A Better Bible

Can your Bible do this?

You have areas where you spend money, and others where you don’t. Some folks like to have a new model car, and resign themselves to a life of car payments. Others buy guns or expensive golf clubs or pricey fishing gear. If one suggests spending money on something not in their immediate area of interest you’ll get a response something like, “Not all of us have the kind of money to spend on [fill in the blank here]!”

But if there’s one area to splurge a bit it’s on a good Bible. No, I mean a good Bible. Ah, but I have a “genuine leather” Bible. See it’s stamped right here, you say. None of that bonded leather business for me. Alas, “genuine” leather isn’t what it used to be. I felt a genuine leather Bible at a bookstore the other day that would win an Oscar for its convincing role as plastic. Genuine leather is the new bonded.

It’s not only about aesthetics. Yes, quality leather will look better. The leather will look like something natural rather than something processed. But it also won’t crack with use. It will bend and roll without resistance. The pages are sewn into signatures rather than glued. The soft leather demands you to hold it.

While our Bible companies have been in a race to the bottom, a few makers are producing enduring editions. Cambridge, particularly their Pitt Minion Bibles in goatskin, is embracing its heritage. Crossway’s premium editions (calfskin) live up to their billing. But the ne plus ultra of premium (read, quality) Bible editions seem to be coming from Allan Bibles of Scotland. Offering a variety of translations in both single and double column formats, the Bibles are then bound in Highland goatskin. Once you touch Highland goatskin you will be thankful these fine ruminants have been sacrificed for your reading pleasure.

One stop shopping can be found at evangelicalBible.com, which company serves as importers for Allan and Cambridge, as well as distributors for other fine Bibles. For a more detailed discussion of fine Bibles as well as reviews of most every fine edition of the last few years, see J. Mark Bertrand’s comprehensive Bible Design Blog. Pinstripe Pulpit, too, will be offering reviews of some select Bibles, and provide suggestions of what to consider before purchase.

There was a time when a Bible would last a lifetime and more. Too many of today’s Bibles begin to self-destruct within a couple of years. Your Bible isn’t an area to skimp.

6 thoughts on “A Better Bible

  1. If you can’t let go of a Bible that is falling apart – like mine twice – send it to Leonard’s Book Restoration and they made it better than new. For $110 – a better feel than an Allen…give him a look on the web. (I am not in any way affiliated with them – just a satiisfied customer – many times over.) Hello Alan – hope your sojourn to AL was easier than expected

  2. This post makes me a bit nostalgic. When I was about 20 I gave an old worn out Bible to an older man at my church. Many years later I saw him again and he told me how much he appreciated it, and how he valued my old notes. I can just imagine the junk I had written in it. But my practices have changed greatly. I now do most of my Bible reading on a Kindle or iPad. Just this week I bought Accordance modules of the Anchor Bible Dictionary and complete Kittel. I owned hard copies in the past but sold them because of space constraints. That is no longer an issue: they added neither bulk nor weight to my computer/iPad. I’m surrounded, literally, by Bibles as I type this: but I’ll never again pay much for the fine leather, etc (though I do rather like my leather-bound UBS3–a gift).

    Nowadays, the take-up of new translations takes less time than it takes for a good Bible to wear out. The King James was the “textus receptus” for centuries, the NIV for a generation. What next?

    • I think the ESV is replacing the NIV with the NLT taking some of its market. There will be some who hold on to the NIV, but I think it’s being replaced in pulpits.

      Like you, I find I use my iPad a good bit for Bible reading. Still, I can’t see myself leaving a physical Bible entirely.

  3. In Sydney the ESV has a strong faction, but I think they over-hyped it as a “literal” translation, and so it sort of got politicized when it first appeared. My impression is that once the fighting settled, it had a chance at wider acceptance and has become a standard pulpit Bible now. At my institution the HCSB has its adherents amongst the language scholars. I don’t think the NLT has had any impact, but I could be wrong.

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