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Archive for January, 2008

There are a couple of blog entries regarding Bible publishing and the future of the industry in the electronic age. The first is from J. Mark Bertrand and the other is from the ESV blog where the presentation given by Stephen Smith at the recent Bible Tech ’08 Conference is available.

The two are quite disparate in their scope but it is interesting to see where the future of Bible publishing may be going. Stephen Smith’s presentation as well as the recent conference dealt with the electronic aspects of the future of the Bible while Mark’s post is a manifesto as to what he thinks the Bible publishers should be taking a note of.

The advancements in electronic media have filtered down to the marketing of the Bible and Bible related products. It is not just technological advancements that are of interest but also marketing. I come from a church movement that is quite insular, I used the same Bible translation for the better part of nine years. If not for the information made available through the ‘net I never would have made the switch to the ESV, NASB and Geneva Bible. Even the use of pigment liners for writing in your Bible, these are pens I knew of while at Art Center College of Design, where my friend was a graphics major. Now my blog entry on the pigment liners has been picked up by a few bloggers as well as message boards.

What is the future of the e-Bible? or what of computer programs that will facilitate in-depth Bible studies both for the lay and the clergy. There are several computer programs available that have multiple translations, interlinears and manuscripts in Greek and Hebrew as well as many other features. You can already access the ESV through your iPhone, I am sure it won’t be long before your favorite translation will be available as an iTunes download. But then again, what do I know? I am not the most technically adept person.

Coming from a completely different perspective is Mark’s manifesto. While the future of the Bible in electronic format looks bright, the printed form may be on the decline. The printed form is plagued by cheap bindings, bad covers, and gaudy designs that appear to come from a design team that just graduated from crayons and butcher paper. Speaking of paper, most Bibles are printed on paper that was rejected by USA Today and smudges just as easily.

That is not to say that quality Bibles are not available, it’s just that they are harder to find in the milieu of modern publishing. It seems as though publishers are giving the people what they think they want rather than giving them what they really want or really need. Premium editions are not all that they should be, many suffer from poor print quality, paper quality and overall binding quality. One of the big problems with the premium editions is the marketing of these editions, few if any Bible publisher knows how to take advantage of the internet and Christian bookstores are becoming more and more corporate and less and less likely to carry a Bible edition that can cost close to $200.

There is a lack of education in Bible publishing at the most basic level, among the consumer. The worst of it is, there are few publishers that are doing anything about it. There is a disconnection between the publishers the retailers and the consumers and the real looser in all of this is the consumer.

As part of any future marketing strategy, publishers should take advantage of bloggers and start sending Bibles to the more popular blogs for review and for input on new and unreleased editions.

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Dear Sirs,

As a loyal user of the ESV, I want to commend you on the work that has been undertaken in producing such a usable translation that is faithful to the ancient manuscripts, faithful to the tradition of English Bible translations going back to the work of William Tyndale and for publishing a translations that is very readable. I feel it safe to say that the ESV has a very loyal following.

Much of the success of the ESV has to do with the translation itself. As I have already stated, it is easy to read while retaining the literary qualities that make reading a joy. The other reason for the success is the many editions that have been released that appeal to a wide spectrum of end users. There is nary a void that can be filled by a new ESV edition that isn’t already available.

This leads me to the reason for writing this open letter to you. There are many, including myself, that await anxiously the arrival of the new Personal Size Reference ESV that is expected to be released Feb. 29. As well you know, it will be available in four editions, one in genuine leather and three in TruTone. There appears to be a glaring omission, that of a calfskin edition.

I entreat you to consider publishing such an edition, in both calfskin as well as Cordovan. There are many that consider your premium leather editions as some of the finest Bibles available today. Dare I say, you would be remiss in not making the Personal Size Reference ESV available as a premium edition. There is much anticipation of this new edition and I am sure that it will be quite popular and as such there has already been talk by customers who are willing to send this edition to be re-bound. A custom re-bind can add upwards of $100 to the cost of a Bible. The final cost of a custom re-bind, including the cost of the Bible can be close to $200.

Sirs, I ask that you consider publishing the Personal Size Reference ESV in a premium leather, a Smythe sewn binding and leather linings. I am certain that it would be a very popular edition and we all would be grateful in not having to go through a re-binder to have another fine ESV.

Sincerely

Jesús Saenz

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please leave a comment, or just your name if you would like for Crossway to publish the PSR in a premium leather. feel free to copy or link to your blog

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WARNING:  It appears as though Calvinism is on the rise and there are many that are not happy about it.

I have been a Christian for thirteen years and only within the last two years have I accepted Calvinism as  fundamental to true Christianity.  Prior to that, I had no knowledge or understanding of what it was or what it meant to be a Calvinist.  Sadly, a lot of my ignorance about Calvinism was due to the fact that Calvary Chapel, as a movement/denomination are very insular.  It is my opinion that in their attempt to reach the masses they have forsaken in-depth study including a comparative study of theology and eschatology.  For about ten years of my Christian life I knew nothing other than what Calvary Chapel taught.  Now I am an anomaly in my church, since I am a professed Calvinist, Amillennialist and an Orthodox-Preterist(partial).  I no longer teach the youth as I had done for five years.

Calvinism has been misunderstood, vilified and misrepresented not just by Calvary Chapel but the SBC and other groups as well.  Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel movement has previously referred to Calvinism as blasphemous and a satanic doctrine, prior to his death Dr. Jerry Falwell said that Calvinism was heretical.  In the past, Norm Geisler has called Calvinism “divine rape” but has stopped doing that of late.  One of the worst anti-Calvinists is Dave Hunt who willingly and knowingly prints lies about Calvinism.

So now what?  I hope this article is not a sign of things to come.   Are the anti-Calvinists going to turn to emotional appeals to try and refute Calvinism?  My Fide-O homies Scott and Jason recently commented on this article on their site.  You Tube is replete with armchair theologians that are “preaching” a works salvation yet have the audacity to call Calvinism a heresy.  I have done a three part rebuttal(part1, part2, part3) of one of these people, I even invited him to my blog but he refused to respond to my rebuttal.  The single worst anti-Calvinist has got to be this guy, grasshopperjax on You Tube.  The single worst attempt at refuting Calvinism I have heard.  I was going to go through and refute his lame videos but I have yet to be able to sit through a single video without throwing up, even though they are less than ten minutes long.   I also fear that I may have to explain the time I wasted watching these videos on the day of judgment.

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Thank You, Crossway!

I would like to personally thank Crossway for linking to my blog from theirs, the amount of traffic coming through here has been great!  More importantly, I want to thank all of you for coming by and also for commenting, I hope this has been informative for all.

sincerely

Jesus Saenz

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I have been kicking around a proposed post on the atonement since writing this back on December 18.  I have been writing notes and outlines and more notes, then I go back to working it out in my head.  I then go back to mulling ideas around on paper then working it out in my head, again.  When I first started this blog back in July, I never expected anybody to read it.  I was basically writing for my own benefit, I saw this as a means to work out my beliefs and convictions and also a place to lay down my opinions on things that interest me.

Much to my surprise, more than just my friends are coming by to read this blog.  Which is both good and bad, good in a sense that the purpose of having a blog is so that people will read it and bad in that people will read it.

In dealing with issues that are doctrinal, I do no want to be flippant in my writing of it.  If what I am writing is going to be read by others than I want to be true to the gospel and that the work my be God honoring.  Which leads me back to why I have yet to write more on the topic, the more I look into it, the more I find!  I was thinking that I would write a few paragraphs on the work of the atonement and that would be it, but as I began to study it, I soon realized that it wasn’t going to be so easy if I wanted to write something I would be proud of and something that would be honoring to God.

My intention is not to write a huge piece as that would seem to go against my perceived reason for having a blog in the first place, brevity.  I may end up writing a series rather than one large piece.  I also want to be sure to provide scriptural evidence for the position of limited atonement, provide an exegetical rebuttal for support of a general or universal atonement as well as go into the aspects of what makes up the atonement.  Even if it goes unread, I hope to be edified by the in-depth study of Gods word.

May we all be blessed by the study of His word!

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I was meaning to write a review of Crossway’s Thinline ESV in Cordovan leather for quite a few months but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. I was again reminded of my intended review when I was asked about the calfskin leather that Crossway uses for their Bibles in the comments section of my review of the Pitt Minion NASB. Now, the pictures of all my Bibles already saved on my computer all I needed was a spare five hours to type my review. (Five hours because I do not know how to type plus I am hampered with fat sausage fingers)

The name Cordovan comes from the leather that is used. Although this is not true Cordovan leather it was made to resemble it. Cordovan leather is actually made from horse hide, specifically a section from either side of the horse’s rump. Real Cordovan leather is very expensive as shoes made from it can easily cost over $500.00. The reason for it’s expense is the fact that it is a process that is time consuming, requiring a lot of hand work and with the advent of the horseless carriage, there are fewer and fewer horses around. It’s not just the rarity of the leather but the quality of the finished product. Cordovan leather is soft, luxurious yet very strong. It has a beautiful color and a sheen that only gets better over time. The name comes from Córdoba, a city in the southern province of Andalucia in Spain where this process is believed to have had its beginnings.

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Sadly, I have yet to see a picture that truly does justice to this fantastic leather. I have spent many hours trying to fully capture the color, look and to transcend the feel of it through pictures. These pictures were the best I could come up with, you can click on the images to enlarge. Even though these Bibles are not made from real horse hide, and I do not know whether or not this leather underwent the same tanning process to produce real Cordovan leather it nonetheless is the softest Bible leather I have touched. Softer than other calfskin from Crossway, Lockman or Thomas Nelson; even softer than the goatskin from Cambridge or R. L. Allan.

Comparing Bible leather can be like comparing apples to oranges, there are many factors that go into the feel of the leather as an end product. This Cordovan calfskin is smooth, the grain has been removed. One of the features I like about goatskin is the grain, even the other calfskin Bibles I have all have visible grain with some even looking striated. But this Bible is smooth and buttery, the only visible lines in it now are the creases that have developed with use which gives the leather cover even more character. In other picture that I have seen the leather looks like plastic or in the very least, patent leather. This is not the case! My lil’ Bro Mark was here from Hawaii during Thanksgiving and he brought his Classic Reference in Cordovan and it was just as soft and buttery as my Thinline.

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As I’ve already mentioned, the leather is smooth and it has a sheen to it. It is not however as slick as the goatskin used by Cambridge and R. L. Allan. I compare it to the goatskin because of the finish. The black calfskin used by Crossway is flat or matte and it has a feel that one would expect, the goatskins have a finish that has more sheen and feel a bit more slick but this Cordovan, although slick has a more tactile feel than the goatskin but much smoother than the calfskin. One needs to be held to truly appreciate not just for the feel but also to appreciate the color and the great detail of real stitching around the edge in a gold thread which is complimented by the gold ribbon marker, gold stamping on the spine and the gilded edges. Once you open the Bible the leather lining with the grain is a great compliment to the smooth cover.

The Thinline Cordovan like the other premium leather Bibles from Crossway is Smythe sewn. It measures 5.5″ x 8.5″ x .75″, a real thinline Bible. It does not have cross references even though it is in a double column, paragraph format. The font size is 9.5 and is very readable. The paper is the thinnest used by Crossway at 19 lbs. or .0013″ thick. Although thin, bleed through is not problematic unless there is a lot of open space. I haven’t written in mine at all so I can’t recommend with certainty which size pens to use, but if you want to underline in it, maybe you should buy the Classic Reference. If you insist on writing in the Thinline, start with a .005 in an inconspicuous spot like in the concordance. The Cordovan Thinline is also the only premium leather ESV that is red-letter, a bonus for some a scarlet letter for others. It also has presentation pages and maps.

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The Thinline Cordovan may not be for all. It is not suited for extensive note-taking or underlining, the Cordovan leather may be too delicate for a careless toss into a busy book bag with paper clips, staples, pens with chewed tops and a half eaten Power Bar. It is however a great example of Bible craftsmanship that should last a lifetime, and not just that it is a bargain luxury that can be had for less than $100.00. Click here.

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This Cambridge Pitt Minion NASB in back goatskin was the first premium leather Bible I bought and was not disappointed. The Pitt Minion edition was first released by Cambridge University Press in the 1930’s. It is a compact Bible measuring 7″x 4.65″ x .75″, making it suitable for travel or for carrying in a book bag or purse. The font is Lexicon that measures in at 6.75/7 pt. The name comes from The Pitt Building which houses the Press. The building was named after William Pitt, Prime Minister of Britain and Member of Parliament for Cambridge University. Minion is a traditional term for a type or size of approximately 7 pt. giving text of about 10-11 lines per inch.

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The black goatskin is some of the finest leather I have had the pleasure of holding. This edition has very grainy leather that is soft to the touch. The look of it is different from the black calfskin used by Crossway, whereas the calfskin is flat or matte the goatskin has a sheen to it. It is smooth, almost slick but the best thing about it is the smell. This goatskin smells even better than that of R.L. Allan. The Bible does not have a leather lining but is quite limp nonetheless.

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All of the Cambridge Bibles have a very elegant aesthetic. The layout is very clean and the details are worthy of mention. The spine has Holy Bible, New American Standard and at the very bottom Cambridge stamped in gold. The stamping is the finest of any Bible I have seen. Rather than having raised bands on the spine it has five rows of double lines that are stamped into the leather, there is also a line that goes around the entire border of the Bible. The pages are art gilt, that is they were dyed red before having the gold gilding put on. It comes with one red ribbon that extends about 3″ from the bottom.

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On the inside, you have a presentation page, a concordance, map index, 16 pages of maps, red and gold head and tails bands, India paper more importantly it has a sewn binding. This is a very high quality Bible. I do not worry about handling it with kid gloves (pun intended) because it it can stand up to daily wear. This is also a red-letter edition which for may is either a must have or enough to turn them away from purchasing a Bible. The font size is small but is quite readable. A family member was recently in the hospital and this is the Bible I would take with me on visits, I never had a problem reading even under the fluorescent lights. It is a double-column setting with cross references in the middle. Although the paper is thin there is very little bleed through because of the layout. The printing is flawless and lays perfectly from page to page, thus there is hardly any open space where the underlying print can be seen.

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Cambridge is really the Cadillac of Bibles. They use high quality materials and then employ fine craftsmanship to produce the finest production Bibles around. For those that are fans of the ESV, Cambridge will be releasing the Pitt Minion in the ESV later this year to be followed by a Wide Margin edition before years end. The Pitt Minion is also available in KJV, NKJV and NIV as well as in goatskin, French Morocco and bonded leather. If you are in the market for a well made compact Bible that will last years of regular use, then the Pitt Minion may be for you.

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