Sunday, January 31, 2016

The World's Largest Bible

I have often referred to the Macklin Bible as the largest Bible ever printed.  It was very big:  7 volumes, 16 x 19 inches, over 100 pounds.  And as regularly published Bibles it is certainly one of the largest.  It is the largest massed produced Bible ever printed.

Louis Waynai & wife with press and Bible
But I just recently heard of a one-off Bible that is much larger.  It was printed by Louis Waynai, a Hungarian immigrant.  He used a home-made rubber stamping press to print each of the 8,048 pages of this King James Version Bible.  Just developing the press took him about two years.  When his press was ready, He then spent over 8,700 hours on the printing.  His work was ready to read in 1930.  Opened up it is 43 inches tall and 98 inches wide and 34 inches thick.  Waynai spent about $10,000 (USD) - a big expense for a carpenter!  It was constructed so that it could be disassembled into 31 sections.  Want to take this one to church?  You'll need help as it weighs 1,094 pounds.  There is a short video on Youtube (shown below) showing Waynai's Bible and demonstrating his press.

Waynai donated his work to a church in Fort Worth.  They eventually donated it to Abilene Christian University where it has been on display in the the Gaines B. Stanley Sr. Theological Reading Room.  In 2013 they sent the Bible off for restoration and to an exhibit.  There is another video on Youtube showing it being loaded onto a truck.  According to this page it is currently on display in Washington, D.C. (If you have a problem opening this link, right click on the link, copy it and paste it into your browser's address bar)

It appears that the Bible was restored at the Museum of the Bible in Oklahoma City, OK.  On their Facebook page they have a picture of what appears to be restoration work. 

Another video gives a different view of the Bible, again with Louis and his wife.  It is an old silent film but for some reason has an annoying thumping sound.  Turn the sound off by pointing your mouse cursor at the video.  In the lower left hand corner click on the speaker symbol.


Thanks to AM for bringing my attention to this incredible Bible.

Friday, January 29, 2016

New American Standard Bible, information update

Yesterday, on the Lockman Foundation Facebook page, there was this update about the coming changes to the New American Standard Version:

The whole text is being reviewed with more emphasis in the Old Testament.  The primary goal is to maintain accuracy and modernize English. As our base texts we use Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) and Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ) for the books available and for the NT we use NA28. We don't always agree with the editors of those texts and choose alternate or variant readings when we feel they are more accurate.  Our current estimated publication goal is to have a first release by early 2017.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bible mini-reviews: 4 more NASB Bibles

Here are four more short reviews of some New American Standard Bibles.  Three are out of print but sometimes available in the used book markets.  The fourth is a currently available production.

Crown Reference Edition NASB (1977).  This Bible can be found fairly cheap used though it is out of print.  The copy I found is a rather flexible premium bonded leather with paste-down liners.  It measures 5.75 by 8.375 inches by 1 inch thick.  1 ribbon.  The paper is good with some ghosting.  It is a two column, verse by verse, cross referenced layout.  The 7 point font print is bold enough to help overcome ghosting.  It is a slightly brownish red letter that is very easy to read.  This has book introductions, a guide to pronouncing Bible names, significant Bible dates, a harmony of the Gospels, a concordance and maps.  This is an excellent portable reference Bible.

Cambridge Cameo Bible NASB (1977).  This Bible is hard to find.  The copy I have is stiff bonded leather with paste-down liners.  It measures 5.125 by 7.25 inches by 1.5 inch thick.  1 ribbon.  The paper is "ultra thin Bible paper" with limited ghosting.  It is a two column, verse by verse, cross referenced layout.  The font size is 7.25 to 7.5.  The red lettering is an unfortunate red (almost pink) color.  A concordance and maps are in the back.  It was typeset by Lehigh/Rocappi.  It was printed by Kingsport Press in 1979.  This is a sought-after edition due to its readability.  My copy has some variation in print darkness between pages.  The print is larger than Cambridge's Pitt Minion.  This is a wonderful Bible - another portable edition.  This may become my reference Bible that I keep by the computer.

The Outdoor Bible:  Sportsman's Edition NASB (1995).  ISBN 978-0-9792384-4-1.  While some sellers have horribly high prices on this little out-of-print gem, one can still find some reasonably priced copies.  This is one of Bardin & Marsee's waterproof Bibles - what they call the "DuraBook format."  This contains just the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  It measures 4.5 by 7 inches by 0.75 inches thick.  The paper is a 100% plastic with almost perfectly opaque paper.  Ghosting is so minimal that it can just barely be seen in blank spaces.  Print is bold but very small - 6 points.  This is a two column, verse by verse format with no cross references.  For outdoor use or reading in the rain this can't be beat!

Zondervan Giant Print Reference Bible, Personal Size  NASB (1995).  ISBN 978-310-91913-1.  This is available on most book sellers for around $40 (USD).  The bonded leather on this copy is flexible.  It measures 5.625 by 8.875 inches by 1.5 inch thick.  1 ribbon.  The paper feels good but does have some noticeable ghosting.  The 9.5 pt, bold font helps overcome this fairly well.  It almost appears to have line matching, at least on some pages.  It is a two column, verse by verse, cross referenced Bible.  The red lettering is dark & bold - making it good for reading.  A concordance and Bible maps are included.  While the print is excellent in this Bible the ghosting may be a problem for some.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bible Reading Plans

There are so many different Bible reading plans it can be hard to choose one.  Ligonier Ministries has a great article listing different styles and providing links to each one.  My personal favorite is a schedule that has one Old Testament and New Testament reading each day with the Psalms interspersed after finishing each book.  You can download that plan right here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New American Standard Bible Update coming soon

The New American Standard Bible will be updated in 2016.  Currently it is expected to be ready sometime in the summer.  The translation committee is currently working on the update.  This news comes from Lockman's Facebook page.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Living Water Translation

A friend just discovered this work. It is called the Living Water Translation.  It was published by Roy Mayfield in 2014.  The advertisement on Amazon states:
A new style translation of the New Testament scriptures based on more recent studies in linguistics, communication, translation and information theory. As the name indicates, it flows with the smoothness of a living stream.
 There is a website for the translation but it doesn't give much information.  There are no samples available.

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Translation of the 4 Gospels

I received an e-mail from Robert Roberg about his translation of the 4 Gospels and a harmony.  He writes "these writings are unique in that they are written from a monotheist (one God the father only) non-sacrificial, pacifist, non-sacramental, viewpoint."  You can read the Gospels and the harmony for free at his website.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

New Metaphysical Version

I am not sure I should not call this a version of the Bible.  It is supposed to be a metaphysical interpretation of the Bible.  The bits I read in Matthew do not bear any resemblance to the actual Scriptures.  The book of John looks like it at least started from the Scripture.  Here is a sample:
Before there was a physical universe[In the beginning] there was the Cosmic Christ [the Word], which is the ideational power [was with]of the One Reality [God, (Eternal Isness, the Absolute, the Infinite Invisibleness)]; and the Cosmic Christ [theWord] is God expressing Its Godness as the Cosmic Christ [theWord].

This is the work of Bill Holton.  You can take a look for yourself here.

Thanks to JH for this information.

New Fijan Translation Bible

The New Fijan Translation Bible not only presents a new translation of the Bible in Fijan, but also a revision of the King James version.  The English version is found in the parallel Bible.  Free downloads are available here.  This update changes 1,160 words to a modern equivalent.

Thanks to JH for this version.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

SRJ Translation

Shane Renaldo Johnson is translating the Greek New Testament into English.  He is sharing his ongoing work on his website.  The gospels of Matthew and Mark are done so far.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Unlocked Bible

Wycliffe Associates has a new Bible version available.  It is called the Unlocked Bible.  There is both a literal and a dynamic edition.  A downloadable copy is promised sometime soon.  Currently you can read it online.  This is an open source Bible translation meaning translators will not have to pay licensing fees or deal with copyright issues.  Visit the Unfolding Word website for more information.

Thanks to MH for notice of this version (via Facebook).

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Review: NIV Zondervan Study Bible

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

ISBN 978-0-310-43836-6

Retail price is $149.99 (CBD $74.99)

I recently received a copy of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible for review purposes. The gift of this Bible did not influence the outcome of this review. It is important to note that this is not an update to the Zondervan NIV Study Bible. This is a completely new work, edited by D. A. Carson. A tear off card is included (the stub is bound into the Bible, unfortunately) giving a code for online access to the Study Bible. When redeeming the code, one can pick either Olive Tree or Bible Gateway software.

The Bible text is the 2011 New International Version. I am not a fan; I prefer the 1984 text. However, the level of scholarship that went into this work caught my attention.  I was prepared to deal with the translation in order to examine the study materials.

This is a huge Bible with 2,880 pages. It has a healthy footprint at 6.5 inches wide by 9.75 inches tall. Some Bibles I've reviewed recently are bigger. But this is a little over 2.5 inches thick!  This edition is bound in ebony premium leather with perimeter stitching, five raised ribs on the spine and a paste-down liner. It is a smyth-sewn binding. The page edges are red under gold. It has two red ribbons. The paper is good with limited ghosting (show through). Line matching keeps the ghosting from distracting the reader. The text is single column, black letter, 8 point font (6.5 points for the notes). This all comes in a classy black and grey clam shell box.

I asked HarperCollins by e-mail and on the NIV Bible Facebook page about the cover, binder and paper.  One told me the that leather is genuine cowhide and that the paper information is proprietary.  Another said that the leather is cow, sheep or goat and mentioned a paper weight.  I'll honor their request to keep paper information private.  I don't know enough about leather to be sure but will assume it is cowhide.  It is very flexible and soft in my hands.  It almost feels like calfskin.

Others have commented on the font. It is somewhat condensed making it rather more difficult to read than other Bibles. Since I intend to use this as a reference this isn't a problem. I wouldn't choose this font for reading straight through the Bible text.

This is one of the nicer looking study Bibles that I've handled.  It has an old style simple, classic appearance.  It is the sort of Bible that will have people at church asking, "what is that?"  It won't dress up the shelf with upright books, though; this Bible stores best laying on the side.

It does lay fairly flat though text certainly curves in toward the gutter. It is very flexible which aids greatly in thumbing through to find a passage. I found that holding it both hands I could thumb through with either hand till I found the correct page.  It isn't designed to be a hold-in-one-hand  preaching Bible. The cover is too flexible.  If you try to pick it up in one hand it drops away on both sides.

However, this flexible cover may be intended to help it to lay flatter on a table or lap.   But for comparison, the Cambridge NIV Study Bible has a stiffer cover.  It still lays flat on the table.  It is easier to pick up in one hand. But given the size of this new Bible that may not be comfortable for most people anyway.

The huge thickness will present a bit of a problem in the long term. As one uses the Bible it starts fanning which in extreme cases gives the Bible a wedge-like appearance. Pressing down on the Bible, pushing out the air flattens it out again temporarily. Over time I expect it will probably fan out permanently.

This is also certainly a full color Bible. The notes at the bottom of the page are set off with beige background. There are color pictures throughout, often showing archaeological sites relating to the Bible text. For instance, near the passage about Jonathan shooting arrows to warn David of Saul's temperament there is a picture showing bronze arrowheads from that time period. Another picture shows En Gedi where David hid from Saul. In the New Testament a small, clear picture shows two "Lepta," the coins put into the temple treasury by the poor widow (Mark 12:41-44). Some pictures are informative such as pictures of excavations or ruins. Others are inspirational such as a picture of a shepherd with the subtitle "Jesus is the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)."  The pictures shown here are the site of Antioch and the harbor near Perga.

 Bible maps are a must for any study Bible. I have never liked the thick, glossy pages in the front and back. I was delighted to find that the maps in the back are printed on regular Bible paper. There are also many maps throughout the Bible showing locations mentioned in the text. The introduction to Matthew has a map titled "Highlights of Jesus' Ministry."  Genesis has "Abraham's Travels" and "Jacob's Journeys."  There are more than 90 maps in addition to those in the back.

Green titles announce sections such as "The Widow's Offering."   In the Gospels this is followed by an inline harmony. These lines give the passage in the current book followed by the passage in the other Gospel. This is in addition to the usual cross references which are in the outside margin. Some are followed by "pp" (e.g. "14:1-11pp - Mt 26:2-6") while others are followed by "ref" (e.g. "14:3-8Ref - Jn 12:1-8"). Apparently this stands for "parallel passage" and "reference."  A list of conventions used was missing from this Bible. There is a list of abbreviations, but these conventions were not included.

In Habakkuk green colored titles separate Habakkuk's complaints and God's answers. This helps identify the speaker in different sections. Inline cross referencing is used in the Old Testament as well. In Isaiah it is used to show parallels with passages such as those relating to 1st and 2nd Kings.

The layout makes for a very readable page. The amount of information presented here could make for an overwhelming, busy page. But one's eye moves easily from point to point without running a finger along to keep one's place. Older eyes like mine will need glasses to read it but will not get lost in a maze. Poetic passages are formatted as poetry. This leaves a lot of blank space on some pages but is worth the excess to render the Psalms, Proverbs and some prophets appropriately.

Adding even more information are about eighty charts. Some are large, such as a very good, full harmony of the Gospels  after the book of John. Small charts in introductions and individual books give contextual information. Some of my favorites were "Noah's Time in the Ark," "Census Results" (comparing the two censuses in the book of Numbers) and "Sevens in Revelation."  Before the Old and New Testaments are chronologies helping establish the historical context of Biblical events.

In between the testaments there is something to read!  It starts with a helpful chart "From Malachi to Christ."  This chart shows four periods (Persian, Hellenistic, Hasmonean, and Roman). Different rulers and events are keyed to a timeline stretching from 410 BC to AD 30. Next comes a 12 page article by Douglas Moo titled "The Time Between the Testaments."  This article helps clarify the background of the New Testament world. It is followed by an introduction to the New Testament, an introduction to the Gospels and finally an introduction to Matthew. The New Testament is followed by 28 articles on topics ranging from "The Glory of God" to "The City of God" to "The Consummation."  A 150+ page NIV concordance by John R. Kohlenberger III follows. The 14 maps on Bible paper close out the reference material.

A friend remarked about this Bible that it is more like a commentary than a study Bible. He has a point - this Bible contains a remarkable amount of information. I find myself liking the style of the notes. When there are differing opinions both are presented. In Mark 13:19 the NIV text has the term "distress unequaled."  The notes present two opinions of what this means. I appreciate being given the ideas to consider for myself.  Like most study Bibles the notes take up quite a bit of room.  Some pages are half and half.  The first page of Genesis manages just 5 verses with the notes and header taking up the rest of the room.

To get a look at what this Bible contains, visit the preview on Scribd (179 pages, 6.2% of the Bible).  Also, the CBD page has both a preview and a downloadable PDF sample that is much easier to access and download.  An early, 50 page sampler is still available from  I haven't included many pictures because the excellent sampler shows contributors, notes, in-line cross references, marginal cross references, charts, pictures, maps and an article.

As I wrote, the NIV (2011) isn't my favorite. I wouldn't say I am against the text; it just isn't my favorite to read. But this study Bible edition of it has me reading more of the new NIV.  But I spend more time with charts, timelines and notes than the text anyway.  This is a very welcome addition to my study library.

If I waited to digest all the information in this Bible before posting my review it would be into a second edition before I was ready. However, just referring to this Bible during my daily reading has convinced me it is a scholarly, useful work. I look forward to digging deeper into the notes.

One need not spend a great amount of money to get this Bible. CBD has the hardback edition for just $25, a personal sized (7 point text) for $22 or a large print (9 points/7 points for notes) for $39. The e-book is available for just $15. I recommend one of these as a good addition to your study resources.