The Reader’s Bibles are here!

A few years ago a Kickstarter project raised over a million dollars to produce a high-quality, multi-volume Bible without chapter or verse numbers. The idea was to create a distraction-free reading experience. I was taken in and ponied up $25 for the volume on the New Testament. Then I waited. And waited. And Crossway was able to get out a single-volume ESV Reader’s Bible, so I bought that and read through it a few times in a couple of years. (I did eventually get my New Testament and read that too).

I recently saw that both Zondervan and Broadman and Holman had released their own reader’s Bibles, so I obtained review copies of the new NIV and CSB Reader’s Bibles to compare the three for our readers. Below is the table I created:

Feature ESV NIV CSB
Cover options (bold for review copy)
  • Cloth over board (Brown/Gray)
  • Leather (Black)
  • TrueTone (Black) Hardcover (Flower design)
  • Cloth over board (Gold/Gray)
  • Imitation leather (Brown)
  • Cloth over board (Poppy)
  • Cloth over board (Gray)
Release (cloth over board) June 2014 October 2017 September 2017
Dimensions 8.00 x 5.5 x 1.7 in. 8.75 x 5.5 x 2.0 in. 9.25 x 5.5 x 1.7 in.
Font 0.131 in. 0.145 in. 0.135 in.
Line spacing 0.09 in. 0.12 in. 0.09 in.
Margins 0.675 in. 0.50 in 0.75 in.
Slipcase? Yes (cardboard) No Yes (cloth over board)
Ribbon marker 2 (brown) 1 (silver) 1 (white)
Other features
  • 4 color maps
  • Table of weights and measures
  • Textual notes retained as endnotes for each
  • 8 color maps
  • Chapters not identified in the margins (including the Psalms)
ESV

ESV’s Best Features

  • Multiple cover options
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Compact size (compared to the other two)

The ESV was the first of the three to market, but it still has a few bells and whistles not available in the NIV or CSB. Its spine is rounded with ribs, and the additional protection offered by a slip-case gives it a high-quality look. Two ribbon markers allow you to follow a reading plan with readings in the Old and New Testaments.

NIV’s Best Features

  • Bigger font and wider line spacing
  • NIV

    Textual notes retained as endnotes

The larger bigger font size and wider line spacing of the NIV reduce eye strain and make it easier to keep your place as you work your way down the page.  Textual notes are nice when you want them (Isaac means “he laughs”), but they are pretty useless as endnotes unless you want to completely disrupt your reading experience.

CSB’s Best Features

  • Cloth-over-board slipcase
  • Wide margins
  • 8 full-color maps

The CSB is probably the best designed of the three. Although it doesn’t have the largest font or widest line spacing, the wide margins mean fewer words per line, which

CSB

makes for the best reading experience. The margins also leave more room for handwritten notes. Add in the matching cloth-over-board slipcase, and you have a high-quality book to put on the shelf or end table. I expected the “poppy” color to be red, but it is definitely a pinkish hue. I also would have preferred keeping the Psalm numbers in the text since they are individual compositions.

To sum up…

All three make extended Scripture reading much easier. I’ve used each of these translations at various points and places in ministry. I’ve found them all pretty readable on their own, but the larger font and lack of verse numbers, chapter numbers, and footnotes in a reader’s edition make the reading experience much smoother. And quicker.

Reading the Bible through in a year used to be a challenge for me. With a reader’s Bible I can get it done by September, no problem. It’s not a race, but reading through the Bible at a quick pace it just one more way of growing your familiarity with all of Scripture. I also find it easier to see the narrative flow of each book.

Your thoughts

Do you have a reader’s Bible? If so, what do you like about it and how much do you use it?

A Greek guide for the book of Luke and a FREEBIE too!

How’s your Greek? I’ve got a book review as well as a freebie that might peak your interest.

Christmas will be here before you know it, and taking the effort to work through the Greek text of the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke might help kickstart a habit that will bless you and your ministry for years to come. And if you need a recommendation to get you started, look no further than the volume on Luke in the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (EGGNT) series.

In the interest of full disclosure, I asked Broadman and Holman to bring Christmas to me early this year by sending me a review copy, but that’s because I’ve already invested in a few of the other books in the series.

Luke was written by Alan J. Thompson. He’s got strong academic credentials, having studied under Eckhard Schnabel and D.A. Carson. He also has a few academic books on his resume, including an upcoming volume on Acts in the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation series.

Like other volumes in the EGGNT series, Luke begins with introductory materials covering authorship, date, audience, and purpose—standard commentary fare—though the extensive outline at the end of the book (five pages, single-spaced) is more of what you would expect from a much larger commentary.

Once you get past the introductory materials, the real fun begins. Because of size limitations (the book is over 400 pages), there’s no full Greek text or English translation. A Greek New Testament or an interlinear necessary to make full use of the book. Thompson works verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Luke, providing comments on grammar, syntax, textual variants, and translation options. It truly is a comprehensive guide to the Greek text of Luke.

Using this and other volumes in the EGGNT series has brought my Greek back from the brink. It had been a couple years, and I had forgotten so much, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pick it up again. When I saw how helpful one book was, I bought another, and another…

It was a little unwieldy for me at first because of all the abbreviations, but a few visits to the section listing abbreviations, and it didn’t take long to adjust.

Now for the freebie! Rob Plummer does a daily video working through a verse in the Greek New Testament on his website Daily Dose of Greek. Starting November 6 he will begin working through Philemon. As a special incentive, you can download Philemon from the EGGNT on My Word Search Bible, a website from Broadman and Holman for FREE. Check out his post for the details here.

A Sermon Every Southern Baptist Pastor Needs to Hear

I’m married with four children, an SBC pastor, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Udemy, YouTube, and iTunes (Podcast).

This sermon was preached by Mark Dever (bio) at the Together for the Gospel Conference 2016. It’s titled, “Endurance Needed: Strength for a Slow Reformation and the Dangerous Allure of Speed.” I’ve dealt with  discouragement and seen many of my fellow pastors deal with discouragement as well, not because of anything the Bible says, but because of arbitrary quotas and extra-biblical standards concerning “successful” ministry. Remember friends, the goal is to be faithful to God’s word, not to be “successful” based on a man-made standard. You are free to pursue faithfulness. Enjoy God through being a faithful pastor.

If you want to download the audio of this sermon, right click this link and download it.

Here are some quotes from this very helpful sermon:

-“I want you to see the difference between the joys of the spotlight and the joys of the elder’s chair.”

-“We present edited lives on Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, fictions of only success in lives and ministries to create real success in fact. We crave instant significance. Many churches today are built exclusively around one pastor’s drive, gifts of preaching or speaking or encouraging or motivating.”

-“Have you ever heard it said that numbers never lie? Friends, numbers lie all the time, about what is right and wrong, about what is significant, about what is of little value.”

-“The gospel cannot be a product the church sells because there are no consumers for it.” -David Wells

-“We need to forsake hype and over-selling and self-promotion that seems to be endemic to social media, and we need to rediscover humility and word-of-mouth by personal testimony and prayer.”

-“Brothers and sisters, I am concerned that in rushing our ministry for today’s statistics, too many false conversions occur, too many churches are prematurely born, too many church planters are sent out poorly equipped and poorly supported.”

A Sermon Every Southern Baptist Pastor Needs to Hear

I’m married with four children, an SBC pastor, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Udemy, YouTube, and iTunes (Podcast).

This sermon was preached by Mark Dever (bio) at the Together for the Gospel Conference 2016. It’s titled, “Endurance Needed: Strength for a Slow Reformation and the Dangerous Allure of Speed.” I’ve dealt with  discouragement and seen many of my fellow pastors deal with discouragement as well, not because of anything the Bible says, but because of arbitrary quotas and extra-biblical standards concerning “successful” ministry. Remember friends, the goal is to be faithful to God’s word, not to be “successful” based on a man-made standard. You are free to pursue faithfulness. Enjoy God through being a faithful pastor.

If you want to download the audio of this sermon, right click this link and download it.

Here are some quotes from this very helpful sermon:

-“I want you to see the difference between the joys of the spotlight and the joys of the elder’s chair.”

-“We present edited lives on Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, fictions of only success in lives and ministries to create real success in fact. We crave instant significance. Many churches today are built exclusively around one pastor’s drive, gifts of preaching or speaking or encouraging or motivating.”

-“Have you ever heard it said that numbers never lie? Friends, numbers lie all the time, about what is right and wrong, about what is significant, about what is of little value.”

-“The gospel cannot be a product the church sells because there are no consumers for it.” -David Wells

-“We need to forsake hype and over-selling and self-promotion that seems to be endemic to social media, and we need to rediscover humility and word-of-mouth by personal testimony and prayer.”

-“Brothers and sisters, I am concerned that in rushing our ministry for today’s statistics, too many false conversions occur, too many churches are prematurely born, too many church planters are sent out poorly equipped and poorly supported.”