The Bible team is celebrating here at Tyndale! This week we received the news that our Illustrated Study Bible won the ECPA Bible of the year award. There were some really great Bibles nominated, so it was really encouraging to hear that the ISB (as it’s known around Tyndale) won.
I got a chance to be involved with the Illustrated Study Bible almost from the start, so I got a chance to interact with almost all of the people who were involved in its development, manufacture, marketing, and release. There are a lot of people who you will never see, whose names you will never know, yet all were a part of getting this amazing project accomplished.
Tyndale has always been about making the Bible accessible to everyone, no matter who you are, where you’re from, whether you are new to the Bible or have been reading it for fifty years, we want to create Bibles that help you connect with God. The Illustrated Study Bible is the continuation of a legacy. Beyond that of our founder Ken Taylor who created the Living Bible and the scholars who created the NLT and the notes and features in the Illustrated study Bible. Irish monks were illuminating manuscripts well over 1200 years ago, Bibles from the 1800s often included amazing woodcuts and dictionaries and color maps. There are lots of reasons why, but at least one was to make the Bible known and understood by the people in those times and places. Visuals help us to “see” what God is saying to us.
Research tells us that over 50% of the brain is involved in visual processing, and that the inclusion of color visuals increases our likelihood to read by 80%. Increasingly we communicate through images. Instagram has 400 million active monthly users, YouTube gets 4 billion video views a day! So our goal with the Illustrated Study Bible was to create a Bible that would speak to today’s visual generation.
So we asked ourselves, ‘what if we were to treat the illustrations, the visuals in a study Bible as more than just something to add to sales copy or to catch your eye?’ ‘What if the images included actually helped you understand what you were reading?’ Our answer was the ISB.
A study Bible is supposed to do more than convey information, it’s supposed to be a catalyst for life change, a tool to help us connect with God. We believe that the Illustrated Study Bible does just that. To ensure that everyone experiencing the Illustrated Study Bible we are offering a free download of the Book of Acts, including every verse, note, image and more, at www.openmyeyes.com/Bible. We’re confident that you will see the world of first century Rome and the expansion of the Church in a whole new way. Celebrate with us! Kevin O’Brien, Bible Brand Manager, Tyndale House Publishers
Labels:New Living Translation, 2016 Bible of the Year, Bible of the Year, Illustratated Study Bible, NLT, NLT Study Bible, Openmyeyes.com/Bible, Study Bible
Where does God’s Word fit in a gaming world? “Right in the middle of it!” says Tyndale House Publishers and Scarlet City Studios. The two organizations have formed an exciting partnership to bring the gospel story to young gamers. Tyndale’s new Aetherlight Bible releases this summer and is built around themes from the new action-adventure online game The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance.
“Tyndale House grew out of the efforts of Dr. Kenneth Taylor as he worked to make God’s Word accessible to his children,” said Blaine A. Smith, associate publisher at Tyndale House Publishers. “For over fifty years, Tyndale has been focused on providing innovative ways for people to connect to God’s Word. This new partnership with Scarlet City Studios enables us to engage children in a game environment with the truth of Scripture. We are excited to join with Scarlet City Studios to create this Bible and help parents engage with their kids in an environment they understand.”
The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance is the first digital engagement experience of its kind. The Entertainment Software Association reports that 59 percent of Americans play video games and more than 50 percent of US households have at least two gaming consoles. In only four years the gaming industry has seen an increase in sales of more than 200 percent. The Aetherlight game aims to help young people see their stories in the context of God’s story via a world that is grounded in the biblical narrative. The companion Bible will help families build upon the bridge between the game’s allegory and the words of Scripture. Through different media forms, Tyndale House Publishers and Scarlet City Studios are bringing God’s Word into this unique market.
“The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance is more than a game,” said Tim Cleary, Scarlet City Studios’ Aetherlight world builder. “It’s an immersive experience that, carefully balancing theology and theatrics, brings to life the biblical narrative for a digital generation. It connects Scripture and real-life application through the world of Aethasia as a high-quality, state-of-the-art game that allows players to experience the mission of God in Scripture for themselves. It’s fantastic, then, to be able to offer a physical, tactile Bible to match this rich experience.”
The Aetherlight Bible pairs the timeless truth of the Bible with full-color inserts, unique footnotes, and exclusive game art. Connecting the dots between the game’s allegory and the grand narrative of Scripture, The Aetherlight Bible will help young people engage with God’s story in a fresh way and encourage them to explore their own part in the adventure.
The clear and easy-to-understand New Living Translation is perfectly matched to the needs of young readers. Alongside unique game-based content, it allows young people to immerse themselves in this story, seeing the echoes of Scripture in their Aethasian adventures, and draws an online generation back into the Word.
Join the Resistance today, and play the online game at www.theaetherlight.com.
Be sure to look for the Aetherlight companion Bible in stores and online this summer!
About Scarlet City Studios: http://www.scarletcitystudios.com/ Scarlet City Studios was established in 2012 with the sole intention of bridging the cultural, historical, and pedagogical gap between the contemporary world of preteens and the world of the Bible by advancing biblical engagement through interactive media, learning frameworks, and creative transmedia products. Scarlet City’s unique framework is based on the principles of faith, hope, and love—telling great stories, nurturing genuine innovation, and fostering real encounters.
Labels:Gaming, New Living Translation, Aetherlight, Bible for Teens, Bible for Tweens, Bible Gaming, Bible Gaming for Teens, Bible Gaming for Tweens, Christian Gaming, Family Friendly Gaming, NLT, Scarlet City Studios, Theaetherlight.com, Tim Cleary
Enter to win an amazing INSPIRE BIBLE JOURNALING TOTE full of supplies for your FAVORITE Mom!!
Here’s the grand prize:
Contents (over $225 value)
Pink canvas pencil bag
Illustrated Faith journaling mat (7” x 8”)
2 rolls of Recollections washi tape
Recollections roller date stamp
Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen (2.0mm)
Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen (.4 mm)
Caran d’Ache Classic Neocolor II water-soluble pastels (10 colors)
Pentel Arts Aquash water brushes, assorted tips (pack of 3)
Artist’s Loft watercolor set (28 colors)
Artist’s Loft neon acrylic paint set (6 colors)
Crayola Twistables colored pencils (30 colors)
Faber-Castell eraser pencils (set of 2)
Koh-I-Noor blender pencils (set of 2)
5 winners will also be chosen to receive a copy of the Inspire Bible!
Here’s how to enter:
Fill out the Gleam form below. Follow the directions for sharing to earn extra entries. We will chose the winners on May 5th!
Coming soon from the Inspire line…
We’re excited to announce that the Inspire Bible NLT is releasing this week! Inspire is a new single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible that will be a cherished resource for creative art journaling. It is the first Bible of its kind—with over 400 beautiful line-art illustrations spread throughout the Bible. Full-page and partial-page Scripture art is attractively displayed throughout the Bible, and the illustrations can be colored in to make each Bible unique, colorful, and customizable. Every page of Scripture has two-inch-wide margins, with either Scripture line-art or ruled space for writing notes and reflections, or to draw and create. The generous font (8.65) ensures optimal readability, and quality cream Bible paper is great for creative art journaling. nspire is the only single-column, wide-margin Bible available in the popular New Living Translation, and it is designed uniquely to appeal to art-journaling and adult coloring book enthusiasts.
- Deluxe Hardcover edition features a lovely, teal imitation leather over board, with beautifully-designed full-color page edges, a matching ribbon, and an elastic band closure.
- Deluxe LeatherLike edition features a beautiful, vintage floral printed LeatherLike over flexible board, with matching aquamarine-patterned page edges, a matching ribbon, Smyth-sewn durable binding, and an elastic band closure.
To celebrate the launch we’re giving away a special Easter basket containing a copy of the Inspire Bible NLT and more!
Here’s what you could win:
Easter basket ($100 Value)
Easter basket contains:
Hardcover Aquamarine Inspire Bible
Crayola Twistables colored pencils (30-pack)
Artist’s Loft watercolors (28 colors)
Crayola Extreme Colors colored pencils (8-pack)
Crayola Metallic Colors colored pencils (8-pack)
Sticko sticker packs (6 packs, with nearly 600 stickers)
Rose Art artist paint brushes (set of 6)
Washi Crafting Tape (1 roll)
Wooden Easter basket
Here’s how to enter:
Use the Gleam form below and follow the directions to share about the Inspire Bible NLT and this contest using your social media accounts. You’ll earn an extra entry each time you share. If you don’t have a social media account, that’s ok! Chose the option to “Answer a question”, or “visit a website”, these will count as your entries.
Thanks for stopping by and helping us spread the word about this amazing Bible!
Inspire Bible Easter Basket Giveaway!
As Christian parents, we want our children to develop a love for Christ and know that the stories in His Word are true and still meaningful today.
So, how do you foster a love of God’s word in your children?
How do you encourage them to appreciate the Bible, make it applicable to real life, and continue to read it as they grow older?
Start when they are young!
Make the Bible come alive to them as you share stories that capture their imaginations and teach them about the character of God.
Kids love to interact with books and the stories they tell.
However, in this time of digital, interactive, and animated content, children expect to be entertained more than ever before.
Providing a way for them to learn more about God without staring at a screen of some kind is becoming much harder to do – but it is not impossible.
Below are some ways you can make learning about the Bible fun without the help of tablets, TV, or any other type of screen.
- Find books that encourage your little ones to act out the stories you are telling. Watching them as they pretend to walk on water, or pretend to see for the first time will be fun for you and for them.
- As you read through a book with your child, think about ways you can put the lessons learned into practice. Some examples would be taking dinner to a sick friend, cleaning up the neighbor’s yard, or sponsoring a child who needs help. Plan together and help others!
- Create small craft projects that help them remember and engage with the stories you read together. Some craft ideas include:
- Have them find as many pictures of bread and fish as they can, and glue them into “baskets” showing God’s provision for our needs like the time Jesus took care of the 5,000 hungry people who were listening to him teach.
- Use brad fasteners to create a moveable scene retelling the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites
- Let them color Joseph’s coat of many colors with their own design
- Be creative and come up with ideas of your own!
- Find books that have creative formats that will engage your kids. And what is more fun than a book that is also a toy? Bouncy Bible Buddies are fun, interactive, engaging stories from the Bible written for kids 3-6 years old. The easy grip handles turn these lovable animals into carry along friends. Push the handle down to make them bounce! This creative and fun design will draw little ones in time after time and help them learn more about God’s word and His love for them. Daniel in the Lion’s Den and The Lost Sheep are available now!
There are many benefits to sharing these experiences with your children.
You will build a stronger relationship as you spend time together, your child will learn to love God’s word, and who knows – you might even learn a few things yourself.
Linda Howard is the Acquisitions Director of Children & Youth at Tyndale House Publishers.
Labels:Bible Usage, Live it Now, Four fun Ways to Help Your Kids Love the Bible, NLT Blog, Teach your kids to read the Bible
Five years ago, Tyndale explored how to purchase Chinese-language Bibles and create a cause campaign with Christian retailers to help provide God’s Word to the millions of Christians in China who do not have Bibles. It was amazing to think that God would use us to help reach the largest population on earth with the gospel.
There are 1.4 billion people living in China, and it has the fastest growing church in the world. ShareWord Global president Peter Marshall reports that 12.5 million people become Christians each year in China, but only four million Chinese Bibles are printed annually.
As we pursued opportunities, God moved powerfully. The China Christian Council (CCC) approved printing and distributing Chinese Union Version Bibles to government sanctioned Protestant churches in China. Leaders from Tyndale House Publishers and ShareWord Global met with executives from every national Christian retailer to present the Gospel for China campaign. LifeWay Christian Stores approved the campaign and asked us to implement it in 15 weeks. Tyndale came together in a big way to create in-store POS, a church kit, banner ads, e-blasts, press releases, and social media posts, and to revise a video and develop a bookplate. Plus, the team had to create, print, and deliver three sample copies of Chinese Union Version Bibles to every LifeWay Christian Store. Over 201,000 Bibles were purchased by LifeWay customers in ten weeks. All glory to God!
A team of Tyndale and ShareWord Global staff traveled to China to distribute Bibles to Christians through registered churches. The Chinese church experience is very different from going to church in the United States. First, you have to arrive early to get a seat. Second, people actively listen to your message. They are hungry for the gospel, want to learn, and are focused. Third, there is very little cultural Christianity in China. If you attend a Christian church, you are serious about your faith. The final major difference is that very few Christians have Bibles of their own because the Bibles are either unavailable or people cannot afford to purchase one. With your help, we are making a difference in the lives of Chinese Christians by distributing over 201,000 Bibles from the Gospel for China campaign. Join us in praying that God will provide millions of Bibles for the church in China.
Labels:Bible Outreach, Bible Outreach in China, Gospel for China, LifeWay Christian Stores, ShareWord Global, Tyndale Bibles, Tyndale House Publishers
OVERVIEW. Any economy Bible is not going to fare as well here as a Bible with premium print and paper, but for what it is, the PVLPS does a good job. I spent two weeks doing my daily Bible reading out of the PVLPS, except for a morning or two when I had left it at the church building the night before. Here’s what I thought: SIZE. No problems here. In fact, I might go so far as to say the size is excellent. The PVLPS doesn’t have the paperback-like form factor that I generally prefer in reading Bibles, but the combination of large page size and light weight has an appeal all its own. I wouldn’t think twice about one-handing the PVLPS, and I never noticed it as a physical object when I was reading from it. LAYOUT. Love the column width here. Purely love it. Despite claiming to be a large-print Bible, with 9-point font, the PVLPS isn’t, really. However, 9-point font in a 6” x 9” has another consequence. Because the page is so wide and the print is relatively small, you get a lot of characters per line, even in a double-column Bible. Generally, I’m happy if a double-column Bible has more than 40 characters per line. The PVLPS has something like 47 cpl. That line length works just fine in prose. It’s amazing in poetry. As anybody who reads Bible reviews knows, text set poetically is the nemesis of double-column Bibles. Because most lines of poetry in the Bible are longer than 35-40 cpl, the conflict between poetic line and column width produces a bunch of one-word “widows”, last words of lines that are shoved down to the next line due to lack of space. Not so with the PVLPS. During the review period, my Bible reading schedule took me through Song of Solomon, which in the NLT is entirely set in poetry (in addition to being rather frank about the subject matter). Line-length problems were so few and far between that I didn’t even notice how good the line length was. There are several chapters in the PVLPS version of Song of Solomon that contain only a single widow, which is ridiculously good for a double-column Bible. Props to the designer! The gutter in the PVLPS is only a quarter-inch wide. In a thicker Bible, that might cause some problems. However, because the PVLPS is slimmer, it doesn’t need as much gutter in the middle of the Bible as a Foundation SCR-sized Bible might. There aren’t enough pages to pile up under the page that you’re reading, forcing text to slide down into the gutter. I’d be happier if the PVLPS had a ⅜” gutter, which is typical in larger Bibles, but it works fine as is. This isn’t a Bible where the gutter bugs me. In addition, the PVLPS is a black-letter Bible, which makes reading it easier. This is, in fact, one of my favorite things about low-end budget Bibles. It’s more expensive to print the words of Christ in red (or pink or orange or. . .), so in an effort to cut costs, publishers go to black-letter. Cheaper and less distracting—it’s a win-win! Sadly, the PVLPS isn’t line-matched. I’m not sure why not. This is a 2012 design, well after line-matching became a thing in the Bible-publishing world. Like all thinlines, the PVLPS is printed on relatively lightweight, translucent paper, so it’s a Bible that really would have benefited from line-matching. It isn’t, so when the Bible is opened, the paper has a sickly grayish-yellow hue that is reminiscent of the China-print Foundation SCR’s from 10 years ago. This is not a happy association for me to make. However, I do like most things about the setting of the PVLPS. I think the 9-point FF Meta Serif is a great choice for the text of a Bible (hooray for a Bible that uses text figures instead of titling figures!), and I think the bolded, italic sans-serif section headings make for a nice contrast. This contrast between serifed text and bolded, italic, sans-serif headings is one of my favorite things about one of my favorite Bibles, the Zondervan NASB Thinline. It’s nice to see the stylistic choice repeated in the PVLPS. I like the chapter numbers and page headings in the PVLPS too. The one thing that I don’t like is the book titles. They’re small, and they’re set in a dingy gray bar that comes across mainly as a failed effort to be cool. Tyndale would have been much better served to use a more traditional style of titling.
PRODUCTION QUALITY. Well. . . the PVLPS is a low-end China-print thinline. Each of those things by itself is a red flag; together, they pretty much guarantee that the text block is going to have some problems. So it is here. The ghosting in this paper is so bad that it looks like each text column is set in a light-gray sidebar box. I’m not much bothered by ghosting, so I can read the PVLPS just fine, but those who are sensitive to intrusions from the spirit world would do well to look elsewhere. As for the print quality itself, to be honest, I can’t really tell. The ghosting tends to make fine lines in the Bible look a little blurry, whether they actually are blurry or not. I think, though, that this is actually a pretty good print job as China-print print jobs go.
Overall, the PVLPS does some things that are really important to me really well, and it falls short in some areas that aren’t as important to me. I liked using this one for a reader. I liked it well enough that it’s got me thinking. I’ve already resolved that in 2016, I do not want to use the NASB for my daily readings. In fact, I want to read from a translation that’s as different from the NASB as I can get. I might use the KJV (which I suspect everybody ought to read through at least once anyways), but I’m also considering using a dynamic-equivalent translation. I’d been thinking most about the REB, but my Cambridge REB Standard Text is a Bible with some serious gutter problems. Now, I’m thinking about giving the PVLPS a shot instead. CONCLUSION. Self-evidently, any Bible that reads well enough to have me considering it for a daily reader is a good reader. I’ll give it a 9/10 here. Overall, then, the PVLPS nets a strong 25/30, mainly by virtue of being a good reader in a convenient size for super-cheap.
All photos courtesy of Brian Meyer
Labels:New Living Translation, NLT Resources, Large Print Bibles, NLT Large Print Bibles, Premium Value Large Print Slimline Bible
In Acts 17:16-33, there’s a story about Paul preaching in a place in Athens called Mars Hill. Mars Hill was the place where philosophers and religious teachers came to have conversations about their latest ideas. We have two equivalents to Mars Hill today: university campuses and coffee shops. On one fall Wednesday afternoon, as is our custom, I met with a group of high school guys at our local Mars Hill—Starbucks—for snacks and spiritual conversation. The guys wanted to read and discuss the book of Matthew. We skipped the genealogy section of chapter one and jumped right into the story of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25). Each of the Gospels provides a unique perspective on it. Matthew’s is especially colorful. So was our conversation.
Our discussion of this well-known passage quickly settled around this question: If you were Joseph, how would you feel? What would you do? The woman you are betrothed to is pregnant. We misinterpret that word betrothal and call it an engagement. It was a binding contract for a future marriage. In fact, betrothal was just as binding as marriage. It lasted twelve months during which time the couple took vows of celibacy. Breaking betrothals was rare and accompanied by a hefty penalty on the party who didn’t fulfill its obligations. Divorce was a word used to describe the ending of a betrothal due to infidelity. The betrothal period ended and the marriage began when the husband brought his new wife home.
Joseph and Mary’s year-long betrothal went according to plan until she became pregnant. Joseph knew the baby wasn’t his, but he was a good guy and decided not to embarrass Mary. He planned to divorce her quietly.
Here’s where our conversation got interesting. As we talked about what it would be like to be in Joseph’s sandals, the guys locked in on the words broken trust and betrayed. We talked about the times we’ve been in situations where people we trusted did something to break our trust, how we felt, and what we did. Walking away from friendships in those moments seems like the logical step.
Alone and pregnant in the ancient world was no picnic. Embarrassed families would often disown women who found themselves in the same situation as Mary. Fortunately for her, Joseph’s visit with an angel changed his mind, and he took her home to be his wife before the betrothal year was over. No ceremony, no reception.
My young theologian friends determined that despite his feelings, Joseph hung in there with someone who he was certain had broken his trust and betrayed him. Even after the angel’s visit, Joseph still had a choice. No one would blame him for cutting his losses and moving on, even though the baby was put there by God. With some Holy Spirit nudging, Joseph stayed the course. He hung in there and strengthened his commitment to someone who, under normal circumstances, would be put out.
Each of the guys then identified at least one Mary in their lives—someone who they felt had broken their trust and whom they would like to put out of their lives. Some Holy Spirit nudging took place as we discussed what they would do to hang in there and strengthen their commitment to those people.
The Christmas season is often a time of reflection about our relationship with God, family, friends, and some who used to be our friends. Which of those do you sense a need, desire, or direction to strengthen in some small way, even though you feel hurt or betrayed? Determine that step, and take it. I’m betting you won’t regret it.
Get more articles to help you live out your faith, check out our free e-devotions, discover the NLT, and find just the right Bible at http://www.newlivingtranslation.com.
Jack Radcliffe is a husband and father of four; Coach (www.redwoodcoach.com); seminar presenter for Parenteen (www.parenteen.com); ministry consultant with Youth Ministry Architects in Nashville, TN; Dean of The Youth Ministry Institute of the Tennessee Conference UMC; and adjunct professor at Martin Methodist College. He has an MDiv from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio and a DMin in Practical Theology, Adolescent Development and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary.
We’re excited to announce that the Inspire Bible pre-launch contest begins TODAY!
To enter, print out the pdf and color or design your page to your heart’s content!
Once you’re finished, post a picture to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and submit it using the form at the bottom of this page. 10 winners* will be announced on Monday morning ( 12/21/15), we’ll post the winners on the Inspire Bible facebook page..
Each winner will receive a hardcover aquamarine Inspire Bible.
(You must be a resident of the U.S. to be eligible to win.)
Here’s more details on the Inspire Bible:
Inspire is a new single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible that will be a cherished resource for creative art journaling. It is the first Bible of its kind―with over 400 beautiful line-art illustrations spread throughout the Bible. Full-page and partial-page Scripture art is attractively displayed throughout the Bible, and the illustrations can be colored in to make each Bible unique, colorful, and customizable. Every page of Scripture has two-inch-wide margins, with either Scripture line-art or ruled space for writing notes and reflections, or to draw and create. The generous font ensures optimal readability, and quality cream Bible paper is great for creative art journaling. Inspire is the only single-column, wide-margin Bible available in the popular New Living Translation, and it is designed uniquely to appeal to art-journaling and adult coloring book enthusiasts.
Deluxe Hardcover editions of Inspire Bible feature a lovely, aquamarine LeatherLike material over board, with beautifully-designed full-color page edges, a matching ribbon, and an elastic band closure. (Click here to view)
Deluxe LeatherLike editions of Inspire Bible feature a lovely, silky LeatherLike flexible material, a matching ribbon marker, and pretty page-edge designs. (Click here to view)
- Single-column setting
- Black-letter text
- Two-inch-wide ruled margins with space for note-taking, writing personal reflections, and creative art journaling
- Over 400 beautiful line-art illustrations, including full-page and partial-page Scripture art that can be colored in
- Generous 8.65 font
- High-quality cream Bible paper
- Beautiful page-edge designs
- Matching ribbon marker
Enter to win using this form:
J. Mark Bertrand, author of the Better Bible Design Blog, posted this review of the Tyndale Select Reference and Schuyler Caxton Editions that we thought NLT Blog Readers would find helpful.
I am doing something today I don’t think I’ve ever done before at Bible Design Blog: reviewing two editions side-by-side. But then, it’s a unique situation. Two beautiful renderings of the same impressive design, both printed and bound by Jongbloed in the Netherlands.
A TALE OF TWO EDITIONS Tyndale refers to this text setting as the NLT Select Reference Edition, while Schuyler offers it under the Caxton name. Both editions are printed and bound in the Netherlands by Jongbloed, and at first glance appear quite similar. The Caxton, however, features several grace notes that make it the more luxurious of the two — in particular the leather lining, upgraded ribbons, and wider range of cover colors. (As far as I can tell, the Select is printed on the same 28 gsm Indopaque paper as the Caxton.) If you prefer the Select’s more minimalist cover aesthetic, though, you can choose not only between black and brown, but also goatskin and calfskin covers.
For Schuyler, the Caxton represents both continuity and improvement. The consistent quality that has made Schuyler a market leader in the high-end Bible market is readily apparent here. In this sense, the Caxton is a ‘boring’ release — in the best possible way. You get exactly what you’ve come to expect from Schuyler’s line. At the same time, the leather lining marks a step forward for Schuyler, much nicer than the shiny synthetic liner in the Select’s cover (which is comparable to what we have seen in Cambridge editions from Jongbloed). More importantly, while this is not the first single-column setting from Schuyler, I believe it is the best.
The Select marks an even bigger advance for Tyndale, which dropped the former Select line (reviewed here) some time back. It’s great to see them returning to the high-quality market — and doing so in partnership with Jongbloed, too. Crossway entered this field awhile back, working with Jongbloed to bring us the excellent Heirloom line. Tyndale’s move ensures that readers of the NLT will enjoy Bibles of comparable design and quality.
THE TEXT SETTING Since both editions use the same text setting, let me cover the interior design first. In a nutshell, the Select/Caxton offers a reader-friendly reference edition in the spirit of Cambridge’s Clarion and Crossway’s Personal Reference. The similarities are striking, especially comparing the Clarion. The same typeface is used, Lexicon, which a lot of designers I’ve spoken with consider the ideal when it comes to Bible typography. The cross reference system looks similar, with boldface chapter and verse headings in the outer margin and references underneath. Textual notes are placed at the bottom of the text column.
Comparing the Select/Caxton to the Clarion, however, you notice some differences. The chapter headings are set in bold italics instead of the Clarion’s plain italics. The page header is in all-caps, like the Clarion, but the spacing between letters is looser, which gives a more elegant impression (and is in keeping with the generally whiter, more spacious page).
The biggest difference has to do with page proportions and the resulting impact on the proportions of the text column. The Clarion page measures 5” x 7”, a classic footprint for books intended for hand-held reading. On that page, the text column is 3.5” wide and 6” tall, which creates a wide, page-filling impression. The Select/Caxton, however, is a larger book. The type size has been bumped from 7.5 pt. to 8.75 pt, and so the page is enlarged to accommodate, measuring 5.25” x 8.25” — comparable in width to the Clarion but a full 1.25” taller. The taller page allows a taller text column: the Select/Caxton’s single text column is 3.625” wide and 7” tall. In other words, while it’s only 0.125” wider than the Clarion, the Select/Caxton’s column is a full 1” taller than the Clarion’s.
Reader-friendly editions compared: The Clarion (top) is smaller than the Select and the Caxton (center), which occupy a middle space between it and the Heirloom Legacy (bottom).
As a result, the Select/Caxton sits prettily between the Clarion and another beloved single-column text setting, the Crossway Legacy. I mean that literally. This text setting looks like the fruit of a conversation that went something like this: “What if we took the text setting of the Clarion and gave it the proportions of the Legacy, minus the huge margins?” The Heirloom Legacy, in case you’re wondering, has a text column that measures 4” wide and 6.5” tall.
Another significant difference has to do with the line spacing, what typographers call ‘leading’ since in the old days of metal type, spacing between lines was achieved by inserting plugs of lead. Making allowance for my middle-aged eyes, I estimate the leading of the Clarion to be about 9.5 pt., while the larger Legacy has roughly 11 pt. leading. When I apply my scale to the Select/Caxton, though, I get something along the lines of 11.5 pt., which gives each line a bit more air to breathe. This can aid both readability and your ability to keep your place on the page, since lines spaced more generously are harder for the eye to mix up.
To be honest, I find the difference in type size between the Clarion and the Select/Caxton fairly negligible. I knew from the stats which one was larger, and confirmed this by measuring, yet eyeballing the two side-by-side I can’t really tell much difference. That is not the case with the leading, however. The extra line-spacing has a curious effect. At times the Clarion’s type appears as large or larger to my eyes, but the Select/Caxton’s lines are easier to skim over. I am not sure which page I prefer, frankly, and I cannot guarantee you would experience the same effect. It goes to show how significant even the smallest changes can be to the way we process words on the page.
Comparing the Select/Caxton to another high-end NLT, the R. L. Allan NLT1 (reviewed here), illustrates two very different approaches to readability. The Allan features Tyndale’s Premium Slimline Reference book block, a two-column text setting that packs larger individual words onto a considerably larger page. Even setting aside the Select/Caxton’s superior paper quality, I would argue that the Select/Caxton, by virtue of its spacious one-column text setting is both more readable and more suitable to general use.
Both the Select (top) and the Caxton (middle) improve the reading experience over the Allan NLT1 (bottom) — but that big, floppy green cover is still amazing.
One last detail I want to point out is that, thanks to the New Living Translation’s more fluent use of dialogue tags, the translation benefits particularly well from a single column layout. As the passage below from Acts 22 illustrates, despite the slight anachronism that comes from retaining dialogue tags at the beginning of speech instead of in the middle or end of the line, which is much more common in English today, the NLT is formatted in a way that will scan smoothly for readers, with minimal confusion about who’s saying what. This isn’t always true in more literal translations, where retaining the antique grammatical form of the dialogue tags prevents new speakers from being indicated by the start of a new paragraph.
Here you can admire both the way the single column setting shows off the NLT’s fluent formatting of dialogue and the way the generous line-spacing makes reading easier.
The print impression in both Bibles — at least, both of my review copies — was nice and dark, consistent from page to page. Line-matching seemed very consistent, too. Occasionally I found what appeared to be mis-matches, but in fact this was the result of other pages showing through underneath (a harder metric to control). Jongbloed did an excellent job with the printing on these editions.
THE SCHUYLER CAXTON Now that we’ve looked inside and considered what the Select and the Caxton have in common, I want to explore their differences more, which have mainly to do with the binding. My review copy of the Schuyler Caxton is bound in limp natural grain goatskin, in a shade of dark purple that I imagine resembles the shade of a Roman emperor’s toga. Byzantine emperors were said to have been “born to the purple,” and many quite literally were, their mothers having given birth in a palace chamber lined in porphyry.
The color compares favorably with the Cambridge Prayer Book & Bible bound in purple calf split leather. Like the Cambridge, the Caxton’s lining is black, and you know how unhappy black liners inside a color cover make me. My objection to the practice is rooted in the fact that black has been the default option for so long. To me, a color cover with a black lining just screams that no one was paying attention to the details. Having said that, in this instance I happen to know for a fact that someone was paying attention to the details. Early in the process, the folks at Schuyler queried me about what color lining to use with a purple cover. The available options were limited, and as much as it pained me, black was indeed the most complementary of the choices. The others would have made for jarring combinations. All this to say, I’m not deducting points for the black lining in this instance — not that I keep track of points to begin with! — but I don’t want anyone to think I’ve made peace with the thought of black linings in non-black covers. I haven’t, and I never will.
The purple cover and the purple ribbons make a painfully elegant combination. This is high church through and through. The red-under-gold page gilding and the gilt line around the inside cover are standard on Schuyler editions (also present on the Select), but something about the purple-on-purple combination elevates the look, each shade bringing out the richness of the other.
The purple ribbons look great with the dark purple goatskin cover. Good luck getting one of the happy few owners to part with one, though.
The bad news is, the purple Caxtons are all gone, sold out during the pre-order phase, and there won’t be more of them for months. Mourn if you want, but there are some beautiful color combinations available. Personally, I would suggest either the dark green or the antique marble brown. Or the blue. (Like I said, there are options.)
One tweak I would love to make to the Schuyler’s aesthetic is the scale of the printing on the book’s spine. It’s simply too large. The ‘HOLY BIBLE’ and ‘NEW LIVING TRANSLATION’ are borderline for me, but I would reduce them at least ten percent. This would make the spine less crowded and give a more refined impression.
The logo at the bottom could be reduced considerably more. Graphic designers often complain about the perennial client request to “make my logo bigger,” and for good reason. You want attention and you think the best way to get it is to yell. The design equivalent of a raised voice is the big logo. The reason designers buck is not just that oversized logos result in an unbalanced overall look; it’s because yelling doesn’t really have the effect the yeller thinks it does. Things that are balanced, in scale, in proportion, communicate a level of assurance that look-at-me enlargement never does. Over time, Schuyler’s cover decoration has grown more sophisticated. Bringing the elements into proportion on the spine should be the next big step.
Inside the cover, the story is all about the leather lining. While it may create a subtle improvement in feel, the gain I noticed most actually had to do with sound. One of the gripes I’ve heard from readers is that some high-end Bibles, when you handle them, make a squeaking sound. With the synthetic liner on the Select, I get a little bit of that — but I haven’t heard it once with the Caxton. Admittedly, comparing two individual copies falls short of a definitive test, but I’m going to tentatively agree with folks who’ve traced the sound back to the synthetic liners.
A NOTE ON THE HINGE The Jongbloed hinge has been a concern of mine for awhile, and the Caxton review copy was sent along with a note to the effect that, while the problem hadn’t been eliminated, the in-house team at Schuyler felt that the hinges on the Caxton weren’t as stiff as past editions have been, resulting in a Bible more apt to open flat. Imagine my disappointment when I opened my Caxton and found it would not lay flat. The good news is, the disappointment has abated. Let me explain.
Out of the box, it wasn’t a pretty sight: the Jongbloed hinge strikes again.
Out of the box, the Caxton did not feel any different to me than past Jongbloed Bibles, and I can confirm that the hinge is still there, and it is still stiff. What I found, however, was that with just a little bit of use, my Caxton was opening pretty much flat. Maybe the leather lining helped? Having two bindings of the same book block in hand presented a rare opportunity. I decided to see if the application of brute force would make the Select open flat the way the Caxton was. After bending the cover back and struggling with the hinge in ways I really wouldn’t recommend, I found that yes, the Select would open fairly flat, too. While these Jongbloed editions might not open as flat as, say, an Allan right out of the box, this seems to confirm that things get better with a bit of use.
J. Mark Bertrand is the creator of the Better Bible Design Blog where he discusses good Bible design with an emphasis on reader-friendly formats, which means elegant layout, opaque paper, and sewn bindings that open flat. Learn more at http://www.bibledesignblog.com/