Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I reviewed my new acquisition for J. Mark Bertrand’s Bible Design and Binding Blog.

Click here for the review.


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The Potters Freedom


Several months ago while discussing the topic of salvation with a non-Reformed friend, I was asked to read Chosen But Free by Norman Geisler. My friend claimed that it was an unbiased treatment of salvation. Boy, was she ever wrong. I bought the book and tried to read it but had to put it down out of fear that I may have to account for the time I spent reading it when I face my savior.

Not long ago I bought a few books, one of which happened to be a rebuttal of Chosen But Free called The Potters Freedom by James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries. The book is not only a rebuttal of CBF but is also a presentation and defense of the Reformed faith. It is a well written book that makes the doctrines held to by Calvinists easier to grasp.

Dr. White does a great job of exegesis regarding the important text that are commonly used by by both camps. Dr. White treats the issues raised, as well as Dr. Geisler in a fair fashion. Sadly Dr. Geisler didn’t do the same. The little that I read from his book was filled with misrepresentation and eisegesis. I highly recommend Dr. White’s The Potters Freedom. It is an easy read while providing great scholarly work on the Reformed view of salvation.

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Famous or Infamous?

Earlier this year I began looking for a new Bible. I had been more than a little disappointed with my most recent purchase which at that time was a little more than a year old, a Life Application Study Bible. It is a large book at 6.5″ x 9.5″ x 2″, bound in bonded leather and the spine is glued. The price of the Bible was around $70.00 which to me at that time seemed like a lot to spend on a Bible but thought it was an investment. Sadly the Bible didn’t last quite as long as I had expected. Thus began my search for my next Bible.

I started looking for a new study Bible as well as a new translation. I decided on The Reformation Study Bible(ESV) but along with it I also was interested in and bought the 1599 Geneva Bible after reading a review by J. Mark Bertrand. He had an entire section in his blog that was all about Bibles, nice Bibles. I read and re-read all he had written about Bibles and I finally had an understanding of what a fine binding was. Ever since buying my first Bible I wanted a truly nice Bible but didn’t have an idea of what that was as most Christian bookstores do not usually stock premium Bibles.

Thankfully there are companies that still make these very expensive books and people like Mark Bertrand who take the time write about and photograph them. He now has a new site that is strictly dedicated to this pursuit. Here, Bibliophiles can talk about the aspects of Bibles and Bible design that are of interest. Recently, one of the regular commentators to the blog sent a picture of his stack of Bibles to Mark. After posting in the comments section all of my recent acquisitions, Mark asked me to send him a picture of my Bibles so he could write about as well. Read it here. I guess this sort of shopping spree is unusual. Hmm, thats just odd!

From top to bottom; 1) Cambridge Pitt Minion NASB goatskin

2) Cambridge Cameo KJV blue Morocco

3) Lockman Wide Margin NASB blue calfskin

4) Crossway Deluxe Heirloom ESV black calfskin

5) Crossway Single Column Reference ESV black calfskin

6) R L Allan Reference ESV black Highland goatskin

7) Crossway Thinline Cordovan ESV calfskin

8) Lockman Wide Margin NASB black calfskin.

J. Mark Bertrand is my homeboy!

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In the previous post on Crossway’s Single Column Reference Bible I did something that led me to write this. I used to work as a machinist in the aerospace industry, although that didn’t last long I still have some of my old tools including my micrometers. Since I was writing about the SCR and the biggest issue in the minds of possible customers to this fine Bible is the thickness of the paper. I brought out my two micrometers, one is a cheap, no name brand $20 throw away that I haven’t yet thrown away. The other is a Swiss made Etalon Series 260 model 71.115899.

It took me a little longer than expected to re-learn how to read these micrometers. I measured the paper on the SCR and it came out to .0017″ thick. I measured the paper carefully so as not to damage the paper nor to compress the paper and get a bad reading. There is a chance I didn’t read the micrometer properly but that may not be as important as long I was able to demonstrate a difference between various Bible paper. I decided to measure all my Bibles and found something very interesting. The paper used on the SCR is not the thinnest and it seems to be the standard. I measured paper from several different publishers and paper thickness is not the culprit as much as opacity is. I have discussed the right type of pens to use for writing in your Bible but there are those that do not write in their Bibles yet bleed through is still an issue for them.I am not an expert on paper. I know that is made of wood pulp along with other items such as cotton or linen, binders and chemicals to whiten or color the paper. Bible paper is made thin for obvious reasons, the Bible is quite a lengthy book. Were it to be made with regular book paper the Bible would be about 3″ thick. Imagine trying to street witness with a Bible that is over 3″ and weighs over 5 lbs.


Cambridge Pitt Minion Reference Bible NASB..0013″-

Classic Thinline Reference Bible ESV..0013″-

Tyndale Life Application Study Bible NKJV..0014″- Cambridge Cameo King James Version (out of print)


Tolle Lege 1599 Geneva Bible..0017″-

Lockman Foundation In Touch Ministries Wide Margin Edition NASB..0017″=

R L Allan Cross Reference ESV..0017″-

Ligonier Ministries The Reformation Study Bible ESV..0017″-

Crossway Single Column Reference Bible ESV..0020″

Crossway Deluxe Heirloom Bible ESV.The Deluxe Heirloom is sadly out of print. After the remaining stock on hand is sold there will not be any more made. This Bible was printed on 27 lbs. paper with wide margins and a 10.2 size font, a great edition for note takers. Of the Bibles with the thinnest paper, there wasn’t one that was noticeably more opaque than the other, well the Life Application Study Bible appeared less opaque than the Pitt Minion or the Classic Thinline. This may be due to the size difference between the two smaller Bibles and the massive LASB. Of the Bibles that measured in at .0017″, the Wide Margin NASB from The Lockman Foundation was nearly as opaque as the thicker Deluxe Heirloom ESV. The RSB the Geneva Bible and the ESV from Allan’s all appeared about equal in opacity and just slightly less opaque than the Lockman NASB and the Single Column Reference Bible slightly less opaque than the previous three. I believe that the SCR was printed on 21 lbs. paper and the Thinline on 19 lbs. The weight of the paper is measured by weighing 500 sheets of 25″ x 38″ sheets. I have no objective way of measuring the opacity of the paper and simply went by my eyes. In case it matters I have 20/20 vision.

I hope that Bible publishers will realize the importance of providing a quality product and that there are a few whom are willing to pay extra for owning great books. I do not know the price difference in using thicker or more opaque paper per Bible. The opacity of the paper is increased by the use of titanium oxide. I am sure that the use of thicker or more opaque paper will make for a more expensive Bible… but how much more expensive? Crossway and Cambridge both make Bibles that are near or over $200 but can be found for anywhere between $90 and $150. R L Allan make some truly fine Bibles but the ESV in Highland goatskin is, depending on the exchange rate, $175.00. They have editions that are over $200. Clearly there is a market for truly premium Bibles. I used an inexpensive Bible for many years even though I wanted a “better” Bible, I didn’t know exactly what a “better Bible” was. Most bookstores, Christian or not, do not usually carry these premium editions. Most people do not demand for better because they do not know better is available. That may be why cheaper and cheaper paper is used and why very few publishers offer sewn bindings and premium leather covers, not that hard plastic that is being passed for genuine leather. The surprise of all the Bibles I measured was the Cameo KJV from Cambridge. This is an old Bible from the late ’70’s. It’s paper is 0014″ and is just as opaque as Deluxe Heirloom ESV whose paper is .0020″ thick.

If you build it, we will come.

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Atlas Shrugged. 50 Years Later

The first time I had ever heard of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, I was in the fifth grade. I had overheard some teachers talking about it and I asked about it. More than anything I was struck by the title. The title grabbed my young intellect and never let go. By the time I had graduated from high school in 1990 I had a very short list of books I felt I needed to read. These were books I held in high regard because of what I saw as their difficulty and also their status among the literati.

Not long after high school, John Milton’s Paradise Lost was the first of these books I read. I was 24, doing work that involved a lot of driving. I would sometimes hang out in bookstores for my linch break. While on one of my visits to a bookstore I saw a hardback copy of Atlas Shrugged, though I didn’t have enough money with me to buy the hardback I did however get the paperback. It was over a thousand pages long but read it in a week. From the opening line I couldn’t stop from reading this book. I read it every chance I got, even while driving to Las Vegas for a wedding with a girl I was totally head over heels for… I still have the book. The girl, thats a story for another blog.

I was a new Christian at the time I read it, I wasn’t a proper student of the Bible at the time but the book didn’t change my life the way it had others. I still hold it in high regard, find it to be a very interesting book to read but by the grace of God I didn’t accept the philosophy of Ayn Rand. I never read another one of her books either fiction or non-fiction since. I found it unromantic and cold. I know the book wasn’t meant to be a romance novel but it was passionless. Even the long, long… long speech by the hero that must have gone for fifty pages was rather unromantic. It seriously was about fifty pages of the evils of socialism, communism, fascism, capitalism too… I think and extolled the greatness of self.

After all that, if you want to read a better book on philosophy then read David Hume or better yet Greg Bahnsen, if you want to read a book about a Utopian society then read Brave New World. I liked reading this book but it’s not a book for everyone, though I do think people should read it.

John Piper wrote a couple of different blogs about it. If you wont read Atlas Shrugged, maybe read his blog. Here and here.

Who is John Galt?

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On The Road

It was fifty years ago today that The Great American Novel was introduced to the subconscious mind of the counter culture and ultimately to all of America. On The Road, Jack Kerouac’s second novel has been ridiculed by writers such as Truman Capote and held as the herald of a new dawn by others including Bob Dylan.

The novel is about two friends, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty (Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady), and their adventures across the US shortly after World War II. It is written in prose it’s fast paced and frenetic. This is the birth of the Beat Generation with it’s new language of Jazz and Be-Bop meant for Cool Cats and Hipsters. There is a freshness and spontaneity that can be infectious, the rhythms were that of Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie ans Thelonius Monk. It was the beat, the béat. It is the language of the sidewalk poet, improvised and imperfect.

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