Answers About God

Useful Bibles for Reading, Study and Preaching

"The English man's Bible" by Thomas Newberry  (1811-1901)


Single Column Reference Edition & Wide Margin Single Column Reference Edition


I have used the Newberry Bible for years and consider it the best Bible for reading, study and preaching because of its layout and the relevant information it contains. Its title page gives a simple and summary explanation of its purpose:


Arranged so as to give, as far as possible the accuracy, precision and certainty of the original Hebrew and Greek languages on the page of the Authorizied Version, by means of simple and appropriate signs, and with the the divine titles distinguished and explained. Adapted both for the Biblical student and the ordinary English reader.


To this end all the necessary information is included with the basic elements of the original languages briefly explained enabling the reader to accurately use the signs that indicate for example the case of the article, or the various tenses and moods of the verbs. One of the sections to which I regularly refer when studying the NT is 'The Prepositions in Detail' where their meanings are explained in connection with their associated case forms. Also included is an illuminating diagram of the Greek prepositions.  


In the left hand margin the date is placed at the top and the references listed are 'few and selected with great care,' directing the reader to other relevant scriptures more precisely than the marginal references in your typical Oxford or Cambridge Authorized Version, and 'parallel passages' which 'chiefly refer to paragraphs' are 'indicated by capitals.' For those able to read or recognize Hebrew and Greek, the emendations listed in the right hand margin have their corresponding Hebrew and Greek shown in the left hand margin. Also, 'critical various readings of the Greek text are given at the foot of the page, where the MSS. for and against are indicated' and the details concerning these MSS. are listed in the introduction to the NT.


'Leading words are printed in blacker type' in both Testaments and most helpfully the text is arranged in paragraphs while still retaining the normal chapters and verses. However the layout of the Psalms, Wisdom books, Songs and speeches of the Prophets is by verse with indented text which is so arranged as to give the reader the sense of the rhythm and flow of these parts of scripture. In addition to the paragraphs, another great feature is the distinguishing of each section of scripture with a dividing line placed in both margins and a space in the text were a more distinct break occurs. These features address the strange anomaly of paragrah markers in the standard King James Oxford or Cambridge Bible which are absent in the Psalms and after Acts 20 in the NT. OT quotations in the NT are written with small capitals with either single quotation or double speech marks and indented in the text when appropriate. Direct speech is marked by double speech marks throughout the whole Bible. There are also helpful charts, two illustrative drawings and four specific maps at the close of the Bible.


Even if one doesn't use this Bible to its fullest potential, it is still of immense value for its layout, emendations and references. To me it brings the living word to life for the English reader.


The calfskin binding like the purchase price is reasonable, as is the print quality in the Single Margin Reference Edition. However, the Wide Margin Edition has a superior quality print, but similiar binding. It is presently not available


The Single Margin Reference Edition originally published by Penfold Book and Bible House was printed again by John Ritchie LTD Kilmarnock, Scotland at the end of 2013.


Anyone interested can view the text of the Newberry Bible at and an interesting article on how to benefit from the Newberry Bible is found here

Mid Size Note Takers and Hand Size Wide Margin


These quality leather bound Bibles are produced by Local Church Bible Publishers in the United States and sold at 'the cost of production.'


Their obvious purpose and benefit is the ability to write notes in the margins. The Mid Size Note Takers is larger, but still very usable with two wide margins to the outer edge of each page alongside a clear printed text. This is what I would call a 'clean' Bible with no marginal references or emendations, just the plain King James translation which means you can make it into your own study Bible. Personally, I would have preferred the text with a smaller font size and the margins wider with more room for notes, however once you start marking the text with pen at least there's plenty of room to do so and you can see what you're doing. There is a concordance and maps after the NT.


The Hand Size Wide Margin is a convenient Bible for both writing notes and taking to meetings. It is particularly useful if you do some preaching, especially on occasions when you are not in a pulpit but addressing the audience from the floor where the only place to rest your Bible is in your hand and the only place for notes is in your Bible. Thus, as its name suggests, it is the right size for sitting comfortably in your hand being light and soft to hold. Also, there is generous space for writing your sermon notes etc around the margins of the text, where they will remain permanently and in a manner most useful to a preacher. Again there are no marginal references. It is a smaller print appropriate to its size and purpose, but still friendly to the eye, however seeing your sermon notes while preaching might be a challenge if written less than neatly or too small! The quality of the pages is reasonable though some show a slight grey shadow similiar to what you would see sometimes on a photocopied sheet of paper. Also, the text on some pages is a line up or down from the text on the opposite page. These are minor things and if anything, make it easier to overcome the reluctance we sometimes feel when attempting to write on the page of a perfectly printed Bible. No concordance or maps are included with this Bible.


One other obvious thing, when writing in Bibles like these it is advisable to have a page of ruled lines underneath the Bible page to keep your letter size consistent and particularly, to ensure that you write in a straight line.


The bindings are top quality with stitched edging and a reinforced spine. The Notetakers Bible is Executive Series bound with 'ironed calfskin' leather and the Hand Size Wide Margin is Basic Series bound in 'cowhide' leather. Both are a pleasure to handle.


For more detail visit

'I have a wonderful treasure gift of God without measure, we will travel together my Bible and I' is a line from a Sunday school chorus and what it says is absolutely true. The Bible is the gift of God and, as was said to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1953 when it was presented to her, "the most valuable thing that this world affords." Having read, studied and preached it for quite a few years I would like to share some things about what I think are helpful editions of the 'good book.'


Obviously the infinite value of the Bible is in its contents, but it is wise, if affordable and available, to buy a Bible with quality binding and paper because not only will you be more inclined to take care of it, it will also endure years of use. Such will of course be more expensive, but considering the money we spend today on things like tablet computers and smart phones that soon go out of date and use, a quality Bible is a worthy investment that can be used and enjoyed for a lifetime.


I grew up with the King James Version, memorized its text in Sunday school and have heard countless messages preached from it. Therefore the Bibles under review here are King James Bibles, but that does not mean that I don't use, reference and benefit from other faithful translations.


Personally I don't like to write in a Bible unless it's designed for that purpose. It's better to use a notebook for a number of reasons. However, a Bible that allows for notes is a great asset if used properly and by that I mean, don't write in it until you're sure about what you want to write. The benefit of this 'rule' is that you will be forced to think things through and be made to reach firm conclusions before putting pen to Bible paper! A Bible scribbled on and roughly marked is not a pretty sight. This is why it is useful to assign a notebook for doing the 'ground work' of processing your thoughts and other relevant information. Of course you may prefer the word processor on whatever kind of computer you use for such a task, but I find that technology at the first stages of study and writing is no substitute for using pen and paper. Plus, I personally get tired of looking at a screen. There are some details about notebooks and pens below.





My Grandfather's Two Version


This Bible was my grandfather's Two Version (as above) which I had rebound a few years ago because of the condition of its cover. The new binding turned out to be a rather stiff leather, but a good job was done in restoring the pages. To me it is a heirloom particularly since I never had the privilege of knowing my grandfather as he passed to be with His Lord at age 53 on the 10th April 1963. Simple yet eloquent are his words of testimony: Saved by grace on 16/9/29. In the end this is what counts. I look forward to meeting Him in glory.

Cambridge Clarion Reference Edition


This is a good Bible for reading because it reads like a normal book; a single column right across the page with clear crisp print arranged in paragraphs and two outer margins containing the cross references and other information. Its layout is both appealing to the eye and the mind. Not just so easy to preach from though as the verse numbers are a little difficult to see at a glance when standing in the pulpit due to their size and location. This however, is not a problem in the Psalms, Wisdom books, Songs and the speeches of the Prophets as these are, like the Englishman's Bible, laid out according to the verse number which is placed on the left with the text indented and so arranged as to give the reader the sense of the rhythm and flow of these scriptures.  


It is beautifully bound in black goatskin leather which is soft and pliable to hold. It has none of the traditional headings at the top of the pages, neither does it have any speech marks to show direct speaking as per the standard King James Bible, nor does it distinguish OT quotations within the NT text. The page headings are no loss, but it is a pity the other two things have not been included. The Clarion also has a Reader's Companion and a good range of maps with an index.


The first one I bought had an imperfection on a number of pages in the form of a wrinkle in the paper. Cambridge helpfully and quickly processed an exchange, but I'm afraid the replacement has a little of the same problem at the end of the book of Esther and the beginning of Job. Something to be aware of if purchasing for at its price it shouldn't have imperfections of this nature.


The bibledesignblog has an interesting review of this Bible.

Notebooks and Pens


A good quality notebook is a very useful asset in study work and sermon preparation with the distinct advantage of being easy to carry with you wherever you go and ready for use when opportunity affords. Writing your thoughts upon paper helps the mind to focus and forces us to really think things through adequately and to a logical conclusion. When you can write something simply and concisely it indicates that you have grasped and understood your subject. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) said: 'Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.' This involves a time consuming process and often what you write the first, second, third ... time will require the stroke of your pen! But then that's the fun of the refinement process which is a necessary part of thinking and writing. It is though, at this 'working out' stage of study and sermon preparation that I find a computer and keyboard to be no substitute for pen and paper. There seems to be a particular connection between your brain and hand when writing that you don't experience to the same extent when using a keyboard and I find that what I write, I can remember far better than what I type. That's why it's useful to have a general notebook in which to do the 'ground work' of, for example, analysing the text of scripture, writing down thoughts, recording initial observations or first impressions, sketching sermon outlines etc. Then when ready, finished and permanent notes can be typed up on your computer's word processor and saved as digital files or written into another designated notebook or your personal study Bible. Others will have, of course, their own tried and tested methods.  


Moleskines are well bound notebooks, though the paper doesn't always respond well to the flow of ink from a fountain pen, particularly anything above a extra fine nib. Strangely enough, I have found that the hard cover edition takes the ink better than the soft cover, but why that should be I do not know. Of course if you use a ballpoint then this won't be a issue for you. Generally, I prefer to write with a fountain pen for two reasons; it enables better writing and I like the distinctive finish it gives, but everyone will have their own preferences. The Moleskine pocket notebooks are handy for taking notes in a meeting, but for Bible study work I like the large Moleskine Ruled Notebook (13 x 21cm) hard cover. It's sturdy and sits flat when opened which is great for writing and essential if being used when preaching.


Another attractive and useful notebook is the Leuchtturm1917 ruled notebook medium A5 size. It comes with page numbers and has space allocated at the front to write in your contents. However, the cover and pages appear to be a completely bound together by glue and this makes the notebook a little stiff and resistant to sitting flat when opened; a bit like the average paper back book. Its pages are maybe just a little better in quality than the Moleskine, whereas the cover of the Moleskine would have the edge in quality over the Leuchtturm; either way both are good and reasonably priced.


There are no end of pens to choose from when it comes to writing. For using in the Moleskine notebook I particularly like the Uni-ball Micro Deluxe waterproof ink pen (as in fountain pen ink). It writes smoothly across the page, is light to hold and the slightly black faded ink looks well on the off white paper. Also, the Lamy Safari Fountain Pen is a pleasure to hold and write with being an excellent size, shape and light. It writes well on either of the above notebooks and is inexpensive to buy.


When it comes to writing on Bible paper you need the right pens. The Staedtler pigment liner 0.05 is a good choice as its ink is indelible, waterproof on paper and lightfast (resists fading). The edding 1800 profipen 0.1 works well and is also pigment ink and lightfast. Both these pens are of course black ink, but for colour pens there are the Pigma Micron 005. Their 'archival quality ink is waterproof, chemical resistant, fade resistant, bleed free, quick drying and pH neutral.' Hightlighters are useful if you really want to go all out at marking your Bible or highlighting your notes, but the pencil or dry type don't work as well as the ink highlighters. The popular Stabilo Boss highlighters do show through Bible paper quite distinctly and can tend to be rather moist leaving a little 'ridge' of ink where the highlight stops. I have a 'Bible Marking Kit' of four fluorescent pigment ink doubled-ended highlighters by Zebra which also includes a fine writing pen and a ruler. The packet says: 'No bleed highlighters.' It depends what is meant by 'bleed' in this context. You can certainly see the shadow of the highlight on the other side of the page, whereas to 'bleed' seems to indicate the ink seeping through the paper. The quality of the Bible paper will determine the result. Zebra now do a set of five highlighters simply called 'double-ended Highlighters' and the packet states that they are 'Ideal for Bibles, Legal books & Text Books.'


May the Lord encourage you in your reading, study and preaching of the greatest book in the world.



February 12, 2014

Two Version Bible


This is a reprint of the 1899 edition of the Two Version Bible which is 'the Authorized Version with the differences of the Revised Version printed in the margins' on the outer edge of each page. The NT of the Revised Version was first published in 1881 and the OT in 1885. This latest edition of the Two Version has been published by Ards Evangelical Bookshop under their publishing name Crimmond House Publications.


This is a quality Bible strongly bound in a smooth and soft calfskin leather stitched at the edge with clear text printed on 40 gsm Bible paper. While this is a reprint of the 1899 edition it has been published to the standard of twenty first century printing and when you open it you are immediately impressed by the quality and clarity of the text. This Bible is a pleasure to hold and look at.


Each page has the date placed at the top of the centre reference column and beneath the date are the cross references to other scriptues or alternative renderings in relation to the Authorized text. At the commencement of most chapters there is a synopsis of their content and also the usual, though occasionally inaccurate titles, at the top of each page customary in the standard King James Bible. There are also pages for notes between the Testaments and after the NT. There are no maps or concordance.


The American offspring of the English Revised Version was the American Standard Version of 1901. It seems that the American scholars who worked on the Revisied Version translation agreed that they would not publish an American version for fourteen years if the differences suggested by them were listed in an appendix to both Testaments in the Revised Version. This was done and you will find them in this reprinted edition.


A beautiful Bible for reading and study or for meeting and preaching. One minor deficiency exists though, and that concerns the ribbon; it could have been longer and two would have been better than one!


Available from and for more pictures of the Bible and a helpful review visit the

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