about me…

Identity: disciple of Jesus, husband, and father;  Training: biblical exegete (M.A. Wheaton College) and missionary (focus on unreached/unengaged people groups)…

about the blog…

The overall goal of this blog is to promote knowing, loving, and engaging God’s Word and God’s world.  This will sometimes take the form of  personal interactions with the text of Scripture (“Holy Writ”) and the field of missiology (“Sacred Witness”). But it may turn out that I spend more time doing what brings more readers, namely, reviewing books and high-end Bibles!


25 thoughts on “About

  1. Jeffrey,

    Thanks for your blog.

    I have a question that relates to a couple of your Bible reviews. Currently I own a Cambridge Clarion ESV in goatskin. Amazing Bible, except for one major flaw: the text curves into the gutter more than I like.

    I have read your comments on the Allan New Classic Reader, the Schuyler with Confessions and the Crossway Omega. Coming from my experience with the Clarion, which of these 3 Bibles do you think I would be most happy with?

    I would like the Omega due to its line matching and wider columns that make the text flow better in the poetry sections. But you mentioned that the text does curl into the gutter a little. Is it less pronounced than the Clarion?

    I think you said the Allan and Schulyer have similar margins (if I read you correctly). I know neither has line matching, but which one is “better” in this regard than the other?

    Provided I was not annoyed by the text curling into the margins, I think my preferences would rank as follows: (1) Omega, (2) Schulyer and (3) Allan. Cost is not an issue, although you might infer from my ranking that it is.

    Thank you for your time and God bless you in your work.


    1. Hi Bill

      Thanks for posting, and sorry for the delayed reply! I didn’t notice your comment at first. Funny you should mention the Clarion– that’s my favorite Bible. Period. The text curving into the gutter bothered me before, but not as much anymore. Sure, I’d take an extra quarter inch inside margin, but I still find it to be the most handy, readable typesetting around. The Omega curves into the gutter more than the Allan and Schuyler (which, by the way, are the identical text block except the Schuyler includes creeds and confessions whereas the Allan includes lined paper- see my prior side by side review of these two). However, I think it (Omega) does so less than the Clarion. I don’t know if the inner margins are more generous on the Omega, or if this phenomenon is simply less noticeable because it is 1/2″ thinner than the Clarion. Either way, I found it to be less of an issue on the Omega. It’s definitely better on the Allan and Schuyler, but as you mentioned, the columns are also narrower.

      Each edition you mentioned has strengths and weaknesses, depending on your vantage point. I’ll list them from my standpoint, but others may take what I label a weakness and call it a strength!
      -Allan/Schuyler: strengths are a large, crisp font and good use of white space in the margins…weaknesses are the narrowness of the columns, lack of line matching, and it’s the largest text block of the three.
      -Omega: strengths are a large, crisp font, line matching, wider columns, smaller size, and a bit more of a polished binding job…weaknesses are less white space, less inside margin, a less limp binding due to reinforced hinges, and slightly thinner paper (some also think it’s cramped because there are no center references, but I think I prefer it that way).
      -Clarion: strengths are a large font, a perfectly measured single-column typesetting, pretty good line matching, and the smallest trim size of the three…weaknesses are thinnest paper of the three, some page curling, tighter inside margins, and a less crisp font.

      I didn’t mention the binding or leather much because it is excellent in all of them, though only the Allan and the Omega have a leather lining. And most agree that Allans’ highland goatskin outshines all competitors, as does it’s yapp, better ribbons, and bold art-gilding. However, the cosmetics and leather notwithstanding, the Clarion is still my favorite. I like the Allan NC1 better than the Schuyler, but they’re both very nice (see my review). This is sheer subjective opinion, but here’s my ranking: 1) Clarion (black goatskin), 2) Omega, 3) Allan ESVNC1, 4) Schuyler ESV.

  2. I have a question regarding preference.

    I’ve been reading some of those comments you make for the different Bibles you have – especially the ESV ones.
    I first wanted to just say, well done on helping people like me to determine which Bible to get.
    Where are you located?
    I have a ESV Study Bible (Premium Calfskin) and got the epub version of it recently and will no longer need to carry this heavy physical Bible with me.
    I am not saying that I am removing the fact of having a physical Bible but I wanted to get another one that do not have study notes of such, MAYBE references (though not necessary), leather material with sewn binding, very good material used for pages and good font. Also another important fact is having a single column version instead of double. What would you recommend?
    I’ve been looking the Heritage and Legacy versions and they are my top two, where I will plan to buy the TruTone version, but which one would you recommend of the two? Or do you have another recommendation?
    I am a missionary in Uganda but on home assignment currently and having a big Bible to lug around is not the easiest.
    Do you know of any trade-in programs? Unless you may have a Bible you recommend and willing to trade for this study Bible that I have?
    Please let me know, thanks.
    Continue with the good work God is doing through you.

    Yours in Christ,

    Stephen Ho-Yuen Kwan

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Stephen. The Heritage and Legacy are good choices, though I may give preference to the Legacy. And as a general rule, if you want a higher quality / longer lasting cover, avoid TruTone and “Genuine Leather” (I won’t even mention the abomination called “Bonded Leather”!). There are two other single-column ESV Bibles I’d bring to your attention: 1. The 2011 version of the Personal Reference Bible (http://evangelicalbible.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=179_281). This is a smaller Bible, though it still is readable with an 8 point font. Probably the most portable, so great for lugging around on home assignment! It also features line matching, which is fabulous. I will review the Top-Grain Leather one on my blog in the near future, but it is available in cheaper TruTone also. 2. The ESV Clarion Reference Bible by Cambridge Press (follow the link and see the top three Bibles: http://evangelicalbible.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=118_112). This is my favorite single-column so far (I have the black goatskin, though the calfskin and calf split are cheaper). Hang on, as you’ll see a review of Cambridge Bibles, including various Clarion binding options, on my blog within a few months. More money? Yes. Worth it? Yes! Finally, Crossway has some good stuff coming out soon, such as the Heirloom Legacy that I hope to review in a future post (a goatskin Legacy with better paper). Also more money, though. I guess if you’re looking for portable single-column ESV, then the Personal Reference Bible, the Heritage, and the Clarion are your best bet (Legacy isn’t quite as portable, but still way more so than the Study Bible). In my experience, Clarion opens up the flattest of the three right out of the box, and it has references and a nice size font. Heritage has similar font but no references. PRB has references and a smaller font (and it is smaller in size). Does that help?

      Blessings on your work in Uganda. Send an email if you’d like more info on the work I’m involved in (sensitive)!

  3. Hello Good Sir, I am looking for a high quality leather 1984 (or earlier) NIV Bible. What do you recommend? (Would also prefer two-column with cross references)

    Much Thanks,

    1. Hi Darren! Three possibilities I can think of, as the NIV ’84 is no longer in print.
      (1) evangelicalbible.com has the last stock of Cambridge 1984 NIVs available, and its not going to last much longer. The goatskin or calfskin Wide Margin and Study Bible are quite appealing! You can find them here: http://evangelicalbible.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=118_299
      (2) post to the classifieds on bibleexchange.com that you’re looking for one … I know R. L. Allan had at least one edition of the NIV ’84, and of course Cambridge had several as mentioned in (1)
      (3) try posting an inquiry to the following Facebook pages: Bible Exchange, Bible Design Blog, Evangelicalbible.com

  4. Hi Jeff! Quick question: I recently bought Crossway’s ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible. I’m in love with it, but I’ve got a question about the 28 gsm Indopaque it uses and was wondering if you could help me out.

    My question is: what does the longevity of 28 gsm Indopaque look like? I bought the HL Single Column Legacy with the intention of making it my “definitive” Bible that I’d never have to replace, but I’m a bit worried about the wear and tear. It just looks like if I were to casually handle this Bible with repetitive, regular use over the span of say, 10 years, that the paper would start to tatter and fall apart due to how thin it is. I don’t want to start making notes in paper that can’t preserve the notes. That’d be a pretty lousy investment for something that claims to be an “Heirloom Legacy” – I want something that I can pass down after decades of repetitive, perhaps even abusive use – not something that I’ll have to replace in 10 years since the paper is so thin.

    What are your thoughts? Should I be concerned, or is Indopaque strong enough to withstand what I require of it?

    1. Hi Mike–thanks for commenting. I don’t know the answer to your question, unfortunately! I think some of these 28gsm paper Bibles are still “new” to the market, so how they will fare over time may be largely unknown. Maybe not– someone else feel free to chime in! But here’s what I will say: Bible paper is Bible paper. In the grand scheme, 32gsm or 36gsm or even 38gsm isn’t that much heavier than 28gsm. Its all thin compared to paper in other books, and I don’t think 4 or 6 or even 10 grahams per square meter is a paramount difference. Maybe it will tear slightly easier than 38gsm…I’m not sure. But you have to be careful for tears with any Bible, except perhaps the forthcoming Bibliotheca!

  5. I’m not sure if you’ve ever commented on anything from Local Church Bible Publishers but the edition I received today was too good to not say something. In the past, I have been painfully aware of LCBP’s flaws primarily gutter cockling due to signatures sewn too tight, ink that faded on some pages, etc.I only thought it fair to report something good.
    Not just good, fantastic! Today I received my Notetakers bible in the burgundy Signature edition. It is absolutely beautiful! The leather which is a top grain cowhide is soft, quite sumptuous and smells wonderful. There is a pink under gold art gilding that is quite elegant and very unexpected as there was no mention of that in the product description.
    The inside has nice large, but not overly so, type that’s dark and very legible. The paper quality and line matching are superb. Also there is minimal ghosting on the pages. There is ample room for note taking, much more than my Cambridge Wide Margin.
    This edition rivals my Schuyler Westminster edition in terms of quality, and for $57.00 much less expensive. It is unbelievably beautiful.
    This edition was manufactured in April of this year and apparently they have made vast improvements to the quality of their bibles.
    Okay, I’m stepping down from my soap box now!

    1. Thanks for the note, Betsy! Sounds like a real winner, and I appreciate the recommendation. I’ve never handled a LCBP Bible, mostly because they’re a ministry and so they’ve never sent me a review copy. And myself not being a KJV enthusiast, I’ve never taken the initiative to purchase one of theirs. That may have to change! You’re about the 50th person I’ve heard say their product is top notch, and so I’m noticing a pattern of positive feedback for LCBP. So do you think the art gilt is something they’ll continue using from now on?

      1. Hi Jeffrey, as far as the art guilding goes, I’m not sure if this was a change an their manufacturing or an accidental outcome. This is the first color cover I’ve ever bought from them, usually I’ve just ordered black. The guilding on those is plain gold. With this burgundy, there a faint pinkish color when the bible is open, otherwise it’s gold when closed.

        I’m taking a break from the Kjv, and looking at the ESV, and the HCSB. Lately, I’ve just been wanting to sit down and READ the bible! So, I’m looking at nice editions to buy as I’ve been spoiled by such things as leather edge lining, high quality paper and of course , anything bound by Jongbloed. Lord help me,I can’t go back to the days of bonded leather!

        I really enjoy your site and reviews, thank you!


  6. Would you be willing to post a much more comprehensive comparison on the Cambridge Clarion vs. the ESV Heritage? I love my heritage, and this seems like a minor point, but the characters-per-line on the Clarion seem more optimal, as does the font and paper color and even the narrower text block column for general reading. Unless you’re holding your bible further away (which I don’t typically do) the Heritage seems a little wide in text for me.

    However, it is by far my favorite bible of all time and heads and tails above any other bible I’ve seen so far. I’d love some comparison photos of the same paragraph sections from each and thickness, size, etc.

    Would you say the Clarion is that much better overall? The killer is that I got my Heritage bible for $30!!! In leather.

    1. Hi Sean. Unfortunately, I no longer have the calfskin Heritage to compare with the Clarion. If I get my mitts on one, I would be happy to, but I honestly don’t have a strong desire to get a new Heritage. I am not sure about character-per-line count, but I suspect the Clarion performs better in this category. And the Clarion is a better overall book, being printed at Jongbloed (versus China with the Heritage). It also is a limper binding. However, both are very nice, and the Heritage is certainly more affordable! Check out the comparisons at Bible Buying Guide (http://biblebuyingguide.com/crossways-single-column-heritage-esv-bible-review/) and Bible Design Blog (http://www.bibledesignblog.com/2013/10/crossway-single-column-heritage-bible-esv-in-black-calfskin.html).

  7. Hi Jeffery,

    Just wanted to query on whether you moving away from doing premium Bible reviews?

    The primary reason I started following your site was for the passion, not very dissimilar to my own, for God’s Word wrapped in the finest material, yet, I’m seeing less & less reviews of this sort lately.

    There’s been the release of the Allan New Classic Readers Reference Edition, yet no review. This week Allan launched the new version of the Longprimer 53, that is a going back to the Longprimer print of 1952, propably one of the biggest things to happen to the KJV in 2016, besides the launch of Schuyler’c Canterbury edition later this year, yet there has made very little noise on your site over either of these events.

    The reason for this message, is that if you are moving away from doing premium Bible reviews I’d prefer to know so that I can rather look for another site to follow.

    As an add-on, premium Bible passion is only idolatry if the your love for the actual material supersedes your love for God’s Word.



    1. Hi Clinton

      Rest assured: I don’t plan to quit reviewing Bibles.

      1. All of these are on my shelf waiting to be reviewed: Allan ESVNC1 (crimson) (I reviewed the original a long time ago–did you see that one?), Heirloom Thinline ESV (brown calfskin), Large Print Compact ESV (natural leather), Reformation Heritage KJV (black goatskin), and Pitt Minions (calf and goat). I have reached a dilemma in that I have run out of space on my blog for media, so I can’t post photos at the moment unless I upgrade for $100 per year, which I don’t want to do. So I’m exploring options, perhaps posting photos elsewhere and linking the galleries at the end of the reviews, or perhaps doing more YouTube videos to supplement my reviews. Any input or advice?
      2. I’ve posted more Bible reviews this year than Bible Design Blog (I’ve done 4, he’s done 1). I don’t say this to disparage Bertrand, but to simply point out that there are sometimes dry spells even on the very best blogs such as BDB due to busyness and other factors. So I don’t think I’ve neglected the task inordinately, but I do hope to get back to it soon.
      3. Regarding the new 53 and Canterbury KJVs, I have never really announced new editions on my blog…Schuyler and Allan and Facebook take care of that. I review what I get, and I am on the list for consideration for the Canterbury.
      4. I’m moving to Asia in 2 months, so things may be spaced out more, but I don’t intend to stop. I’m exploring a potential partnership with someone locally who may supplement my blog with reviews of his own.
      5. Did you read my blog post about idolatry? Because in there I clearly spelled out that passion for premium Bibles and idolatry don’t have to go together. I just know that they can and often do based on my experience and interactions.

      I hope to have more reviews soon!


      1. I’d be glad to give you limited access (photos only) via ftp to host photos on my server i use for http://www.salvasean.com at least until you find another solution. Just let me know and we can discuss it. No strings attached. I’d just love to have you continue reviews…

      2. That’s great news, as I enjoy your input immensely. I think the YouTube route with a link on your site would be a brilliant idea, as I follow quite a few people on their YouTube site, Facebook is also great, as well as Instagram, although I’m personally not on either of these sites due to time constraints.

        Also have the limited edition Crimson Allan ESV, as well as the blue, both great Bibles. Looking forward to your review on the Crossway!

        Thanks for the feedback. Just wanted you to be aware that your work is appreciated.



  8. Enjoy your blog. Appreciate your advocacy for the Bible-less. Now about “bonded leather”. Permit me to try to redeem it’s infamous reputation. For tropical type climates, with high heat & humidity, you want to stay very clear of the imitation leathers like TruTone. These types of covers start turning to powder in 2-3 years time in tropical conditions (unless you have central air-conditioning). Specks of the stuff come off on your hands, literally. The higher-end Bibles with calf-skin and goatskin, etc. have another problem: mildew. Monsoon moisture can seep into the books causing so much mold & mildew that you can hardly open them without having an allergic reaction. That’s a sad fate for an expensive Bible. The best option for a longer lasting Bible in the tropics: Bibles with bonded leather covers. I have an NLT (Tyndale) with bonded leather, and it has lasted 12+ years in Asia. Cover only shows some cracks. The mildew hasn’t been such a problem because I’m using it regularly; and even if some pages get a little splotchy it’s not such a big deal with a relatively inexpensive Bible. (I see you have moved to Asia now. Keep your Bibles dry!)

      1. The best way to keep your Bible in good shape in tropical Asia is to use it regularly. That’s not so easy to do when you have several of them. It’s very important that the Bibles are kept in a place where there is good air flow. A friend of mine has several Bibles and hymnals in a closed cupboard that get pulled out every few weeks for group Bible study. After several months, we can no longer use those books. The mold is so bad that it causes some people to have breathing difficulties. So, no closed cabinets and cupboards. Some people keep their books on a rattan book shelf, and hang a thin cotton curtain over the front. It keeps the dust out, but lets the air flow through. If you have an air-conditioned room, I think having the Bibles on a open book shelf is the way to go. However, in many places in Asia, the a/c doesn’t run 27/7. It can’t even if you want it to. There are power cuts. Do not store your Bibles in the metal trunks that are so ubiquitous here. Leather items will get ruined in those things. By the way, another thing you want to look out for are termites! Be on the look out for little piles of tiny sawdust anywhere in your house. That’s a telltale sign. These types of problems were so significant where we lived that I stopped buying finer books for a while. My primary go-to Bibles were on e-readers. We’re in a dryer climate now, and I just got the Cambridge ESV Clarion.

        Here are other practical suggestions from Florida’s State Library and Archives about keeping premium leather books in a humid area: https://www.floridamemory.com/how_do_i/preserve/books.php

        We’re practically neighbors… 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s