At last, a compact Bible that’s flexible enough to be comfortable in your pocket, and so stylish that you’ll be delighted to pull it from your pocket to bag whenever you get the chance. But is this is a compact Bible you can actually read and is it built to cope with the kind of wear and tear you’d expect a pocket Bible to survive?
In soft, leather-like purple with deep arabesque embossing, this Bible has a distinctly feminine look and feel. Definitely ladylike rather than girly, it’s the sort of Bible that belongs among your car keys and smart phone rather than mixed up with luminous scrunchies and glittery nail varnish. On the other hand, if you’re trying to help your daughter, grand daughter or favourite niece grow into a young Christian woman, this NLT is an encouraging gift in that direction.
The NLT (New Living Translation) is the modern Bible that grew up into a translations to be taken seriously. As the 1989 Living Bible, it was the upstart teenager of the Bible scene until a major revision matured it into the 1996 NLT. With a second review in 2004, and a minor update in 2007 this ‘Second Edition’ NLT - with its strap-line: ‘the truth made CLEAR’ (their capitalisation), pushed the NIV Bible out of its slot as the second-best selling Bible in 2011.
For me, the NLT has a more readable and engaging style than the NIV, and I’ve always liked it; though I’ve never owned a pocket size edition. Now, at the price of this one, it’s hard to justify not having a pocket Bible with you all the time. But the real test of any Bible: is can you actually read it?
Fitting the whole Bible – plus a topical verse finder and a guide to knowing God personally, into a package little bigger than a diary means a trade-off in the areas of paper thickness and print size. Yes, the pages are a bit on the thin side and the print size is scarcely 6 points; but that’s splitting hairs, because the important thing is the clarity of the print. These days, I need help just to read the 12 point print of most typed letters; but yes I can read this ‘Lucerna’ serif style print… in a good light.
Love the NLT as I do, I wish they’d produce an English grammar and spellings edition; though the US tendency not to use double-Ls and a preference for ‘z’ rather than ‘s’ in words like ‘baptise’, is less likely to bother newer and younger Bible readers. It’s new Bible readers that will get the best out of this little gem of a Bible. I say gem, because even at this price it does have silvered edges, a presentation page and a sewn spine that's easy open flat without breaking its back – unlike some glued spine Bibles.
For new readers, this Bible opens up with the assurance: ‘you can know God personally: he already knows you.’ Even I found that encouraging! What follows is a surprisingly candid exploration of what the Bible does and doesn’t say about a whole range of real life issues. This honesty can only encourage a new reader that the rest of the Bible really is worth reading.
I have to say, I’m more likely to buy this Bible as an excellent little gift than for my own use – but I’m finding it hard to return it to customer services bookshelf where it belongs. The most important thing about a compact Bible is that it’s small, a delight to carry about, and strong enough to handle life on the move. At less than 110mm by 160mmm, and in embosed purple soft imitation leather, this compact NLT will do all of that and more. – Les Ellison
January 22nd, 2013 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison