This Cambridge Concord KJV Reference Bible (calf-split leather) has all of the features that I am looking for. It's been difficult to find another KJV center column reference Bible that has the Words of Jesus in red, center column reference, Hebrew and Greek translation notes in the center column, 2 ribbon markers, and a sewn binding. This Bible has all of those features. I was extremely pleased with the features and excited to find this Bible.
However, the quality of the print was very disappointing. In several places, the print is not clear and the Bible dictionary in the back is poorly printed. For the price and the quality that one would expect from Cambridge, I was not satisfied.
The Christian Book staff was superb! They sent 2 other Bibles to me, of which all had the same problem. A product specialist confirmed that the printing quality was not good. Perhaps, this was a bad printing batch, however, I have not been able to get a replacement with a good print quality.
I'll be glad to update this review if I am able to obtain a copy with the print quality that one would expect from Cambridge. If the print quality was good, I'd give this Bible 5 stars.
Cambridge has been busy bringing out new editions. Their newest edition is an old classic in a new package. The Concord is a classic setting that has been around for many years, but now it's available in calf split leather.
The Concord has a nice layout and set of features that works:
â€¢ 8-piont semi-bold font
â€¢ Red letter
â€¢ Self-pronouncing text
â€¢ Translators to the Reader
â€¢ Center-column references
â€¢ Thin opaque paper
â€¢ 15 maps
â€¢ Sewn binding
â€¢ Gilded edges
â€¢ 2 ribbon markers
â€¢ Thumb index
â€¢ Bible dictionary
â€¢ Calf split leather cover
This new edition comes in calf split leather. Calf split is a higher quality leather than French Morocco. It is thicker than French Morocco and has about the same stiffness, but the finish is not as shiny. It might loosen up with use. It has a fine pebbly grain that looks like calf-skin. It is very pretty.
The Concord is Smyth sewn. This allows the Bible to lay flat, even at the beginning or end of the Bible. It has the same construction as the French Morocco edition.
The paper is an opaque India paper. It is thin, but it's not easy to see through. It is more opaque than most Bibles that I've seen. It has a slight cream tent, which makes it easier to read for long periods of time.
There are plenty of cross-references and translation notes in the center-column. The references have a unique system in that they are not keyed to the text with letters and numbers. Instead, they have the verse number on the side of the column that contains the verse, and then the references and notes. The translation notes give you the word or phrase that the notes refer to. There's no way to know which portion of the verse the references refer to.
The font is around 8-point and is semi-bold. It is clean and easy to read. The red is bold, but not too bold. It's really red and not brown or pink. It's a deep, rich red that looks nice. This is my favorite red-letter. The text is clean and unobstructed from cross-reference and translation note keys, making it a very readable text. One thing I like about all Cambridge Bibles is the consistency of the print- even in the red-letter text. With most publishers, the text will be dark on one page and light on another. The red goes from red to pink and then red again. Not so with Cambridge, and this Concord is no different. The boldness of the print remains constant no every page (as you would hope with a Bible in this price range).
The Concord's concordance is the same concordance that is found in the wide-margin edition and the Cameo. There are lots of entries- more than most Bibles, but I find this concordance to be confusing. Most concordances have one verse per line of text. This one starts the next verse directly after the last verse (on the same line). This causes you to read through the entries more closely to see where one verse starts and another ends. To make it more confusing, some of the entries are out of order because they relate to another verse that is similar. This makes me think I'm looking at verses in one book when I'm actually looking at verses from a completely different area. If you can get used to it, it has plenty of entries to be a great study tool.
There is a seven page glossary that explains the meaning of words that have either changed meaning or are no longer used since the KJV was first translated. The definition includes the part of speech and a few of the most prominent verses where the word is used.
The real jewel in this edition is the Bible Dictionary, which is one of my favorite features. At 128 pages, there are plenty of entries on many topics including people, places, objects, information about each book of the Bible, harmony of the Gospels, names and titles of Jesus, chronological tables, quotes and the verses where they are quoted, and more. There is a wealth of study information in the dictionary. I like having a dictionary this handy in my carry Bible.
The Concord has the same standard 15 maps as the wide-margin and Cameo. They are four-color and look great.
Translators to the Reader
This edition still has the Translators to the Reader. I feel that this is an important document that should always be included with the KJV. Many publishers have excluded it from their Bibles, but it's important to know the thoughts of the translators for any translation.
It's good to see this Bible being offered in thumb-index. This thumb index is different from those found in other Cambridge Bibles. All of the index tabs are facing the same direction. I like that many books have their own tab. I can go straight to Mark instead of having to find it once I'm in the ballpark. It is also available without thumb-index.
There are two black ribbon markers. They are 5/16 wide and are more than long enough to pull to the corner and open the Bible with. They are longer than the markers in my Concord wide-margin. Now that I've had Bibles with two markers it's hard to go back to just one. I think two markers should be standard in all Bibles.
I like the size of this Bible. It's around 8.25x5.5x1.25, making it a hand-sized Bible. It is much smaller, thinner, and lighter than the wide-margin and still has slightly larger text. The text is not much larger, but it is larger. This is the size Bible I want to be holding when we're standing and reading the Bible for a long period of time. It is easy to hold in one hand and read.
The Cambridge Concord reference edition in black calf-skin (with red-letter and thumb-index) has a lot to offer in a hand-sized Bible. The calf-split is a good compromise between goat-skin and French Morocco without sacrificing quality. It has a superior paper and print combination. The only paper that is better is in the wide-margin edition. With thumb-index, red-letter, and a Bible dictionary, the Concord in black calf-split leather makes a great carry and study Bible.
Baker Publishing provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review. My opinions are my own.