May I Exhort You, Dear Christian, to Invest in a Well Made Bible?

bibleI remember, after the Lord saved me, receiving my first official Bible as a brand new Christian. Sure, I had a stubby, little gift KJV Bible my mom bought me when I was in 6th grade after I completed my confirmation classes at my old United Methodist Church, but receiving a new Bible after I came to know the Lord was extra special.

It was a Ryrie Study Bible (I still have it), black, genuine leather in the King James. It is filled with my hand written notes and yellow marker hi-lights I made on verses as I began to fully understand biblical truth for the first time. I am sure readers may be familiar with what I am talking about because you probably have the same kind of Bible somewhere in your house.

A couple of years later, my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I requested a KJV super wide margin Bible.  At the time, those Bibles were packaged in cheap, bonded leather, (the new versions come in Moroccan leather), but it was thin and carried nicely in my hand. The interior was awesome with the massive wide margins where I wrote copious study notes (and lots of KJVO apologetic stuff). That Bible looked sweet at first. It even had Authorized Version 1611 on the spine (though it was a 1769 text). However, within a few years of use, the edges began rubbing off and the backing starting coming loose. The bonded leather was slowly deteriorating and it started to look ugly. I still have that Bible as well.

By 1997, I was in California attending seminary and working at Grace to You. That was the year the John MacArthur study Bible, in the NKJV, was published. I secured a copy of it in a nice leather version, but within a few years, it too began to look worn. Later, I was able to get the ESV MacArthur study Bible, as well as find a slightly damaged NASB edition I rescued from a give-away bin. The Crossway ESV edition of the MSB is fantastic, by the way. Excellent craftsmanship for a mass produced Bible.

I have pretty much used those two Mac Study Bibles as my primary reading/studying/carrying to church Bibles for the last 5 years or so. Recently, I began taking up only the NASB edition and reading it. I like the translation of the NASB, even though the ESV is the go-to translation these days. Yet once again, that Bible is showing the signs of wearing out with use. It is only a matter of maybe a year before it begins to fall apart, too.

My first thought was to mail it into a place that specialized in rebinding old books and Bibles, like ACE Book Binding, to put on a new cover. They did my wife’s first edition MacArthur Study Bible, and they did a tremendous job. They even have a large selection of colored leathers and orange appeals to me.

Then, in the last year or so, I heard Mike Abendroth mention on his podcast about him getting a really good Bible from Evangelical Bibles. He said it was a handcrafted NASB Schuyler Quentel edition. I texted him for the details and he sent me the links. I was immediately overcome with awe of those Bibles. The 220 buck asking price, however, was steep. I fluctuated between weighing spending the money to do the rebinding on the old Bible, which would had been a bit cheaper, against adding an extra 50 dollars or so and getting a new Schulyer.  I finally landed on the Schuyler.  I began to save my money by selling off commentaries and books in my library that I now had on Logos. It took me a number of months, but I was finally able to secure one, and it is absolutely gorgeous.

As one can tell by the picture at the top, I picked up the firebrick red version. Everybody I know carries a black, tan, or burgundy leather Bible, so I wanted one that stood out. As soon as I unpacked it and breathed in that new Bible smell that came wafting up from the box, I knew I had a thing of elegance in my possession. Picking it up, I can just feel the quality in my hands: supple, natural grain goat leather, the stitching around the edges and the spine, the way it lays open on the table, it is a piece of art in Bible making.

While the exterior of the Bible is breath-taking, it is the interior that is truly amazing.

When I was weighing my options between getting my old MSB rebound and spending a bit more to purchase a Schuyler, I was telling an acquaintance of my choices. He told me that most folks only consider the exterior of a Bible, what it looks like and whether or not it is covered in a good leather. Rarely do folks think about the interior of the Bible, what kind of paper its printed on and the way the text looks and is laid out on the page.

We just so happened to be standing in the church’s book store when we were discussing Bibles and the guy grabs a cheap edition off the shelf and opened it up. He held a single page against the light of the store. “A Bible printed on cheap paper will have what are like little pin pricks all over the page, like this one here.” Sure enough, I saw the little pin pricks on the page. He went on to explain that the bulk of mass produced Bibles that folks pick up in their local bookstores are printed on that low quality paper. A really good Bible paper will not have any of those pricks or maybe just a few here and there on a page.

The first thing I did when I unpacked my new Bible was to hold a page up to the light. There wasn’t a prick one anywhere to be found.

But even more wonderful is the way the page actually looks.

biblepageThe font is 11 point, and the letters crisp and bold and easily read without my reading glasses. Also, each chapter is a red number matching the exterior color of the Bible itself. And it is not a “Words of Christ” red letter edition, another feature I insisted upon.

And the one fun perk is the edge of the Bible. If you close the Bible and look at the paper edge, there is the standard gold tinting. Once you open it and fan the pages, the edges turn firebrick red.

edgeI cannot be more thrilled with this Bible. I actually get excited anticipating studying the Scripture. That is why I would encourage all believers to consider making a worthy investment in a good, well-made Bible. Evangelical Bibles have more than just this version, though I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Check out their page and look over their ESVs, KJVs, and the NKJVs. There are a number of excellent choices.

Men and women have bled and died to preserve God’s Word for us. We hear it preached every Sunday, and we are supposed to do our daily reading from one. While I am grateful for the mass production of relatively inexpensive Bibles of all shapes and sizes and editions because God’s Word is spread far and wide, if we really maintain a high view of Scripture, why not get a really good one that is worthy of the God who gave us His Word? It may take saving a little every couple of weeks from a year’s worth of paychecks, but I think it would only serve to elevate your love for God and Scripture.

15 thoughts on “May I Exhort You, Dear Christian, to Invest in a Well Made Bible?

  1. NASB? ESV?! What do you mean using those “devil bibles”? :)

    Sorry, this has sort of become a running joke between some friends and myself. It helps us work through these stressful times.

  2. While the exterior of the Bible is breath-taking, it is the interior that is truly amazing.

    Indeed it is !!

  3. Pingback: The Daily Discovery (November 4, 2016) - Entreating Favor

  4. Just spent a couple of hours watching videos of these Bibles. A lot of money but I’d love one. Schuyler Quentel NASB – blue maybe?

  5. Wow I’ve never looked at the Bible (not its word and content) in such an intense way before. I had a really good leather Bible I was using for five years I just gave away to a homeless lady when I and a brother was witnessing to. I regretted after I got back to the car and realized I had cheap bibles stored up. My wife later said it was a Bible she gave me with a note in the front which I forgotten about…yeah, needless to say I’m looking for a nice Bible to have to read and for the pulpit, something not too heavy, but not flimsy and break apart for my many adventures…thanks for the recommendation.

  6. Good post, Fred–I’ll second this. I use a Cambridge wide margin and was fortunate enough to find one on a pretty good sale. It takes a TON of abuse and is fantastic for notetaking. It’s the first wide-margin I’ve ever purchased, as well as the first Cambridge, and I doubt I’ll ever go back on either score.

  7. I had to smile when I started reading this. When I was first saved I literally wore out a couple of Bibles in the first couple years; pages falling out and all. To be honest I was a bit proud of the evidence of my faithfulness in Bible study. Being such a cheapskate I would have probably continued on that path, except a pastor gave me a Bible. After a few years I started to wonder if I was being lax in my reading/study because this Bible did not seem to show signs of wear. I had not noticed that I was spending less time using the Bible, yet the pages in this Bible showed no sign of damage. It was not until I read somewhere about the wide quality range available in Bibles (and usually reflected in the cost) that I came to the realization that perhaps I was not as backslidden as I feared, and on the flip side of that, I was not a “sanctified” as I thought in those early years.

  8. Maybe just a tiny bit off topic, but I’m glad we have a completed bible. This is better than the prophecy, delivered by T B Joshua and noted by the BBC on their site for all the world to see, that ‘the Prophet’ saw a woman in the White House. The ‘prophecy’ has now been removed from the Facebook page.

    It’s not as though he can amend the saying with ‘Other authorities, some ancient, omit this phrase’!

    I much prefer the Faithbook.

  9. What rhetorical, pretentious, consumerist nonsense that could only exist in America. I’m sure such drivel would get numerous Amens from the Calvinist crowd, however. If you need “that new Bible smell” to get excited about studying God’s word, YOU are the problem.

    Funny, the same group (Calvinists) that decry emotionalism in worship getting fangirlish over an overpriced Bible is the height of hypocrisy.

  10. Ah, yes, because God prescribed Christians to own an ornate Bible. (insert eyeroll here)

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