In Touch Ministries Wide Margin NASB Note Takers Bible

By Matthew Sherro

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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.

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Let’s begin:

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

The Margins

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.

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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.

 

The Paper

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.

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Cover

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.

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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.

 

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.

1 Comment

  1. Don Denison

    Dear Matthew:

    Before any comment on this product, let me say how sorry I am that you lost your Mother. I’ve lost both my parents, and found it difficult to deal with. May God be good to her, and to you as well.

    As you know from previous replies to you reviews, that I own, and used a 1st edition of the NASB for about 10 years. I was moderately pleased with it, but ultimately returned to the Authorised translation for various reasons. Lets put the topic of translations aside for another more appropriate time.

    Your review is complete and highlights the features of these bibles very well, I would know what to expect if I went shopping for either one. For utility, price, and longevity, the Hard bound bible makes the most sense. As it lays flat, it is most surely Smythe Sewn which promises long life. The covers are stiff enough to hold the bible for reading which is a good thing.

    Now to the lovely calfskin version: it appears from your description, to be very well made with excellent materials, the type font is more than adequate and is easily read on the paper chosen. Now to the faults, as I see them. This appears to be a bible of substantial size, the binding for the hard bound is fine, but the cover of the calfskin bible is way to soft to support the text while reading with it in one hand. If seated, the bible will rest on the abdomen due to fatigue in just a few minutes, damaging the lower margins of the pages and covers. A stiffer cover would not require Dr. Stanley to fold up his bible risking damage to the pages, I know that this is a common practice, but it does crumple pages and strains the binding.

    Both versions have serious shortcomings for me. I would miss my cross references badly, I use them heavily when attempting to get the sense of a verse. I am happy there is no commentary, I view commentary prejudicial to the reading of the text, if one is going to use commentary it should be after one has done his work with cross references, appendices, and concordance. I did not see any mention of maps or concordance so this is a text only bible, not necessarily a bad thing. About marking bibles: I as a student had many classes that required as much as 14 books, I highlighted and made notes in these books, over the years of my career as a student probably more than 200 of them some of them fine editions and expensive. I returned later to check different things, and was amazed at all the mark-ups, in most cases I wondered why I did it. These mark-ups were prejudicial to further reading, something I had to consciously avoid in order to get a clean reading. I recommend that students of the bible use notebooks for their notes and leave the text as is for further reading perhaps years later.

    By now you must believe that I am some sort of Curmudgeon, indeed one of my favorite caps has the words.”The Curmudgeon” written on the front of it. When I returned to the KJV, I gave Daddy’s old Schofield to my Nephew as a relic from his grandfather, he won’t use it either due to the prejudicial commentary but proudly displays is in a wall mounted case. I have settled on the Westminister Reference Bible from TBS as the principal bible for study, and am buying a Cameo from Cambridge for reading, specifically for reading in my chair because of its good type font size, its small physical size and the cover that is sufficiently rigid for single handed reading.

    I believe that this beautiful bible you have reviewed has uses that many will appreciate, but setting aside the issue of translation, it is not for me, it is too flexible, too large, and without cross references.

    As usual you have given a good review that allows us to see what this edition of the bible offers the reader.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

    Reply

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