The Perfect Size Bible to Sit and Read, The Cambridge KJV Concord Reference Bible in Black Edge-Lined Goatskin Leather, Red Letter Edition.

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Before I get into the vital features of this Bible I want to expound on its subjective qualities that have endeared it to me. At first glance most people won’t notice the exceptional quality of this Bible until they pick it up and give it a closer look.  Some folks won’t even notice even after picking it up.  That is not to say the Cambridge Concord Reference Bible is average or plain.  It is because the Concord is how a Bible is supposed to be.  It is the quintessential archetype of reference Bibles.  It smells like a Bible, it looks like a Bible, and it feels like a Bible.  When I pick it up to read from, I don’t have to struggle with it.  It does exactly what it should do.  It stays out of the way and allows me to focus on reading God’s word.  Everything about it is conducive to that end.

For me, it is the perfect size and weight to hold in one hand. I can comfortably read it while sitting in my favorite chair.  It isn’t heavy or unwieldy enough to require being laid on a table or desk.  It isn’t so small as to necessitate being held close.  It is not a thick Bible, yet contains many references and some helps.

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It is not printed on such light paper that the pages curl up and blow around while you are trying to read.  The pages are not a bright white.  They are off white.  Bright white pages tend to make my eyes strain during long durations of reading the word.  The India paper is strong and opaque.

There is approximately 7/16ths of an inch in the margins for note taking.

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

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

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Even with the references, 128 page Bible Dictionary, Concordance, Glossary, and 15 color maps, the Concord maintains a thin profile without sacrificing paper quality.  The pages are art gilded.  An art gilded page edge compared to a gilded page edge looks a bit more attractive.  It gives the page edges a red tint behind the gold color.  Before they put the gold colored aluminum foil on the page edges they first coat them with a red ink.  Then they apply the gold color gilding.  When the Bible is closed the edges show gold, when the Bible is open you can see the red show through the gold.

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The binding, outside cover, and inside liner, make it supple and comfortable to hold.  This one is edge lined not case bound.  It is rigid enough to not flop around like some unlined Bibles do, while it maintains flexibility with its synthetic liner that is stitched to the outside cover edges with black thread.

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The Binding is a smyth-sewn binding done by Jongbloed in the Netherlands.  They are famous for their quality work and history of Binding Bibles.  Currently, most luxury Bibles are bound by Jongbloed.  A sewn binding is a must in my opinion.  If you hope to hand a Bible down to your children and for them to use it a sewn binding is the only option.  With a sewn edge lined binding all of the pages are stacked in separate pamphlets called signatures.  These are then stacked and sewn to tapes or strings in the spine of the Bible as well as being sewn to each other.  This is why you don’t have the front and back pages falling out of a sewn binding like you would with a glued case bound perfect binding where the pages are cut, then stacked, then rubber cemented together.  Those pages are not connected to each other in any way.  If you bend the spine in a glued Bible, eventually pages will start falling out.  Not so with a sewn binding.  If you take care of it and treat it with respect it will last and last.  The other benefit of this binding is the functionality of it.  The Concord lays flat right out of the box.

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The cover doesn’t flop up and get in the way.  The covers can be rolled backwards and out of the way even.  I wouldn’t do this as a practice, but that is how flexible this Bible is.  This particular Bible is a red letter edition.

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That simply means that the words of Jesus are printed in red text, including places where He is quoted by the apostles.  Some people find this to be a very helpful feature.  The Concord has two black ribbon markers.  They are good quality without being too thick.

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I have had some Bibles with thicker markers that actually imprint on the pages they are between.  I have had other Bibles with markers that were so thin that they crinkled up and are almost useless.  It is very unattractive to open the Bible up to crinkled pages or markers.  The Concord has neither problem.  The Bible ships in a clamshell type retail box.  I would keep the Box for storage.  This Bible is to supple to stand on its edge.  It should be laid flat on a flat surface when not in use.  There was a slight problem with the shipping.  You can read about that here.

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Cambridge has assured me they are looking into this and it shouldn’t happen again.  This Bible is as pretty close to being perfect.  If Cambridge would produce this in an NASB I would be satisfied.

Here are a few good places on the web to purchase this Bible if you are in the market.

evangelicalbible.com

Amazon.com

Christianbook.com

Cambridge.org

Here are a few pictures of the Concord compared to the TBS Westminster

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Over all, I found the Concord to be a superlative Bible. It stands out from the mass produced Chinese and Korean Bibles as an example of what they should be aiming for.

KJV Concord Reference Bible, Black Edge-Lined Goatskin Leather, Red Letter Text KJ566:XRE

Black Goatskin Leather RCD266

isbn: 9780521512978

Review of the Holman, New King James Version, (NKJV) Large Print, Personal Size, Reference Bible, in Brown Genuine Cowhide, Indexed, Red Letter Edition.

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Not too many Bibles from large publishers like Holman surprise me. This one is the exception.  I am accustomed to receiving Bibles from big publishers that are for lack of a better term, “disposable.”  Many of them seem to make Bibles that you can use for a couple of years and then have to throw it away when it begins to fall apart.  This Bible truly surprised me.  It came in the mail packed in a white plastic bag-elope.  I was immediately expecting some substandard, mass produced, mail abused, Bible.  I opened the bag and didn’t notice any damage to the box…  bonus!  I was glad that the corners weren’t mashed.  I opened the box (keep the box for storage) and was presented with black construction paper.

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I seriously hoped that wasn’t the cover.  Upon closer inspection I determined that the black construction paper was there to protect the supple and soft genuine cowhide cover.  It smelled like a new leather jacket and the texture was very pleasant.

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One of the most important parts of a Bible is the binding.  Naturally I checked that next.  I was pleased to see that it had a sewn binding.  This makes a Bible last longer and lay flat when you want to read it.

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Have you ever had to struggle against an intrusive and rude cover made of bonded leather, always trying to close on you?  Have you ever had a fake leather cover get stained, scuffed, or torn?  Well I have, and that is why I love genuine leather and goatskin covers with sewn bindings so much.  This Bible’s chocolate brown colored leather cover is lined with a vinyl sheet matching the cover’s color.  The lining is glued down.  This is pretty typical.  I was hoping to see it lined with a higher quality material sewn to the cover, but for the price of this Bible and the features it has I can’t complain.

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This Bible can be purchased for about $48.00 on a couple of different web sites. Christianbook.com has it here and Amazon.com here.  I was a bit surprised to see that this Bible was made in China.

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I was surprised because they seemed to have put it together pretty well.  There is a slight problem with the binding at the bottom, but that could be one of the drawbacks of having it banged around during shipping from China to the States.  It didn’t look like a manufacturing problem as much as shipping damage.  The pages are gilded and indexed.

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The indexes caught my eye as they are rectangular with rounded shoulders.  The usual ones are crescent shaped.  The New Testament ones were red and the Old Testament ones were black.  The spine is gilded with the, NKJV in a circle at the top, and, “Holy Bible” in the middle, with Holman’s logo at the bottom.  The spine has decorative hubs.

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When you open this Bible up you first have the normal presentation and records pages as well as the publishers information.  Then there is some info on the NKJV translation and a page with the plan of salvation.  I was expecting cheaper paper that was more translucent, smaller font, and more ghosting. (text from the page behind showing through)  I was very pleasantly surprised again.  The paper was pretty opaque for a less expensive Bible.  Well, even for some more expensive Bibles it was pretty opaque.

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The font looks to be twelve point and is clear and legible.  The Bible is a double column, paragraph format with some foot notes and references at the bottom of the page.  This was a smart move.  Doing it this way enabled them to print some large font while keeping the size down.  This was going to become my daily reader until my dear wife picked it up.  I think to quote her she said, “Oooh this is so soft and nice…  Can I have it?”  What can you do? This Bible has one ribbon marker matching the color of the cover.

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It opens nicely and is very easy to read.  I love the accuracy of the NKJV.  This Bible has some colored maps at the end.  I highly recommend this Bible for those looking for a daily reader without a bunch of distractions.  It is comfortable to hold and easy on the eyes with the opaque paper and large font.  All of this with the low price makes it an excellent value and asset.

Dimensions: 8.13 X 5.38 X 1.13 (inches)
ISBN: 1433613190
ISBN-13: 9781433613197

I received this Bible free of charge for the purpose of writing a review and am not obligated to write a positive review.

Review of the HCSB Study Bible, in Black Deluxe Leather

First I’d like to start out by saying that study Bibles in general have some benefits and some drawbacks. One of the great advantages is that you have a set of commentaries with your Bible to be carried with you wherever you go.  One of the obvious drawbacks is that all those notes and features add to the bulk of the Bible making it heavier and bigger.  The size and weight isn’t the major drawback.  Most people expect that when they are shopping for a study Bible.  The major drawback of course comes into play when you ask, “Who wrote my commentary?” For instance if your theology is very liberal and intolerably inaccurate then you would absolutely hate the, “MacArthur Study Bible.”  You would probably love a study Bible caters to your liberal theology.  The downfall of having a study Bible with just one mans commentary is that you just get his point of view, and if he is a false teacher you get more false teachings. The benefit is if he is a good teacher, you get very focused and direct answers to difficult passages.

When you have a study Bible where hundreds of theologians were utilized for the commentaries, you end up with what could be a mixed bag of theologies. Unless, that study Bible is put out by an organization or denomination with set doctrine, then they would make an attempt to have the commentaries conform with their doctrines.

Well what if the denomination has a split opinion about some doctrines, like oh, I don’t know… perhaps the Southern Baptist Convention? You guessed it, you’ll have some Reformed doctrines and some Arminian doctrines espoused. I’m not knocking the SBC, after all I’m a member. I’m not knocking this study Bible either. So far I quite enjoy it. I think it is kind of a, “Jack of all trades, master of none” study Bible. I don’t mean to imply a lack of direction or focus on the part of the publishers.  I think that this study Bible will fit a very large cross section of evangelical Protestantism.  This can frustrate some or be refreshing to others. Like I said just a bit ago, I am enjoying it. I myself am in the Reformed camp when it comes to soteriology, but I am not the type of person who cries heretic when I see an Arminian walking down the street. With that all out of the way, we’ll start by taking a look at the construction of this Bible.

The most important physical feature of this Bible is the sewn binding.  I verified with Holman that in fact, this does have a sewn binding.  You can see here how the binding bends in the spine wherever it is opened.  A sewn binding bends and the Bible can open flat because the pages don’t have to bend around a fixed glued point.  The pages are also set up in journals and stacked before they are sewn to binding straps (tape)

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With this method of binding comes some added expense to the consumer, but in my opinion it is well worth it for durability and usability.  The pages don’t fall out of the front or back of the Bible as easily with a sewn binding.

The leather they use here is supple with a good grain.

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It just drapes over your hand.

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Here you can see it rolled up on itself.

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I don’t usually treat Bibles like this, but I wanted you to get an idea of how well bound this one is.  Most large study Bibles will fall apart if you do this with them.  Because of the sewn binding and the quality cover this Bible is going to last a long time.  It has a lifetime warranty from Holman.

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The inside cover does not appear to be lined at first glance, but upon closer inspection you can see that it is lined with some very flexible material that doesn’t crease like the normal vinyl and card paper you typically see.  I like that feature a lot.  It makes the outer cover that much more enjoyable.

The Bible has two ribbon markers.  One is kind of a gold color and the other is black.  They used good heavy ribbons instead of the thin cheap ones that fold up and crease.

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Another part of the binding process I truly appreciate is the first page being glued in further up and away from the gutter, keeping it more securely locked into the cover.

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As you can see the pages are edge gild.  The spine is gild as well.

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If you are like me you may be curious as to what exactly makes those pages so shiny.  I always thought it was gold leaf.  I e-mailed Holman and they referred me to their expert.  He told me that it is actually a gold colored foil made from colored aluminum particles.  The page edges get sanded and then the foil is rolled on.  The heat that is generated by the sanding process makes the inks that are printed on the pages sticky.  So that is why the pages stick together.  Here is a link to a video that they sent me showing how the machine works;

When I received the Bible it was packaged in a retail box.  It got banged around a bit during shipping and one of the corners of the cover was a bit bent.

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This Bible is a double column format with center column references.  It is a black text edition.  The font looks to be a 9 pt. font.  It is printed clearly with good contrast.  The ghosting is minimal even though the pages are very thin.  This Bible is made here in the U.S.

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I think the blue headings and chapter numbers are a nice touch.  The reference chapter and verse numbers are also in blue.  It seems to make them easier to locate for me.  You can also see there is a colored band separating the text from the study notes at the bottom of the page.  The inside of this band is utilized for more references.  It is all quite readable and there is a plethora of information.

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In the picture above you can see one of the word study boxes in the lower left of the page.

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In the picture above you can see one of the colored maps that is spread throughout this Bible in addition to the typical maps at the back.

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These closeup pictures should give you an idea of how clearly the text is printed.

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The page margins are pretty good sized as you can see in the picture below.  They look to be about 9/16ths of an inch.

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I can’t get over how many full colored features this Bible has.  It is chocked full of stuff.  This could be distracting if you are just wanting to read, but if you are studying it could add a number of side studies to your use.

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I know that there are people out there like me who like to see as much as they can before they plunk a chunk of change down on a purchase so I’ve included a photo gallery at the bottom of this review so you can see the features for yourself.  There are book introductions, outlines, topical concordance, presentation pages, records pages, lined not pages, one and three year reading plans, word studies, essays, and on and on and on.  This isn’t a cheap Bible.  It is a good value for all of the features and the quality binding.  You are getting what you paid for here.  I hope you enjoyed the review.

Here is a link to this Bibles page on Christianbook.com where it can be purchased.

You can also purchase it on Amazon.

This list of features comes from the Christianbook.com page for this Bible.  I noticed that some of the features listed there were different from the ones listed on the Holman site.  I think the Christianbook.com list might be more up to date.

Top-quality black cowhide binding
Online access to the HCSB Study Bible and Bible study resources
408 word studies
More than 100 photographs
59 timelines
59 maps
24 articles on practical and theological issues
Feature-length article on how to reaed and study the Bible
16 illustrations/reconstructions
15 charts
Four-color presentation pages
Two-column text setting
Center column references
One-year Bible reading plan
Topical subheads
Black letter text
Gold page edges
Lined pages for personal notes
Presentation page
Two ribbon markers
9.75″ x 7.00″ x 2.00″

The following information is from Holmans site.

Format: Cowhide Leather
Number of Pages: 2304
Vendor: Holman Bible Publishers
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 9.75 X 7.25 X 2.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1586404571
ISBN-13: 9781586404574
Availability: In Stock
References: Center Column
Text Layout: Double Column
Text Color: Black Letter

Review of the Trinitarian Bible Societies (TBS) Royal Ruby Text Bible with Zipper, Thumb Index, and Metrical Psalms in Black Calfskin Leather.

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I was looking for a nice compact Bible to carry with me at work.  Most of the Bibles I found were not of good enough quality.  They would not withstand daily use and carry.  I wanted one that had a smyth-sewn binding and was covered in genuine leather.  While scouring the usual online retail sites I kept finding the same low priced compact Bibles.  Don’t get me wrong, for the price a person could afford to replace them when they fall apart, but there are other problems with inexpensive value Bibles.  The paper is usually not Bible paper, the font is not printed sharply and clearly, the Bible is put together in China or Korea where the workmanship isn’t as conscientious, The Bibles are stiff and by the time you brake them in they are falling apart, the bonded leather cracks and swells, the bindings come unglued and pages start falling out, and so on.  If you are like I am you’d rather spend a few extra dollars and get a Bible that will become an old friend, or something you’ll be able to hand down to loved ones when you pass.  Something that you would have used so often that it takes on your scent and the wear and tear you cause remind your loved ones of your love for God’s word.  Maybe it will inspire them to open it up and read it as well.

So with all of that in mind I did a search for, “compact smyth-sewn Bible” and found out about a Bible publisher called, “Trinitarian Bible Society.”  We’ll refer to them as, “TBS” for the rest of the review.  I tried to visit their web page, but to my surprise it was closed for business due to it being Sunday.  This was a pleasant surprise and caused me to become even more curious about them.  I did some research and found this little gem.

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It is the TBS PS31UTZ/BK Royal Ruby Text Bible

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in black genuine calfskin leather

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with a zipper,

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thumb indexes,

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gold gild page edges,

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spine,

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and Holy Bible on the front cover,

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metrical Psalms,

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two ribbon markers,

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presentation page,

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dictionary of King James era words,

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reading plan,

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Bible paper, set by jongbloed and printed in Belarus,

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and in the Authorized King James Version.

I’d like to take a bit of time here to tell you a little about TBS.  They are a ministry based in England.  They use the money they make off of the sales to provide Bibles to those who can not afford them.  They only print the Authorized King James Version, so if you want a different version you might try Cambridge.  I sent them an e-mail and asked for a review copy.  They sent one gratis with no strings attached.

I really like the size of the Bible.

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It’s cover is a bit stiff as it is glued to card paper and then lined with vinyl.  The grain of the leather is pretty defined so that makes it easy to hold on to.

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The zipper is sewn to the semi-yap cover.  It does a good job of protecting the pages.

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The Bible feels like it is going to break in nicely.  It looks like it is put together well.  It fits in my hand easily and it is light weight enough to hold for long stretches of time.  The Bible having a zipper makes this Bible able to survive my B.D.U. pants pockets.  I don’t have to worry about it opening up and having the pages get wrinkled, bent, or mutilated.  The genuine calfskin is pretty tough so it is protected from getting scratched of torn.  The font is a bit on the small side at 6.5 point, but it is a compact Bible.

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If you have descent vision it shouldn’t be a problem.  Mine is about 20/25 and I can read it fine.  I didn’t notice any production errors or defects.  The Bible came packaged in a cardboard box packed in foam packing shells.

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The Bible itself was in a cardboard sleeve, neatly wrapped in clear plastic.

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One might save the cardboard slip case for storage purposes.  Unlike the card paper sleeves that many value Bibles come in this case can provide a service to the owner rather than being thrown away.

I hope this review has been helpful.

ISBN 9781862283527