Archives For bible review

The Geneva Bible: 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

Kent Shaffer —  May 26, 2014

The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

Touted as the Bible of the Protestant Reformation, Hendrickson Bible Publishers offers a facsimile of the University of Wisconsin’s edition of the 1560 Geneva Bible.

The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to fully be translated from the original languages. It includes the Apocrapha and also includes extensive commentary and annotations in the margins from the scholars who translated it. Such benefits made it the preferred Bible among the English settlers who voyaged to the New World in the early 1600s.

S. Iohn 3:16
For God fo loued the worlde, that he hathe giuen his onely begotten Sone, that whofoeuer beleuveth in him, fhulde not perifh, but have euerlafting life.

Iames 1:27
Pure religion & vndefiled before God, euen the Father, is this, to vifite the fatheries, and widdowes in their aduerfitie, and to kepe him felf vnfpotted of the worlde.

What is gained in novelty and academic value by having an exact copy of the 1560 Geneva Bible comes at the cost of it being more difficult to read. While the all black type is an average 7 pt size, the age and crude printing of this original edition lacks crispness. Add in the challenge of over 440 years of linguistic evolution, and most readers will be forced to slow their reading pace considerably.

The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

As with many Hendrickson Bible, this Bible is beautifully crafted with a rugged blach genuine leather cover, Smyth-sewn binding, gold-gilded page edges, and a black ribbon marker. This is a very thick Bible at 2.5 inches, but its Smyth-sewn binding allows it to still lay flat.

The paper is much thicker and waxier than typical Bible paper.

The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

The Geneva Bible 1560 Edition by Hendrickson Publishers

Because this is a facsimile, you get to enjoy the original artisanship of maps, woodcut illustrations, and drop cap letters from 1560. This original edition also includes study resources such as a concordance of proper names, a concordance of principal things, a genealogical timeline from Adam to Christ, and a timeline of God. Added to the facsimile is a lengthy introduction to the Bible’s history written by Lloyd E. Berry.

Translation: The Geneva Bible
Publisher: Hendrickson Bible Publishers
ISBN: 9781598562132
Language: English
Cost: $119.95

Cover: genuine leather (black)
Binding: Smyth-sewn with 1 black ribbon marker
Pages: 1,280 pages with gold gilded edges
Type: 7 point black text
Dimensions: 2.5″ x 7.8″ x 10″
Special Features: original facsimile copy of the Geneva Bible’s text, art, and resources

This post features a complimentary review copy and Amazon affiliate links.

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Hendrickson Publishers has merged the King James Bible with my favorite commentary to create The Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible.

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Completed in 1611, the King James Version has been the translation of choice among many Christians over the past 400 years. However, today’s KJV Bibles are almost exclusively the edited text of the 1769 edition of the KJV.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

James 1:27
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Overall, the Matthew Henry Study Bible has good readability. While the type isn’t large, the kerning and full justification makes each word and letter stand out crisp and clearly. At the same time, it almost spaces things out too much, which slows down quick skimming. The words of Christ are in red.

The layout features cross references in the interior margins, and the study notes’ sans serif typeface is a bold, crisp, user friendly choice that drives home the points.

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

The black flexisoft leather cover is soft yet firm to the touch. It is a good balance between cost and quality.

The Smyth-sewn binding is complemented by a gold ribbon marker, and the gold-gilded page edges are dotted with helpful thumb index tabs.

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Book introductions, footnotes, and in-text quotations from Matthew Henry’s writings are woven throughout the Bible. It is a well-thought-out balance between study tools and portability.

Other special features include 8 pages of full-color maps and a concordance.

Matthew Henry KJV Study Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Translations: King James Version (KJV)
Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers (2010)
ISBN: 9781598565461
Language: English
Cost: $79.95

Cover: Flexisoft Leather (black)
Pages: 2,336
Type: black type with words of Christ in red
Dimensions: 6.5″ x 9.25″ x 2″
Special Features: Matthew Henry commentary, concordance, 8 pages of full-color maps

This post features a complimentary review copy and Amazon affiliate links.

 

Chronological Study Bible (NKJV) by Thomas Nelson

Kent Shaffer —  April 22, 2013

nkjv chronological study bible 1

Thomas Nelson offers a delightful NKJV Chronological Study Bible. The way it weaves Scripture and study aids together chronologically offers one of the best resources I’ve seen for better understanding the Bible from a historical perspective.

It is fascinating to read the Bible chronologically – to segue from Saul’s attempt to capture David at his own house in 1 Samuel 19:15-17 to David’s plea in Psalm 59 for God to “deliver me from my enemies.”

Chronological Study Bible

Chronological Study Bible

The NKJV translation is a modern adaption by Thomas Nelson Publishers of the 1611 KJV Bible that seeks to ease vocabulary and grammar while upholding the original core of the 1611 KJV Bible.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

I love the design layout. Unfortunately, most Bibles struggle in this area. Yet the Chronological Study Bible has solid aesthetics, balance, efficiency, and pragmatism in the way it weaves transition notes and study aids throughout the actual Scripture text. The 10 point type is kind to the eyes and the full-color pages are another nice yet seldom seen touch.

Chronological Study Bible

Chronological Study Bible

I am not to fond of hardback Bibles with glued binding because the craftmanship is known to fail. However, as with any Bible, it is best to store them horizontally vs vertical so that the weight on the pages do not pull on the binding.

The dust jacket is a bit overzealous with Photoshopping and marketing pitches, but underneath, the cover itself is actually quite nice. The hardcover is a rich, faux-leather burgundy with gold foil embossed type.

Chronological Study Bible

Chronological Study Bible

Obviously, the biggest feature of this Bible is its arranging of Scripture by the order in which the events actually occurred. But the Bible is also rich in many other features including full-color illustrations, maps, time panels, and charts as well as in-text cultural articles, translators’ notes, and historic insights.

Translations: New King James Version (NKJV)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2008)
ISBN: 9780718020682
Language: English
Cost: $44.99

Cover: hardcover (burgundy) with dust jacket
Pages: 1,728 full-color pages
Type: 10 point black type
Dimensions: 9.8″ x 1.8″ x 5.9″
Special Features: chronological order of Scripture, full-color illustrations, maps, time panels, and charts, and in-text cultural articles, translators’ notes, and historic insights

This post features a complimentary review copy and Amazon affiliate links.

HCSB Study Bible by Holman Bible Publishers

Kent Shaffer —  January 17, 2013

hcsb study bible 1

If you aren’t familiar with Holman Bible Publishers, they have their own Bible translation called Holman Christian Standard Bible. It is designed to convey a sense of the original text with as much clarity as possible.

This scholarly approach combined with about 15,000 of study notes makes the HCSB Study Bible (hardback) a fresh experience for those who love to go deep in their Bible reading.

HCSB Study Bible

HCSB Study Bible

HCSB Study Bible

Holman Christian Standard Bible is a 2003 translation created by a team of 100 international, interdenominational scholars and proofreaders working to achieve “optimal equivalence” – a good balance between formal equivalence (literal, “word-for-word”, etc.) and functional equivalence (“thought-for-thought”).

John 3:16
For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before our[a] God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

The Scripture text is a nice 9-point black type with the study notes set at 7.5 point. Some study Bibles cram too much on each page for the sake of saving space, but this layout has a breathability that I wish more Bibles would imitate. Part of this is because 50% of each page is devoted to Scripture, and part of it is simply good typesetting for readability.

HCSB Study Bible

HCSB Study Bible

Personally, I’m not a fan of hardback Bible covers. They are far less comfortable to hold than leather covers and feel more suitable for desk reading (at least when over 2 inches thick).

The binding seems sturdy enough except where it connects with the spine using a few glued pages. It may hold up, but I’ve had several short lifespans with Bibles crafted this way.

HCSB Study Bible

HCSB Study Bible

However, the study features are well worth it. Features include 15,000 study notes, 290 word studies, 141 photographs, 62 timelines, 59 maps, 24 articles, 16 illustrations/reconstructions, 15 charts, and more. It be good.

While the hardback HCSB Study Bible is a good Bible, its value lies in its study tools, so buy yourself a leather version of it.

Translation: Holman Christian Standard Bible
Publisher: Holman Bible Publishers (2010)
ISBN: 978-1586405069
Language: English
Cost: $49.99

Cover: Jacketed Hardcover
Pages: 2,336 pages
Type: 9-point black text
Dimensions: 9.2″ x 7.2″ x 2.3″
Special Features: 15,000 study notes, 290 word studies, 141 photographs, 62 timelines, 59 maps, 24 articles, 16 illustrations/reconstructions, 15 charts, and more

This post features a complimentary review copy and Amazon links.

ESV TruTone Thinline Bible by Crossway Publishing

Kent Shaffer —  January 3, 2013

Crossway ESV Thinline

While large Bibles can pack in some incredible resources and study aids, they aren’t always practical for taking with you on the go. For mobility, I love thinline Bibles, and Crossway Publishing offers an incredibly affordable yet well-built TruTone thinline ESV Bible that is less than 1 inch thick.

Crossway ESV Thinline

Crossway ESV Thinline

Crossway ESV Thinline

The English Standard Version (ESV) is a 2001 revision of the Revised Standard Version. Its goal is to be a highly accurate translation that is more easily read than the King James Version.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The words are set in 8.2-point black type with the words of Christ in red and a double column layout. As with most compact Bibles, the text does crowd the margins, which when combined with the type size can make reading more challenging for older eyes.

Crossway ESV Thinline

Crossway ESV Thinline

The cover is TruTone, a polyurethane-based imitation leather. While TruTone is a disappointing contrast compared to the genuine goatskin leather of premium Bibles, keep in mind this is a $30 Bible not a $150 one. It looks beautiful but is rather stiff and feels like a soapy film when touched.

The pages have gold-gilded edges and a brown ribbon marker. But the real craftmanship value in this Bible is its durable Smyth-sewn binding and lifetime guarantee.

Crossway ESV Thinline

Crossway ESV Thinline

Special features include a 12,000 reference concordance and full-color maps. If your looking for a low-cost, agile Bible that adds quality where it counts, this ESV thinline is a good option to consider.

Translation: English Standard Version
Publisher: Crossway Publishing (2005)
ISBN: 978-1581347364
Language: English
Cost: $29.99

Cover: TruTone (brown/cordovan)
Binding: lifetime guarantee Smyth-sewn with 1 brown ribbon marker
Pages: 1,120 pages with gold-gilded edges
Type: 8.2-point black text with words of Christ in red
Dimensions: 9.1″ x 6″ x 1.4″
Special Features: 12,000 reference concordance, full-color maps

This post features a complimentary review copy and Amazon links.

The ESV Minister’s Bible by Hendrickson Publishers

Kent Shaffer —  November 13, 2012

Hendrickson Publishers designed a Deluxe Edition ESV Minister’s Bible with built-in ministry resources. Its craftsmanship from premium materials adds an extra dose of enjoyment as well as guarantees durability through years of heavy reading.

The English Standard Version (ESV) is a 2001 revision of the Revised Standard Version. Its goal is to be a highly accurate translation that is more easily read than the King James Version.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Hendrickson’s Deluxe Minister’s Bible features all black text at a regular type size. And while the type is not too small, the justified paragraphs do hug the inside margins a bit too much for my taste. At the same time, this extra squeezing in of content allows for the Bible to actually be thinner than its counterparts even with an added “Ministry Resources Guide” in the back. That’s the right mix of pros and cons in my opinion.

The black calfskin leather is soft and buttery smooth and rolls like fabric. The binding is Smyth-sewn by hand, so I know it is sturdy even though it is fluid and conforms to your hands straight out of the box. It is a great example of why Hendrickson Publishers makes some of my favorite Bibles.

The pages are gold gilded and come with two ribbon markers to aid in your study.

The Deluxe ESV Minister’s Bible comes with the usual concordance and full color maps as well as a key Bible promise section. But what makes this Bible special is its collection of ministry resources including including a practical guide to visitation, sample services for weddings, baptisms, and funerals, a step-by-step plan of salvation, easily-accessed scripture references to answer tough questions, and much more.

It is a beautiful premium Bible that’s well worth considering if you love the ESV and like the thought of easily accessible ministry tips and guides.

Translation: English Standard Version (ESV)
Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers (2009)
ISBN: 159856398X
Language: English
Cost: $199

Cover: calfskin leather (black)
Binding: Smyth-sewn with two ribbon markers
Pages: 1,152 pages with gold gilded edges
Type: double columns with black letters for Jesus’ words and cross references in a center column
Dimensions: 9.75″ x 6.75″ x 1.50″
Special Features: cross references, concordance, 8 pages of full-color maps, key Bible promises section, Ministry Resources Guide featuring guidance on visitation, weddings, funerals, etc. and encouragement for managing the challenges of pastoral ministry

The NET Bible by Bible.org (1st Edition)

Kent Shaffer —  May 31, 2012

Bible.org undertook a new approach to translation with the First Edition NET Bible by allowing the reader to read 60,932 translator notes spread throughout its pages. This means you can better understand the original languages even if you don’t speak Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

You can read or download the NET Bible online for free, but this review features the premium bonded leather version with Smyth-sewn binding.

The NET Bible was created by over 25 biblical language scholars to provide a free, faithful Bible translation that could be used by Christians and ministries globally without the restraints of translations with intellectual property limitations. By providing thousands of translation notes to complement the text, the NET Bible hopes to reveal biblical truths from entirely new perspectives.

John 3:16
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

As a twentysomething, I find the 9.5 point type and kerning to be perfect. However, the type size may be a bit too small for comfort for older generations. As with other study Bibles, the translation footnotes sometimes take up the lion’s share of a page. But if you are reading the NET Bible, you are likely doing so to get the insights of the translators’ notes, in which case the more the merrier.

The premium Cromwell bonded leather cover is soft yet firm and good quality for a bonded leather Bible. The pages are made of premium Bible paper with gold gilded edges and bound with Smyth-sewn binding.

It is large but not too large. Surprisingly, it is comfortable to hold and lays beautifully despite its size and newness.

In addition to the rich translators’ notes, the NET Bible also features full color satellite maps of the Holy Lands. Additional features include the standard maps of the journeys of Abraham, Moses, and Paul, etc. as well as a concordance.

Overall, the NET Bible is a good mix of quality where it counts while still keeping the price very affordable.

Translation: The NET Bible
Publisher: Bible Studies Press (2005)
ISBN: 0737501014
Language: English
Cost: $39.95

Cover: premium Cromwell bonded leather (black)
Binding: Smyth-sewn binding with 1 black ribbon marker
Pages: 2,560 pages of premium Bible paper with gold gilded edges
Type: 9.5 point black text
Dimensions: 6.75″ x 9.63″ x 2″
Special Features: 60,932 translation notes from over 25 scholars, full color satellite maps and photos, concordance

This post features a complimentary review copy and Amazon affiliate links.

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

Kent Shaffer —  October 19, 2011

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

Crossway Publishing offers a premium ESV Study Bible that rivals the quality of the world’s top Bible publishers while offering one of the most sophisticated study Bibles I have seen.

It is big. And it is beautiful.

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

The English Standard Version (ESV) is a 2001 revision of the Revised Standard Version. Its goal is to be a highly accurate translation that is more easily read than the King James Version.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The type is set in a very generous 9 point black text making readability easy for almost anyone. However, if you are not interested in reading the Bible study footnotes, the sheer volume of commentary will actually hurt the reading experience since it can at times take up to 75% of a page’s content.

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

The hand-fashioned premium calfskin leather cover is among the softest Bible covers I have ever touched. I almost feels like it melts into your fingertips. While its craftmanship is not quite as polished and impressive and an RL Allan or Cambridge Bible, it is incredibly close and may quite possibly be the finest study Bible available.

All materials and the Smyth-sewn binding come with a lifetime guarantee, so you do not need to be concerned about the massive weight of its pages falling out because of their heft. It is built to last but having the lifetime warranty is a nice peace of mind.

In its newness, Crossway’s premium ESV Study Bible opens a bit stiff as it lays flat. However, after breaking it in, I expect it to become as fluid yet durable as its cover.

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

These study Bible features are astounding. In addition to 200 full-color maps, 40 illustrations, 200+ charts, 80,000 cross-references, and a concordance, you receive 20,000 notes and 50 articles from 95 scholars and teachers from 9 countries, nearly 20 denominations, and 50 seminaries and universities.

In total, it is 1.1 million words of insight in addition to Scripture. Simply put, it is stunning.

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

Premium ESV Study Bible by Crossway Publishing

While premium Bibles seem expensive, they are well worth the money and are often cheaper in the long run because of their durable longevity. If you like the convenience of a study Bible, this you may not find better quality content or craftmanship than Crossway’s premium ESV Study Bible.

Translation: English Standard Version
Publisher:
Crossway Publishing (2008)
ISBN: 9781433502439
Language: English
Cost: $239.99

Cover: premium calfskin leather (black)
Binding: lifetime guarantee Smyth-sewn with 2 black ribbon markers
Pages: 2,752 pages of the finest quality European paper with gold gilded edges
Type: 9 point black text
Dimensions: 9.25? x 6.5? x 2.25?
Special Features: 1.1 million words of commentary by 95 scholars plus full-color maps, illustrations, charts, and timelines

This post features a complimentary review copy and Amazon links.