Text Edition in Burgundy Leathertex.

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Review of the Lockman Foundation Large Print Compact Text Edition in Burgundy Leathertex.

As usual Lockman did a fine job of packing and shipping the Bible to me.

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This edition is not expensive.  If you have high expectations you will be disappointed.  This Bible sells for about $20.00 it is produced in China.

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I’m not making excuses here, but there are some things you need to consider when criticizing a Bible.  I know some people have complained about the print and the paper on this edition.  They aren’t wrong.  The paper could be a bit more opaque or the print could be a bolder type face.  It would be much easier on the eyes if that were the case.

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What would the consequences of that be?  Well, if the font were a bolder type face and stayed 9 point, it would take up more space on the page necessitating more pages.  This edition is already pretty thick at about 1 3/16” not to mention that they have already taken out the references and made it single column paragraph format.

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There isn’t much in the way of helps either.  There aren’t any maps to remove to make this thinner.  So what about the paper?  Well, same problem if you make a thicker paper that is a higher g.s.m. then the Bible gets thicker.  It’s just the laws of physics in a finite world folks.  I hate to be a bummer.

This Bible tries to fill a niche that definitely is there.  I’ve heard many people complain that they want a nice clean, compact, text edition of the NASB in paragraph format.  The Cambridge Clarion is pretty close, but it costs almost $200 dollars in goatskin.  You could opt for the calf split leather for around $105-$115 but that is still pretty expensive.  So let’s look at what you are getting for $20.00 instead of what you aren’t getting.

This edition has 9 point font, the words of Christ in red arranged in a single column text format with limited footnotes at the bottom of the page.

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It has a sewn binding and is covered in leathertex which is modern synthetic leather.  It has a cross stamped on the front with a channel around the perimeter.

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On the spine is printed, “New American Standard Bible” in large letters from one end to the other.

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The page edges are gilded.  There is one ribbon marker that matches the burgundy color of the cover.  The ribbon is pretty thin and narrow.  The inner liner is vinyl and color matched to the cover.  It is glued down.  There are decorative head and foot bands.  You have a presentation page printed on Bible paper and not card paper.  Then, you have the copyright page, followed by the foreword with translation explanation.  Before the text begins you have a table of contents.  After the text of the Bible you have one page of the, “Parables of Jesus” then, four pages of, “Important Events in Christ’s Life According to the Gospels” three pages of, “God’s Promises” and next, two pages of, “Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Christ” and lastly, one page of, “The Miracles of Jesus.”  The outside cover closed measures 7 5/16” long by 5 1/4” wide by 1 3/16” thick.

This is exactly what it is labeled.  You can’t expect it to be everything you wanted in a Bible.  There are going to be compromises when you make a large print, compact, text edition.  I know this review sounds like an apology.  I really wanted to like this Bible, but the truth is that it is a bit hard on the eyes due to the seemingly skinny font and thin paper.

For the money though, it is an excellent value and the perfect size to carry with you.  The font is much larger than a 6 point font and you really haven’t gained that much in size over a traditional compact edition.  I would recommend this Bible for people with good eyes that aren’t going to do long reading sessions.  It would be good for break room reading or whenever you have a few minutes.

ISBN: 1581351569

ISBN-13: 9781581351569

So You Would Like to Compile Your Own Study Bible? A Review of the NASB Wide Margin Reference Bible, Black Edge-Lined Goatskin Leather, Red Letter Text Edition.

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I like to keep a few of my Bibles unsullied and free of notation.  With some high quality Bibles it seems wrong or sinful to make marks in them.  It feels like an affront to the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into them.  While other Bibles I own are marked up as if a child with a box of crayons were set free on them.  I feel no shame in marking up my $30 Chinese made NASB Ultrathin.  It is a good sturdy Bible, but obviously there are not aesthetics there demanding appreciation.  So margin notes, underlining, and highlighting abounds.

The Cambridge Wide Margin is a strange Bible.  It confounds my sensibilities.  It is a fine Bible, but it demands that you use it like a workhorse.  Moreover, the moment you start using it, you begin to appreciate the craftsmanship, as you never would have, without the resources predisposed for your notation.   Besides the 1 5/16” outside margin, you have 32 pages of ruled note paper in the back, and blank index pages with alphabetical headings, so you can compile an index of your own as well.  To have a wide margin Bible is one thing, all you need is wide margins, but to have a Bible that you can utilize to make your own study Bible is another.

When I took this Bible out of the box and first held it I was concerned that it was too wide.  That was my first impression.  I failed to take into consideration the purpose of this Bible.  I put the Wide Margin next to my MacArthur Study Bible and was a bit shocked to see that it was only very slightly wider.  This type of Bible is meant to be written in.  Its natural habitat should be a well-lit desk or table.  The type of work that is going to be needed to complete the endeavor the owner of this Bible has embarked on will take many several hour sessions of focused study and notation.  I don’t see that happening from one’s easy chair.  No, a task this daunting requires a quiet well lit sanctuary alone with God’s word.  Picture a monk hunched over, with quill in hand, doing a scribe’s work by candle light in some cold stony abbey, or perhaps his modern counterpart the scholarly theologian, at some stuffy seminary quartered away in an office, in much the same fashion as the monk, only with better lighting, heating, and cooling.  Well, that might be how you would see yourself using this Bible for its intended purpose if you were so bold.

Bold enough to actually put your thoughts down on this beautiful Bible paper.  It is nice opaque and over 30 gsm.

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The quality of the paper will help to keep your notes from bleeding through the page.  The color of the paper is off white making for a good contrast between it and the sharply printed text.  The text is 8 point font in black and the words of Christ are in red.  The red text is printed uniformly and sharply like the black.  The text is arranged in a double column paragraph format with center column references.

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If the references weren’t there the outer margins could have been closer to two inches, giving you more room for your notes.  As it is the references are useful.  I think the only way you could do more with a Bible is if you purchased a loose leaf Bible.  Most of us will probably opt for a wide margin instead.

In the front of the Wide Margin you will find a presentation page, an introduction to the translation, and table of contents.

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The Wide margin includes as previously mentioned 32 pages of ruled paper,

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a concordance,

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and a blank index section along with 15 color maps and map index in the back.

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The maps are in color and printed on a flat paper instead of a glossy paper.  The glossy paper tends to crack and tear.  It is better to have these features printed the way they are.  There are two flat and wide ribbon markers in this Bible helping you keep your place.

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This is especially helpful considering the kind of work one would be doing with this Bible.  The page edges are art gilded with red under gold.

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The front cover is imprinted with the words, “Holy Bible” in gold and the spine is imprinted with, “Holy Bible” at the top, “New American Standard” immediately under that, “Wide Margin Edition” in the middle, and “Cambridge” at the bottom.  These are all printed in gold.

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The cover on this edition is crafted from black goatskin leather.  It has a natural grain that is soft to the touch and comfortable to hold.  It is not slick and shiny like some less expensive covers made from pigskin leather.

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The inside cover is edge lined and sewn to the outer cover.

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The edge lined goatskin cover coupled with the fine smyth-sewn binding make this Bible very durable and supple.

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This Bible opens easily no matter where you start and lays flat fresh out of the box.

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If hold it in one hand you will find that it drapes over your hand.

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The Wide Margin is printed and bound by Jongbloed of the Netherlands.  They are known for their craftsmanship in printing and binding fine Bibles.

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As usual Cambridge has excelled in producing a high quality Bible that will set the standard for all other wide margin editions from other publishers.  They have provided a target to aim for with their NASB Wide Margin in black goatskin leather.  I have seen very few wide margin editions that come close to the Cambridge one.  I hope that other publishers will rise to the challenge and start manufacturing their Bibles with the concept that it is God’s word and not solely a product to be carelessly mass produced.

In the picture below you can see the Wide Margin compared to the NASB MacArthur Study Bible.  This should give you an idea about the size of it.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black  Hand Size 004

In these pictures you can see the Wide Margin on the bottom of a stack of Cambridge Bibles.  On top is the NASB Clarion, then the KJV Concord, and finally the Wide Margin.

Evidence KJV LCBP Red Wide Margin LCBP Black  Hand Size 002

 

Here are some links to retailers selling this Bible

amazon.com

Christianbook.com

evangelicalbible.com

NS746:XRME

isbn: 9780521702652

A Review of the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible, in Genuine Leather, Burgundy.

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Hello, 14 point font! This is definitely what the Doctor ordered if your eyes aren’t what they used to be.

The giant print NASB was delivered to my house, as usual from Lockman Foundation’s sales branch, www.americanbiblesales.com  it was packed in a cardboard box with paper as packaging material.  It was sufficiently safe from harm.

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Inside the box was a two piece retail box.  I would suggest holding onto it for storage.  Once opened, I was presented with a layer of plastic wrapping that had to be defeated before I could get this beauty out to examine it.

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Once the plastic was discarded, I was pleasantly greeted by the familiar smell of a nice leather cover.  There are numerous Bibles out there that say they have a genuine leather cover, but they look like and feel like bonded leather.  They have a fake grain pressed into them and their covers look shiny.  Not this big boy, the cover on this has nice texture and tactile feel to it.  Honestly, for the small price of this Bible I’d expect a cheaper feeling cover.  I thought the burgundy color was just right as well, not brazen, but still different than the venerable black.

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The spine of the Bible has the words, “Holy Bible” at the top.  Immediately below is, “New American Standard Bible Updated Edition.”  At the bottom is, “Foundation Publications” and the NASB logo.  Above them are the words, “Giant Print.”  There are decorative lines separating the words.

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The cover has a lined pressed into it around its perimeter for decorative purposes.  It adds a nice touch to finish it off.

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The inside cover is lined with a vinyl liner that is color matched to the cover. It is glued down over the corners and edges of the cover.

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The text block is firmly attached to the cover.  I noticed no problems with fit and finish.  It looked pretty good for a Bible printed and bound in China.

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The binding for that matter is a sewn binding.  It is a tad bit tighter than some of the other ones that Lockman Foundation puts out.  This is neither a draw back or a benefit as far as function goes.  The Giant Print edition opens flat and is pleasant to use.

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The sewn binding will help ensure years of use.  The Giant Print Bible maintains typical 6 ½” x 9 ¼” for the width and height, but is a tad bit thicker at 1 ¾” It is a little heavier than your typical reference Bible, but not by much.  Even with the slight size difference it is still pretty easy to hold and read.

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The page edges are gold gilded.

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The paper is a decent quality standard Bible paper 28 gsm.  It doesn’t have a problem with text ghosting.  I think Lockman must have realized that if you are buying a Bible with humongous font it isn’t because you have good eyesight.  The Bible paper, 14 point font, and uniformly printed text, all aid in making this a very legible Bible without making it too cumbersome.

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Also you should note that this is a red letter edition.

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The text is in a double column verse format with references at the end of each paragraph. There are limited references, for a reference Bible.  This one has about 13,000 references.  I doubt that anyone considering a 14 point font giant print edition is worried about having a ton of references though.

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There is a ribbon marker that matches the color of the cover.  It is of average quality as far as ribbon markers go.

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In the end there is a 146 page Dictionary/Thesaurus/Concordance. It should come in handy.  There is enough there to be useful, but not so much as to unnecessarily add to the bulk.

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After that we have a section devoted to book introductions.  Each book in the Bible has a nice introduction to aid the reader in their studies.

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Also, a section on God’s promises is provided after the book introductions.

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“Where to find help when” and “Verses for reflection” appear at the very end before the color maps.

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I think the biggest cons here would be the size of the Bible. For the very frail and elderly this would have to rest on a table for them to read it.  However, most elderly people won’t have any trouble holding this Bible to read.  The con is a very slight one.  We all have to obey physics here.  If you want giant text you have to sacrifice something.  I don’t think I’ve seen a better job on a giant print edition to date.

The pros here are of course the 14 point font and the wonderful cover at a very reasonable price.   Could hardly believe I was holding a $50 Bible.  It could have been twice that.  A noteworthy thing is that the presentation and records pages in the front seem to be a flat paper as opposed to the glossy paper they have been made out of.  I hope that Lockman carries this over to the maps as well.  This flat paper doesn’t crack or tear as easy as the glossy paper they have been made of in the past.

If you are in the market for one of these Giant Print Bibles they can be had for around $50. If you are lucky you might find them on sale for less.  Here are a couple of links to make it easier.

http://www.americanbiblesales.com/search/isbnlist1.php?ISBN=1581351100&hilite=yes

http://www.amazon.com/Giant-Print-Reference-Burgundy-Genuine-Leather/dp/1581351097/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417034883&sr=1-1&keywords=9781581351095&pebp=1417034894361

http://www.christianbook.com/nas-giant-print-reference-leather-burgundy/9781581351095/pd/51097?product_redirect=1&Ntt=%209781581351095%20&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCG

ISBN: 1581351097