A Review of the ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible, in Black Top Grain Leather.

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Crossway sent me this beautiful Bible for review.  It is a wonderful value.  You get so many great features with this Bible.  It is also a good multipurpose Bible.  Initially I thought the font might be too small for Pastors to use it from the pulpit, but I was wrong.  The verse format layout, terrific paper, and crisp clean print, make it well suited to serve as a preaching Bible.  It is a reference Bible, so it also lends itself to study.  The references and notes are out of the way at the bottom, so it also works good for reading.  If you are in the market for a new Bible to fill a few roles, keep reading.  I think you’ll be as impressed with this edition as I am.

The ESV Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible was packaged in a small white cardboard box.  

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The Bible itself was inside the retail clamshell box.  Keep the box for storage.  This is not a Bible to be stood up on edge like a hardback book.  The Bible arrived undamaged from Crossway.  Inside the packaging the Bible was wrapped in clear plastic.

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Once removed, I was able to begin assessing the top grain leather.  It had a very supple feel to it.  It was nice and soft. There is also a perimeter groove on the cover.

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The inside liner seemed to be a bit different than the outside cover.  I e-mailed Crossway and asked them about it.  They informed me that it is Cromwell® bonded leather.  For those of you who are balking at that, keep in mind that Cromwell® bonded leather is not the same as the low grade bonded leather you are used to seeing in the past.  It is a far superior product and should last as long as the top grain leather cover, if not longer.  One of the bonuses of using this material as a liner is that it can be had in thin sheets.  This makes it possible for the bindery to get the cover mated to the liner with more precision and less bulges on the corners.

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This, being an edge-lined Bible, it is important to not use a heavier material that would reduce the supple feel of the cover.

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In my opinion, it was implemented quite well.  For the price, I would definitely recommend purchasing this edition over the ones with genuine leather or synthetic covers if you can afford the extra money.

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In the front you’ll find a Presentation Page, Publisher’s Page, Table of Contents, Books of the Bible in Alphabetical Order, Preface, and an Explanation of Features.  

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The spine is ornamented with four spine hubs, and gold lettering.

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The page edges are gold gilt and the corners are rounded.  There are also decorative gold and black, head and tail bands.There are two black ribbons that are decent quality.

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They are thicker than some less expensive ribbons.  For me two ribbons or more is a must.  Three ribbons is perfect in my opinion.  You get one for the Old Testament reading, one for devotional reading of Proverbs, and one for the New Testament.  Of course, two will suffice, and is certainly better than only one.  Four just seems supernumerary to me.

Of course where this Bible shines is the paper and print.  Crossway has done a good job utilizing superior paper compared to their competitors.  Rarely do you find Bibles in this niche with paper of the same weight and opacity.  Crossway is employing a 36 g.s.m. Apple Thin Opaque paper.  Keep in mind that many of their competitors call 28 g.s.m. paper top notch.  The print in this black letter edition is sharp and uniform throughout.  I haven’t run into any areas where the print fades or is smudged.  The font is 9 pt. in size and is Lexicon face.  At first glance it seems larger than it is, in my opinion.  I think that is due to the opaque paper, print, and line spacing, making it very legible.  It is easy on the eyes.  

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Preaching from the pulpit and looking down at a 9 pt. font in another Bible with lesser paper and more ghosting would be a bad idea, but with this Bible you could easily do it.  There is also a generous outside margin for some limited note taking.

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The drawback of course is that some of the type gets lost in the gutter.

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In some regards, like the paper and print,  I would rate this Bible up there with the premium ones.  Due to the lack of some of the more ornate features, like art gilt page edges, better ribbons, gilt perimeter lines, and better leather for the inside liner I can’t call it a premium Bible.  Of course the price on this edition more than makes up for what little quibbles I might have.  I’ve paid over $200 for an Allan.  This Bible can be had for a bit over $80.  That makes it an outstanding value.  The suggested retail is  $149.99.  Some publishers list a suggested retail that I would never pay.  This Bible is worth the suggested retail.  On some retail sites it can be found for as little as $84.99.  Other than the gutter complaint, the layout is great.  You get a double column, verse format, with approximately 80,000 cross references located at the bottom of the pages.  You also get a 76 page 3 column concordance, and 8 color maps in the back.

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At the start of each book is a brief introduction.  I personally love well written book introductions.

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You also get a smyth-sewn spine with this edge-lined Bible adding to the durability and flexibility.

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You would be hard pressed to find a Bible with all of these features even in a higher price range.  In my opinion, Crossway has hit the ball out of the park with this edition and set the standard for their competitors in the $80 to $150 range.

Make sure to check out all of the pictures I took of this Bible on my Flickr page.

ISBN-13: 9781433545689

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It tells us that this Bible is made in China.

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

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

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

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The paper could be a bit more opaque.

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

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

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

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

863W

A Pleasant Surprise from Holman, Review of the Holman KJV Minister’s Bible in Black Genuine Cowhide.

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Holman sent this Bible packaged in a cardboard box with some paper padding it.

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The retail box was inside.

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I had no idea which Bible they had sent me.  I didn’t remember requesting one for review.  I was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the KJV Minister’s Bible.  When I had originally requested it they were out of stock.  It seems that Holman remembered and sent it when it became available.

When I opened the shipping box I found the retail packaging inside. Keep the two piece gift-box to store your Bible.  This Bible is so supple that it will need to be laid flat for storage.  When I opened the retail box I could see that the Bible was wrapped in a dark colored construction paper to keep it safe from being deformed.

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I like this better than being, “shrink wrapped” with plastic wrap.  Plastic wrap has the tendency to pull the corners down and deform the cover and text block.  If the Bible arrives damaged or during use develops premature wear rest assured, Holman has a lifetime warranty on this product.

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I was impressed by the feel of the genuine cowhide leather cover. It was soft and supple.

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The Bible is edge lined not case bound.

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The edges of the outer cover are rolled over and sewn down.  The spine of the Bible has decorative spine hubs.  They used to be where the signature tapes or ribbons were sewn to the signatures.  The cover would have to be fitted over them which produced the raised hubs.  Now it isn’t an indicator of a sewn binding or not.  You’ll be glad to know this one does have a very flexible sewn binding.  It allows this Bible to do some pretty amazing things and come out unscathed.  It lays flat right out of the box and can even curl back under the spine with both covers at the same time.

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I wouldn’t make a practice of that, but it can do it.  When held open with one hand it drapes over your hand.

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The spine of the Bible is imprinted with, “KJV” at the top, “Holy Bible” in the Middle, and Holman’s logo at the bottom.

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The pages are edge gild with gold colored foil.

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There are two very nice quality ribbon markers in this Bible, one is red and the other is black.

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The pages are opaque, but could be a little more so.  They have a generous inch wide margin for adding your own notes.

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Wide margins are quite helpful for Pastors.  The opacity of the paper is important so that text doesn’t show through the page.

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While preaching and looking down at this Bible you should be able to focus on the text and not what is behind it.  The font is equally conducive to preaching.  It is a neat and clean 12 point font that is consistently inked throughout the Bible in this black text edition.  The text is arranged in a double column verse format making it easy to quickly locate verses.  Book names, chapter, and verse are printed on the top of the page along with headings.

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There are many aids for Pastors included in this Bible.  Here is a list of some of them; Sixty-six page KJV concordance, eight maps, Where to Turn When, Plan of Salvation, color presentation page, Various wedding and funeral outlines by Jim Henry, “Why Read the King James Version?” by Calvin Miller, “8 Traits of Effective Church Leaders” by Thom S. Rainer, “21 Essentials of Authentic Ministry” by James T. Draper, “Four Kinds of Expositional Preaching” by Ed Stetzer, “30 Keys to Giving an Invitation” by O. S. Hawkins, “Leading a Child to Christ” by Bill Emeott, “Reaching Students with the Gospel” by Lynn H. Pryor, “The Importance of Baptism and Communion” by Rick White, Commitment Counseling, The Christian Year and Church Calendar, The Apostles and Their History, and Table of Weights and Measures.  With all that this Bible offers it would be a wonderful blessing for your Pastor as a gift, even if the Pastor is your Dad.  Pastors shouldn’t feel bad about buying such a nice Bible.  It is money well spent on a product that should last for a long time.

You can purchase it on Christianbook.com, Amazon.com, or direct from Holman.

ISBN-10: 1586409301

ISBN-13: 978-1586409302

Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8 inches

Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds