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.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

J. W. Pasham's Edition of the King James Bible

A recent article in the Bible Review Journal (the publication of the International Society of Bible Collectors) mentioned an edition of the King James Bible printed by J. W. Pasham in 1776.  I wanted to add this footnote:  this edition of the Bible is available for reading on Google Books!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mini Review: World Publishers Classic Companion Bible

Classic Companion Bible
ISBN 0-529-11060-1
World Publishers, Inc.
1,460 pages
Bonded leather, gold edging.
1 ribbon

This is a handy sized (5.8x8.5") single column text Bible.  I believe it is a glued binding.  Textual notes are at the bottom of the page.  Page numbers are at the top inside margin; Verse references are at the top outside margin.  The paper is average - I did not find the show through distracting.  Red letter text.  Print darkness varies on some pages.  Column width may be too wide for some readers.  Overall this is a nice Bible though it may be a bit difficult to find (check eBay, Amazon, Abebooks, etc).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cambridge Bibles in the U.S.

Since July 1990 Baker Publishing Group has been the North American distributor for Cambridge Bibles.  Sales have now been moved back to Cambridge.  I suspect we will still be able to buy Cambridge Bibles from and, perhaps even  Read Baker's news article about the change here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Personalized Bibles: Love them or hate them?

I thought I had previously posted about personalized Bibles, but cannot find any such post. By "personalized Bibles" I do not mean those that have your name imprinted on the cover. Instead, I mean Bibles that replace pronouns in the Scriptures with one's name.  For instance, the Your Personalized Bible site has this sample:
The Lord is Chris’s shepherd; Chris shall lack nothing. He makes Chris lie down in green pastures. He leads Chris beside the still waters. He restores Chris’s soul. Psalm 23:1
This website offers printed Bibles or New Testaments with your name inserted for $89 (USD) for the NT and $119 (USD) for the full Bible. For $15 you can get a PDF of the King James or "Modern English" with your name inserted. I did not find any mention of what version is used for the modern English.

Another website (it isn't clear if it is affiliated with the site above) offers a free sample of Ephesians. That site's prices are much higher for the printed works. A more recent work, called the To You Bible offers an app for your device. Though it is only $0.99 (USD) I did not purchase a copy. After reading through the permissions that the app requires I decided it sounds like it includes targeted advertising.

All these Bibles include gender as part of the personalization. They can also accommodate a spouse's name. This is especially evident in the Song of Solomon and Ephesians 5.

Some love these Bibles saying it makes them feel that God is speaking directly to them. But one of my friends said that this process puts self above God and His word. Another said he is offended to the point of not including them in his exhaustive bibliography of Bible versions.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Layman's Translation of the New Testament

I was recently notified of the Layman's Translation of the New Testament by Joel Cartmell.  It was edited by his wife, Lorraine Cartmell.  There is a PDF available for free on Scribd or a print copy can be ordered on  You might also want to read his personal testimony.  The preface reads as follows:
This is a dynamic equivalent translation, which is a cross between a literal translation and a paraphrase. Parts of this translation are translated word for word, and other parts are paraphrased. I would not recommend this translation for bible study unless a literal translation is used alongside it. The purpose of this translation is to make the New Testament easy to read and understand. I am only a layman, and I have no credentials. But I love the bible and wanted to translate the New Testament in a way that I could easily understand and quickly read through. I have worked on this for many years under much affliction, but I thank God for His grace! I could not have done this without God’s help. I also thank God for my wife. She has helped me greatly and has patiently supported me. I thank the Lord for my daughter Jaine, and the little one that is on its way! I also thank the Lord for all that my parents have done for us.

Link thanks to JH.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Amplified Bible updated

The Amplified Bible was updated this year (2015).  You can read it on Bible Gateway.  The older Amplified Bible is now called the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition on Bible Gateway.  The Lockman page states:
The appeal and readability of the 2015 edition of the Amplified Bible has been broadened by refreshing the English and refining the amplifications for relevance and clarity. The Amplified Bible is now easier to read and better than ever to study and understand. The Amplified Bible now includes more amplification in the Old Testament and refined amplification in the New Testament. Additionally, the Bible text has been improved to read smoothly with or without amplifications, so the text may be read clearly either way. The same feel and style of amplification has been carefully maintained, so those who read the classic Amplified Bible will easily transition to the new text and appreciate its improvements.
 You can view some examples of changes to the newer AMP.  I have not found a full list of the changes yet.  Please leave a comment with a link if you find such a list.

If you are interested in the original Amplified Bible, check Lockman's page:  Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Berean Study Bible

Last year I posted about the Berean Study Bible.  I got notice (thanks, JH) that the New Testament is now ready.  The home page has information about the work.  The text itself is found on Bible Hub.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Free PDF download - Geneva 1599

I just ran across a free download of the 1599 Geneva Bible (text reprint).  It is called "The Patriot's Edition."

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Idle Shepherd Bible

The Idle Shepherd Bible gets its nickname from a misprint in Zechariah 11:17 which reads "idol shepherd" in the King James Version.  In this misprint from 1809 it read "idle shepherd."  In doing research while editing a friend's book I discovered this copy is available online.  Read it for yourself on Google Books.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bible mini-reviews: 4 NASB Bibles

I am always looking at Bibles to see new bindings, new formats or new translations.  Here are some New American Standard Bibles I've come across lately.  These are just mini-reviews as I don't think they need a full length treatment.

Lockman Large Print Compact Bible (ISBN 978-1-58135-157-6).  This is a hand sized Bible (7.5" x 5.125") in black leathertex.  The print is thin, not bold.  It is single column (I really like the layout) with notes on the bottom of the page.  Red letter.  9 point font.  Average paper.  No cross references.  Ghosting can be distracting on some pages.  It cost around $20 (USD).  Preview.

Zondervan NASB Compact Thinline Bible (ISBN 978-0-310-42959-3).  This is a smaller Bible (6.625" x 4.375") in imitation leather.   6 point font.  Average paper and print.  Double column, notes at the bottom of the page.  Double column.  Red letter.  No cross references.  Though it is smaller, this is a low cost ($20 USD) alternative to the Pitt MinionPreview.

World Publishing Slimline Reference Bible (ISBN 0-529-10959-X, NSLBG).  This is another hand sized (7.375" x 5.1") Bible this time in bonded leather.  About 6 point font.  Average paper and print.  Double column.  Cross references and notes in center column.  Red letter. This is out of print but a cheap alternative to the Pitt Minion.  I paid about $10 (USD) for a good quality used copy on eBay.

Zondervan NASB Skinii Bible (ISBN 978-0-310-42366-9).  This is also a hand sized Bible (7.9" x 5.375") in imitation leather hardback.  It is styled to look like the Moleskine notebooks.  Paper is acid free and fairly good.  Print is dark.  8 point font.  Red letter.  Double column.  No cross references.  Textual notes at bottom of page.  Cost about $20 (USD).  Preview.

I liked the print and paper of the Skinii Bible best out of the four.  The layout in the Lockman LPCB was my favorite.  The Zondervan CTB is a nice size but the print is too small for me.  The World SRB is a nice little Bible but again the print is too small for me.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible

I was given a copy of the Zondervan NASB Study Bible (ISBN 9780310911487) for review purposes.  Receipt of this Bible had neither a positive nor a negative effect on the outcome of this review.

I believe that the Bible I received is a second, since there was some staining on one page.  It appears to have been a printing issue.  For that reason, I've tried to avoid issues that are probably not found in regular copies.  You can view some sample pages of this Bible on

The first aspect that I noticed was the cover.  It is called "top grain leather."  It looks and feels like bonded leather.  When I lay the closed Bible down the cover sticks up.  This may not be an issue for many, but I was disappointed since it was advertised as "top grain leather."  But then I read an article about the different types of leather.  Here is my summary of leather types from that article:  Full grain is the best leather.  Next is top grain which has some grain left after being sanded to remove blemishes.  Third is genuine leather which is from the bottom half of the hide.  Finally there is bonded leather which is leftover dust and shavings glued and pressed.  If you'd like to read the article on leather types you will find it at Saddleback Leather.  So, when you read "top grain," don't make the mistake that I did.  I thought it meant "top quality."  I have recently been blessed with a goatskin covered Bible which will knock you into a new level of Bible bindings!  I expected a cover something like that.  But if I understand what I've read correctly, Zondervan is telling the truth.  Hopefully this binding will last longer than a bonded leather Bible.  A friend who has had one for a few years said that it softens up after a while.

The binding is sewn, not glued.  The Bible does lay fairly flat.  It is a study Bible, so it is thicker.  You will be reading on the curve if you open it to Revelation and lay it on a table.  But it stays open on its own.

The print is a thinner type than I am used to seeing.  It isn't a bold type at all.  In some light it looks weak.  The red type in the New Testament appears a faint red or slight pink color.  In some passages the red text is printed higher on the page that the black text.  In some places it looks lighter than others.  These could be issues unique to this physical copy.  But the red is a bit more difficult for me to read on certain pages.  There is also some ghosting (text on the back of the page showing through), of course, but it was not terribly distracting to me.

Now the most important part!  The text is the New American Standard Version (EELBV #8100.120).  To evaluate the study notes I use the Bible for my daily reading and see if it answers questions that arise.  One day, I got curious about the first and second writings of the ten commandments.  I looked up Exodus 31:18 where God gives the two tablets of testimony for the first time.  The note here says that these were duplicate documents.  Two copies of the same thing - one for each party of the covenant.  I didn't know that!  I will want to study it further, but I found this really interesting.  Another question I had was about Exodus 34:28 where it says "he wrote on the tablets."  It isn't clear who wrote.  In 34:1 God says that He will write them.  In verse 27 it says God told Moses to write down these words.  That may not refer to the stone tablets though.  The notes for verse 28 say that it is probably God who wrote on the stone tablets.

This is the real test of any study Bible:  Does it enhance your study?  I don't expect a study Bible to have all the answers to every question.  I did find the notes in this Bible to be helpful.  For instance, I was reading Isaiah 7:10-16 and had some questions about the text. I found the notes explained it to my satisfaction.  The cross references show the corresponding passage in Matthew.  But the notes expand on that as well as explaining the current situation with Isaiah.  In Esther 7:8, where it says "they covered Haman's face," I hoped for an explanation.  The notes merely direct one to Esther 6:12 and the introduction.  This is not a terribly important verse.  The parts I read did cover the important theological issues.

If I were to choose a passage for a quick theological check it would be John 1:1.  The notes here affirm the complete deity of Jesus Christ.  In general I find the notes to explain the text without preaching.  I think this is key in allowing the reader to understand the text.

There are many extra features throughout this Bible that add to the reader's understanding.  There is a full color timeline in the front of the Bible.  It is very well done.  When I was reading about the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah this timeline helped keep things clear.  I prefer using this timeline while reading over using a chronological Bible.  It is helpful to stay in one book to keep the proper context but still be able to place the events in the stream of Biblical history.

I find it difficult to keep the chronology of events, especially in the Old Testament, in my mind as I read.  I've read a chronological Bible.  That is an interesting way to read the Old Testament.  This Bible helps by features such as the timeline in the front of the Bible.  Tables in the text also keep things in perspective.  In the book of Ezra there is a table showing the chronology of events covered by Ezra and Nehemiah.  It not only lists the dates but also the relevant passages.

Some features are stuck in - such as "Ancient Texts Relating to the Old Testament."  This lists such things as a Cyrus Cylinder from the 6th century B.C.  This list appears right before the Old Testament title page.   It was interesting to read about other writings from the Biblical period.  It got me interested in other writings that are mentioned in the Scriptures.  You can new my findings at this link:

There are illustrations sprinkled throughout the text.  I find them helpful in visualizing the things discussed in the Scriptures.  For instance, the ark of the covenant illustration also shows other items from the tabernacle.  As you can see (below) this includes the lampstand, the table, incense altar and bronze altar.  An illustration on the previous page showed the tabernacle layout.

Each Bible book has an introduction.  In the dating of the book of Obadiah it mentions two differing theories.  I appreciate being shown the different possibilities for some information.  I also noticed this in one of the notes (though I can't find the spot now).

I believe this Study Bible is available in other translations such as the New International Standard Version.  There is also a new full color study Bible with an new system of notes though I haven't seen it in the NASB yet.  I would like to see that setting with my favorite (NASB) text.

I am comfortable with the notes and features in this Bible.  I will most likely share this Bible with someone in church to get their reactions to it.  I believe this is a good, reliable study Bible.  I recently read where someone stated that they read through their study Bible cover to cover, notes, tables, charts and all.  I recommend that with this Bible.

Monday, August 10, 2015

New Living Translation - 2015 Update

The New Living Translation was updated again this year.  You can view a full list of the changes at  There will be a new premium Bible coming out this fall with the updated text. The Caxton NLT is from Schuyler Publishing.  For more information on the Bible visit  To pre-order the Bible visit

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What Color Is Your Text?

Since Louis Klopsch's innovation of printing the words of Christ in red in 1899, many publishers have printed red letter Bibles.  But some have used different coloring for varying reasons.  This article lists a few of those more unusual colored text Bibles.  I have divided these Bibles into three main categories:  Speaker identification, Topical and Decorative.

The first category started with Klopsch's New Testament in 1899 which identified the words of Christ by printing them in red.  Most major Bible translations now have a red letter edition available.  An example of a red letter New Testament can be read online here.  The Bible Gateway supports viewing the red letter NT in several versions such as the CEB, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NIV, NKJV and the TNIV.

Red isn't the only color that has been used.  An article at The International Society of Bible Collectors mentions one unsuccessful NT that had Christ's words in Green.  The Woman's Bible available from the Adventist Book Center has Christ's words printed in gold.

Now that red lettering has become so common a new term has surfaced:  "black letter Bibles."  Some find the red print difficult to read.  Others disagree with highlighting part of the New Testament over the rest.  Some publishers now offer both red letter and black letter editions.

Others have expanded the speaker identification idea into the Old Testament.  The King James Bible: Purple Letter Edition identifies the speaker by printing God's name, the Spirit's name and Jesus' name in purple. The Names of God Bible has God's names and Jesus' name in gold.  The Holy Bible:  King James Easy Reading Edition has God's spoken words in red print.  The King James 2000 by Robert Couric also follows this convention.

Some Bibles use even more colors.  The BRG Bible is one of these:  It has the God's words in blue, Jesus' words in red, the name of the Holy Spirit in gold, words of angels in underlined blue and messianic prophecies in underlined red.  A sample of this Bible is available on  Google Books.  It can also be read on Bible Gateway.  The God Speaks Interactive Bible uses the following color scheme:  God's words in purple, passages about God speaking in green, people speaking God's words in third person in brown, angels, visions and dreams in blue, Jesus' words in red and miracles and acts in gold. The Strand Study Bible uses blue for God the Father, red for God the Son, purple for God the Holy Spirit.  Titles and pronouns of each are bold, upper case and colored, full color satellite maps are included right in the text, trinity passages have box around them (such as Colossians 2:9) and underlining indicates passages quoted (or that are quoted elsewhere).  The Spoken Word, a Red Letter Project has God's words in red, people's words in blue, Satan's words in brown and people speaking words from God in purple.

The Sourceview Bible colorizes text according to the identity of the speaker.  When I saw the name, I expected it to be similar to the Bible With Sources Revealed (see below).  But in the free sample of Jonah (available on their preview page) God's words are in red, Jonah's are in blue, the ship's captain and crew are in green, the narrator is in black

A group calling themselves "The Jesus Seminar" produced The Five Gospels.  They used colors more to show what they think wasn't really said than anything else.  Red means Jesus said this or something very like it; Pink indicates that Jesus probably said something like this; Grey words are probably not Jesus' words, but the ideas are close to his and black means Jesus did not say this.  In their version of the Lord's Prayer, the only thing we can be certain Jesus said is "Our Father."

The next category is Bibles that use coloring for topical reasons.  For instance, The Green Bible has "Verses and passages that speak to God’s care for creation" in green print.  Most of Genesis 1 and 2 are in green text.  It is also printed on recycled paper, soy-based ink and water-based coating.  The Financial Stewardship Bible has verses relating to finances highlighted in green.  The Bible looks as though someone took a green highlighter and marked certain passages (e.g. Genesis 2:2-3). The Freedom Bible also uses the highlighter technique.  In this one, passages relating to freedom are highlighted in blue (e.g. Mark 2:3-5).  Another highlighter style Bible is the Poverty and Justice Bible.  Here, scriptures dealing with poverty and justice issues are highlighted in brown (e.g. John 16:8-11).

Taking multicolored text even further is the Bible With Sources Revealed.  It uses different colors to indicated the sources of the text according to the documentary theory (also known as the JEPD theory).  Each source has a letter or letters, so the key looks like this:
  • J - green
  • E - green sans bold
  • P - blue sans
  • RJE - green with green background
  • R - blue with blue background
  • other independent texts - blue italic
  • Genesis 14 - green italic
  • Dtn - green sans italic
  • Dtr1 - blue
  • Dtr2 - blue bold
The Rainbow Study Bible challenges my ability to see and name colors.  It has every verse highlighted in color according to the subject matter.  The key is as follows:  Purple - God, Pink - Discipleship, Green - Love, Peach - Faith, Grey - Sin, Brown - Satan, Blue - Salvation, Yellow - Family, Lighter Pink - Witnessing, Lighter Green - Commandments, Lighter Grey - History, Gold - Prophecy.  Fortunately, this Bible came with a bookmark containing the color guide.

 The New Marked Reference Bible colorized the text according to four major themes.  Red was for salvation, green for the Holy Spirit, gold for temporal blessings and Blue for prophecy.   The Standard Full Color Bible uses 12 different color highlights to identify Scriptural themes.  I wasn't able to connect safely to their website, but there may be a sample of it available.

The final category is decorative coloring.  The main reason for the colorized text in these Bibles is for appearance.  For instance, the KJV Promise Bible for Women has nearly everything in purple.  This includes the covers, the table of contents, introduction, essays, reading plan and even the lines on the notes pages.  Can you guess the color of the ribbon?  I was told that the Duck Commander Bible has headings in green and the text in tan.  I wasn't able to verify that one. The My Beautiful Princess Bible has purple text.  Some verses also have purple highlighting.  You can view a sample here.

There are certainly many more Bibles to be found in each of these categories.  By the time this article is finished, there will be even more.  I don't intend to list all of them.  But I hope this overview has given you an idea of the wide variety of coloring schemes.

The purpose of this article isn't to decide whether or not to colorize the text in Bibles.  I have heard arguments on both sides.  Love them or hate them, there are a lot of them out there.

I would like to thank several people in the Bible Versions Discussions/Dialogue group on Facebook including (but not limited to) Daniel, Joshua, Lance, Lawrence, Marika, Stephen, Steven and Timothy.  If you are interested in the sort of thing I discuss on my sites, you might enjoy joining the group.

Whatever color text you choose, I certainly hope you are reading a Bible.  That is my favorite color:  read.

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.

The High-Definition King James Version of the New Testament

The High-Definition King James Version of the New Testament was copyrighted by Ted Rouse in 2012.  In a manner similar to the Amplified Bible, Rouse has inserted definitions into the King James text.  Here is Matthew 1:1:
The (book relating to) the (genealogy, manner of the birth, and coming into this world) of Jesus Christ (the anointed Messiah), who was the son of David, and the son of Abraham.
  In some cases, sentence structures were rearranged to fit modern usage.  Words in italics were added to clarify the meaning of certain phrases.  This is an expensive New Testament - $49 USD for the hardback on Amazon.  You can view a sample on Google books.

Thanks to JH for this version announcement.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Bible Exchange

If you have visited the Bible Exchange, you might want to give it a look.  It is a new site to buy, sell and trade high quality Bibles.  Recently, they just removed seller fees and commissions on all auctions.  If you've got some good quality Bibles to sell, now is the time to reach others who also appreciate God's Word.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Shem Qadosh Version

The Shem Qadosh Version is another sacred name version.  It is the work of J. A. Brown.  It can be downloaded in PDF format here.  Here are some samples:
יהוה Elohim planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed (B'reshiyt 2:8).
 The book of the generations of ישׁוּע the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Avraham (Mattithyahu 1:1).
But when he had considered this, behold, a messenger of יהוה appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Yoseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is from the Set-apart Ruach (Mattithyahu 1:20).

Thanks go to JH for this find.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New Lutheran Bible translation: The Wartburg Project

The Wartburg Project is "a group of Lutheran pastors and professors who are working together to produce a new translation of the Bible."  They recently made a publication agreement with Northwestern Publishing House.  There is more information as well as a sample containing the passion history at the Northwestern Publishing House website.  The Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Psalms are available for the Kindle ($0.99 USD).  They hope to publish the New Testament and Psalms in 2017.  No date is set yet for completion of the Old Testament.

Thanks to NS for this version.

Psalms of Grace

Psalms of Grace contains the first 50 Psalms.  This work, by Justin Capdevila, is only available on iTunes

The description there is as follows:
 This volume is a resounding of the first 50 Psalms of the Old Testament from a New Covenant perspective. It is not a new translation or paraphrase, but partners with the passion of the original authors who looked forward to the abundant gift which we now have in Jesus Christ.

Here is a sample, Psalm 23:

 The Lord Yehovah is my shepherd. I shall not want, for He has fully satisfied me.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He has lead me to still waters.
He restored my soul. He guides me on the path of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are in Union with me. Your rod and Your staff, they protect me.
You have made me to feast together at Your heavenly table with all the most honorable ones. You have anointed my head with the oil of gladness, filling me with the fullness of Your Holy Spirit. My cup runs over with Your New Wine of intoxicating bliss.
Surely, goodness and grace shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the Celestial Heaven of Papa Yehovah for all eternity.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Twentieth Century New Testament

Many of you are familiar with the Twentieth Century New Testament.  The complete tentative edition came out in 1901 and is available here.  In 1904 a final edition was published and is available here.  There is a little more to the history, but that isn't important for this note.  What is important is something I have not noticed before.  While browsing through, I happened upon an edition of the Twentieth Century New Testament published by Moody Press in 1961.  You can check it out of the Open Library at this page.  Readings don't match the editions I have, but the readings from my copy are included as footnotes.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Bible Exchange

The Bible Exchange is a new website where you can "Buy, Sell & Trade New and Used High Quality Bibles."  Part of the site is devoted to auctions of high quality Bibles.  The glossary explains all the terms used to describe Bibles.  I recommend reading it - it is well written and illustrated with clear pictures.  The site also offers new Bibles for sale, a place to list Bibles you want to tradenews about Bibles and reviews of Bibles.  The goal of the founders of the website was to provide a place where high quality Bibles can be bought and sold with honesty.  Too many have had bad experiences buying Bibles on other auction sites where they did not receive what they expected.  Now Bible lovers have a place to exchange Bibles!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bible Giveaway Winner

And the winner is ... Neil Short. Or more accurately, Neil Short's daughter. Please send me an email with your address to receive her new Thomas Nelson NKJV Single Column Bible!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Another Queen Jane Bible

I just heard about this one this morning.  It is called the Queen Jane Bible.  I don't believe it has any relationship to the Queen Jane's Version by Douglas Rankin.  This one is by Peter Kelly who self published it on Smash Words.  He has replaced gender and names throughout the Bible, including God's name.  This will likely be offensive to most believers.  For instance in Matthew we find this:
1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lady by the prophetess, saying, 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a daughter, and they shall call her name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, Goddess with us.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NKJV Single Column: Thomas Nelson vs. Schuyler

I have lately been on the hunt for good single column Bibles in my favorite translations. One of those is the New King James Version. I read some excellent reviews about the Schuyler New King James Single Column Bible.  One review is by Mark Bertrand on his Bible Design Blog (the 2nd run of Schuyler NKJV) and on Beth Rhodes' Tresses' Other Corner (the 1st run of these Bibles). Both are excellent reviews and there is no need for repetition of their fine work here

Beth mentions that Schuyler NKJV single column Bible is a reprinting of Thomas Nelson's "but better." I decided to see for myself what "better" meant. My skill in photographing Bibles is negligible, but hopefully these will help illustrate some of the differences.

These Bibles have exactly the same layout.  There is no difference in page numbering or anything else.  The layout is by Blue Heron Bookcraft in Battle Ground, Washington.  The Thomas Nelson Bible is printed in the United States of America (printer isn't given).  The Schuyler NKJV was printed by Royal Jongbloed in Heerenveen, Friesland, Netherlands.  The main reason I considered the Schuyler after getting the Thomas Nelson was in hopes that it would be more readable.
Thomas Nelson (on top) and Schuyler have the same layout.
Thomas Nelson (top) and Schuyler have exact same layout

I got the Thomas Nelson Bible first. Nowhere on the Bible does it mention the cover, although "Genuine Leather" is written on the box. Although the Bible is reasonably flexible, it feels more like bonded leather. I read that the Thomas Nelson Bible has a glued binding. I haven't been able to verify this.  I have to admit that I don't mind the feel of it in my hand. The Schuyler Bible is bound in soft goatskin and is very flexible. I LOVE the feel of it in my hand.   The Schuyler has a sewn binding (as do all Schuyler Bibles). Borrowing from Mark Bertrand's famous "Bible Yoga" style you can see that the Schuyler is more flexible.
Bible Yoga:  Thomas Nelson vs. Schuyler (Schuyler wins)
Thomas Nelson (left) is less flexible.

Both lay similarly on a table.  The Schuyler has a larger margin in the gutter so there is less text curving.  Both have some trouble when you are the beginning or the end of the Bible.  When opening to Genesis or Revelation, the lighter side raises slightly off the surface. Perhaps both would settle down with use.
Both Schuyler (left) and Thomas Nelson have trouble laying flat.

When thumbing through the Bible I noticed the page edges on the Thomas Nelson are a bit rough.  It appears that they were cut poorly so the gilding didn't stick well.  It is also duller than the Schuyler. Also, the pages tend to fan out a bit right from the start.  I haven't been reading this Bible much at all yet, but already the pages fan out.  The Schuyler is art gilt red under gold.  The edges are smooth and shiny.  You can even see a bit of reflection of the ribbons!  The pages lay flat though I haven't leafed through this one as much as the Thomas Nelson.
Thomas Nelson duller edge gilt vs Schuyler shiny gilt
Schuyler (bottom) has superior edging.
From another angle you can see bits of paper stick out from the page edges of the Thomas Nelson.  This is only on the bottom, so I don't feel those while thumbing through to find a verse.  Here you can also see the Schuyler is larger.  They took the same layout and increased the size.  On the right in this picture you can see where a small triangle of the Thomas Nelson cover corner sticking down.  It appears it wasn't glued properly.
Thomas Nelson (top) is smaller than the Schuyler
The Thomas Nelson Bible has a trim size of 8.4375 x 5.5 inches.  Schuyler's Bible measures 9.125 x 6.25 inches.  It doesn't sound like a big increase but it is noticeable when reading.  This is a key criteria for me in selecting Bibles.  I'll carry any size Bible if it is better for me to read.  In this picture you can also see the black genuine leather (Thomas Nelson) compared with the brown goatskin (Schuyler)

Thomas Nelson black leather (top) with Schuyler brown goatskin
Thomas Nelson (top) and Schuyler
The increase in size made a noticeable improvement in readability.  I find the Schuyler is easier to read that the Thomas Nelson.  The Thomas Nelson has white paper which I thought I would like better.  I changed my mind once I compared it with the Schuyler's cream paper.  This is certainly subjective and your eyes may give you different results.  Here is a comparison of the two showing the slightly larger font.  Unfortunately, the page color doesn't show in my picture (TN on the right).  A problem with both Bibles is ghosting where the words on the back of the page show through.  The Schuyler may be slightly better but I am not certain.
The Schuyler on the left has a slightly larger font.
Schuyler (left) has a slightly large font.

One problem I found with the Thomas Nelson (I wasn't able to get this to show in my photographs) was uneven print darkness.  The print on some pages was lighter.  This was noticeable when cross referencing or when flipping between two pages.  The lighter pages were still readable though it made the ghosting more troublesome.

If you like multiple ribbons, the Schuyler (right, below) wins here too.  I use differing amounts depending on the reading schedule I use.  This year my schedule works with 2 or preferably 3 ribbons.  This picture shows the similar layouts, the ribbons and perhaps you can see the difference in paper color.
The Schuyler (right) has more ribbons that Thomas Nelson
Schuyler (right) has more ribbons.
As you can see, I do favor the Schuyler over the Thomas Nelson.  However, these Bibles are in two completely different classes.  The Thomas Nelson cost about $40 (USD) on  The Schuyler cost $190 (USD) on  If the Schuyler wasn't of superior quality there wouldn't be any reason for it to exist. 

I would still recommend the Thomas Nelson as an affordable single column reading Bible.  I do think it could have been executed better for the price range.  I have other Bibles in the same price range without these defects.  If you can afford the investment, the Shuyler is an excellent and much more readable upgrade.  It was worth the extra money for me.  I did find it more readable and believe I will use this often and long.  If ghosting is a problem for you, you make wish to wait until Schuyler releases the NKJV in their Quentel series.  I heard that it will be out in 2015-16.

 Comparison Chart
Thomas Nelson (top)Schuyler (bottom)
$40 (USD)$190 (USD)
Genuine leatherGoatskin leather
glued binding?sewn binding
somewhat flexiblevery flexible
Trim size: 8.44"x5.5"Trim size: 9.13"x6.25"
white paper32 GSM cream paper
9 pt font10.5 pt font
uneven printingexcellent printing
1 ribbon4 ribbons
weak/faulty giltexcellent red under gold art gilt
rough page edgessmooth page edges

If my review hasn't scared you off from the Thomas Nelson, here is a treat for you:  One lucky reader gets to have the Thomas Nelson Single Column Bible.  Please leave a comment with your name and BRIEFLY say why you want this Bible.  I will choose a winner next Saturday (2-28-2015).  I will post the winner's name whereupon you can email me with your address to receive your new Bible.