Though I've just begun to read this edition I immediately noticed the difference this new formatting makes in reading the Scriptures, there's no stumbling, stuttering stops and starts, just a smooth flow to the Word that I've never experienced before. What does that mean overall? So far I'm only in Genesis but one thing that immediately fell into place for me was the connection of Shem, Noah's son, to the patriarch Abraham. I'd known of the connection before through footnotes but never from simply reading the scriptures themselves, before the connection got lost somehow in the jumble of verse numbers, the stacked up double columns style formatting and the confusing hyphenating of the proper names. With this edition there's none of that and this time, a scripture I've read dozens of times simply spelled out plainly the lineage that was there in plain sight all along. Yeah, I'm going to like reading this edition...A LOT!
I have the Leather-Look edition, its durable, the paper is plain but strong, the biding is good and for those worried of becoming "lost" there is still a reminder in fainter print at the bottom of each page telling the reader exactly where in a regular Bible you are, for example 1 Kings 14:3-14:21 tells you where the page begins and ends.
I just happened to stumble upon this edition at the Biblica website and what a wonderful surprise. For those in search of a reader's Bible (no verse numbers, footnotes, etc.) this is an excellent choice. The layout is brilliant. The order of the books are different than a traditional Bible and are grouped in logical groupings. Books that are grouped together are titled on each page, with the book you are reading in bold type. It's hard to explain without actually seeing it, but it is a brilliant idea.
The paper has minimal ghosting and it does not detract from the text at all. The font is a very nice and readable 10 point with a very classic font style.
The Duo-Tone cover has a nice feel to it and is a bit stiffer than my other imitation leather covers. But I really like the feel of it. It has much less of the rubbery feel of other synthetic leather covers that I have handled and owned.
I'm surprised that this Bible was somewhat hard for me to find. I am frequently on the search for Bibles intended for reading rather than study or reference and completely missed this one. I'm really glad I discovered it.
The Books of the Bible is a Bible that was developed for a unique reading experience. It contains no chapter or verse numbers - just the text. It's also arranged differently than the standard book arrangement. The books are arranged by literary form.
Cover and Binding
This edition is hard cover with a glued binding. It comes with a dust jacket that has the same graphics as the cover. Printed on the inside the dust cover is a list of features. I'm partial to earth-tones and I love the color-scheme of the cover.
Paper and Print
The paper is thin. It's the same paper found in other Zondervan study Bibles. It's not as opaque as I'd like but it's not too distracting.
The text looks really good, especially for the thin paper. I'm guessing on the font size, but to me it looks like a 10-point with a 12-point leading. The print is consistent throughout. It's darker than I expected for such thin paper. It is very readable. It could be improved with line-matching.
The page layout looks like a regular book. There are no chapter or verse numbers to hinder reading (except for Psalms, which has chapter numbers). There are spaces between the chapters, so you can see where one chapter ends and another starts. In some verses there is a faint dot. This dot shows that there is a note at the end of the book for that portion of text.
The book name appears at the top of the page. If the group has been grouped in a range of books (for example, Luke and Acts are grouped together), all of the book names appear at the top of the page. The current book is in bold and the others are printed in a fainter text.
At the bottom of the page is the range of chapters and verses that appear on that page. The chapter and verse numbers are printed in faint text.
Notes appear at the end of each book or grouping of books. The notes show the page number the note refers to, the word it refers to, and then the note itself. The notes include page numbers for cross referencing, translation notes, manuscript variants, distance, etc.
Book introductions are called "Invitation to [book name]". The invitation takes up a page or two and talks about the setting and covers some of the major points in the book. The books are often compared with other books of the Bible.
The books are arranged differently than the standard Biblical arrangement. They're arranged according to literary form. The purpose is to read the Bible in large blocks. This ends up being an arrangement by author for most books. All of John's books are at the end with Revelation. This is difficult for me to follow because I don't expect to look near Revelation for the book of John. I could understand the arrangement if there was a daily reading plan and the books were arranged according to that order, but there's no reading plan and the arrangement doesn't always seem to serve a purpose. If I was reading from start to finish I would want to read the gospel of John with the other gospels. I would read by theme rather than literary form.
Table of Weights and Measures - a table that covers weights, lengths, and capacity.
Drama of the Bible - gives a short overview of the Bible, dividing it into six acts (like acts of a play).
Living the Script - instructions to study and apply the Bible to our lives.
About The Books of the Bible - how to use this Bible. it covers how The Books of the Bible presents the Scriptures in their literary forms and covers the features.
A Word About the NIV - the NIV preface.
One thing I would like to see added is a reading plan. This edition is designed for reading but there's no reading plan to help keep track of or guide your reading.
The Books of the Bible is definitely unique in its presentation. The point of this Bible is to promote Bible reading. It is free of distractions, allowing the Scriptures to be read like literature. The books are arranged according to literary form with the purpose of reading in large blocks. It is very readable. I don't recommend it as a carry Bible, but it should make a nice reading Bible.
For picture see this review on Bible Buying Guide
Zondervan provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review.