Bible Reviews · Bibles

The (2015) ESV New Classic Reference Bible in TruTone Synthetic Cover.


Let’s see what the 2015 New Classic Reference looks like, and compare it briefly to the edition it replaces.  I think you’ll find that there aren’t very many changes.  I ordered this Bible from Amazon.  It arrived in generally good shape.  It does not have a retail box.  Instead, it has a sleeve.  I prefer clamshell or two piece style boxes for storage. You tend to see clamshell style with premium Bibles, not value editions.  

After tossing the sleeve away, I scrutinized the cover.  I like synthetic covers more than bonded leather.  If I can afford them, I purchase ones that are edge lined and covered in goatskin leather.  This synthetic cover was not bad.  It was soft and flexible.  I did get a crease in it by folding it over.  Once you get the paper liner creased it shows through the cover.  I don’t know how durable it will be.  I’ll get back to you on that on in a couple of years.  There is a good lifetime warranty on these Bibles.  I’m not worried about service should anything go wrong.  





Here is the old edition in genuine leather





Both Bibles have family records pages and presentation pages in the front




One of the major qualities that I love about Crossway Bibles, is even their value Bibles use better paper than almost all of their competitors.  The paper in this thing is as good as some of the paper in the cost prohibitive premium Bibles.  It is very opaque and seems pretty heavy.  The old edition was printed on 24 pound (36 g.s.m.) Thincoat™.  The paper in the new edition is uncoated.  It remains the same weight.  It is whiter than the earlier edition which in comparison seems a little more off white.  It could be that since I’ve had the other Bible for a few years the paper has yellowed a bit, but I doubt it.  It is more likely that the coated paper of the earlier edition was responsible for the slight color difference.  



Here is a look at the previous edition.


There is a slight tradeoff when using a heavier paper.  The Bible, by necessity of finites becomes thicker.  That being said, I would much rather a Bible be thicker and very legible than be thinner and barely legible.  Ghosting is a real problem on thinner paper and can make daily reading a near impossible task.  The New Classic Reference is not too heavy or big.  It feels good to hold and read from.  The fact that it is a tad bit thicker doesn’t make it uncomfortable to use.  I find it to be subjectively, one of the most comfortable Bibles I’ve spent hours reading from.

Both the older edition and the new one, offer good contrast between the paper and the text.  The text is a modern setting of Lexicon font in 9 pt size.  It is sharp and crisp against the backdrop of the page.  This is a red letter edition with the words of Christ printed in red.  Some people like this feature and others think it detracts from the entirety of the word being inspired.  I don’t have an opinion either way.  If it is done well, I like it.  The red and black ink is consistent throughout.  

Here is the new one

Here is the old one


There are book introductions at the beginning of each book.  


This is pretty helpful without adding the bulk that a study Bible would have.  The New Classic Reference is laid out in a double column, paragraph format, with center column references.  


This is pretty standard, but again due to the paper quality, uniform printing, and smyth-sewn binding this Bible stands out.  I am thinking about rebinding it in goatskin leather.  It is an excellent candidate for rebind because of the low initial purchase price, paper, print, and the sewn binding.  If you couldn’t tell by now, this does have a sewn binding making it flexible and durable.  


It has one ribbon marker that matches the color scheme of the Bible.  It is a pretty thin ribbon.  


The spine has also been rounded.  


The older edition has a flatter spine that doesn’t appear rounded.  


The older edition was manufactured in the United States, while this one was manufactured in China.  As long as Crossway can ensure quality control, this shouldn’t be a problem.  Other publishers have not been able to, and have suffered the consequential negative effects to their reputations.



An excellent three column concordance is included in the back with 32, color maps and illustrations.  




The overall impression I got was that this is still the same reference Bible that so many people have loved over the years with some small changes.  The most important qualities have not changed.  It remains very legible, and easy on the eyes for long bouts of reading.  It wins, hands down over many other similarly priced Bibles due to the paper, print, and binding.  Throw in the formal equivalent English Standard Version (ESV) translation and you have a great reference Bible.

Make sure to check out all the pictures of the New Classic Reference here, and the old one here.

Here are the stats and info from the Crossway product page,

About the ESV New Classic Reference Bible

The ESV New Classic Reference Bible is a new edition of the first ESV Bible edition ever published in 2001—the ESV Classic Reference Bible. This practical and popular format combines the ESV text with a robust concordance and one of the most comprehensive and useful cross-reference systems available today—more than 80,000 references conveniently located in the center column on each page. This edition adds 32 pages of full-color maps of Bible lands and illustrations of historic biblical sites, structures, and objects for ready reference and insight. The ESV New Classic Reference Bible’s balance of helpful reference features and convenient size make it an ideal Bible for everyday use—at home, at church, at school, and on the road.

  • Size: 5.5″ x 8.4375″
  • 9.0-point type
  • 1,344 pages
  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • Words of Christ in red
  • More than 80,000 center-column cross-references
  • 32 full-color pages of maps and illustrations
  • Introductions to each Bible book
  • Extensive concordance
  • Ribbon marker
  • Presentation pages
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Lifetime guarantee


Format: TruTone
Page Count: 1,344
ISBN-10: 1-4335-4557-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4557-3
Trim Size: 5.5 in x 8.4375 in
Weight: 31.8 ounces
Published: January 31, 2015
Type Size: 9.0
Page Layout: Double Column
Additional Features: Sewn Binding



Lifetime Guarantee



Book intros


Gilded edges

Words of Christ Red

ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4557-3
ISBN-13: 9781433545573

American Made · economics

A Review of No-Mes Fingernail Clippers, American Made by Industrial Tool and Die Co. Inc. Happy Labor Day!

Today we are going to take a look at something a little bit different on the Soapbox. Usually we do Bible reviews and post Christian articles. We are going to look at No-Mes Fingernail clippers. I know this is unusual, but I think it will be a good thing. I found myself looking for a replacement set of clippers. I had inherited a set of American made clippers from my Father. I keep them on my key ring as a functional memento. My Dad passed away a few years ago. He was a big fan of good tools and American craftsmanship. He used to fabricate his own tools when he was a mechanic. When I use them, I think about him. I wanted to get another pair of American made nail clippers to keep on my key chain so I could put my Father’s up. I didn’t want to lose them. So, I set out to find an American made set of clippers.

I have had several Chinese made nailclippers. They are dull, they smash the nail, they tear the nail, they break, and they cost too much for what they are. I know there are at least 8 sets of clippers sitting in drawers at my house unused, because they are garbage.  Everyone shares the one sharp set of clippers in the house.  We all ask, “Hey, where are the clippers at?  Who had them last?”

As a Christian, I am opposed to communism. It is a godless system that forces the worship of the government and created things instead of God. Communism is not good for human flourishing. I grew up during the cold war and remember the horrors of communism reported to us on the nightly news. This was back when news was not yellow journalism, a term I fear the youth of this nation knows nothing about. My Dad and his brothers were all vets. My Uncle Larry was in the first class of Air Commandos. He flew three tours in Vietnam fighting communism. Before the Air Force he was a Marine. My Dad was in the Air Force and served in Northern Africa in between the Korean War and the Vietnam war.

I began looking for some clippers by doing a search on the internet for, “American made fingernail clippers.” This lead me to Amazon. I saw several pop up but only one was truly American made, the No-Mes clippers from Industrial Tool and Die Co. Inc. in Troy, New Jersey. I felt angry. I’m not going to lie. I was angry that much of our industry has been shut down and shipped out. Not just shipped out, but shipped out to communists who enslave their own people to make shoddy quality goods for us to buy at low prices. Then the anger turned to a fondness. Fondness for a company started by one man and kept in the family. I’ve never met anyone from Industrial Tool and Die Co. Inc. I’ve never talked with them outside of my e-mails. I know nothing about them other than what their site says. Just the fact that they are in America making a quality product, for a decent value, warmed my heart. When I went looking for them on the web, I was surprised to see that they didn’t have much of a web presence, so I decided I would e-mail them and ask them for some clippers to review. They graciously accepted and here we are. I hope to bring some recognition to them and their product.

The clippers arrived in a padded envelope.


They were packed in a little white box with some padding and an instruction card with the warranty information on the other side.


The clippers were in a little plastic bag. When I took them out, I noticed they were a bit larger than my old clippers.


They also had a tool that was noticeably missing. The nail file/nail cleaner. I wondered why this was absent. After using the clippers, it was obvious that a nail file was not needed. The clippers cut the nail cleanly leaving no burs or rough spots. You just don’t have any snags to file. I was pretty impressed by that. I noticed something these clippers had that most do not, is the bin that catches the clippings.


No finding them later on the floor or seeing them snap and fly out into the room. The nails are cut cleanly, not smashed or torn. The blades are sharp and there were no irregularities on them to cause the clippers to malfunction.


They simply, did what they were intended to do! Amazing! I know, a product that did what it is supposed to do… How could we demand such a thing? Kids, you don’t know what you are missing. When you grow up using substandard tools and equipment, then replacing them with more of the same when they break, you never get to know what it is like to work with something of quality. These clippers are just good quality clippers. They are not gimmicky at all. The bin works the way that it is supposed to. I noticed there isn’t much travel with the handle the way that it functions and it is easy to hold.



They are a bit wider and have good flat spots for you to squeeze the handles. There are also grooves in the surfaces to help you keep hold of them. They were much easier to use than traditional styled clippers.



Traditional styled clippers allow the handle to swing around 360 degrees. These do not. They won’t pop out from under your thumb the way others will. They also have a hole in the end so they can be kept on a key ring.


The little metal flap that you fold over the bin is also the surface that the cam on the handle engages to actuate the clippers. It has two protrusions, one on each side. I think a person could use them to clean under a nail if they had to.


These would make a great stocking stuffer, or gift for the man in your life. They are a good value as well. You can pick them up on Amazon for about $13. Here is the product description from the Amazon product page,

The patented no-post/no-swivel design offers a simpler no fumbling method of trimming nails. Clippings stay inside a specially designed compartment, unlike ordinary nail clippers that launch your nail clippings across the room. The “No-Mes” nail clipper is easily emptied by opening the handle, then folds up for compact storage. All hardened tool steel with precision ground cutting edges, polished and chrome plated finish. The “No-mes” nail clipper is designed and manufactured in the USA to last forever and is guaranteed for life!

I really appreciate having a good pair of nail clippers handy. Don’t be fooled by imitators or cheap Chinese made knock-offs. Make sure to get the No-Mes clippers. Here is their web address, Here is a link to them on Amazon, No-Mes Clippers. If only they could figure out a way to put a knife blade, laser beam, grappling hook, and internet on these… nope, just kidding. They are great the way they are.  Make sure to look at all the high resolution pictures of these clippers on my Flickr album page here.

You can watch my youtube video review of them here.

Bible Reviews

Finally, a Wide Margin Bible with Ruled Lines in the Margins! The Holman NKJV Wide Margin Journaling Bible in Two Tone Bonded Leather.


I don’t know how many of you have shared my lament over wide margins with no ruled lines, but I can imagine it is a common want, hence stencils being recommended to scribe the lines ourselves. I am so glad to see Holman pick up the idea from Crossway, and put it to use with the different translations available to them. I remember having many conversations with people about how it would be great if someone would make a wide margin with ruled lines. It was one of my gripes. It seemed like such a simple and obvious improvement to me. I actually refrained from purchasing wide margin Bibles because of the lack of ruled lines. The 1 3/4” margins are filled with wonderful ruled lines that match the lines of text so you can put your notes and cross references right next to the text that they are about. Of course, if you want you can write in front of the line and get about 2 inches out of the margin.



My handwriting is very difficult to read and tends to slope. It lacks uniformity in spacing between the letters and lines. I NEED ruled lines to write on. I know that my sloppy brethren are out there and enthused. I also know there are a select, rare, few, who are endowed with the gift of lovely handwriting. If you find yourself in that crowd, God has smiled upon you, but for me and my illegible brethren, “Vive la ligne!”

When you open the cover on this Bible you’ll see that the end pages are decorated. It is a case bound Bible.


In the front you have, God’s Plan For salvation, Presentation page, Preface to the New King James Version, and the copyright/publisher page.


In the Bible you’ll find one ribbon marker that matches the color scheme of the cover.


In the back there is a fifty page concordance, eight full color maps, and a Bible reading plan.



This Bible is just the right size to offer legible sized font while maintaining a manageable size to keep open on your lap and write in during Church. It measures 8.50″ x 6.50″ x 1.50″


I for one am very pleased with this new Bible and not just because the lines. The paper on this thing is great. It is kind of an off white or cream color. It is a bit heavier and opaque. There is less ghosting than on most Bibles in this price range. Line matching was employed during the printing. This is when text on the opposite side of the page is printed directly behind the text on the other side of the page.


The layout was done by 2K/Denmark. The Bible was printed and bound in South Korea.


The font looks to be 8 pt in size and it is printed uniformly and sharp contrasting very well against the off white paper. It is one of the easiest on the eyes to look at since the pages are not a bright glaring white or a super thin translucent mess. The text is in a single column paragraph format red letter edition. There are no cross references. You are responsible for that my friends.


There is a page of ruled paper at the end of every book. It is arranged in two blank columns for you to use as indexes of your references, notes, or whatever you like. It is up to you.


I’ve written in this Bible with wet highlighters, fountain pen, fine tip ball point pen, and pencil. Of course the highlighters bled through a little bit depending on how long I left the marker in contact with the paper. The fountain pen I used is a Lamy with a broad tip nib. It lays down a lot of ink in bold dark lines. It does show through the paper. When I used a fine tip ball point pen it shows through, but not nearly as bad as the broad tip fountain pen.




The Bible was shipped in a cardboard box and padded with paper. The paper was all at one corner and the Bible was at the opposite corner.
I was in a retail sleeve instead of a box. It arrived with some damage to the spine towards the bottom and back of the Bible. I think this was incurred during shipping. I don’t believe it was Holman’s fault. If I had purchased this Bible and it arrived damaged the retailer or Holman would have replaced it under warranty. Due to the damage I was able to see that the maps are held to each other with binding tape as well as being sewn into the binding. This will make for a very sturdy Bible. Frankly, as good as this thing is built, I’m surprised it got damaged at all. It must have taken a pretty hard bump. The retail sleeve type packaging had all of the expected information on it.






The Bible I received was black smooth textured bonded leather over the spine and a saddle brown colored more textured bonded leather over the rest of the cover. The cover is perimeter stitched in white thread. It is an attractive Bible.


The Bible is a hardback of sorts with very thin book boards. They wanted to make sure you had a portable desk so you could write straight on your super cool ruled lines. I don’t want to hear anyone asking for this in a flexible edge lined calfskin leather cover. That would make it more difficult to use. This Bible is all about being used. I haven’t even mentioned the sewn binding with overcasting. Whoops, I guess I just did. The sewn binding on this is great. The signatures are just the right size. The sewn binding makes the spine very flexible so that the Bible lays open quite well. For a journaling Bible it is important for it to lay open and flat. That makes it so much easier to write in and increase the longevity of the Bible.



Overcasting is when several of the pages from the front signature are sewn to several of the pages of the signature behind it through the spine. This is done to reinforce the book. It can also be done to the back of the book. However, I didn’t see that in this one. The overcasting appears just in the front that I could see.


If you like the design that Crossway came out with, but you wanted to use the KJV, NKJV, or NIV instead of the ESV and wanted to spend a bit less while still getting a very well made journaling wide margin this is the Bible for you. It fills a real niche and should become a favorite for many years to come. I think it will be a big hit for Holman.

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

ISBN-13: 9781433691584

Bible Reviews

A Review of the Modern English Version (M.E.V.) Personal Size, Large Print, Reference Bible, Covered in Cherry Brown, Imitation Leather.

One big concern with the MEV is the translation method. I didn’t address it when I wrote my review of the thinline. The translators were grouped and assigned sections to translate. The entire Bible was translated by several different groups of extremely varied theologians. Some of them I would never have trusted to do translation. The bad ecumenism is actually touted as a good thing by some and a selling point as well. I look at it as an attempt to pleas a broader range of people and increase potential sales and adoption. This leads to some inconsistency between books. The inconsistencies don’t amount to error, but bad doctrine starts with small things. I like the way the MEV reads most of the time, but on occasion it slips back into early Modern English sentence structure. I don’t know if that is an effort to maintain the, “majesty” of the KJV or just an oversight. As time goes on, many of the inconsistencies presumably will be addressed. I’d also love to see thousands more cross-references. Our modern NASB has of 90,000. TBS’s KJV reference Bible has around 200,000 references and notes. Another thing I’d like to see them do is to kick off the translation team the Roman Catholic, Church of Christ, and other unorthodox sects. I’m a bit tired of all of the Textus Receptus fans calling all other versions, “per-versions.” As far as I’m concerned they need to get a grip and realize the critical texts are just as valid if not more so.

I know it seems I’m being awfully critical of this translation, but don’t be mistaken, I do actually like the way it reads for the most part. I don’t think I would recommend it over my NASB or NKJV for serious study just yet. I would like to get a hold of the KJV parallel they are selling to do a comparison of the entire Bible while making notes in the margins. It is a very promising translation based on the Textus Receptus.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. This Bible arrived packaged in a padded envelope from the publisher. Not my preferred packaging, but it worked. The Bible arrived undamaged.


Inside the envelope was a lightweight two piece retail box containing the Personal Size, Large Print, Reference Bible.   DSCN4128

I really like the size of this Bible. It is just right for me personally. I wish it were available in calfskin leather or goatskin leather.

DSCN4130  The cover that is on it is not real leather. It doesn’t smell like leather, it doesn’t feel like leather, and it costs much less than leather. It is decorated and attractive looking.   DSCN4129

I find the coppery tone of the gilt on the page edges complimentary to the color of the cover and ribbon marker. It is positively a good looking value Bible.

DSCN4134  DSCN4153

The binding on this one is Smyth-sewn.

DSCN4173  DSCN4139
It is a case bound Bible with paper interior lining pasted down to the cover.

DSCN4137  The publisher’s information and copyright page show that this Bible was made in China.   DSCN4135

There is a presentation page in the front and a weird dedicatory page to the Queen?

DSCN4141  DSCN4145

What!? I mean, come on Patrick? Get with the program Patrick! Don’t be anachronistic Patrick! (Fans of “TheLutheranSattire” channel on Youtube will get the joke. Look up, “bad analogies” on their channel. It will make you lol)

The Books have an introduction page that many find helpful.
The paper is pretty white and could be a bit thicker or more opaque. On the upside, it does appear that line matching was employed effectively. That is when the text on the opposite side of the paper is printed directly behind the text opposing it. This makes the text more legible. The text is pretty big at 11 pt in size. It is also printed pretty consistently given it was done in China. The text is bold and black against the paper contrasting well.
The text is arranged in a double column format with limited notes and references at the bottom of the page.
After scripture headings you’ll also notice parallel reading references that will take you to another place in the scripture where the same thing can be read. Off to the right side of this picture you can see it references Luke 12:22-34

This is a red letter edition so the words of Christ are printed in red. The red print is bright and easy to read.
There is a small concordance in the back.
Overall, lots of potential and room for development. For now, it is pleasant to read and I recommend it for the price and sewn binding if you are a Textus Receptus kind of person.

Make sure to check out all the pictures on my flickr page.


ISBN-13: 9781629980676

Bible Reviews

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


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,


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.


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.


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


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,


but it has been pared pretty thin.


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.


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


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.


Apologetics · Theology

You Can’t Sell What’s Not Yours!


I’m sure you have all read a story, seen a movie, or television show, where the plot revolves around the main character selling his soul to the devil by signing some contract. Usually it is for fame, fortune, power over enemies, or to get the girl. Come to think of it, usually it is a combination of those things. Growing up in America during the 80’s, freedom was the centerpiece of what it meant to be an American. I never felt more free than when I was about 12 years old. I was old enough to go anywhere I wanted, as far as my bike could take me, and young enough to not have the responsibilities of taking care of myself or others. I would ride my bike to, “Black’s Bridge” and play by the river. I would take my BB gun and shoot dragon flies, or whatever else would sit still long enough. My cousin and I would catch snakes and keep them in a 5 gallon bucket, only to dump them in my mom’s bed while she slept. If I had to come up with a time in my life where I felt free, that would be it. If you wanted to be a patriotic little man, you needed freedom.

As I grew I started to feel the bands of oppression tighten around me. I needed a job. I had to pay my bills. I married a woman who had two small sons. I needed a better job. I had to be a good role model. I needed to teach the boys how to be good men. My wife and I had two daughters, so I had to be more tender and help my wife help them. I had to keep my marriage strong. No time for difficulties at work. Appliances wear out and break. Everything costs money. Unexpected surgeries send us into debt. Life starts choking the feeling of freedom away pretty quick.

I found out that the laws were overly restrictive as well.  I still don’t understand how property taxes can be legal.  I also don’t understand the legal requirement to have a concealed permit to carry a firearm.  Apparently we now aren’t free to practice our religion either.  Bake a cake or get shut down.  While babies are being denied their freedom by being aborted.  We really aren’t free in America.

Only when I started thinking spiritually about it did it start to make more sense. As a young man I was Arminian and slightly Pentecostal in my theology. I had no problem with thinking a person could sell their soul to the devil. It was theirs after all. Of course I thought it was wrong to do so, but theoretically, it could happen. I also had the sense that it was impossible, niggling at the recesses of my mind. Later in life, as God worked in my sanctification, He brought me into a fuller understanding of my sinfulness and His holiness. This in conjunction with learning more about soteriology lead me to understand that I am not my own. In fact, no human being owns themselves. We are all created by God for His glory.

Now the premise of selling your soul to the devil just seems ludicrous. You simply can’t sell what you have no rights to. God has the authority.  The problem here is that my pre-conversion soul is already a slave to sin nature, because of the fall. The devil doesn’t have to buy it. It is fallen from the start.  That doesn’t mean the devil owns it.  He is a fallen creature too.

Not to mention, the devil doesn’t have the means to purchase a single soul, nor does he have the authority to purchase one. He is a creature himself. He is under the same authority we are. Theoretically, his only purpose for purchasing a soul would be to rend it from the saving hands of Christ. Since it isn’t possible for God to lose even one of the elect, this is not a concern.

If souls could be bought and sold, we as fallen creatures would make a market out of it for sordid profit, to be sure. Ignoble and greedy, we would make slaves of souls. God in His sovereignty and providence has ensured that won’t happen. We do however; need to be rescued from the slavery that we are in before conversion, the bondage of the soul to sin. God in His sovereignty made man. He made him in full knowledge that he would fall when tempted. He made man, knowing who He would save from sin and who He would not. He made man, knowing that He would curse his progeny for the original sin, with death. All people born after the fall are born as slaves to sin because of the fall. We are all sinners and dead spiritually.

The Holy Spirit makes the elect alive according to the will of the Father, so that we can sense our sin and need. It becomes real to us. In this conviction, the elect seek reconciliation with God. In the newness of life they are driven, compelled, and ravenous, for relief of the condition of condemnation. The knowledge of our own personal sin is the impetus that drives us to the foot of the cross.

The same God who made us, who knew that we would be sinners, also made a way for us to glorify Him according to His sovereign decree. God in the second personage of the Trinity put on flesh at the incarnation, being born of a virgin, by the work of the Holy Spirit, according to the will of the Father, Christ Jesus, our Passover lamb became the vessel for the wrath of God that our sins warrant. He in obedience to the Father suffered the very wrath of God, that we deserve upon the cross, to justify us. The penalty being paid by the one who was innocent, paying the penalty for the guilty who justly deserve it. All of this was planned out from the very beginning.

I hope we can see that it is ludicrous to think for a moment that our souls are our own, and free to sell. The devil is just another creature and your soul is already a slave to sin. Our only hope is to recognize our need for a redeemer. Only God can fathom the depths of our debt. We cannot rightly perceive how sinful we are. He alone can justly account the measure of wrath we deserve and He alone can atone. So don’t delay. If God has convicted you of your sin, repent of it and believe upon Jesus’ work on the cross for your justification. Pray that God will redeem your soul from sin and you will be His for eternity.  Better to belong to God than be able to sell your soul for any worldly gain.

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.

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.


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


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


verse format with section headings,

bonded leather cover, protective snap-flap,


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,


Bible Reviews

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

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.
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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

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.


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

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.

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 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 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,  and the publisher’s site

Bible Reviews

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


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

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

The page edges are not gilt.  There is one lovely, red ribbon marker, contrasting beautifully against the thick, white, paper.

The hard back is much less expensive.  You can buy it online for approximately $50 to $70.  I’ll include links at the end of the review.  The cover is a built in desk, for when you are in Church, or at Bible study.  With the goat skin covered edition you really can’t write in it unless it is on a desk or table.  The cover is just so flexible.  The hard back of course doesn’t have that issue.

The biggest ooh and ahh feature to me is the gorgeous paper.  I just love the paper in this Bible.  Look at this close up picture of the signatures and tail band.

Here is a picture of the paper from the Bible opened flat.

From the pictures you can see the outstanding quality of the paper.  It is smooth, opaque, uniform in color and texture, as well as being thick.

The print is 8 point in size.  It is a larger version of the Pitt Minion.  I know some of you might expect larger text in a Bible this size, but don’t forget, this is a wide margin.  If you want room for notes and you don’t want a two inch thick Bible you have to compromise someplace.  I think the text is just the right size.  It is so wonderfully done that it is easy to read, very legible.  The printing is uniformly done and consistent throughout.  Even the red text is printed with the same quality.  Just look at the picture above closely and you will see.  The text is arranged in a double column paragraph format, with references in the center.  The margins are nice and wide.  The extensive Lockman Foundation cross references are very helpful.  I use them often.

I wanted to show how well the paper took ink, pencil, and highlighter.  I used a Lammy fountain pen, with and extra fine nib, and Waterman’s black ink.  I also used a medium point ball point pen, with black ink, and a #2 graphite pencil.  You can see that neither the fountain pen or ball point ink pen showed through the page significantly.  The wet highlighter did much better than I expected.  I thought it would bleed through more than it did.  On most other Bibles it is like highlighting the verses on the other side of the page as well.  Since this paper is over 30 g.s.m. it takes the stands up to ink better.



There is a useful concordance in the back along with 15 maps that make use of the big pages.


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

You can purchase a copy on,, and

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

isbn: 9780521702638

Apologetics · Book Reviews · Theology

Straw Man or Valid Rebuttal, Dr. Michael L. Brown’s, “Gay and Christian?: Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality”


I know this book has been out for a little while now.  I wanted to review it because of what I’ve been reading on the internet about it.  It is my opinion that people have been accusing Dr. Brown of using the weakest, most pathetic, arguments in support of the gay Christian stance, as targets to easily knock down.  In other words, they accuse him of using straw man arguments to oppose gay Christian affirmation.  After reading this book, I find those claims to be insulting, and untrue, or in stronger language, lies.  I have been involved with apologetics as a Christian.  I have also engaged in evangelism.  It has been my experience that the arguments cited in Brown’s book in support of the gay Christian perspective are the apex of the oppositions arguments.  Dr. Brown has done well directly, and honestly, addressing their best arguments.  The problem is that their best arguments are emotive and winsome, instead of reasonable or scriptural.  They have to pervert scripture to get to where they go, and it is almost more disgusting than the culmination of their arguments.

Dr. Brown is doing what any orthodox Christian, with a sound systematic theology would do.  He is using the totality of scripture to address the question, “Can you be gay and Christian?”  The people in support of gay Christianity can’t do that.  They have to use the fallacy of cherry picking, which is the bad eisegetical practice of proof-texting.  People who do this, lack a command of scripture.  They only superficially understand.  I believe most people who do this are false converts, cult members, or very immature in the faith.

Approaching scripture as a kit full of tools that you can manipulate into supporting or condoning your sin is a horrible hermeneutic.  That is what is wrong with their arguments.  Dr. Brown cites their work, presents their best arguments, and then shows them in the light of scripture to be in error.  Most Christians know that homosexuality is a sin.  Most of us know that adultery is a sin.  We know that all sex outside of Biblical marriage, between one man and one woman is sin.  All are sexual sins.  We preach, repent and believe!  The other side preaches, twist and deceive with a seductive hiss trailing from their mouths.  How can anyone be saved without repentance?  How can anyone repent if they are told they are not in sin?  I know it isn’t nice to tell people they are in sin, but it is necessary.  I am so glad people took the time to expose my sin to me.  It was the most loving thing the Holy Spirit did, besides regeneration, and sealing me for glory.  To be convicted of sin should not be removed from our faith, but utilized for its God honoring end.  To share the truth in love, that every man is a sinner in need of saving grace.  You see, if no one tells you, how can you experience God’s redeeming love?  Dr. Brown, in a spirit of truth and love, has written a book that is for the person who is asking this question.  Like I said, most of us already know these truths, but for the person who is questioning, “Can I be gay and Christian?”  This book is a must read.

To briefly tie this up, you can not be an unrepentant sinner and experience the saving grace of God.  You must repent and believe.  God grants us the saving faith and repentance.  He shows us our sin so that we will be humbled by it and repent.  A person with same sex attraction can get saved.  They might have to fight against their sin for a very long time, but I’ve got news for you, all… Christians… fight… against… sin…  If they don’t, then they don’t value the sacrifice of Christ and demonstrate false repentance.  Truly saved people are changed.  They take up their cross and follow Jesus.  Jesus went up on the cross, crucified to die, and victorious in resurrection.  We need to die to self and the flesh.  We recognize our sin and die to it.  We go up on the cross with Christ.  We die to ourselves.  We are symbolically buried in baptism, and resurrected to new life.  We live according to the Holy Spirit’s instruction in the Word, according to the will of the Father, enabled by the justifying work of the Son.  If we reject Jesus as our Lord and master, to live as we did before we heard the gospel, then we are producing fruit in keeping with death, not salvation.

Dr. Brown’s book addresses the issue.  He addresses the lies, and tells the truth in love.  If we all studied to know the truth, and then faithfully shared the truth, we could make a difference in lives, neighborhoods, and countries, God willing.


Excerpt from ” About the Author

Michael L. Brown holds a PhD from New York University in Near Eastern languages and literatures and is recognized as one of the leading Messianic Jewish scholars in the world today. He is the founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry, host of the nationally syndicated daily talk radio show The Line of Fire, and the author of more than twenty books. He is a contributor to The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion and other scholarly publications.”


You can purchase your copy from

ISBN-13: 9781621365938