For the bibliophile, there is barely anything more joyful than a finely pieced book. Yes, it is about the interior, but so too the exterior. In fact, bibliophiles know you can judge a book by its cover. There is also a select group of bibliophiles who do more than collect books, but so too collect bibles. I myself have numerous hard copies of the Scriptures, in different translations, with different covers, in different editions. There are two holding top-tier in my collection. The first is the Cambridge KJV with Apocrypha. It is black calfskin leather. The second is a hardback copy of the REB. It has a book cover, but nothing else. These two versions, materially, strike me as being beautiful and thus are the two I cherish.
But now I have a third. The Tyndale Select NLT: Select Reference Edition. Immediately, I am struck the simplistic majesty of this edition. The smell. The feel. The size. The weight. Everything about this version makes me want to admire it for its quality, but I know that I will be able to pass this one along.
Long time readers of this blog know that I have a special place in my heart for the New Living Translation — I’m a NLTphile, I guess. I find that it is more than suitable for any reader of the bible, regardless of age or denominational affiliation. It is readable, both in church and as an individual, providing a modern rendering of Scripture while being faithful to our tradition of English translations. It deserves to be read daily. But, with each reading, a traditional bible will lose its consistency — at least in material.
With the Tyndale Select NLT, NTLphiles and bibliophiles meet in their desire to have a beautiful, generational heirloom bible. It is made of black goatskin (although brown is available), which provides for a lifetime durability — and I’m guessing, not just my lifetime either. The feel of this bible, because of the goatskin, is supple. It is Smyth-sewn, allowing the bible to lay flat. It includes two ribbons. The edges to this hand-bound bible (by Jongbloed (Netherlands)) are art-gilded. The text is the single column NLT, with cross references and other notes familiar to NLT readers.
It is a single-column, printed in such a way as to avoid bleed through. The references are to the side, while the translators’ notes are at the bottom. The print is not as small as you might think, given that the single column requires a larger font. Finally, one of the highlights of this bible — in my opinion — is that it is in black letter, throughout.
I’ll include some pictures below — but I’m afraid they won’t do it justice. Rather, let me tell those wondering about the price: You will not regret this. This is not a “gift bible” (those $10 bibles you pick up for a special occasion that last for a few months) but it truly is a gift. It is one of those things you give to someone when you care for them and want them to use it daily, for years, and maybe a generation or two. The material quality compliments the eternal quality of this Book, and should give the benefactor the hope that when the memory of the presentation has long past, this book will endure, perhaps passed on to another’s hands, giving light in a dark world.
For years, Cambridge was the premier manufacturer of high quality bibles; however, the Tyndale Select NLT: Select Reference Edition rivals them in every detail, even providing a better quality leather, in my opinion — not to mention the readability of the single-column.
There is a calfskin version, which costs a little less. You can read more about the Tyndale NLT Select here.
For another review, check out famed Methodist and Wesleyan Scholar, Kevin Watson’s review.