When the Bible Buying Guide crew (all four of us) recently attended the International Christian Retail Show in Orland, we got the meet the folks at Whitaker House – the publishers of the KJVER Sword Study Bible (my wife attended their press conference while I attended a meeting that I had previously scheduled. Fortunately I got to meet them earlier). Their passion for this Bible was amazing. Whitaker House recognizes the need to make the KJV more accessible to those that have trouble reading it and they’ve made it their mission to fill that need.
I’ve always thought the Sword Study Bible looked interesting. It has a few features that you don’t often see in a Bible. I’ve also been interested in a modified version of the KJV called KJVER (the ER stands for Easy Read). In this review I take a look at two Bibles they gave us from that trip – both large print personal size – one in black/tan with thumb index and one in two-tone purple.
The KJVER modernizes the text without making major changes. It does this by replacing thees and thous, and other word endings, but leaves in the archaic words themselves. This greatly helps in public reading. I often come across a verse that I have to pause and read slowly in order to get it right because of the Elizabethan English. I’ve read the KJV for over 30 years, but it can still be difficult to read out loud.
The archaic words are underlined and updated words are given at the end of the verse. I find this very helpful for preaching, study, and reading. Knowing what an archaic word mean or having an updated word for those words that have changed meaning is a big help in improving the understanding of the KJV. Keeping the original word intact helps when you’re using external study tools.
Cover and Binding
The covers are an imitation leather called Ultrasoft. It has an interesting sword molded into the cover. The liner is paste-down black vinyl for the tan and paper for the purple. It’s stitched around the perimeter. It’s section sewn and lies open anywhere I want it to. I love the size of this Bible – 5 3/4 x 7 7/8 x 1 5/8. It’s excellent for holding in one hand to read and it’s great for carry.
I suspect it will hold up a few years. This is a good choice for the budget-conscious. The genuine leather edition will last you longer and is the edition I recommend the most. I don’t have a problem carrying a polyurethane cover around… just be aware that it will need replacing sooner. Another option is to use it and rebind it later.
The paper is probably around 30gsm or more (but that’s a complete and total guess and could be completely and totally wrong, so don’t quote me on that). It has an acceptable level of opacity. The show-through is only slightly distracting. Where lines match up I don’t even notice show-through. The paper doesn’t have a shine at all and I had no trouble turning the pages. It has an egg-shell color, which is enough off-white to look good while reading. I haven’t written in it but it should be fine for marking.
This is a large print edition with an 11.5 font. The font is sharp and there is only a little bit of fading, but it’s mostly consistent throughout. It has a good amount of line-spacing – both in the leading and between the words themselves. The text never feels cramped and is highly readable. The columns are 2” across and have 38 characters. It’s perfect for reading and preaching. This is my ideal font size and boldness. The font style looks great.
At first the text looks busy, but once you understand what’s going on it isn’t that bad. Many words are underlined. These are defined at the end of the verse. The end of verses also contain references for quotes, and for prophecies – both where they’re foretold and where they’re fulfilled. There are a few words with a superscript letter. This indicates a plural tense of the word ‘you’. In the header is the book name, chapter number, page number, and subject heading for that page.
I’ve always wondered why the words of God in the Old Testament are not in red. In the Sword Study Bible they are. This is very helpful for study, teaching, and preaching. I like being able to know quickly that God is speaking. This is especially helpful for teaching and preaching. If you’re going to bother with red-letter, you might as well have it in the OT too. The red-letter is about a medium to dark red. I like this shade of red for red-letter text.
The text has self-pronouncing markers that show where the syllables are divided and which syllable gets the emphasis. This is handy for public reading. It does tend to go overboard a little though and break up words that don’t need it (at least for the majority of readers). For example, it breaks up words such as:
Others are more helpful, such as:
Each book has a comprehensive outline, a survey that covers the main events or points of the book, and information about the author. The intros usually take a page or two.
The first page of the book has a box next to the book title and contains a short statement of the main point. Here are some examples:
- Genesis – “Beginnings” of the Universe, of God’s People
- Psalms – Songs of Adoration. Thanksgiving to God; Prophecy
- Daniel – “My Judge is God” God Alone Knows the Future
- John – John Presents God Manifest in Flesh (Jesus)
- Acts – The Spirit of God in the Early Church
- 1 Corinthians – Vital Questions Answered
- Jude – Earnestly Contend for the Faith
- Revelation – Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass
Margin Study and Reference Guide
The marginal study (topical studies) is one of the strengths of this Bible. Between the Old and New Testaments is a list of topics. The topics fall into three categories, with each one having multiple sub-categories: God (27 topics), Plan (24 topics), and Man (41 topics). Each topic has a letter to indicate the primary topic (G, P, or M), and a number to show the sub-topic. Under each one is the book, chapter, verse, and page.
If you go to the page number you’ll see that topic number with a line that shows which verses are included in the topic. At the end of the line is the page number for the next verse in the list. You can see all of the verses listed in the reference guide or you can turn to them one at a time through the Bible.
Whitaker House also encourages you to develop your own studies. If you do, they want you to send them to them. If you develop your own chain for a subject that’s not covered they will consider including it in a future printing.
I like this type of study system because it’s a simple study system that lets Scripture interpret Scripture. It can be expanded, added to, modified, etc. You can make your study as detailed or as simple as you want. I use this very same type of study system in my wide margin Bibles (or Bibles with enough room to write them).
Articles and Helps
There are lots of articles and other helps in the front, middle, and back of this Bible (most are in the back). They’re useful and out of the way at the same time. Authors include names such as Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, and Henry Morris. Titles include:
- A Basic Outline of Old Testament History
- The Names and Attributes of God
- Definitions of Biblical Terms Little Used Today
- Word Changes
- A Basic Outline of Intertestament History
- Between the Testaments
- A Basic Outline of New Testament History
- How to Interpret the Bible
- A Creationist’s Defense of the King James Bible
- Scientific Discoveries that Support Creation
- Astronomy, Splendors of the Heavens
- Design and Recent Creation
- CEM Research and Polystrate Fossils
- The Wonderful Woodpecker – Jehovah’s Jaw-Jarring Jackhammer
- The Biblical Truth About Dinosaurs
- In God’s Plan – Men and Women Were Called to Serve Him
- Carbon-14 and Recent Creation
- The Creator Supports Recent Creation
- The Heavens and Recent Creation
- Making Grace Amazing
- Evolution and the Wages of Sin
- How Long is a Billion Years?
- The Global Flood of Noah’s Day
- What the Bible Says About the End Time
- The Mystery of Matthew’s Three Sets of Fourteen Generations
- The Land and the People of the Bible
- Jewish Calendar
- The Bible, Science, and Creation – What We Believe
- The Chronology of the Bible
- The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture
- The Magdalen Papyrus
- The Mutilation of Mark 16:9-20
- Babylon and the Tower of Babel
- The Gospel Colophons
- End Time Floods Prophesied
- Favorite Bible Stories
- Favorite Readings
- Readings for Life’s Experiences
- Biblical Genealogical Chart
- Where did the ‘Races’ Come From?
- Usage of the Color Black
- The Promised Land
- Coins in the Bible
- Weights and Measures
- Biblical Symbolism
- Guide to the Laws of the Bible
- Miracles and Miraculous Events of the Old Testament
- Parables of the Old Testament
- Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ
- Chart of the Life of Jesus Christ
- The Harmony of the Gospels
- What Jesus Taught
- The Miracles of Our Lord
- The Parables of Our Lord
- Names and Titles of Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit: Title, Deity and Work
- Detailed Chronology of the Acts
- Miracles of the Early Church in the Book of Acts
- Mountains of the Bible
- Messianic Prophecies on the Old Testament and Their New Testament Fulfillment in Christ
- Events in the Bible
- Last Things
- Studying Bible Prophecy – A Premillennial, Pretribulation View
- Guide to Personal Witnessing
- Massah and Meribah
The articles are from the viewpoint of young-earth creation, pre-trib, pre-mil. Like all study material in Bibles I recommend you do your own study and research. With that said, the articles are well-written and I feel that they are a great resource for those that hold this view or are interested in studying this view. Surprisingly, all of this takes up about ¼” of paper, so it doesn’t add too much to the thickness. The definitions in the front is one of the better tools because it will be referenced more often than the articles.
Dictionary – Concordance
Rather than just having a concordance, this Bible has a dictionary / concordance combo. This is actually the format that I prefer in a Bible (especially in a KJV). Unfortunately it’s only 23 pages in length. It’s double-column and contains drawings of items such as a timbrel. It does have a few lists such as miracles in the NT and OT, the last week of Jesus, etc. There isn’t a lot in here but what is here is helpful. I consider it the weakest tool in this Study Bible. It’s helpful, but for serious study you’ll need other tools.
There are 8 black and white, line drawn, maps that are printed on regular Bible paper. They have more labels and annotations than most maps in Bibles. Maps include:
- THE MIDDLE EAST BEFORE THE FLOOD
- ORIGINS OF NATIONS FROM DESCENDANTS OF NOAH
- FROM EXODUS TO THE JUDGES
- THE LAND PROMISED TO ISRAEL; THE KINGDOMS OF DAVID AND SOLOMON
- SIXTH CENTURY B.C. EMPIRES
- MAJOR NATIONS OF THE BIBLE THEN AND NOW
- PALESTINE – OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT
- JERUSALEM IN 66 A.D.
Word for Word
For every Bible that’s bought under the Word for Word program, Whitaker House will donate a Bible to someone in need. This is a project I can appreciate and this is the kind of actions that tell me Whitaker House has their heart in the right place. They’re not publishing Bibles because they think they can make money from it. They’re publishing Bibles because the world needs Bibles and they put their money where their heart is. They do it right and I applaud them for that.
The Sword Study Bible is essentially a chain reference topical study Bible with articles. Archaic words and words that have changed meanings are underlined and defined at the end of the verse where it’s the most helpful. The ‘Easy Read’ part removes the –eth and –est endings and thees and thous to make the words easier to read. It’s also available in standard KJV if you want those word endings and words. Its size couldn’t be better. This is an excellent Bible for carry, reading, study, teaching, and preaching. I highly recommend the KJVER Sword Study Bible in personal size from Whitaker House.
Whitaker House provided these Bibles for free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own.