Sunday, July 26, 2015

Writings mentioned in the Bible

I've added a new page to the EELBV website called "Writings Mentioned in the Bible."  It is a listing of writings mentioned in Scripture.  It does not include direct mention of Biblical writings such as the mention of Isaiah in the New Testament.  It also does not include apocryphal or deuterocanonical writings.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Holman NKJV Study Bible Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Holman NKJV Study Bible, Large Print Edition (ISBN 978-1-4336-0751-6).  The receipt of this Bible had no bearing on the outcome of this review.

I received the two tone brown, “leathertouch” binding.  It has 1 brown and 1 black ribbon.  According to Christianbook, this is a sewn binding.  It has 2,304 pages.  It lays fairly flat for such a thick Bible.  Of course, in Genesis or Revelation it is more difficult but still lays open and readable.  Holman has a page here for the study Bible that promises a digital study tool is coming soon.  This Bible is available in the same binding with tabs or in hardback.  Retail price is $89.99; Christianbook offers it at $30 off.

The first thing that struck me when unpacking this Bible is its size.  It is 10.5 inches high, 7.5 inches wide and 2 inches thick.  Since it is a large print study Bible that is no surprise.  The size makes it too unwieldy for me to use in preaching.  It works best on a desk or table.

One unfortunate matter also caught my attention quickly - the pages stuck together.  This is probably a result of whatever method was used to gild the page edges.  I tried fanning the pages several times through, but this did not free up all the pages.  Eventually I had to go through the Bible page by page.  Many were stuck so badly that I had to rub two fingers together in the center to get it started.  This was time consuming but once done the  Bible is easy to use.

This is a two column setting with cross references in the middle.  It is paragraphed and include section headings.  Textual notes are at the bottom of the Scripture section.  Study notes are at the bottom of the page separated from the Scripture by a horizontal line.  Verse numbers are in blue ink.  I found this made it easier to ignore them when reading.  I didn't find it hard to find an individual verse either.  This is also a red letter edition.  I am not a fan of red lettering so I tend to be critical of the practice.  My complaint is with readability.  As a devotional practice, it is appealing, but what really matters to me is legibility.  However, this red lettering is bold and consistent.

Upon opening the Bible itself I really noticed the print.  This is a very readable font (10.25 pt) for my aging eyesight.  The notes are smaller, but still readable for me. 

The paper is average quality.  There is definitely some ghosting (words, etc showing through from the page behind).  In some places there is line matching but not everywhere.  Most of the time I didn't find the ghosting distracting.  In some places where a bar or picture is on the page behind it was more annoying.

I've used this several ways.  First, I used it for sermon preparation.  I did not find the notes as helpful since I usually prefer textual notes that explain words.  The NET Bible notes are the type I use.  These notes did explain the text well, but the notes were more like my sermon than references for building that  sermon.

Secondly, I used this for personal reading and study.  Here I found it to be excellent.  After reading the text, I read the notes to see if they were helpful.  As an example, I read James 3:13-18 which has a section title "Heavenly Versus Demonic Wisdom."  The phrase "lie against the truth" in verse 14 is explained  by "Denial of truth is a constant threat in churches that tolerate false teachings."

A third way I used this Bible was for researching questions that came up in my daily reading.  I am currently reading through the NASB.  The study Bible had some explanations that I didn't find in a couple other study Bibles I used for comparison.  For instance, I wanted to find out what the "Book of the Wars of the Lord"  is (mentioned in Numbers 21:14).  The study notes say this is "an early source of Israelite documentation of God's victories on behalf of His people, perhaps in poetic form."  There are 15,000 such study notes in this Bible.

There are 66 maps spread throughout the Bible including those on typical glossy paper in the back.  The maps are all full color.  I was delighted to discover that the ones interspersed in the text are printed on the same Bible paper as the text (not that thick glossy near-cardboard)!  One example is found in Matthew 15; It is a map of the ministry of Jesus beyond Galilee.  Another shows the ministry of Elijah and Elisha.  A small section of it is show below.

There are 141 full color photos as well.  Again, these are printed on the Bible paper.  They are also integrated into the study notes.  A picture of an ancient baptismal at Avdat, Israel is included in the notes on Romans 5-6.  A picture (partially shown below) of trees from Gethsemane is found under the notes for Mark 14:21-27).  These color pictures are a wonderful addition to the resources found in here.  My scan doesn't do justice to the quality of these pictures.

There are also 19 illustrations such as this drawing of Noah's ark.

19 charts are included;  I found them useful.  I'm reading an Old Testament passage every day.  I found the charts gave a good overview to some aspects of my reading.  The first is one showing all the priests of Israel.  The second is one listing the Old Testament feasts.  Another lists the all the prophets.

Other features are a 62 page concordance, book introductions and book timelines.  I would like to see more detail on the timelines.  I like the timelines; they help give some historical context to the Scriptures.  Both one and three year reading schedules are found in the back.  21 articles and essays on practical and theological issues are found through the Bible, such as “The Historic Reliability of the New Testament” by Craig L. Blomberg.

Once I got past the stuck pages I began to really like using this Bible.  I haven't read all of the notes.  I did not find anything objectionable in what I did read.  The page layout and physical form of this Bible contribute to the readability.  I really appreciated having the maps included within the text.  I used them more because of this feature.  I am delighted by the full color printing on regular Bible paper.  As I mentioned above, I wouldn't use this a sermon preparation resource.  I would recommend this for devotional reading and study.

I like this Bible.  I like it enough either to keep it or to give it some one else.  I am considering sending it along with my son when he returns to college this fall.  I would love to see this in a leather binding and printed on more opaque paper.  But I say that about most Bibles I see today.  I think Holman has produced an excellent study Bible.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Baker Publishing to produce TLV Bible

Baker Publishing will publish the Tree of Life Bible in 2016.  The TLV is the work of the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.  You can read the press release on their web site.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Word of YHVH (Mary E. Lewis) Update

wrote about the Word of YHVH by Mary E. Lewis about one year ago.  I recently received notice from her that she has produced a new edition.  She writes:
Many are expressing an interest in having the Hebrew name of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. In answer to that desire, I have added the Word of YHVH Bible--Yehoshua Mashiyach Edition--2015 (WYB-YM). Both are free. The new address for both Bibles is
The new version uses "Yehoshua Mashiyach" for "Jesus Christ" and still uses "YHVH Elohim" for "Lord God."   As she mentions, the Bibles are available for a free download on her website.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Internet Bible Catalog - EELBV Cross Reference

For those of you who use the Encyclopedia of English Language Bible Versions, there are some web resources you might want to know about.  I just noticed that the Internet Bible Catalog has cross reference its entries to the EELBV.  On the EELBV page the IBC lists all the entries by their EELBV numbers.

At the website for the EELBV, you can find a list of EELBV numbers with a corresponding web link.  There is also a page with new versions found since the EELBV was published.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Topical Reference Bible: New American Standard

Topical Reference Bible:  New American Standard

I recently received a review copy of the Topical Reference Bible (Foundation Publications, Inc., 2010, ISBN 978-1-58135-147-7) from the publisher.  The receipt of this Bible did not influence the outcome of this review.

This is a two column New American Standard (1995, EELBV #8100.120) text bible with cross references and textual notes in an additional center column.  My copy is a hardback.  The Bible is also available in Leathertex™ and bonded leather.  This is not a premium Bible so expect some ghosting (text behind the current page showing through) and no ribbons.  I intend to use this Bible as a quick study tool, so it isn't as big a problem for me.  According to the Bible Buying Guide, this is a sewn binding.  The Lockman Foundation lists the font size as 9pt.  Comparing the font size with my other NASB Bibles, it looks like 8pt.  The cover measures about 5.75 x 8.75 inches.  It is a handy sized bible.  It lays fairly flat due to the sewn binding.
It also has the words of Christ in red.  I am not a big fan of red lettering, mostly because of readability.  However, Lockman often uses a brownish red that is easier for me to read.  I prefer it over most other red lettered texts that I have.

The first section is a 255 page topical index.  This is followed by the Bible text.  Next is the 210 page New American Standard Dictionary/Concordance/Thesaurus.  Additional pages present Jesus' family tree, God's promises, The miracles of Jesus, Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ, The parables of Jesus, and the titles of Christ.  The introductions to the books of the Bible are included here instead of at the beginning of the books.  A reading schedule and full color Lockman Foundation maps round out the extra sections.

For the purpose of this review I decided to do a quick study on the topic of evil.  I recently read an article, 5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart, that got me thinking more about this subject.

I started my study in the Topical index, copyrighted 2000.  The picture to the left shows the ghosting well.

The topical index has excellent divisions to help narrow down your search.  Under the heading "EVIL" there are subdivisions for "in relation to God," "good and evil," "ascribed to" and others.

  Given the topic of the article I mentioned above, I chose to focus on good and evil, discernment between.

This leads to passages such as "So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" (1 Kings 3:9).  This is part of Solomon's prayer to God after becoming king of Israel.

Turning to the Dictionary/Thesaurus/Concordance we find synonyms or definitions for evil listed as "bad, wicked, wrong."  Of course, the size of this Bible doesn't allow for an exhaustive concordance.  Thus, under "Evil" there are just 18 verses listed.  These range from "man's  heart is evil" (Genesis 8:21) to " But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison" (James 3:8).  I find a concordance to be an invaluable tool anytime I am doing a topical study.  As you can see, the entry for "Evil" covers about half a page.

The topical index and dictionary/thesaurus/concordance are handy additions to this little Bible.  Neither compares to a full sized reference so this won't replace your standard reference library.  But for an easy-to-carry quick reference this Bible is good.  I can see myself taking it along to Sunday School or Bible Study where I want something small and portable. With the average ghosting, I prefer better quality paper for daily reading.

Another important note is the price:  $29.95 (USD) retail.  It is available for about $20 on ChristianBook.comAmerican Bible Sales offers it for less that $14!  It offers a lot of features for such a low price.

For its small size this Bible contains a great deal of helpful information.  I like it that the references all point me back to the actual scriptures.  If this were printed on better paper in a leather binding I believe I might just carry it all the time.

Bible Hunting Update

I've received several notices about new versions but haven't had time to get them all listed.  Here they are (initials of the contributor follow each item):

My Personal Book of Yahuwah by Glenn Wilson, 2011.  A sacred name revision of the KJV.  GK
An Abridgment of the New Testament by Sarah Trimmer, 18??.  GK.
Pauline Theology: A Study in Galatians by Joel D. Martin, 2004.  K
Watchman's Bible: Yehovah's Second Testament by Richard H. Perry, 2015. JH
The Fusion English Version by Daniel Harder, 2015 (John only so far).  A revision of the WEB.  JH
The Holy City Bible, August 2015.  Catholic.  JH
Byzantine New Testament.  Possibly the WEB, unsure of changes.  JH

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Leonard's Book Restoration rebind - IBS LP NIV(84)

Earlier this year I decided to have one of my Bibles rebound.  After seeing several people's rebinds done by Leonard's Book Restoration, I sent off my information for a quote.  The Bible I decided to rebind is not a premium Bible, but one I have used quite a bit when preaching.  It is an International Bible Society large print 1984 New International Version.  It has a glued binding which was cracking in the front.
As you can see, it wasn't badly worn.  It does not have gold edges.  The paper is fair - it does allow some ghosting.  But it has been a great Bible for preaching now that my eyesight is gradually getting worse.  Since the 2011 NIV was published there are decreasing options for large print 1984 NIV texts (or any 1984 NIV Bible, see my earlier post for some options).

I decided to have it rebound in black goatskin.  Leonard's added binding cord to the spine edge of the text block to repair and strengthen the Bible.  I had them insert three black ribbons as well.  The whole process, including ship time, took about a month.  I found Leonard's easy to work with.  Here is the finished product:

When I unboxed my newly rebound Bible I was delighted at the appearance. When I first handled it I found it stiff.  To be honest, I wasn't sure I liked the way it felt.  However, after handling it and reading from it, I soon found it softened up.  Now I am delighted with the way it feels.  As you can see above, the text is too close to the gutter.  This is due to the way the text block is printed, not the way it was rebound.  The cover is as flexible as the text block (see below).

One thing hit me as I first viewed this rebind:  It looks like this preacher's Bible.  With the ribbons hanging about 4 inches off the bottom, the silver printing on the spine and the rounded corners on the cover it really is my kind of  Bible.
The spine has raised ribs.  The print is very similar to that on the original hardback.  I  like the smaller ribbing.  I tend to prefer a simple, cleaner look on a Bible.
Of course, the original Bible did not have a box.  So I found some acid free board at Hobby Lobby.  My two part box isn't fancy or all that well made, but it protects the Bible.  I glued decorative paper on the outside that has Scripture verses (such as the Lord's prayer).
I am delighted with the work done by Leonard's book restoration.  Once I got the cover broken in (a very short process) it is perfect for my needs.  Their work will preserve one of my favorite preaching Bibles for years to come. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rare Bible translations for sale

A fellow Bible lover and collector is selling some rare translations out of his collection.  You can view his sales on eBay here.  Some of the items listed for sale are Abner Kneeland's NT, Gilbert Wakefield's NT, Thomas Belsham's NT and Granville Penn's NT.  The seller states "Since there is no standard for pricing these Bible translations, most of them are truly one of a kind and extremely rare...the price is my own estimate. If you think the price is unreasonable, please Make Offer with explanation. Every serious and reasonable offer will be dutifully considered."

New Testament - Breakthrough Version

While still in translation, this version was called The Bible for a New Generation, which is UBV-0048 in The Encyclopedia of English Language Bible Versions.  Now that the New Testament is finished the name has changed to New Testament - Breakthrough Version.  It is available in electronic formats on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.  It is available in print on Amazon.  My earlier post about The Bible for a New Generation is here.

Thanks to JH for this version.

Monday, May 25, 2015

21st Century Revised King James Version

The 21st Century Revised King James Version is one I just heard about from the Internet Bible Catalog.  It is a revision that was published in South Africa in 2001.  Sample verses and a link to the entire work in PDF are available on that website as well.  It is an immersionist version.  As the title indicates, it is a revision of the King James Version.

Thanks to SR for this version.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Original Pittsburgh Bible

The Original Pittsburgh Bible is a King James New Testament modified to reflect the local dialect of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  The second person plural "you" has been replaced with "yinz."  Here's a sample:

And he saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make yinz fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).
You can see more of it on Amazon using their "look inside" feature.

Thanks to BR for finding this one.