March 12, 2012
Having grown up with the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, I did not become an instant fan of the New KJV when Thomas Nelson released it in 1982. Then (and now as new English translations appear) my first inclination was to compare Bible verses, especially those favorites I memorized as a child and did not want anyone to change! Thirty years later, however, a God-incidence changed me and my mind.
During Lent, I felt drawn to reading the Bible cover to cover without footnotes or articles to distract me, which meant I needed a reader edition. Since I prefer either paperback or genuine leather, the poor quality bindings available in the Christian book store discouraged me, and I was prepared to leave empty-handed when I saw a box labeled “genuine leather” but available only in the NKJV. I started to pass it by then saw it been marked down. Below $50 seemed like an incredible price for a good quality leather Bible – even one with Thomas Nelson’s lifetime warranty. Although that Bible publishing company has had a fine reputation for over 200 years, I still felt skeptical as I opened the box, but here’s what I found:
Genuine Leather – Thick, supple, and of good quality, this leather looks and feels sturdy and long-lasting. By applying a leather conditioner or handling with hands very lightly coated in mineral oil, the softness increases even more.
Font Size – The very readable 9-point font looks to be the equivalent of a 10 to 11-point type found in word processing software such as Microsoft Word.
Single-Column Bible – Instead of the line breaks that typically occur with a KJV or NKJV, this edition has the regular paragraphing used in most books, which make reading more natural and easy on the eyes.
Headings – The addition of headings also adds visual interest and helps readers readily locate passages.
NKJV – Considered to be a word-for-word translation like the KJV, this English version is highly accurate, too, but with the advantage of biblical scholarship in areas such as word origins or etymology. Like the KJV, the NKJV offers intelligent word choices, a devotional tone, poetic quality, and literary excellence while offering easy-to-comprehend contemporary English.
The format and paragraphing has made this Bible as easy to read as any book, but the translation itself has certainly helped too. Instead of comparing this verse to that, I immediately got caught up in the ongoing story of our relationship with God and settled in to enjoy this good, good read:
© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler. If you want your church, Bible study, or other group to have this information, please tell people where you found it. Thanks. For more Bible topics and articles for Christian poets and writers, see Blogs by Mary.
February 27, 2012
If you want a new Bible to read during Lent or you plan to give someone a special Easter gift, the number of choices may first seem overwhelming! Lord willing, we’ll talk about the many study Bibles and English translations in weeks to come, but instead of starting with the mental assurance of biblical accuracy or the spiritual lift that elevates some translations over others, let’s start by getting physical.
Why? Like any book, your response to The Book begins with first impressions involving your senses.
Do you want a Bible to drape in your hand and lay flat on a table?
Do you want a binding that will last for many years?
Do you want The Book to smell good, feel silken to the touch, and not jab you in the stomach as you read?
If you answered “yes,” you probably won’t bond well with bonded leather! While that type of cover or a hardback work fine for thick, heavy study Bibles kept on a shelf, a Bible you really, really want to pick up, hold, smell, stroke, hug, and read will most likely be a reader’s edition with a good quality leather cover such as French Morocco leather, calfskin, or goatskin.
To briefly cover those covers:
Goatskin is wonderfully soft and worthily expensive since it provides the top quality for a thin-line Bible or a reader edition with no study articles and notes to distract your cover-to-cover reading. My personal favorite is a wide-margin Bible with space for penciling my thoughts in the margins as I read, and goatskin encourages this by lying nice and flat. As I physically interact with God’s word in this way, the Bible becomes even more personal to me with its soft, responsive cover especially huggable on a bad day!
French Morocco, the next highest high quality leather, also lays flat and drapes nicely in the hand. Instead of goatskin though, this cover comes from calfskin that’s split to make it slightly thinner and soft, yet durable enough to last for many years.
Calfskin leather, often labeled “genuine leather,” gives your favorite reading Bible a durable binding too. Typically this cover feels thicker than the above choices and not quite as soft but may lay flat – or not! This depends somewhat on size with larger Bibles more apt to stay open. However, the method of binding also makes a discernible difference in overall quality, including the physical ability to stay flat.
Smythe sewn bindings are considered the best since the pages are sewn together prior to being glued to the inner spine. These Bibles stand up to wear-and-tear far better than glued-in pages, which are apt to get unglued as you walk along, giving new meaning to a paper trail.
If paperback is the only cover you can afford right now, the Bible can be inserted into a leather cover later, of course. However, the glued-in pages will not provide long-lasting durability. Consider, too, that the price of a paperback plus the price of a leather cover can easily add up to the cost of The Book you really, really want to read and read and read.
For blogs on a variety of Bible topics, see Blogs by Mary.