Hendrickson’s Minister’s Bible was a popular Bible for those in ministry. It had a few articles in the back to help with ministerial events. Hendrickson replaced that with the Ministry Essentials Bible, which contains over 250 articles for those in ministry. This new series of Bibles started with the NIV edition, which I reviewed last year. In this review I take a look at the KJV edition.
Cover and Binding
The cover is black/brown Flexisoft imitation leather. It’s stitched around the perimeter and has a stitched design into the cover. The liner is paste-down vinyl. This is a good choice if you’re on a budget. If you can afford it I do recommend the genuine leather edition as polyurethane won’t last as long. You could always get this edition and have it rebound later. In the long run, rebinding is better than genuine leather because you can get it edge-lined which will by far outlast the paste-down editions. It’s sewn and easily lies open and flat. This is a large Bible at 7 ¼ x 9 5/8 x 1 3/4. There are two ribbons to help you keep your place.
The paper is on the thin side, and it would have to be being a study Bible with 2036 pages. If I was forced to guess I would say around 28 gsm (just a guess, so don’t quote me on that). It has an average level of opacity for a study Bible. The paper has a very slight blue hue. I usually don’t like this, but there is a blue/green color scheme throughout the Bible and the blue hue fits. Plus it’s not a dark blue. I can only see it in the gutter. I hardly notice it so it doesn’t bother me.
The thin pages can be a little difficult to turn sometimes, but it usually wasn’t a problem. I haven’t tried writing in it. I think there would be some show-through but I don’t think it would be too bad. I’m just guessing though, so I recommend writing somewhere other than the Bible text to try it out first.
Print and Layout
The font is around 10 point with a generous leading. The words have a good amount of space between them so the text never feels crowded. There’s lot of breathing room and white-space for reading, underlining, and marking. The font is a modern style with a medium darkness that’s consistent throughout. It’s black-letter.
The print is where this Bible really shines for preaching. There are virtually no distractions within the text. It has numbers for footnotes and section headings. That’s it. I don’t find these distracting at all. I use the section headings to help give context to what I’m teaching, so I’m grateful they were included. There are no keys to the references. This can make it more difficult to make the connections, but I don’t use them that often and I prefer the cleaner text. There are no pronunciation marks. It does have italics for supplied words.
This is double-column layout with references in the inner column and wide margins on the outer column. Poetry is set to poetic verse style, which is unusual for a KJV and very much appreciated. This includes the poetic sections of the prophets. This doesn’t include the New Testament but it’s better than nothing. I’ll take it.
The columns are 2 7/16 wide and has 42 characters across. Verses are indented. Verse numbers are indented and are bold. This helps in finding verses at a quick glance. The text is a joy to read.
References and Footnotes
References and footnotes are placed in the inner column. The start in the center and expand up and down as needed (mostly). The chapter and verse is given and then the references and notes. As I mentioned earlier, the references are not keyed to the text (keeping the text clean). Footnotes are keyed with numbers. Here are a few samples of references:
Genesis 1:1 – Job 38:4; Heb 11:3; Rev 4:11
Matthew 17:20 – Mt 13:31; 21:21; Lk 17:6
John 1:1 – Jn 17:5; 1 Jn 1:-2
1 John 1:1 – Lk 24:39; Jn 20:27; Ac 4:20
Book introductions are around a page and have four sections: Background, Message, Time, and Outline. They’re short and cover the basics. The outlines hit the high points and give the range of verses they refer to.
The articles are the primary purpose of this Bible. They’re 250 of them and they’re geared toward anyone in any kind of ministerial role – from lay-leaders to organizational leaders and everyone in between. It doesn’t matter what your experience level or education level is. If you’re in any kind of leadership role in Church there are articles that will apply to you.
The articles are placed in groups throughout the text. This keeps the pages clear from notes. The sides of the pages are marked (in the margin) where the articles are, so you can find them easier. Even with this marking it can be a little too difficult to turn to a specific verse. For example, there are articles between Luke and John. This makes it difficult to know how many pages to turn to get from one book to the other. If you’re in the middle of Luke, it’s not the same number of pages away from Mark as it is John. It helps to pay attention to the arrows printed on the outer column where the articles are. I think I would prefer to have the articles in the back, all together in one place. For me that would make the text and the articles easier to use.
The articles are from Christianity Today magazine. They include names such as Billy Graham, Max Lucado, John Stott, Ravi Zacharias, and Francis Chan. They fall into 28 categories and five main themes. Within the 28 categories are between 6 – 12 articles on average. There are too many articles to name them all, but here is a list of 5 main themes and 28 categories within them and the verses they correspond to:
- The High Call of Spiritual Leadership (Ex 3:9-12)
- Navigating Change (Num 11:1, 4-6)
- Developing New Leaders (Dt 34:9)
- Leading the Church in Giving (1 Chr 29:5-9)
- Vision, Values, and Strategic Planning (Neh 3:1, 3, 6)
- Managing Conflict (Mat 20:24-28)
- Creating and Leading Teams (Lk 6:13)
- Managing and Motivating Volunteers (1 Pet 2:4-5)
Preaching, Corporate Prayer, and Discipleship
- Fundamentals of Good Preaching (Jer 1:4-10)
- Cultivating Church-Wide Prayer (Dan 2:17-20)
- Building a Culture of Discipleship (Mat 4:18-22)
The Leader’s Spiritual Life
- Spiritual Disciplines for Leaders (1 Sam 30:6)
- Spiritual and Emotional Health for Leaders (1 Ki 19:3-6)
- Character Issues for Leaders (1 Tim 3:1-3)
- Fundamentals of Shepherding (1 Chr 11:1-3)
- Shepherding the Mentally Ill (Job 3:23-26)
- Shepherding People Through Trauma, Crisis, and Suicide (Ps 69:1-3)
- Shepherding Troubled Marriages, the Divorced, and Single Parents (Is 61:1-3)
- Shepherding People Through Grief, Illness, and Death (Lam 2:10-11, 13)
- Shepherding and Spiritual Warfare (Mk 1:25-27)
- Shepherding Families with Disabilities (Jn 9:1-3)
- Shepherding the Addicted and Their Loved Ones (Rom 7:14-20)
- Shepherding and Sexual Issues (1 Cor 6:9-11)
- Shepherding Married Couples and Singles (Eph 5:31-32)
Evangelism and Social Justice
- Justice and Compassion Ministries (Am 5:21, 23-24)
- Your Role in Evangelism (Ac 1:8)
- Your Church’s Role in Evangelism (1 Thes 1:4-8)
- Global Missions (Rev 7:9-10)
The focus is handling everyday ministerial issues. These articles are not intended to be exhaustive and provide an answer to every possible situation. They’re also not intended to take the place of an education. They’re meant to be quick and easy tips on the most common every day leadership issues. They’re around 1000 words in length and focus on practical advice based on experience. The articles on leadership are excellent. I would like to see a few more articles on preaching, teaching, and sermon prep. What is here is helpful, but a few more would be nice.
Practical Resource Guide
In the back is a 62-page Practical Resource Guide that includes:
- Pastoral Events
- Church Events
- Family Events
- The Christian Life
- Life’s Tough Questions
- Helping People Cope with Change
- List of Recommended Books for Life’s Tough Questions
Each of these are broken down into smaller topics. It’s easy to find what you need and the information is helpful. Not all of the articles will be helpful to everyone. Some of the articles, such as baptismal events, do follow a particular point of view. A lot of the articles, such as grief counseling, are applicable regardless of your theological view. These are the kinds of articles that were included in the older edition of the Minster’s Bible. I’m glad to see they’re still included in the Ministry Essentials Bible.
The concordance is 89 pages with 3 columns per page. Alternate forms of the keywords are placed in parenthesis next to the keyword. The results for these words are included with the primary keyword. There’s nothing to indicate which verses go with which forms of the words. It’s left up to the context to help you figure it out. Here are some sample entries with the number of results:
- Faith – 96
- Faithless – 2
- Faithful – 36
- Faithfulness – 12
- God – 19
- Godhead – 3
- Godly – 5
- Godliness – 8
- Praise (Praised) – 17
- Praises (Praising) – 6
- Pray – 17
- Praying (Prayed) – 3
- Prayer – 17
- Prayers – 3
This is a fairly extensive concordance and can get you a long way into study for class or sermon prep or for personal study. It’s better than many Bibles that I’ve seen.
The Ministry Essentials Bible is filled with useful articles about all levels of ministry. I like the text a lot for preaching and reading. Finding verses can be a little difficult due to the articles, but I got used to looking for the article markers on the side of the page and was able to find what I wanted quickly enough. It’s a large Bible. I don’t think I want to carry it around with me, but for use at home or in the study room it’s a great resource. If you’re in any kind of ministerial role there is sure to be something in this Bible you’ll find helpful. It isn’t meant to take the place of an education or experience, but it does give the right kind of guidance when you need it.
Hendrickson provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review.