CHURCH BIBLE PUBLISHERS (CBP) MIDSIZE CENTER COLUMN REFERENCE BIBLE “TURQUOISE”

Review by Blake Ratliff (12/11/16)

 

Introduction

After wearing out a few bonded leather Bibles, I finally discovered a Christian book store that had some quality real leather Bibles and purchased my first study Bible: a Moroccan leather KJV Thompson Chain.  This Bible has really lasted and I have refused to buy any bonded leather Bible ever since.  In searching for a more compact reader’s Bible, I discovered Cambridge and got their standard text edition.  It became my favorite Bible mainly due to the readability of the font and the feeling of quality.  Over the years, I have become quite fond of all the Cambridge text block layouts and had purchased all of them except one, the Presentation Reference Turquoise.  I had seen someone’s Cambridge Presentation Reference and I was blown away with its quality and print legibility.  Unfortunately, when I was ready to purchase one I found it was out of print.  So as the years have gone by, I have been content with my other Cambridge layouts while still thinking that if someday Cambridge reprinted the Presentation Reference Turquoise, I would get a copy.  So, has that day finally come with the purchase of a CBP Turquoise?  Read on and find out.

 

Specifications (Item # 130 C1BK)

From the CBP website:

Weight 2.85 lbs
Dimensions 9.75 x 6.5 x 1.5 in
Cover Type Ironed Calfskin
Size Mid Size
Font Size Bible Text – 12 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt
Margin Size Bottom – 0.5″, Inside – 0.5″, Outside – 0.5″, Top – 0.5″
Features 19 page blank Notes Section, Bible Dictionary, Center Column Reference, Concordance, Maps with Index, Presentation Page, Self-pronouncing text, Some would call it a Turquoise

 

 

List of Contents:

  • Nine blank card style pages (including front and back).
  • Presentation page, Family Record page, Children page, Marriages page, and Deaths page.
  • Title page blank on the back
  • Dedicatory epistle to King James
  • Letter from the translators to the reader
  • Bible book index
  • Pronunciation guide
  • Old and New Testaments
  • 3 blank pages (including front and back)
  • Concordance title page that is blank on the back
  • 125 page concordance
  • 2 blank pages (one sheet front and back)
  • 128 page Bible Dictionary
  • 20 blank pages labeled “Notes”
  • Bible Maps title page that is blank on the back
  • List of Maps page that is blank on the back
  • Index of maps is eight pages
  • 16 pages of color maps
  • Nine blank card style pages (including front and back).

Here are a few pictures of these contents:

Cover and Binding

The cover is similar to the best examples of Ironed Calfskin that I have seen from Local Church Bible Publishers (LCBP) Bibles.  Probably because Church Bible Publishers was started by someone who left Local Church Bible Publishers.  My CBP Turquoise Calfskin cover is not shiny, stiff, or unnatural looking as some of the LCBP calfskin covers I have.  It feels, smells, and looks like a soft premium leather with the natural grain still visible.  The calfskin is edge lined with a very durable synthetic leather.  I am very pleased with the cover.

The binding of this CPB Bible is also a step above my LCBP samples.  LCBP Bibles are known for the cockling along the gutter.  LCBP Bibles often have issues with little indentations along the gutter where the signatures are sewn together which results in crackling sounds when turning the pages.  These indentations can also make it difficult to write notes in the gutter especially at the beginning or end of the Bible.  My CBP Turquoise has no such issues.  In fact, as can be seen here, you can open the Bible to Genesis Chapter One and it will stay flat and open effortlessly:

Paper

The paper on the CBP Turquoise seems identical to what I have seen from LCBP and for the most part that is a good thing.  The paper is very smooth, plenty thick, tough, and has minimal ghosting.  The only drawback of this paper compared to papers I have seen in Cambridge Bibles is that it can be reflective.  The following picture of the CBP Bible under a bright lamp illustrates this.  Just look at the reflective hot spots at the crest of the left and right pages:

Keep in mind that the reflective nature of the paper is not a show stopper.  I had to angle the camera to bring out these reflective hot spots just so you could see what they look like.  I can always easily adjust the light or the Bible to avoid them.  In all other ways, the paper is very good.

Readability and Layout

The Turquoise layout is the best I have seen.  And I have seen and read an Allan Longprimer.  I am wondering if CBP got their printing plates from Cambridge (edit – this is a photocopy of the Cambridge that used plates).  If so, they do not seem to be very worn plates due to the crispness of the text.  The LCBP Cameo printings, while good, are not as crisp as my older Cambridge Cameos.  Clearly the Cameo plates LCBP got from Cambridge were worn.  The CBP Turquoise text also looks crisper than the LCBP Cameos.  Here is a comparison of the CBP Turquoise on the right to an excellent Cambridge Cameo on the left:

Notice that the Cambridge Cameo on the left has the same font as the CBP Turquoise on the right: only smaller.  The references on the CBP Turquoise are also easier to read.

In my opinion the CBP Turquoise (Right) is much easier to read than the Cambridge Concord (Left) as shown in this picture:

The font on the CBP Turquoise makes the words more distinct and less like they are running together.  The CBP Turquoise not only has a bigger font but also has more white space.  The one advantage the Cambridge Concord has is no superscript references in the text but just bold numbers for verses in the center column instead.  Would be great if the Turquoise was like this but despite that to me its readability is still superior.  That said the Cambridge Concord is relatively compact in comparison to the rather large CBP Turquoise.  Here are several pictures of the CBP Turquoise text:

Note that the overall Bible chapter number for each chapter is displayed behind a bracket.

Concluding Thoughts

The word on the street is that the Cambridge Presentation Reference Turquoise will be coming back soon.  However, for me and no doubt several others, that day has already arrived with the CBP Turquoise.  Church Bible Publishers has done a great service by putting the legendary Cambridge Turquoise Text block back into the hands of believers.  From my perspective, this is the best value of any Bible on the market at the time of this writing.  I would be surprised (though pleasantly) if the new Cambridge printing were significantly better even though it will cost two to three times as much.

Should you get the CBP Turquoise or should you wait for the Cambridge reprinting?  I think you should get the CBP Turquoise now and then read Randy Brown’s review (Lord willing) of the newly printed Cambridge Presentation Reference Turquoise when it comes out.  If Randy says it is good, then get it too.  Both CBP and Cambridge should be appreciated and rewarded for printing it.

I leave you with a picture of the CBP Turquoise poised for reading in my study.  I hope this review has helped you determine if it is right for yours.

 

Link to the CBP Turquoise Bible Page:

https://www.churchbiblepublishers.com/product/turquoise-bible/

Link to Randy Brown’s article “WHY CAMBRIDGE SHOULD BRING BACK THE TURQUOISE KJV”:

http://biblebuyingguide.com/cambridge-bring-turquoise-kjv/

 

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.

20 Comments

  1. dave

    You comment about the quality of the “plates” that they used for printing. Do you really believe that LCBP/CBP use old, physical plates to print these bibles?

    I’m quite sure that what they used are digital files which represent photocopies of the original text. And it’s that photocopy process that has produced the blotchy print quality that you see in all but a couple of LCBP/CBP’s bibles.

    I would love to see this bible, this layout, done with a modern digital font. It would be so much easier on the eyes.

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks Dave. You are correct. This is a photocopy of the Cambridge edition.

  2. Bill

    I wasn’t impressed with the print quality of the Turquoise, and the Antique Old Style #3 font isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. I doubt CBP fixed the run-together words and ink blotches. I would wait to see if Cambridge is smart enough to make a new digital printing.
    I disagree that the Concord has an advantage because it doesn’t have superscript indicators. That’s one of the Turquoise’s advantages. I hate it that the Concord forces the reader to have to constantly check the center-column for a marginal note. And you have to look up every reference just to find out what you’re looking for. DUMB, DUMB, AND DUMBER imo.

    Reply
  3. John M

    Thanks for the review Blake. Looks like a nice bible. I wonder how this compares to the Longprimer for day to day use?
    From what I can see there are less words per line. I see 5-6 per line while my Longprimer is 7. But you have the larger font which is a good tradeoff. I also wonder if the cross references are better than the Longprimer’s which I find not very useful.

    John

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Hi John. I have an old Turquoise that I can compare with the Longprimer. Are there any specific references you want me to compare?

    • Blake

      Thank you John M. I have found that the Turquoise references are similar to the Cameo if you are familiar with that. There may be a few extra references in the Turquoise but they are mostly identical to the Cameo in my comparisons so far. I think the references are pretty good though I always wish they were more thorough. There is enough room in the margins and blank space in the center column to add a good deal of your own references. I like to study with Treasure of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) and write in the references from TSK that I want to capture in my Bible.

    • Brian morgan

      Randy, I do have a question vs L/Primer as well. This may sound strange but I am looking for something similar to the LP that is not as “showy.” The LP is beautiful, but I am drawn to the simplistic quality of the Turquoise binding. That being said, do you know how the fonts compare? I would use it for preaching in place of the LP. One other thing I have missed in the LP is the italicized words, which I see this one has. Thanks again for your time brother.
      Brian

    • Blake

      Brian,

      I believe the text is slightly larger with a little more white space on the Turquoise than the Longprimer. I think the Turquoise is easier to read. If you look at the following article from Randy he has pics comparing the Turquoise to the Longprimer. Link to Randy Brown’s article “WHY CAMBRIDGE SHOULD BRING BACK THE TURQUOISE KJV”:

      http://biblebuyingguide.com/cambridge-bring-turquoise-kjv/

      Blake

    • Brian morgan

      Thanks Blake!

    • brian morgan

      Blake/Randy
      I got my copy of the Church Publishers Turquoise and it is very nice indeed. Thanks for your assistance on details. I am pleased with how readable the text is. The word/line spacing is such that the text seems to be “cleaner” than other blocks of similar font size (I actually got a Canterbury to compare, and like the Turquoise readability better). I look forward to preaching from it.
      Thanks again!

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Brian. I’m glad you like it! Thanks for the feedback. Please let us know how you like preaching from it.

    • Brian Morgan

      Randy, I have now used it for preaching. The clarity and large print are a real treat. The pages turn without sticking, and are thick enough to get one page at a time. The glare in minimal. Overall, I am very pleased. I mainly leave it on the pulpit. If one is used to standing and holding their copy, this is a bit bulky. Just yesterday I had it and my iPad, teaching without a podium, and it was heavy over time.
      Thanks,
      Brian

    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks for the update. I leave my Bible on the pulpit so this might work great for me.

  4. John M

    Thanks Randy. Can you compare Romans 8:13, 12:2 ?

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Hi John. Here’s the comparison:

      Longprimer:

      Romans 8:13 – ch 6:21, Col 3:5
      Romans 12:2 – 1 Pet 1:14, 1 Jn 2:15, 2 Cor 4:16, Eph 5:10

      Turquoise:

      Romans 8:13 – Col 3:5
      Romans 12:2 – 1 Pet 1:14, 1 Jn 2:15, Titus 3:5, Eph 5:10, 17, 1 Th 4:3

  5. THomas

    Hey Randy,

    I’ve been looking at your website for the past few weeks and really appreciate what you do. I was wondering if you could help me out. I’m about to turn 18, and am looking for a new Bible for my next stage in life as a man. I’m looking for a KJV with references that will (hopefully) outlast me, have room for notes (wide margin, if possible), and not break the bank. Is this possible? Thanks for your help and have a blessed day.

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Thomas. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate you reading. Probably the best choice that will last a lifetime, not break the bank, and has references is the LCBP 120 series. It’s a reprint of the Cambridge Cameo wide margin that’s now out of print. It has the references, translators footnotes, wide margins on the outside (which keeps the overall size manageable), and has edge-lined calfskin leather. Here’s the link: LCBP 120

      Here’s how it compares to the Cambridge Cameo: CAMBRIDGE CAMEO VS LCBP 120

  6. Thomas

    Thanks a lot! That looks perfect; I honestly didn’t think such a Bible that I wanted existed. Thanks again!

    Reply
  7. Terry Justison

    I have a CBP Turquoise Bible and 3 Cambridge Presentation Reference Bibles all red letter and one indexed. I prefer all black letters but that was not an option when I got the last two as it was obvious Cambridge was closing out the series. The indexed is leather bound the other two are goatskin. As for the print quality I find the CBP to be better. There seems less fading out of the print blackness and a more consistent print quality. In the Cambridge Presentation Reference red letter versions there is a misalignment of the red letter verses with the surrounding black letter lines at for example Mt. 22:17 – 20. This does not show up in the CBP. The CBP is somewhat thicker and bulkier feeling, but the overall quality is much better. The CBP version is nearly as soft and flexible to the opening from 180 to 360 degrees. I am very happy to have a source for this version of the Bible for say $75 shipped to around $160 for the last Cambridge I purchased. I didn’t really care for the indexed leather Cambridge so I seldom use it. It was a replacement for one where the cover completely separated from the front of the Bible. The next goatskin one is pretty worn out. It had an issue where the pages caught on the cover where the goatskin folds inside making a mess out of the edges of the pages. The last goatskin I was hoarding because there was no replacement available if it failed. It doesn’t seem to have any issues yet as i began putting it into service again. But now the CBP Turquoise Bible is my daily reader and go to Bible. It is the best reader I have found for my aged eyes.

    Reply

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