Cambridge NASB Clarion Bible Review

The Cambridge Clarion has been one of my favorite Bible designs for many years. The size and layout create a reference Bible that’s easy to carry and use for study and reading without sacrificing features or readability. It’s available in several translations. I’m reviewing the NASB Clarion in brown calfskin, model NS485:X, ISBN: 9781107604131, which was printed and bound in the Netherlands by Royal Jongbloed.


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and a few local Bible bookstores


Cambridge University Press provided this Bible free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to provide a positive review. My opinions are my own. 



The cover is a soft smooth calfskin with a nice grain. It has a paste-down liner that keeps the cover from being floppy. It’s sewn and lies open in Genesis after a little use. It’s easy to hold open in one hand a read for long periods of time. I love the soft feel of the leather.

The spine has Holy Bible, New American Standard, and Cambridge printed in gold. It has Holy Bible printed on the front. It includes 5 tooled spine ribs (not raised). It also has tooling around the perimeter of the cover.

It includes 2 brown ribbons and brown and gold head/tail bands. The overall size is 7.5 x 5.5 x 1.5″. It weighs 1lb, 11oz. The size does feel a little chunky but I like the dimensions when it’s opened. It’s like a wide screen phone or tablet in landscape mode. It’s light enough to carry and hold for long periods of time.


The paper is 28gsm. It’s smooth to the touch and ivory or eggshell in color. It’s decently opaque and contrasts the ink beautifully. Show-through is mostly noticeable in the poetic settings. The edges are art-gilt with red under gold. I found the pages easy enough to turn even though the paper is thin. I did see a little page-curl but it was never bad enough to keep me from using it.


The text is presented in single-column paragraph format with poetry set to an indented poetic setting and Old Testament quotes in all caps. Letters are indented. It includes section headings. Side-column references and footnotes with some appearing under the last verse on the page. The header shows the book name and chapter numbers in the outer margin and page number in the inner margin.

The font is 8.75 Lexicon No. 1 with a 10.5-point leading. It’s black letter and printed in a medium to dark and is highly consistent throughout. Lexicon No. 1 is a highly readable font that legibility shines in every Clarion I’ve seen. Like all Clarions, it’s printed with line-matching. The lines match up really well.

Each column has around 68 characters across with 12-13 words on average. The words have enough space between them that they don’t run together. It has enough inner margin, and the Bible is thin enough, that the text doesn’t get lost in the bend of the gutter. The text includes footnote and reference keys using the traditional numbers and letters. They’re small enough to ignore easily.

There are a few places first letter of each paragraph is bold. This happens when the paragraph doesn’t start at the beginning of a verse. This is a carry-over from the NASB in verse-by-verse format to indicate paragraphs. It isn’t needed in a paragraph edition but it’s still used. To me it looks out of place. I’d like to see it removed since it’s unnecessary. There aren’t that many of them though.


It has 96,000 references in the outer margins. There are more of them than the KJV Clarion, so my trick for finding verses fast doesn’t work as well with the NASB because they’re not always near the verses they correspond to. The reference verse numbers are in bold. If there are more references that will fit in the side column they’re placed under the last verse.

Footnotes appear in the outer margin with the references and include alternate renderings, literal renderings, manuscript variants, explanatory equivalents, explanations of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words, weights, measures, time, etc. They’re helpful for shedding light on the wording in the original languages.

Here are a few examples of references to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – a Ps 102:25; Isa 40:21; Jn 1:1, 2; Heb 1:10; Ps 89:11; 90:2; Acts 17:24; Rom 1:20; Heb 11:3 c Job 38:4; Is 42:5; 45:18; Rev 4:11
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – a Matt 22:37; Mk 12:29, 30; Luke 10:27 b Deut 4:35, 39; John 10:30; 1 Cor 8:4; Eph 4:6
  • Isaiah 9:6 – x Lit be a Is 7:14; 11:1, 2; 53:2; Luke 2:11 b  Jn 3:16 c Matt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:25 d Is 22:22; e Is 28:29 f Deut 10:17; Neh 9:32; Is 10:21 g Is 63:16; 64:8 h Is 26:3, 12; 54:10; 66:12
  • Matthew 17:20 – x Lit as a Matt 21:21f; Mk 11:23f; Luke 17:6; b Matt 13:31; Luke17:6; c Matt 17:9; 1 Cor 13:2;  d Mark 9:23; John 11:40
  • Mark 11:23 – Matt 17:20; 1 Cor 13:2
  • Mark 12:29 –  Deut 6:4
  • Acts 2:38 – a Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; 5:31; 20:21; b Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 16; 22:16
  • John 1:1 – a Gen 1:1; Col 1:17; 1 John 1:1; b 1 John 1:14; Rev 19:13; c John 17:5; 1 John 1:2; d Phil 2:6
  • 1 John 1:1 – a John 1:1f; I John 2:13, 14 b Acts 4:20; I John 1:3; c John 19:35; 2 Peter 1:16; I John 1:2 d John 1:14; I John 4:14 e Luke 24:39;  John 20:27 f John 1, 4


The concordance is 84 pages in tipple-column format. It includes related words or synonyms following the keywords. It’s a decent concordance for study and sermon prep. Here are a few example entries with their number of references to help you compare:

  • Christ Messiah – 17
  • Christian follower of Christ– 3
  • Faith believe, trust– 36
  • Faithful loyal, trustworthy – 15
  • Faithfulness loyalty – 7
  • Faithless unbelieving – 4
  • God Deity, Eternal One– 37
  • God false diety, idols – 8
  • Goddess female diety – 3
  • Godless pagan, without God – 5
  • Godliness holiness– 5
  • Godly holy – 6
  • Praise (n) acclamation, honor – 10
  • Praise (v) extol, glorify – 12
  • Pray ask, worship – 19
  • Prayer – 15


It has 15 pages of maps on thicker, non-glossy, paper. The maps are colorful and include distance, topography, routers, borders, water, settlements, dates, commodities, natural vegetation regions, battles, kingdoms, etc. The maps are detailed and easy to use.

It also includes an 8-page color-coded index to maps printed on the same thick paper. The color code highlights settlements, political, physical land, travel, and Jerusalem.

Maps include:

  1. The Ancient Near East in the Late Bronze Age
  2. Regions of Palestine and Surrounding Areas
  3. Sinai and Canaan at the Time of the Exodus
  4. Israel with Canaan
  5. The United Monarchy of David and Solomon
  6. Israel and Judah: The Divided Monarchy
  7. The Assyrian Empire
  8. The Babylonian Empire
  9. The Persian Empire
  10. The Hellenistic World after Alexander
  11. Jerusalem in Old Testament Times
  12. Jerusalem in New Testament Times
  13. Palestine in the New Testament
  14. The Roman Empire
  15. The Eastern Mediterranean in the First Century AD


Here’s a look at how the NASB Clarion compares with the Pitt Minion and Personal Size Quentel. They’re comparable in paper and print quality.

Pitt Minion

The Pitt Minion is half the thickness and has about the same footprint. The text is presented in double-column paragraph format. All the other tools are the same, except for the placement of the references and footnotes which are in the side column. The PM is easier to carry and hold but it’s also more difficult to read because of the 6.75-point font.

Personal Size Quentel

My PSQ is the ESV edition, but the font size, layout, and overall size is about the same. The PSQ is similar in overall size. It has an 8.5 font and is presented in double column paragraph with references and footnotes in the footer.


The Cambridge NASB Clarion is a joy to hold, carry, and read from. I had a little more difficulty finding verse numbers than in other editions due to the references not always being close to their verses. I love the size and weight. The text is about a medium in size and looks great in single column. Even the thin paper is highly opaque and a joy to read. The single column paragraph makes it an excellent choice for reading and the references, footnotes, concordance, and maps make it a great choice for study.

Like all of the current Clarion line (see reviews of the KJV, NKJV, ESV, NIV), the NASB is a well-made Bible that’s easy to hold and carry. I highly recommend the NASB Clarion in calfskin for anyone interested in a small high quality NASB.


Buy from (includes affiliate links)


Barnes & Noble


Evangelical Bible

and a few local Bible bookstores



Photography by hannah C brown.

Cambridge University Press provided this Bible free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to provide a positive review. My opinions are my own. 

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. Nathan M.

    Did you find any problems with page curl?

    • Randy A Brown

      I haven’t had any issues, but the weather has been ideal. I haven’t had issues with other Bibles that normally do. If I do get page curl I’ll add an update.

  2. Pastor Keith

    Great review, as always.

  3. Kevin

    Thanks for this review. It helped me in my search for a new Bible.

  4. Stephen Williams

    Hi Randy,
    Many thanks for a very helpful review.
    I wonder if you could clarify something for me: does the Clarion NASB come with ALL the references, footnotes and literal readings notes or are these edited down as with the Zondervan SCR NASB? If I’m to purchase an NASB as I intend, I’d much prefer to have all the features which contribute to the translation’s uniqueness. If the clarion doesn’t, do you know of a premium bible that does.

    Kind regards

    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Stephen. It does include all of them.


  1. Prime Edition NASB Large Print Compact Bible Review - Bible Buying Guide - […] NASB Clarion has a single-column layout with references in the outer margin. It’s similar in size. The […]

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