Sneak Peak! Crossway ESV Scripture Journal Set – Review coming soon

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I just received this sweet set of Scripture Journals from Crossway and I intend to get some use out of them and then write up an official review but I wanted to let everyone know that these were back in stock! The first printing of these sold out in like a week!

Go over to my friends at Westminster Books and pick up a copy for yourself, they are selling them for 40% off right now!

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Crossway ESV Omega Thinline Reference Bible in Black Goatskin (limited Anniversary Edition) – Review

This review has been a few months in the making. I received this Bible a while back and was blown away by it but I also wanted to dig into it and use it for daily reading and take it to church and really “test-drive” it before I did the official review.

The Omega is a special limited edition (at least the one I received) put out by Crossway to mark their 80th anniversary. Check out this very cool insert that is found in this Bible:

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This Bible has three characteristics that make it a very useful tool:

  1. Large Print – this Bible has larger print than a regular Bible. The general standard print size is probably around 9pt whereas this Bible has 10pt font and is line matched which can also give the illusion of a slightly larger print. So while not being an extremely large print, it is noticeably more comfortable on the eyes.

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    Here you can see how readable this font is and you can also see how the line matching works. Each line is printed over the line on the back of the other. This also makes the page look cleaner and give the effect of larger print. Also this large print is great for teaching and preaching. Although not as easy as a verse by verse format, the large print is very helpful for on the go teaching at Bible studies and small groups where space is small or for weekly pulpit use where there is more room. This is a great all-around Bible.
  2. Thinline – this seems to be the most influential characteristic of an ESV and I would even say it has become something of their trademark. Crossway has done a great job of making the Bible easy to take with you on the go whether that’s to church, school, work or a coffee shop. That’s exactly what a thinline is, it’s thin and easy to take with you. The ESV came out when I was in college and I always had a thinline in my backpack or when I would meet my small group for coffee. I’m guessing this is why they selected a thinline to mark this special occasion.
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    Here is my old Thinline in black calfskin. As you can see, the large print is not that much larger even though it has larger print and references.

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    Here is a side view, again the Omega is not that much bigger.
  3. Reference – this is the nice surprise in this Bible, it has the thinline feel but it also has cross references. They have hidden them away at the bottom of the page which I really like because it’s not as distracting when I am reading. When I’m reading all I see is the text, but should I want to dig into a concept, word or phrase, the references are tucked away at the bottom of the page. I think this is very clever and helpful. Here is what it looks like:img_0180

Now let me show you what it looks like on the outside and the thought and care that went into producing this high quality Bible.

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Here is the box it comes in. This is a high quality two-piece box. I love the black color, it looks and feels like a premium product.
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This is very nice, this Bible is wrapped in velvet and it seems like such a classy touch. Also, as shown above it came with an insert from Lane Dennis the President of Crossway.
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Here is the Bible on top of the box, this combo is simple and classy in my opinion. I like how they have eliminated the multiple stamping of their name (they went from 3 to 2 see above picture of old thinline where there are 3 references to ESV on the spine) and having the 4 raised ribs.
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Originally this Bible came with these four ribbons. For my taste these are too many and I also do not personally care for the colors. I ended up changing these out and put in two blue ribbons in their place. This is a very simple process and there are many places which easily detail the process, But I must warn you, this will void any warranty or guarantee on the Bible so proceed with caution!

Here are some pictures of the edge-lines and you can also see the red under gold art gilt and the stitching around the edges.

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Easily lies open at Genesis 1, here you can see the blue ribbons I added.
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And also lies open at Revelation 22.
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I have used this Bible at home and at church and it has been a great experience. Easy to read and easy to carry.
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Here is a side by side of the font size of an original Thinline and the Omega. I love the red under gold on the Omega and I miss the font that Crossway used on the original ESV personally I wish they had kept it along with the other updates.

In summary, I really like this Bible. In many respects it has all of my favorite features and is everything I want in a Bible. The only way that this Bible could be better is if it was verse by verse and if they had kept the old font with all of the other great upgrades, but those are both personal preferences. Overall, this is an amazing Bible!

If you are looking for a Bible on the go, that also has large print, and cross references, then this is the Bible for you! Also, if this text block looks good to you but you are not interested in this price point, this same text block is also used in the other Large Print Thinline Reference Bibles put out by Crossway that are more economical and come in various cover materials. I hope this review finds you well.

Grace and Peace,

Craig

Heb 4:12

David’s Sonic Boom Powered Shepherd’s Sling

Recently I discovered that a shepherd’s sling (probably very similar to the one that David used to kill Goliath) can hurl a stone so hard and fast that the stone can actually break the sound barrier and create a mini sonic boom! That is so cool! This discovery immediately made me think about David and Goliath.

Here is the Biblical account of David using his sling to kill Goliath.

He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. ( 1 Samuel 17:40 NASB)

Smooth stones are an important detail because they have an aerodynamic shape and provide the least amount of wind resistance which allows the projectile to (a) travel at a faster rate and (b) improve accuracy. The words used to describe David’s pouch and sling also support the idea that he used the shepherd’s sling that we know today.

“48 Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand.” (1 Samuel 17:48-50 NASB)

According to the research I have done, the forehead is a thick and very strong piece of bone that helps to protect the brain. For a stone to sink into Goliath’s forehead it would have been traveling at quite a fast rate of speed and been very accurate (i.e. the importance of having smooth stones). From what I have read and watched, a skilled person is able to launch a stone with a shepherds sling so fast that it can actually break the sound barrier and create a sonic boom! The sling seems more like a high powered sniper rifle than a kids toy! Make no mistake about it, this was a very deadly weapon and David was highly trained to use it. This is how David was able to produce enough speed and momentum to kill Goliath and to cause the stone to sink deep into his forehead.

Below you will find a video where a guy is able to hit watermelons with a shepherds sling. It is super impressive and I am sure I couldn’t even get close to his talent, but at the end it says that he took 17 shots at 3 target, that’s about a 17% success rate if I understand these numbers correctly.

Well, David had a lot more pressure on him (his own life was in the balance, he was young, his brothers mocked him, Saul really didn’t seem very confident, the entire army of Israel was watching etc.) and he had pinpoint accuracy, this leads me to believe that he was an expert at handling and using this deadly weapon.

Here are some other references to this type of sling or similar in the Bible:

Used to describe highly skilled military men using it as a weapon of war

Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. (Judges 20:16 NASB)

They were equipped with bows, using both the right hand and the left to sling stones and to shoot arrows from the bow; they were Saul’s kinsmen from Benjamin. (1 Chronicles 12:2 NASB)

Moreover, Uzziah prepared for all the army shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows and sling stones. (2 Chronicles 26:14 NASB)

Used to describe the strength of Leviathan, not even sonic powered slingstones can hurt him!

“The arrow cannot make him flee; Slingstones are turned into stubble for him. (Job 41:28 NASB)

Here are some actual videos which show this phenomena, the “crack” or “pop” you hear is the mini sonic boom that is produced by the rock breaking the sound barrier.

The Impact of a “Little” Sin – Achan (Joshua 6-7)

I was struck this morning by the deceptiveness and heaviness of sin in the account of Achan (Joshua 6-7). Achan directly disobeys the command to not take anything under the ban. He takes a couple of small trinkets. He probably rationalizes it and thinks it’s a small thing, who cares? Well, God cares.
Here are some of the consequences:
  • 36 men died in the battle against Ai because of Achan’s sin
  • the people’s (Israel) hearts melted, previously other nations are said to have their hearts melted because God was helping Israel
  • God held entire nation responsible (see 7:11)
  • God threatens that He will not be with them anymore (this is a frightening proposition when you consider that they just crossed the Jordan because of God and defeated the great city Jericho because God was with them and on their own they couldn’t defeat little Ai)
  • whole nation has to go through the process of finding out who is responsible. If they are anything like we are today (remember they are described as a stiff-necked people), I bet there would have been some false accusations in the process among the people and untold trouble in this process all because Achan saw, lusted, and took.
  • Achan’s whole family is stoned and burned. Not only is this bad for Achan’s family but also for the people. I’m sure this was not a fun experience for Israel to go through this process. Have you ever stoned someone? This would not an enjoyable experience. You have to throw big enough stones hard enough to kill someone and there were multiple people. This would have been heartbreaking because they also had to stone his wife his sons and his daughters. Even if they all helped him hide the stuff and were guilty this is a very difficult experience. I’m sure they all would have begged for their lives to some degree.
Personal Application:
  • God is not OK with my sin
  • There is no such thing as an innocent or “little” sin
  • Sin is not to be played with
  • Sin is evil
  • Sin has consequences
  • Sin is worse than I think it is. -Sin is not my friend
  • My sin doesn’t just affect me
  • I cannot hide my sin
  • Sin is deceptive
  • Sin is deadly
  • Sin may bring momentary pleasure but it ends in death (“Why would you trade a drop of pleasure for a sea of wrath?” – Thomas Watson)
  • Sin begins with the eyes and mind before it shows up in the actions (Achan saw, coveted and then took. Just like Eve in the garden. Just like James 1:12-17)

The Preacher’s Bible Review (Part 1) “First Things First”

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Intro – Purpose and Perspective of this Review

First off, no I am not a preacher or a pastor. I’m not seminary trained either. So I cannot give you these kinds of perspectives on this particular Bible. But, I am a layperson who works hard (by the Spirit) to study God’s Word (2 Tim 2:15), to apply/do it in my own life (James 1:22-25), and then share it with others (Ezra 7:10). That is the whole purpose of this blog; to think practically and devotionally about the deep things of God and then to stir up others to do the same (Heb 3:12-14, 10:24-25).

In addition to this, I have spent many years in dialogue with publishers about the premium Bible market. I have reviewed and researched dozens of premium Bibles, so I generally understand what makes for a good premium Bible and what does not.

Finally, this Bible was a gift from a very good friend and many have asked me to conduct a thorough review of it and also give some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past few years of marking and handling a premium Bible so I will give those out as well, for whatever they are worth.

It is from this perspective, the lay person who studies and teaches God’s word and enjoys using a well-crafted Bible that holds up to consistent use, that I will be evaluating the Preacher’s Bible (which I affectionately call the Student’s Bible because it seems designed for any student of God’s word whether you are a preacher or not).

I am going to try and show some of the advantages and disadvantages of this particular edition of God’s Word. This is going to take place in a couple of posts though. I want to use this Bible and review it as I go instead of all at once at the end. As we move along in these posts I will also do some compare and contrast with other editions and as I said earlier, I hope to show off some tips and tricks I have learned through the years of test-driving a premium Bible. With that said let’s jump into my first official day of reading from the Preacher’s Bible.

Tip #1 – Before you ever write in a new Bible, you want to make sure that you are using the correct instruments. If you choose the wrong pen, pencil, or highlighter you may quickly regret that decision. Wrong implements may write weird on the type of Bible paper you have or bleed through or make indents in the paper that you cannot reverse. The solution? Flip to the back of the Bible where the Concordance is or a page that you have little concern for that also has text on it. A page that you are OK if it gets marked up or even ruined. Create a test page where you can try out different pens and highlighters. I like to write the name of the pen with the pen so I can have it for future reference. Here is an example from my copy of the Preachers Bible, though the paper is so thick it almost doesn’t matter, or does it? See for yourself:

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As you can see, there is some bleed through with a couple of these pens. And the Pencil made an indent. But other than that the paper can handle most pens and even the highlighter.

TIP #2 – I highly suggest using Micron Pens for all Bible marking. Here are some pictures of the pens I most highly recommend:

Micron – I use .005 for every color but yellow. For yellow I use a bigger tip because I use it like a highlighter. It doesn’t bleed and is more precise. These pens are great to use and now widely available. They are perfect Bible pens because of the soft tip and ink that doesn’t bleed.

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Pilot G-TEC .25 – these pens are nice too. The tip is not soft like the Micron so you need to be a little more careful with how much pressure you apply, but they are super precise! They make very careful clean lines and allows you to write a little smaller and still be clear.

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Using a straight-edge – I also like to use a straight-edge when underlining. It just looks cleaner. Here is the one I use:

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Here are some pictures showing how I intend to use this Bible. Below you can see the use of the yellow Micron .05 as a highlighter and a blue Micron .005 for the margin note. As I was reading this morning, I noticed that this text was jam packed with some of the attributes of God so I stopped to think and meditate on these and then made a quick list of every one that I could find in the text, the margins are perfect for this type of exercise, there is so much room. Usually, I’m trying to fit things like this into a tight space, not so with this Bible. What I like about this is that I can basically make my own Study Bible with insights from simply meditating on the word or I can write in quotes from sermons or commentaries or other Study Bibles.

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Here is the backside of the page above. Very little (if any) bleed through, You can faintly see the marginal note but still very faint.

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Here is another way I intend to use this Bible, to make my own reference system. As I read, I want to constantly be thinking about the fact that Scripture interprets Scripture. So when I do not understand something, or something is unclear to me, I want to first search out the Scriptures to see if there are any other texts that may speak to the text I am looking at that may be a little clearer or to the point and help me understand what the text means by what it says. First I want to find out “What does the text say and what did the original author originally mean by what it says?” Then, I can move on and ask “What do other texts say about this issue that might help me understand this text?” or “How does this text fit with that text?” or “How does this text illustrate that text?” The Bible always fits together. If I find a problem in the text, the the problem is with me and my thinking, not the text (Heb 4:12-13; Isa 40:8; 2 Tim 3:16-17).

For example, here in Deuteronomy 13 we see that God tests Israel by allowing false prophets in their midst to find out if they really love Him with all of their heart and soul. Well, that immediately made me think of James 1 where Trials and Tests are talked about. I’ve written about this topic before and you can see that post here if you are interested.

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Well, that’s enough for a first run through this Bible. I hope you find this content and these posts helpful.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

James 1:22-25

22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

 

Steadfast Bibles Renewing Interest in the NASB at ShepCon 2018

As many of you know, I have a love/hate relationship with the NASB. I love the NASB translation (it is my translation of choice) but I often find the packaging that it comes in to be less than desirable. Whether it is the “see through” paper or the cover falling off, I’ve had my share of frustrations. I have shared these frustrations with the good folks at Lockman and they have often reminded me to be patient because there was something  in the works and quality editions were in the future. This week I can only assume that the wait is over and that future is here.

Enter Shepherd’s Conference 2018 and Steadfast Bibles.

At this years Shepherds Conference the long awaited Preacher’s Bible was released. I have been graciously given a copy by a friend and will be conducting a review of it in the near future. This has all been very exciting. But something more exciting seems to be happening. For the first time in many years, interest in the NASB seems to be on the incline instead of on the decline, and in my opinion this is a good thing.

Further, the group over at Steadfast Bibles is possibly going to be releasing a variety of editions of the NASB (hopefully in quality bindings like their newly released Preacher’s Bible), this is from their site :

The team at Steadfast Bibles is excited to be working on new editions of the NASB 1995, tentatively set to release in 2018 and beyond. We will be sending out surveys to garner input from NASB fans regarding cover and layout designs with the goal of meeting the needs of individuals and churches. If you’d like to have your voice heard, please sign up for our email list and we will be in touch.

Lots to look forward to for those of us who enjoy using the NASB, please make sure you get over to Steadfast Bibles and show them some support if you too enjoy using the NASB like I do.

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