Manuscripts: The Gospels Review

The New American Standard Bible (NASB) hasn’t gotten the attention that other translations have when it comes to readers editions. Manuscripts Books helps change that with a set of the Gospels called Manuscripts: The Gospels. This is a set of four pocket-sized books in a slipcase that presents the text in a highly readable format. In this review, we’ll take a look at Manuscripts: The Gospels, ISBN:9780999745748, made in USA.

Manuscripts provided this Bible set free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

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This set is available from Manuscripts Books

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Video Review

CONSTRUCTION AND MATERIALS

The physical design of this set is elegant. The covers are paper with a soft linen texture that my fingers like to touch and hold. Each book has a different colored spine so you can tell which book is which at a glance. The cover itself is white with an extra-large title and a symbol in the corner that matches the color of the spine.

To say the paper is opaque is an understatement. The paper is 60# (90gsm) and has a cream tint that’s a joy to read. It has no glare under direct light. I love the look and feel of this paper.

The slipcase is a small, non-reinforced, box that follows the reverse design of the covers. The front looks the opposite of the books, the spine provides the names of the books with the colored symbol and publisher’s logo, and the back provides the product information. It isn’t a sturdy box but it is good enough to hold the books at home or for carrying.

Each book is small enough to fit in a pocket, making it a great choice for carrying one or two of the gospels with you. The overall size of a book is 5.5 x 3.75 x 0.37″, and the whole set is 1.5″ thick.

TYPOGRAPHY

The text is presented in single column paragraph without verse numbers, footnotes, or references. It does retain chapter breaks (chapter numbers are spelled out) and section headings. Prayers, such as those in Luke, are intended and set in a poetic format. The words of Jesus are placed in their own paragraphs (unless someone is quoting him). The footer has page numbers in the outer corner.

The typeface is 8 point with extra space between the lines to make it comfortable to read. The words of Jesus are in red. Both the black and red letter are about a medium darkness. I sometimes want the red letter a little darker because I find it a touch difficult to read unless I have good lighting. It does look nice but a few shades darker would make it easier to read for my eyes. That’s a minor complaint and it won’t keep me from reading and recommending this set.

It has around 55 characters across with around 10 words per line. The text never feels cramped or crowded and it never has too much space between words.

The design is kind of a cross between traditional Bible design and modern book design. The paragraph layout is more similar to reading on the web (my full-time job is writing about web design, so that analogy comes up a lot). Instead of the first line being indented to set the paragraphs apart, there’s a space between each paragraph. Like a traditional novel, each chapter starts on a new page.

I like that the words of Jesus are in their own paragraph as it helps to set the dialog apart from the narrative. I wouldn’t mind if they removed the section headings. I don’t have a problem ignoring them while reading but others might. Black letter might be a good option too, but I’d settle for a darker red. All of those are minor points and I still love reading them just the way they are.

Ending Thoughts on Manuscripts: The Gospels

Manuscripts: The Gospels is fun to read. They’re small, but the text doesn’t suffer because of it. It’s handy, readable, and elegant. This set gets excellent reviews on the publisher’s website, and for good reason – it’s an elegant little set that’s great for reading, carrying, and witnessing.

As a reading edition, I don’t find having chapter breaks a problem (at least most of the time). It can give you an unnatural place to stop reading and it can break up thoughts, but most of the time this isn’t the case and it does provide a good stopping point. I like knowing what chapter I’m in and how much further I have to go for the next one.

Manuscripts: The Gospels is an exciting series as it shows what’s possible for individual books of the Bible in a small, yet readable, format. I hope they continue this and publish the rest of the Bible, and I’d love to see it in all the major translations. I’d also love to see this in large print. Even if that’s not possible, I’m glad to see the NASB get a reader’s set. If you’re looking for a compact set of the Gospels in a readable format, I highly recommend Manuscripts: The Gospels.

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This set is available from Manuscripts Books

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Photography by hannah C brown

Manuscripts provided this Bible set free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All 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.

2 Comments

  1. Neil

    Hello,

    Thanks for the review. 🙂

    Is the binding glued or smyth-sewn? Does the construction appear durable with regards to regular use?

    Neil

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Hi Neil. It’s sewn, but it doesn’t look to be sewn in sections. I see stitches in the front few pages, but I don’t see the folded booklets.

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