This is a review of one of my favorite little bibles in my collection, the Zondervan NASB Compact Reference Bible (CRB). While it isn’t exactly a high end edition or bound in silky goatskin, it’s one of the most pleasurable and comfortable bibles to read. First, let’s talk stats. Here are the specifications from Zondervan:
– Center-Column Reference System
– Portable Size. Two-Column Text in Paragraph Format for easy reading and comprehension
– Clear, Readable Type
– Full-Color Maps, Study Helps, Book Introductions, and Concordance
– Words of Christ in Red
-Page Count: 1824
Paper Edge Description: Gold Gild
Type Point Size: 6
Size: 4.8 wide x 6.3 high x 1.9 deep in. | 122 wide x 160 high x deep 48 mm
Weight: 1.115 lb | 505 gms
If I had to describe what this bible actually looks like, I would say it’s a ESV Study Bible in miniature. It’s a brick essentially. The most prominent feature next to it compact size is its depth…almost 1 1/2 inches! For a compact bible, that extra deep text block means one thing. It fits snuggly and firmly in the palm of your hand. Coupled with a block that lays open flat almost effortlessly, and you have a bible that is excellent for one handed reading, travel, and prayer.
The CRB regrettably comes with only one black ribbon. There’s enough real estate at the header to fit probably 6 ribbons, but I added 3 to help with reading in multiple books. Direction to add ribbons can be found here.
I bought my first CBR about 5 years ago and another a few months ago. This pictures above display the older verion (bottom) with its rounded spine and concave block and the newer version I just purchased (top) with a more squared off spine and block. The older version, if you can get it, is by far the more comfortable of the two to hold in the palm.
Though this is a true compact, and therefore small, it reads like its larger kin. Though the type is technically a 6, it reads like a 9. For reasons I cannot entirely explain, this compact is very easy to read and causes no strain in prolonged reading. Perhaps it’s the boldness of the type, but this little edition is an absolute joy to read and hold.
Though these photos above (all taken on my iphone) show some ghosting between pages, I assure you there is very little if not none at all. This paper is superb and feels nice to the touch and the pages turn easily. It’s compact form allows quick shuffling between books and lays open flat wherever you turn, even in Genesis and Revelation. Every book in this bible comes with introductions and outlines. I personally like a reference bible for jumping around to find verses that relate to one another, and finding a compact with references is relatively difficult, at least one where you can still read the references. This book fits the bill.
The binding in this little gem is the only downside. It’s bonded leather with synthetic liners and is pretty stiff. I have found that with prolonged use, however, it does soften up a bit and is almost barely noticable in the palm. In my opinion, the perfection of the text block makes up for the poor binding materials. If you have the means, this little guy would make an excellent rebinding candidate as it sewn. LeatherBibles.com offers this text block in a duo tone binding at their website that looks interesting for those who do mind two finishes on their bindings. It should also be said that this edition comes in black bonded and burgundy bonded leather. You can also purchase it with or without a snap button flap to secure it closed.
As stated, the font type is bold and crisp enabling for easy and pleasurable reading for long stretches of time. Though this is a red letter edition, the red type is also clear, bold, and distinct unlike many other editions where the red type is more of a faded pinkish color that is a strain to read.
The photos above can help give some sense of scale. As you can see, it fits perfectly in the hand and is well balanced when opened fully. The extra wide spine provides that extra stability in the palm.
All in all, this is a wonderful little edition. Sure, it’s not wrapped in that joyous material known as goatskin, but it performs exactly and precisely for what is was designed for…to be read. On a scale of one to ten, this is a heavy eight. Were it not for the bonded leather and the squared off spine on the newer editions, this would have been a happy nine and a half.