Bible Reviews

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.

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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.

Bible Reviews

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

Bible Reviews

The Holman HCSB, Deluxe Ultrathin Reference Bible in Black Genuine Top Grain Cowhide, is an Excellent Idea, but Poorly Executed.

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I would love to give this Bible a glowing review. It is a good idea. My favorite size Bibles have been ultrathins. They are generally pretty portable and handy. An ultrathin with, sewn binding, some references, top grain cowhide leather cover, edge lined binding, opaque paper, and legible typeset is a wonderful Bible to have. If done correctly, they could sell them as fast as they could make them. Like I said earlier though, the design needs to be properly executed.  There have been some problems with both review copies I was sent. The first copy arrived with the gold stamping on the spine missing in spots,

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the tail band was sliced, one of the end pages was dog eared, the cover was not glued down to the inside liner well enough, this allowed the pages to get between the liner and cover, and the pages were all stuck together. The gold stamping would have been enough to send this Bible back as it is fairly expensive. The second Bible sent to me to replace the first one has leather debris sandwiched between the cover and the liner, leaving two lumps on the front cover.

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These will cause the cover to wear out and eventually put holes in it. That would have been enough to warrant sending that Bible back as well. Generally, I am very pleased with Holman Bibles. Many of their Bibles are produced in South Korea. This one was produced in China. Almost all of the incidents I’ve had with defects in workmanship or materials, have been with Bibles made in China. It doesn’t seem to matter who the American publisher is, whether it is Lockman, B&H, or Hendrickson when they make Bibles in China the quality control is problematic.

Where Holman stands above some of the other publishers is in their customer service. They have quickly and courteously supplied me with another copy, when I brought the defect to their attention. Some publishers were unwilling to replace defective copies. Lockman has replaced defective copies as well, but this review is of B&H.

If this Bible would have been produced without defects, with a higher quality liner, and end papers, it would have been worth the retail price. I would suggest that B&H stop making this Bible in China, and move the production to someplace with higher quality standards. This would have been a great Bible considering the ambition of the design. It was shipped in a cardboard box with paper packing.

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The retail box inside is a two piece box, that should be retained for storage.

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The Bible inside the box was wrapped in black construction paper to protect it during shipping. The cover is supposed to be top grain cowhide leather. It does feel very soft,

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but it has been pared pretty thin.

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I don’t know if Holman supplied the leather or allowed the Chinese binder to provide the leather. The liner looks like a synthetic material. It doesn’t glue well to the hide cover. The end papers are very thin as well. This might have been done to increase the flexibility of this Bible given that it is edge lined bound and not case bound. I appreciate what they were attempting to do, but the end papers just came off as cheap. I love when a Bible has a genuine, high quality hide as a cover. The smell and feel of a genuine hide, not to mention the durability, ensure many years of use. Combine that with a flexible sewn binding, and you have an easy opening Bible that lies flat on your table, or can be wrapped around itself, to be held in one hand for easy reading.

The line matching helps to keep the text legible in conjunction with the uniform printing and ink consistency.

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This is a double column paragraph format, red letter edition Bible.

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There is an oddity that puzzles me. They printed the book names and chapters on the bottom of the page, instead of at the top where it typically is located. It makes you pause for a moment when trying to turn to a specific scripture.  Chances are good that I could have been sent a Bible with zero defects and my review would have been extolling the virtues of this great little Bible.  Chances are, you might order it and receive a good copy.  I just happened to get tow in a row with defects.  The good news, is that Holman will make it right if you get a bad one.  If you really want an HCSB in ultrathin that is edge lined and covered with top grain leather, this is about one of your only choices.

Make sure to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible and its replacement on my flickr page.

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Bible Reviews

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

 

Bible Reviews

The NET Bible, Full Notes Edition, for Language Geeks or for all Bible Students?

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I was aware of this translation a while back, but haven’t had the time or ability to look into it until now.  I was gladly sent a copy of the, “NET Bible Full Notes Edition” covered with Tuscany style brown Cromwell bonded leather for review on my blog.  It was well packed in a cardboard box with paper packing.  Inside the shipping box was another two piece box containing the Bible.  The two piece box was not your typical retail box.  It was less sturdy.  You could retain it for storage, but I don’t think it will make a difference either way.
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The NET Bible was also wrapped in plastic, and was shipped with a book mark.
I was very curious about the notes and the results of the translation methods.  Let me begin by saying that I am a big fan of open access, whether it is software or public domain books and music.  The NET translation is available for free on the internet.  You can read their copyright information on their page.  With the knowledge that this work has been made available for free, I was inspired to do a little more research.  I found that there are some groups that hate this translation.  That would be you KJV onlyists, and some of your folks who are like me with their love for formal equivalent translations.  The formal equivalent lovers usually love formal equivalent translations because they love the word of God, and appreciate the hard work of translators.  Sometimes they are just Bible snobs. (Myself included)  The NET Bible doesn’t seek to be a formal equivalent, but I wouldn’t lump it in with agenda driven dynamic equivalents like the NRSV, NIV, or NLT.  The NRSV has, as part of their translation agenda, the direction to be gender inclusive, even if the text does not indicate doing so.  In my opinion the NIV has the same type of agenda, but watered down and minimized, so as to keep selling copies to the folks who don’t know anything about the agenda.  I thought the NLT was just extremely dumbed down, until I obtained a review copy.  It is just as gender inclusive as the NIV, if not worse.  The NET however, seems to be concerned with accurately conveying the intent of God in His progressive revelation.  So rather than changing a word based on a gender agenda, the translators would make changes based on how they understood the intended communication.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe they are honestly attempting to make a genuine dynamic equivalent true to God’s word.  It reminds me of the 1984 NIV in that regard, but not in how it reads.

From looking at this Bible’s size you might erroneously assume it is a study Bible.  With a cursory perusal you might think it is a reference Bible.  Both assumptions are somewhat incorrect.  Unlike a conventional study Bible this one is full of translation notes.  Notes that cite Hebrew and Greek texts, with explanations as to how and why the translators translated a passage the way they did.  There are notes besides the translation notes, but predominately the notes are about the translations.  These notes are not just every few pages, but instead are extensive.  There are approximately 60,932 notes.

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I couldn’t find any information about where the NET Bible was printed and bound.  I e-mailed the publisher and asked them.  They informed me that the, “NET Bibles were printed by World Wide Printing whose office is in Dallas, but the actual printing was done in Belarus.”  I thought that was interesting.  I have a TBS ruby text KJV that was printed in Belarus.  I wonder if they used the same printer.  I was pretty happy with the smyth-sewn binding.  It is a large Bible and the binding is good and flexible.

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There is one ribbon marker that matches the color of the cover.  It is a pretty good ribbon compared to the anemic, twisted, little things you find in most Bibles.

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The paper is as thick as it can be at 28 g.s.m. considering the bulk of this volume.  If it were thicker, this Bible would be as well, and it is already quite thick.  The paper is just opaque enough.  The page edges are gold gilt.

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The layout is double column, paragraph format, with the notes underneath.

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The font is a good compromise in size and legibility at 9.5 pt.  The notes are 7.5 pt. making them easy to read as well.  Since there are so many of them it is a good thing they are very legible.  The face is Times New Roman.  It works.  There are certain finite qualities that when changed cause necessary changes in other qualities.  If they would have used a larger or different font, then the Bible would have been even bigger.  Considering the publisher’s goal, I agree with their choices in design.

The end pages are marbled brown pattern, and pasted down to the bonded leather cover.

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The cover has an artificial texture to it.  It feels like it will withstand scratches, and abrasions better than some natural hide covers.  According to the publisher, the bonded leather used for this cover is the top of the line for this type of application.  They say the modern bonded leather is not the same old bonded leather of the past, that we have all come to dislike.  I am told that the leather fibers are bonded to polymer instead of paper like in the old fashioned bonded leather and that this cover could last more than 100 years.

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The corners are pretty typical.  This is a case bound Bible.  The spine is stamped with, “The NET Bible, with 60,932 notes, Bible.org.”

There are five sheets of card paper in the front and in the back, that could be utilized for notes.  Hebrew and Greek alphabet charts are included in the back.  The black and white maps in the back are nice, and they are bolstered by a unique set of satellite image maps printed in full color on a glossy paper.  These include a fold out to.

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Here is an excerpt from their description page,

“Full Notes Edition

The NET Bible is a completely new translation with tens of thousands of notes! Completed by more than 25 scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts this translation is the most accessible ever due to the unparalleled detailing in the notes and up-to-date language.

To read this translation along with all the notes go to net.bible.org where it was the first translation to be made available free online. You can read more about the NET Bible translation process, see sample pages and view the state of the art maps on bible.org. Or check out the short video about the development of the NET Bible.

“The NET Bible is ingenious. Its continuously updated translation, supported by an array of quality footnotes on the original languages, will be an invaluable resource for pastors, missionaries and well-trained laymen. Bringing instant access to the best research with just a few clicks, the NET Bible has truly brought a visionary form to a timeless function. It’s a great step in the Church’s preparation for the next millennium.” — Dr.Gene Getz

Full Notes Features: • All 60,932 translators’ notes
• Full color satellite maps of the Holy Lands
• 9.5 point font
Print Bible features: • Premium Cromwell Leather
• Premium Bible paper
• Premium Smyth sewn binding
• Gold gilded edges and a premium ribbon
Bible Specifications •Width – 6 3/4″
•Length – 9 5/8″
•Thickness – 2″ ”

This Bible seems to be for a niche of Greek and Hebrew students at first glance, but after using it for a while I can say that all Bible students could use the Full Notes edition of the NET Bible.  They have done an excellent job at explaining why they chose the words they chose during the translation.  You might not agree with them all of the time depending on your expertise or lack there of, but you can’t deny that they have well documented their work.  I would recommend this to any serious Bible student.  It comes in very handy.

Make sure to look at all of the pictures I took of this Bible on my flickr album.

ISBN-13: 978-0737501933

You can purchase your own copy at these sites,

Christianbook.com  Amazon.com  and the publisher’s site Bible.org

Apologetics · Bible Reviews · Theology

Not a Study Bible, Rather an NIV Reference Bible.

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On the front of the dust jacket of this Bible, the testimonial from Tim Keller is featured, “There are many Study Bibles, but none better.”  This is very misleading.  I have no idea why this quote is featured.  I would hope that there is some good reason why Zondervan did this.  Unfortunately, I can think of one and none has been provided.  This is most definitely not a Study Bible.  It is simply a Reference Bible with Book introductions, Concordance, and Maps.  In no twist of the imagination could this be considered a Study Bible.  If you are looking for a Study Bible, this is NOT one.

My guess, in my opinion, is that Zondervan knows the NIV has taken a serious hit, and as a result has a black eye.  It no longer has the credibility it once enjoyed.  It is not as popular as it once was.  Back in 2011 Zondervan released this gender inclusive mess of a dynamic equivalent in an attempt to sneak it by everyone.  They had the TNIV, and simply dropped the, “T” and changed a few more things to further comply with the translation agenda.  The Southern Baptist Convention caught on to what was happening and officially disavowed the translation.  Here is their resolution,

“WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople have trusted and used the 1984 New International Version (NIV) translation to the great benefit of the Kingdom; and

WHEREAS, Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House are publishing an updated version of the New International Version (NIV) which incorporates gender neutral methods of translation; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed our commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-16) and, in 1997, urged every Bible publisher and translation group to resist “gender-neutral” translation of Scripture; and

WHEREAS, This translation alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language; and

WHEREAS, Although it is possible for Bible scholars to disagree about translation methods or which English words best translate the original languages, the 2011 NIV has gone beyond acceptable translation standards; and

WHEREAS, Seventy-five percent of the inaccurate gender language found in the TNIV is retained in the 2011 NIV; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has passed a similar resolution concerning the TNIV in 2002; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2011 express profound disappointment with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House for this inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors to make their congregations aware of the translation errors found in the 2011 NIV; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we respectfully request that LifeWay not make this inaccurate translation available for sale in their bookstores; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community.”

Shortly after the Lutheran Missouri Synod did the same.  Here is the most important part of their statement as I see it,

“We find the NIV’s Committee on Bible Translation decision to substitute plural nouns and pronouns for masculine singular nouns and pronouns to be a serious theological weakness and a misguided attempt to make the truth of God’s Word more easily understood. The use of inclusive language in NIV 2011 creates the potential for minimizing the particularity of biblical revelation and, more seriously, at times undermines the saving revelation of Christ as the promised Savior of humankind. Pastors and congregations of the LCMS should be aware of this serious weakness. In our judgment this makes it inappropriate for NIV 2011 to be used as a lectionary Bible or as a Bible to be generally recommended to the laity of our church. This is not a judgment on the entirety of NIV 2011 as a translation—a task that would require a much more extensive study of NIV 2011—but an opinion as to a specific editorial decision which has serious theological implications”  You can read the entire statement here.

Here is a link to an excellent paper in the Westminster Theological Journal.   The article was written by Dr. Vern Poythress of Westminster Theological Seminary.  Dr. Poythress was also part of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version.  By prominently featuring Timothy Keller’s testimonial on the front of this Bible edition Zondervan is trying to do some damage control.  As most of you know Tim Keller also was faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary.  He and Poythress share much in the field of theology.  By getting his stamp of approval on this Bible I believe they were hoping to bring some of us back.  Admittedly, the only reason I requested this Bible for review, over the other ones offered is that his name was on the front.  I was curious if something had changed for the better.  I was disappointed.  Not only was this the same NIV, with all of the gender inclusive language, but it was NOT a Study Bible.

As far as the physical attributes of this Bible go, it is a pretty average to above average publication.  It is blue hard back.  It has a dust jacket.  It is printed in China.  It has two mediocre silver ribbon book markers.  It is a sewn, case bound book binding.  It is printed on good quality paper that is pretty opaque.  The type is clear and uniform.  It is 9 point font.  There is limited ghosting.  It is a double column, paragraph format, with references, concordance, and 14 color maps.  It is nothing special, nothing distinctive, just a good quality hardback.  If only they would revert back to the 1984 NIV and leave these other agendas behind.


ISBN-13: 9780310437956

Bible Reviews

The Apologetics Study Bible, in Black Genuine Leather, HCSB Translation, is not Your Usual Study Bible.

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Most people assume all study Bibles to be pretty much alike.  If you get one with a person’s name on it, more than likely, it will reflect that person’s theology.  If it doesn’t have someone’s name on it, then it is usually an eclectic grab bag of information.  Well, “The Apologetics Study Bible” is not your average study Bible.  Instead of just tossing in an abundance of information in some haphazard fashion or having one group’s theological presuppositions espoused, it systematically provides specific information about, the scripture, ethics, science, archaeology, philosophy, and non-Christian belief systems.  It does it in a very thoughtful manner.  I found the sections called, “twisted scripture” to be very helpful.

Just the list of contributors on this one had me sold on the idea; Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias, Phil Johnson, Chuck Colson, Norm Geisler, Josh McDowell, J. P. Moreland, and Hank Hanegraaff.  Not to mention the features; the easy to read HCSB text, presentation page,

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the two-color page layout for contrast, introductions and book outlines to each Bible book that focus on apologetics,

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double-column paragraph format in black 10 point text,

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translation footnotes, study notes that explain “problem” passages, sidebars on scriptures misused by cults, (twisted scripture) profiles of historic Christian apologists from Justin Martyr to C. S. Lewis, plan of salvation, lined pages for recording personal notes,

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silver page edges,

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5 full color maps, charts, and two ribbon markers, make this an excellent choice for the student polishing up their apologetics chops.  This Bible lives up to the name, “The Apologetics Bible.”

Every believer is called to give an answer for the hope that they have, we are supposed to evangelize, and make disciples.  This Bible definitely will help with the Great Commission.  Everyone should have a copy of this to refer to.  It puts some of the most expertly done work at your disposal.

This Bible was shipped to me in a cardboard box padded with paper.  It arrived undamaged and in good condition.  It was packaged in a two piece retail box that should be retained for storage.  The Apologetics Study Bible is 9 1/2″ x 7 1/4” x 1 1/2” it has a genuine leather cover.

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The cover is what you would expect from a genuine leather cover.  It is made from pigskin leather.  It is a bit shiny compared to calfsplit or cowhide leather, but not near as pricey, while offering superior quality to most synthetics and bonded leather covers.  The corners are machine cut, formed, and glued, so they are nice and uniform.  It is case bound with a sewn binding.  There are decorative head and tail bands.  The page gilt and stamp work is done in silver.  The font is uniformly inked and printed.  It is 10 point in size and is easy on the eyes.  The coloring of some of the elements on the page can be a bit distracting if you are a purist.  The paper seems to be opaque enough.  The study attributes of this Bible are the big features.  You are getting a lot for your money.  This Bible is a great value.

ISBN-13: 9781433602917

ISBN: 1433602911

 

Bible Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It was wrapped in paper inside the box.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RV655X  isbn: 9781107630932

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

Cambridge University Press

Amazon.com

Christianbook.com

Evangelicalbible.com

Bible Reviews

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