When I heard that Cambridge had published a large-print reader edition of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, I requested a review copy, and they generously sent two – one with the Apocrypha and one without.
As you might know or guess, Cambridge University Press is the world’s oldest publisher of Bibles, the first being the Geneva Bible printed years before the King James Version even existed.
The quality is immediately apparent – from the thin but strong pages sewn into a high-grade French Morocco leather binding to the Bible’s sturdy packaging – as though they’re working with something that needs to be treated with respect and care. And, when they say “large-print text,” that’s what they mean – a font of ample size that’s attractive and easy on the eyes.
If I’m going on a bit about the physical aspects of this Bible, it’s because some publishers seem to expect their Bibles to be throw-aways. But maybe that’s too harsh. Maybe some just want to offer inexpensive editions almost everyone can afford. Or maybe they want to draw young people to God’s Word with pages glued into lively, colorful covers meant to catch the eye.
It’s hard for me to know since I cherish the Bible I regularly took to church – from early childhood through my teen years. (When I graduated from high school, my home church gave me a Revised Standard Version bound in quality leather, which would have lasted forever had it not been for a young dachshund left alone while her peoples were at work.)
Cambridge Bibles are made to last! So I'm happy to report they publish other versions in fine bindings, in case that interests you. However, when I want a translation that’s as close to the original languages as possible, I grab a NRSV.
When I want a translation that’s accurate and readable with a poetic flow, I go for the NRSV.
When I want a translation that renders the Epistles of the Apostle Paul with the profuse flow of thought he had in speaking and teaching, I go for the NRSV. (Note: Paul can get so long-winded, some translations chop his paragraph-long sentences into bits. The spiritual truths remain the same, of course, but the change of tone makes it hard to hear his unique voice.)
And, because I always want a Bible that incorporates linguistic and archaeological findings in an edition translated by an international, interdenominational team, who aims to provide an impartial, well-balanced edition, I go for the NRSV with the Apocrypha.
Be advised though: These NRSV reader editions from Cambridge focus on the biblical texts, period. If you want a study Bible, this isn’t it. I have a bunch of those anyway, and I’ve found that most have so many articles, maps, notes, and commentary, the biblical text itself gets squeezed into small print that’s barely readable. In addition, most study editions weigh several pounds, so I keep them on my desk to research a topic before writing a “Bible Talk” or preparing a class discussion.
Since these text-only editions have no study aids to weigh me down and almost no footnotes to distract me, I can easily carry them anywhere or curl up in my favorite chair to read. Indeed, I aim to read and re-read this reader edition of the NRSV as long as God, my eyes, and our family pets allow.
If you want one too, click here: