CHURCH BIBLE PUBLISHERS (CBP) MIDSIZE CENTER COLUMN REFERENCE BIBLE “TURQUOISE”
Review by Blake Ratliff (12/11/16)
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:
|Dimensions||9.75 x 6.5 x 1.5 in|
|Cover Type||Ironed Calfskin|
|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:
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.
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:
Link to Randy Brown’s article “WHY CAMBRIDGE SHOULD BRING BACK THE TURQUOISE KJV”: