In Touch Ministries Wide Margin NASB Note Takers Bible
By Matthew Sherro
This is the best Bible that I have ever had in my hands. This will be a double review as I have this Bible in both hardcover and burgundy calfskin. Before we dive into the review, I need to provide the following disclosures: the Lockman Foundation at no charge provided the burgundy calfskin; the hardcover was purchased for the purposes of preaching my mother’s funeral.
The Text Itself
I won’t belabor the choice of text. If you have read any of my reviews, you know that the NASB is my translation of choice.
The text, in both versions, is presented in what is rated at a 10-point font. The readability is outstanding. It is a black letter text on what is among the most opaque paper I have ever seen. It is not as opaque as the Schuyler Bibles Quentel NASB but it certainly looks close to the naked eye.
You will find the text to be laid out in a double column format. I, personally, love it although my preference is Single Column. The double column is in paragraph form; each verse starts on a new, indented line. There are subject headings provided to help you through your studies.
Outside of the translation, itself, wide margins are the most important feature for me when choosing a Bible. (I wish I could say that I journal as often as I should but I don’t and I am trying to do better at that.) Here, in the margins, is where the good stuff happens: Notes from word studies, personal cross references, unique and personal illuminations from the Holy Spirit, thoughts from the sermons you sit through on Sunday, I could go on forever. Your Bible becomes an heirloom; a record of your walk with God and nothing besides a wide margin version can offer this.
The margins are rated at 1” just like in the Foundation Publications Side Column Wide Margin Reference Bible (SCRB). I believe that the Zondervan Note Taker’s Bible has wider margins but I cannot find any specific details on their margins. Despite having the same margin size, the SCRB feels slightly more cluttered, mostly because of the references also being in the margin.
Speaking of references, there aren’t really any in this Bible and that is not, of necessity, a bad thing. For some of my readers, this will pose a problem, especially if you are new to the Bible. I generally do not use the references included in a Bible for two reasons: 1. There is almost always a concordance that will do the job nicely. 2. The references, generally, do not follow my train of thought. As a general rule, that is what I use the margins for, logging my train of thought as the Holy Spirit guides.
There is a change I would like to see in wide margin Bibles, lines. Both the ESV Journaling Bible and the now out of print Take Note Bible from Thomas Nelson add this feature. It can be quite useful but that is probably just me nitpicking.
As I previously mentioned, this is some of the most opaque paper I have ever encountered in a Bible. (I’m not certain as to what the official color name is but the paper is extremely bright white. It is the brightest paper of any of the Bibles I own.) It is not quite as opaque as the Quentel NASB from Schuyler Bibles though it is quite close I would guess perhaps 28 gsm or possibly 32 but that is just a guess. I have had tremendous difficulty finding detailed information on the paper. In most Bibles, minimal ghosting is considered to be quite acceptable. In the In Touch Bibles, ghosting is not minimal; it is non-existent. There is no bleed through whatsoever.
I have both a burgundy calfskin and a blue hardcover. To my surprise, the hardcover actually lays flatter than the calfskin. Very few things leave me at a loss for words but I find myself having difficulty choosing the adjective to describe the softness of the leather. As cliché as it will sound, the leather is absolutely as soft as a baby’s skin. It is extremely supple and the smythe-sewn binding enables it to bend extremely well. If you have ever seen Dr. Stanley preach, you will notice that he has a tendency to fold his Bible in half, not normally something you would do with a leather bible but in the case of this Bible not a problem at all.
The hardcover is extremely well put together. The stiffness reminds me of a high school textbook, that is to say, it will go the distance in terms of daily use. The hardcover version travels perfectly in your backpack, briefcase, hand, or any other way you choose to transport it. If you find yourself out in the field regularly, you will definitely want the hardcover.
If you journal in your Bible, you will most definitely want to have this Bible in your stable.