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October 09, 2007



"Luscious" comes to mind.

By the way, ribbon markers must always be fray-checked before use. Always. It's an obsession.

And thanks for the heads up on the shop with the vintage Cambridge Bibles. If you are willing to reveal the place (privately, of course) and I can squeeze in a trip south, the first cup of coffee is on me.


I am not a fan of the "ribbed" (grosgrain style) ribbon markers with the "squared" ends that Cambridge uses sometimes. I prefer (trying not to be snobbish...hehe) either satin or silk similiar to Allan's Bibles.

I agree that "fray check" is a must.


my Concord KJV bound in goatskin is extremely limp...more so than any other bible that I own.

Jesus Saenz

The dimensions and layout are very similar to the NASB In Touch Ministries Bible from The Lockman Foundation. Both are double column, the ITMB does not have cross references where as the Cambridge does. The Cambridge is also wider due to the center column cross references and the margins appear wider as well. The Lockman NASB however is not available in goatskin only calfskin. I do not think that I will get the Wide Margin NASB from Cambridge as I already own the ITMB. After this review however, I am waiting anxiously for it to be released in the ESV!

Scott Sackett

I'm glad you warmed up to the NASB! I've been eyeing a Pitt NASB at the local store for a while. My resistance to a wide margin is that my handwriting leaves much to be desired and I prefer separate notes so I can hide my penmanship shortcomings. I do tend to do a lot of highlighting & underlining though.

Also, 2 bills is outside this starving artist's budget (why the Pitt is still at the store!) and on top of that my Bibles tend to live in my backpack. I think I need a little more rigid cover as my treatment might destroy that limp cover pretty quick.



Does the wide margin NASB have a thinline feel?

Have you heard any news when the pitt minion NASB wide margin is supposed to come out?

Jesus Saenz


The Pitt Minion is a "compact" Bible designed By Cambridge using small but readable type. Cambridge then took the same type and page layout, increased the font size and added wide margins to make the Wide Margin NASB. As far as I know, Cambridge isn't going to make the compact Pitt Minion and adding wide margin to it. Also, according to the Cambridge site the Wide Margin NASB is one and a half inches thick... not quite "thin"

J. Mark Bertrand

Mark -- Next time you venture down into the wilds of South Dakota, I will guide you to the glowing entrance of this Aladdin's cave of turquoise water buffalo hide. You'll love it.

Matt -- Thanks for the fray check advice. My Concord is calfskin from about a decade ago, and not nearly so flexible after all that use as this new NASB is out of the box. To think what I missed all those years!

Jesus -- I'm anxiously awaiting that ESV wide margin, too.

Scott -- I understand about the handwriting. In fact, one of the things that prompted me to buy my first Bible was all the notes I'd made in the one I'd grown up with. Shaking, unformed scrawl; juvenile content. If anyone sees your notes, though, and sniggers, you could always claim that they're written in Greek.

Matt & Jesus -- I'm afraid there's a typo in my original review. I said this Bible measures 11/12 of an inch, and what I should have written is that it measures 1 1/2 inches. It doesn't have a thinline feel, but I wouldn't describe it as bulky, either. This edition is based on the Pitt Minion setting, so Jesus is right in saying there isn't going to be a second, smaller edition.


Thanks for the clarification mark... I was trying picture a wide margin under an inch thick...hehe.

I dont know where I came up with the idea of a NASB pitt minion wide margin...must have been a dream last night.

I am also excited about the pitt minion ESV, just wish it was sooner.


Thanks for the clarification mark... I was trying picture a wide margin under an inch thick...hehe.

I dont know where I came up with the idea of a NASB pitt minion wide margin...must have been a dream last night.

I am also excited about the pitt minion ESV, just wish it was sooner.


Correction: also excited about the ESV wide margin

Jeff Richardson


Did you notice that something was missing from the spine of the NASB wide margin? What happened the Cambridge signant?

J. Mark Bertrand

Good point, Jeff. Most of my Cambridge Bibles don't have that little crest on the spine, and I'm not sure when they started doing it. The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible and the KJV Cameo Wide Margin both have it, and so does their little Book of Common Prayer. I prefer as little gilding on the spine as possible, though, so I think I like the plainer look better.

Jesus Saenz

If I'm not mistaken, only the KJV editions have the crest. That is the crest they use as part of the "signature" for their KJV editions. If you notice, all of the Cambridge translations have their own image. The font used for the titles on the box is different as well as having their own "crest" but only the KJV's have it stamped on the spine.


Do the Cambridge gentlemen have the good sense to publish the NASB in black-letter?

J. Mark Bertrand

Sorry, John: "This is a red-letter edition, and the red is dark and crisp." Not my preference, either, but I think it's pretty much expected in the American market.

Jesus: I believe the crest signifies a Royal Warrant or some such. My Book of Common Prayer has the exact same design on the spine, so it's not exclusive to the KJVs. (Or if it is, it's exclusive to them, plus the BCP).


Wow...lots to learn. This is a great blog. We need a post on basic definitions!!! (Smile)


Thanks for the blog on bindings, Mark. I'm a bit of a binding slob myself, and had never actually heard of R.A. Allens before reading your blog. I've actually just ordered my first bible from them, and eagerly anticipate it's arrival sometime this week...

Thanks for the wonderful reviews, and keep up the great work!

J. Mark Bertrand

Congratulations on the purchase, Hutch. Let us know when it arrives!

Tommy Lane

Thanks to this entry, I decided to order one of these NASB wide margin bibles from Cambridge with the exquisite Goatskin cover. I received it today from Amazon. It's everything you said it is. It's really high quality and worth the price.


Thanks for the review of the Allan's ESV. I'll have to disagree on this review of the Cambridge Wide Margin. I have received two from Baker Publishing and the binding is horrible. The materials used are great but whoever is binding these editions are doing a terrible job. For a Bible of this price, the craftsmanship is greatly lacking. The cover on the outside looks great, when you look at the inside cover where the leather folds back and is glued, the first one I received looked like a middle schooler did it for a "binding" project. It was awful! The second one was set in the binding incorrectly and was coming loose on the inside. I have a Pitt Minion NASB that is wonderful, but there are some serious quality issues going on with this Bible. Talking to Baker, I'm not the only one who has had issues. I'm getting my money back. I'm glad you haven't had this problem. I really wanted this Bible to work, but alas! Now I will use the money I get refunded from this Bible to buy an Allan's ESV!


Sounds like the issues you experienced caused all things to work together for good! :)


Thanks for the review. Does the Cambridge NASB wide margin have a leather, synthetic, or paper glued lining. Thanks.

God Bless,

P.S. Thread blocker on the ribbons is a must. :-)


Thread blocker?


thread blocker is also called "fray check"...it is a liquid that you dab on the end of cut ribbons to keep them from fraying over time.

David - Believe the NASB has leather linings.



I know that Cambridge in the past has used a synthetic material for lining of their high-end bindings. I have a Cambridge goatskin concord reference Bible that says full leather lining on the box, but a call to the Bible department revealed that it's actually some type of synthetic pseudo leather. It works just as good, and it wouldn't hinder me from future purchases, but it's not real leather.

I know the specs for Allan Bibles calls for sheepskin lining. Sheepskin is pretty thin, but it's nice. I have several Allan Bibles

I know that the soft calfskin covers (coming out of Mexico) that a number of manufactures are using on their high dollar bindings, e.g., Nelson signature series, Crossway, Foundation Publications, can either come with a cowhide leather lining, or a thin Italian imitation leather lining depending on the publisher's specs.

However, what the aforementioned publishers have in common (there are others as well) is that their high-end bindings are done the right way. They are full "leather" lined on the inside. The covers attach to the text block in a manner that puts the stress points in the right places, unlike the paper-glued method found on 99% of the Bibles published these days where they glue cardboard inserts into the cover, and then glue paper on the inside.

I'm glad there are people still willing to buy these high dollar bindings because it would be a shame if they stopped being produced for lack of interest in the market.

God Bless,

matt morales

David - I agree. I have a oouple bibles rebound by Mechling book bindery that have a sheepskin lining and I actually prefer them over the synthetic linings because they feel like they a little more substance to them (although that could just be the over thickness in general).

Regarding the NASB, I thought I read that it was leather lined...but if it is not I stand corrected.


Interesting..."fray check" -- is it something you put on when a Bible is new? Also, where do you buy such an item?

matt morales

PDS - I do not put fray check on new bibles...I wait until the ribbon frays and then I'll trim it and will add the fray check then. Anotherwards I give the ribbon a chance. But I add ribbon markers to other books and when I cut the ribbon I will dab fray check on the end.

From a google definition: "Fray Check is a nylon plastic in an alcohol base"

You can buy it at craft stores.


Thanks Matt.


I may be one of the few who would want it…

But, do you know of any plans to have something similar in perhaps and NRSV so I could get the apocrypha with it? It seems wide margin Bibles don’t have the apocrypha, and Bibles with the apocrypha aren't wide margin. I'd like a wide-margin reference Bible with apocrypha and extra pages in the back using a fairly modern translation. Any suggestions?


I have only touched this book in my local store and it was the Moroccan Leather version. I wasn't too impressed with the leather quality, but I was extremely impressed by the paper quality. The ivory color and it's feel on the fingertips are absolutely amazing and I've yet to find anything equal to it. If I were to get another NASB wide margin it'd be this one but in calfskin I think.

Rod Summers

I never thought I'd find someone or a group that shares my obsession with Bibles- bindings, versions, design, etc. I started my quest nearly 25 years ago for that "perfect" Bible. I have 50-60 Bibles on the shelves with some of my high end ones being NASB In Touch (given to me by Lockman after reviewing), cowhide NASB single column reference, and cowhide Cambridge NIV wide margin (as well as hardback). Reading your blog has me energized. I'm waiting for that wide margin ESV in paragraphs to come out! Have decided after a study of versions and using several for class teaching and personal reading that the ESV should be my main version. Eagerly waiting the single column in January. I've written Crossway several times about their quality, layouts, etc. Thanks for having such an influence there. Keep it up. This is superb. One thing I'm noticing more about the wide margins with two columns. Publishers are reducing the inside margin and that is frustrating. Even the Cambridge NASB (which I have longed for tfor 15 years) has reduced margins (compared to my Cambridge NIV.) Hope they will listen and fix that problem. Thanks!!!


Two days after reading your post, I ran across this Bible in a church bookstore, with a 30% bible sale going on. The price, after the discount, was Amazon-esque, so I couldn't pass it up. Incredible Bible.

Anyone have tips/ideas on how you use the Notes Index in the back?


I've read several different people use them for different things. Some outline sermons there, while others use an index type of system, topical studies, and color coding. I found that googling 'bible' 'marking' revealed a lot of interesting information. I've found this link to be helpful:



Nathan, thanks for the great link. That's exactly what I was looking for.

Steven Carter

I also very much appreciate your post. I live in the South, and would like to look at the "Vintage Cambridge Bible Collection" that you mentioned. I have a few of the old gold boxes with the black labels myself. I have 2 goatskin, 1 morocco, 1 brown water buffalo calfskin, 4 berkshire, 1 rebound in pigskin (genuine leather) that used to be black water buffalo calfskin, 2 blue buckram board (like a songbook/pew Bible), 1 french morocco, and 1 burgundy calfskin, and one bonded leather -- all Cambridge Cameo Wide Margin KJV. I just wish I still had the two that I sold a few years ago. I guess my favorite Bible is the Bershire (although I am extremely fond of them all). But, if I could have one brand new of the above, it would probably be a black water buffalo calfskin. Anyway -- Thanks again for your post.

Wesley Morrison

I am also interested in purchasing a vintage Cambridge. Could you please send me the address of the shop as well?

Thanks and God Bless!


I will be purchasing a nice leather bound Bible soon and have been looking and getting opinions from many people. I've looked at the Allan's Bibles at Bibles Direct but there is not much information on the site to tell me what is what. Also was told that the older Cambridge Bibles could be held up by one page without it ripping. I'm heartsick over having to set aside an old and much loved and worn Bible and just want to know that when I buy this one it will last and last with much use and love.
The money I have been squirreling away for some time, and I think it is wise to purchase something well made and won't "wear out" than to continue buying cheaply made Bibles that just don't stand up to much use and are a disappointment to me. That may sound sacrilegious, but God's Word is precious to me and I feel disappointed with cheap paper that shows through, printing that is hard to read and binding that peels back and .
Can anyone give me their opinions on the calfskin vs goatskin? Allan's vs Cambridge (I've seen some Cambridge Bibles published a good 8 years or so ago so perhaps those published earlier may be better than current, up to date ones?) And semi-yapp vs full yapp? I don't think any of my Bibles have had any kind of yapp...
And will these stand up well with no Bible cover? It seems a shame to have such a gorgeous looking and feeling Bible and then to cover it up with canvas or leather or anything really. Do they require special care to keep them supple and make them last?

Any info will be greatly appreciated. I am anxious to make this purchase and have wanted to do it since Christmas but want to be SURE I'm getting the "right" one. It's not something I plan to be able to do again anytime soon.


If you buy one of these premium leather bibles don't put it in a bible cover. Simply using it keeps the leather supple and conditioned (hand oils). I don't think you can go wrong with an Allan's or Cambridge. I've handled both and the quality of Allan's seems to be higher in my opinion. Both of my premium bibles have a semi-yapp cover and it suits me just fine. My advice would be to go with an Allan's bible. You'll find the more expensive ones are highland goatskin with two ribbon markers and the red art gilt edges... mine is absolutely, incredibly well made and I expect it to last longer than I do. Can't go wrong really.


Thanks for this detailed post. What are the measurements for the inside margins?


As one who has purchased both the NASB Pitt Minion and NASB Wide-Margin, this Bible is so nice. It is one of the only Bibles I've received that is flawless. What is such a nice feature is being able to have the exact same layout in both the Pitt Minion and the Wide-Margin. I'm a guy that loves to get familiar with where verses are on a page etc...and this allows me to use a portable Bible to church etc, and use my Wide-Margin at home, while retaining the same layout. It doesn't get any better than this.

Greg Terry

Could someone please give us the measurements of the margins for the NASB wide margin and the KJV Concord wide margin?

Both look really nice.



OK. I have been lusting after a Cambridge Wide Margin NASB for longer than its been available. I settled for a Cambridge Wide Margin KJV about 4 months before the NASB was published. The KJV edition is a beautiful bible and very well made; however, it is not my prefered translation and I have often found myself regretting the purcahse. Oh! If I had only shown a little more self control and waited. But no. And now, thanks to you, Mr. J. Mark Betrand, my desire for the Cambridge Wide Margin NASB is consuming me. It was your article on the value of these bibles that sold me on the idea of wide margins and quality bindings. These things are not cheap, sir. Not only do I have to convince my wife of my need for another wide margin bible (The last one was supposed to be The Last Bible that I would ever need to purcahse.), but now I have to convince her that it must be the goatskin edition. More $$$$!! Somebody pray for me. This is becoming an addiction.

What is your knowledge of the Holman Christian Standard? This is by far my favorite translation and I would love to get my hands on a bible like the Cambridge Wide Margin in this translation. I know that they print a "wide margin" edition, but...please. Is there any chance that B&H Publishing will take seriously the matter of a wide margin edition? BTW, I was tempted (for just a moment) to purchase the Legacy Study Bible published by Nelson. I love the text layout; two columns with wide margins that were unobstructed by cross references. However, I couldn't bring myself to buy a bible with a man's name stamped across the cover. Not to mention that the binding could use some help.

I liked this layout because I see the half-inch of space used for references in my Cambridge as wasted space. Please, someone, give me that space for my own references and notes. Am I the only one who doesn't really use the 80 or so pages of concordance, glossary, and maps. And would prefer to have those pages for expounding on some particular exegetical line of thought? Publishers could save a quarter of an inch in thickness by elliminating these "tools." Or they could give me more room for notes; maybe a few pages thrown in between the OT and the NT or maybe a page or two between each book.

I envision the kind of person who uses a wide margin bible as someone who has a small library of dictionaries, maps, concordances, etc. for personal study. In all my life and with all the bibles that I have owned I have never given more than a cursory glance at the maps in the back of any bible. And during a discussion with a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness I have never turned to the concordance in the back of my bible to defend my faith. When I finally discovered what a valuable tool a concordance could be in my personal study I wasn't satisfied with the little thing printed in the back of most bibles; I had to buy something more exhaustive. Am I truly the odd ball?

I have read many descriptions of what people want in a wide margin bible and most people describe similar characteristics. But I have yet to see any publisher make what would appear to be a serious effort to capture this market. Are we really so small a group that we lack any real purchasing power? Does it even help for us to voice our ideas to the publishers? And if so, then who do we tell? When will the guys who make these decisions convene a panel of wide margin aficionados to help them develop the "perfect" wide margin bible?

Oh my! I seem to have ranted all over your blog. Please accept my apologies. And please, keep up the good work. I find your articles and reviews informative and pleasant to read. You take a lot of the leg work out of bible shopping.


P.S. If you never here from me again it's probably because my wife has blocked your site in an effort to diminish my appetite for well-made bibles.


I ordered the Cambridge Wide Margin Reference (NASB) in goatskin today. I can't wait until I receive it! I already own the same Bible in the KJV and absolutely love it. For me, my new Bible may very well be the perfect Bible. I liked the KJV of the Cambridge Wide Margin, but the NASB version wasn't available when I bought it, otherwise I would have ordered it in the NASB. Furthermore, I've always wanted a red-letter edition and my KJV didn't have that. The NASB version also comes in paragraph formatting, albeit in a double column format. I used to like the verse by verse formatting until I recently took a hermeneutics class in college. I now understand the importance of paragraph formatting. It's going to take a while to get used to, but I think the exegetical benefits of the paragraph formatting will pay off.

I have nothing but praise for the Cambridge goatskin Bible that I currently own. If you’ve never owned a goatskin bound bible, you should definitely buy one. My Bible is even more supple today than the day I first purchased it. It once fell off of the pulpit while I was preaching and it landed in such a way that it severely creased the cover. After restraining myself from crying, I picked up my Bible thinking that I would have a permanent crease across the front of it. I’m happy to say, that thanks to the high quality goatskin cover, one cannot even see the slightest hint of a crease in my Bible!

I’m already a huge fan of wide-margin Bibles. I’m glad to hear that there are others out there who feel the same way. I love to take notes and I used to get frustrated trying to write around the printed notes that my old Bibles came pre-printed with. I started using a wide-margin about five years ago and cannot foresee using anything else.

I want to express my sincere appreciation for this blog. Over the last few days I’ve practically read every post of it. I didn’t realize that there were others out there who shared the same passion for high quality Bibles that I have. I’ve used the “other” Bibles and they just don’t compare! Please keep up the good work on this site. I thoroughly enjoy reading the comments posted here.

Ben Ting

Now I finally understand the phrase - like holding water. I ordered a NKJV wide-margin goatskin. Simply awesome. And beautiful. I have the feeling the binding is "better" than Allan's? And most surprisingly, the Bible is so "light"! This is simply the best value for money.

Bob Burns

When's the ESV Wide-Margin Reference Edition coming out?


You just cost me more money! But you were right! (http://stilltruth.com/j-mark-bertrand-was-right) My NASB Goatskin just arrived and unboxing it was tantalizing. This is the first high quality bible I've ever owned and I am already spoiled.
Excuse me I have to go read it.


@ Bob, ESV Wide Margin release date is Feb 09 - think of it as an opportunity to practice patience!


Mr. Bertrand,

Thank you so much for this complete and thorough review; because of it I will be purchasing this Bible in the NKJV translation next week. This is exactly what I have been searching for.




I loved this Bible - I should have started my search for the perfect NASB here. This is it.

However, I was SO disappointed to discover that my Brand New out of the box Cambridge NASB Wide Margin in Goatskin was already missing a small chunk of leather in the middle of the front cover (which left a small white on black un-dyed DOT staring straight at me is if to say “Haha! You have to return me, get refund and then wait for my mate to fly back across the Atlantic). The inside lining was ripped from the bottom up along the text block about 1/2cm and the binding was pulling away (unglued) in about 3 places on the inside back cover (whew!). I loved everything else about it.

Sad to say the only other Cambridge’s that I've seen from members of my church each have virtually the entire inside lining ripped or cracked along the edge where it meets the book block. I'm still dreaming that there are Cambridge editions out there without these faults, the product sure doesn't deserve them, so I second Rod's comment (over on the “NASB In Touch Ministries Wide Margin Edition in Blue Calfskin” write-up) regarding his wish of Cambridge using glue that actually sticks.

A little QC would be very much appreciated too especially for those of us who have to ship these items halfway across the globe. Don't get me wrong, I've actually ordered a nice little stash of Cambridge’s (as I can see the value in them) with only one simple expectation – I’ve handed over MY perfectly good money to purchase these products & I think I'm well within my rights to expect perfectly good items - &/or perhaps a little commission from the QC dept for consistently finding faults, we make a good team guys :)

Can't wait to see the other Cambridge releases over the next year!


My second (return) NASB WM arrived & I have to say they almost got it right this time, it's wonderful all round ...... except for the little embossed line that forms an outline around the front/back of the binding. It's about 2+mm from the edge on the bottom edge, but minus 1/2mm going along the top edge where it looks like it's about to dissapear altogether actually, but, like a surfer riding the lip of the wave it drops in onto the spine & resumes to 'surf' its way wavy along the side edges. Oh well, so close!

I can see many years of joy with this Bible especially considering the layout & text matches up perfectly in the Wide Margin AND Pitt Minion editions of the NASB for an identical page for page look (i.e. pg 657 in the Wide Margin looks identical in every way bar the size to p657 in the Pitt Minion!) That's a great idea for those who study, it helps to 'burn' an image into the brains long term memory so you'll be far more likely to be able to recall where on the page you found something. Now they just need to take the NIV Wide Margin & Pitt Minion & match the text & pages up so they're identical too - and Oh, bring back the gilt line please. I can't wait to get my teeth stuck into these with plenty of room for my own notes - woohoo!

I'm getting to that point where I think it's time to enjoy them all - yes, give a few away at the 'right' time - yes, but time to really settle down & choose the best & get stuck into it, to just commit to a version(s) & edition(s) & work them till they drop. By then this blog should be full of rave reviews of top of the line publishers with single column top of the line editions featuring well proportioned text & references bound together in a range of the most luxurious of leather bindings providing multiple choices to complement your existing collection! Right now - I'm settling into a few years with my new Cambridge Wide Margins & Pitt Minions with an Allan's or two on the side for fun!

As always, thanks Mark for this incredible Bible experience you've taken us on, I feel so much more satisfied in my understanding of the Word, esp after breaking free from a KJV-Only type of understanding that was neither fair, balanced or logical to put it honestly, but I'm free of that now, I'm broke again, but free, satisfied & ready to do battle!


i was just wondering if anyone here has a NASB concord reference by cambridge. i am desperately looking for one. if anybody who has one would be so kind as to give me an isbn # that would be greatly appreciated. my email is [email protected]. thanks in advance

Sam Neth

Dear Cambridge Customer Service,

I am interested in this Bible:
NASB Wide Margin Reference Edition NS746:XRM black goatskin leather Bible
Leather Binding (ISBN-13: 9780521702652) Published June 2007
If you could thumb-index and personalize it for me, I'll purchase one; and how much will this extra work cost? Please also tell me what to do to order that extra work. Thanks for your prompt reply in advance.

Sam Neth
Phone: (804) 674-2880 Ext. 112
Fax: (804) 674-2815
Email: [email protected]


Sam try these links to order your Bible:





I've looked at this bible and think that the print is kind of small and light (grayish) in appearance. Is it me, or are even good quality bibles printed with less than black type?

eric rollie

How are the cambridge french morocco bible bindings?

Jeff Avveduti

I have this Bible and it is Wonderful. However, what about the loose leaf NASB bible (or other translations)? This goatskin is wonderful and almost has enough room. However I am still running out of room for notes. I found a loose leaf Bible and it has 2" of margin. It is a bit big but I could care less.




I have been looking for a review on this particular Bible for quite some time. I own the Cambridge reference NASB (goat skin) but am finding the print to small for long readings. I have been hesatint to purchase this Bible for fear of size. After reading the review, I took the plung and couldn't be happier. I don't even know its on my lap. That being said, any advise for hte type of pen to ue on the pages for nots? Thanks!

mike smith

I use the MICRON by SAKURA. I use the .02,.o3, .005 to underline and write notes in all my Bibles some with thinner paper and narrow margins and wide ones also.


do any of you with the Pitt Minion use bible covers or carry as is? I want to enjoy the fine craftsmanship but still protect it.

James Thompson

It seems that most people are recommending the MICRON by SAKURA as the favored pen for marking their Bibles. However I've had problems finding them. Instead I've been using pens by Helix and they've worked pretty good for me. I use only the 0.1 & 0.3 sizes. Anybody else use these?



While it's inside my shoulder bad, I keep it in it's original box. If I am just walking around with it, I carry it in my hands. There are other posts here on the care and feeding of Bibles. Most say, and I agree, that the best thing for your Bible is oil from your hands. Also, most standard Bible covers tend to cause abrasion on the fine leather. I don't use them on any of my Bibles.

Robert Lombardi

So is the lining on these editions leather or not? I know someone had asked the question earlier, and another person speculated that it was leather lined, but I didn't see any positive confirmation from an owner and there aren't any photos of the lining either. Thanx.


Robert, these Bibles are not leather lined. They are edge-lined with a flexible synthetic material that is shiny and black. Real leather linings are nicer but this cover is very flexible.

Robert Lombardi

I noticed that it appears that the synthetic lining is under the leather edging rather than on top. It seems like that would be a more robust way to keep the lining from peeling up. Is that the same impression that owners have with this lining? I would be interested in knowing more about how they deal with the lining at the edges where it can have the tendency to peel up after time.


@ Robert,

I had two of the NASB editions and both peeled up around the edge and were cut uneven. This happened in less than a few days use. I did not keep it and bought the hard back edition. I'm curious abut the new ESV edition since, according to Mark's review, they have stitched around the edges. I'm guessing they did this to remedy this problem.

Robert Lombardi

I looked at even my Allan editions and the edges are not stitched from what I can see. It looks bonded together somehow, but a very strong bond it seems.


I just got really excited about something and I'm wondering if it's actually true. My dream Bible would be the wide-margin NASB bound in an Allan's binding. As of last year, Allan's told me that they didn't offer the NASB wide-margin in their binding, but I just logged into their site and it likes they may now offer the wide-margin NASB. I don't recall seeing this Bible on their site before. Does anyone know if Allan's is now offering the wide-margin in an Allan's binding? Please tell me it's true. I sent Allan's an e-mail inquiry and I'm currently waiting to hear back from them.

James Thompson

Lynn -- It's possible that I'm wrong about this but that bible is the same as Cambridge's NASB Wide-Margin Reference Black Goatskin NS746XRM. I don't think the binding's different. I'll be interested to see what Allas says to you in response.



That's what I'm afraid of. I know their Pitt Minion NASB is the Cambridge bound version. I own the the NS746XRM already. In the same e-mail I asked Allan's if they could rebind my Cambridge wide-margin in one of their bindings if the wide-margin they're offering is simply the Cambridge bound version. I'll post the results of what I find out.

On a separate note, I have worked with Cambridge on several returns recently and have found them to be more than reasonable. I've now returned three Bibles to them and they have replaced them without asking questions. Cambridge makes a nice Bible, but I'll admit, they seem to be slacking on their quality control. All of the issues for which I've returned Bibles could have easily been prevented by someone taking 15 seconds to look at the final product before shipping it out.

For those of you who have commented about the interior flap not being glued properly, I've run into this problem on two wide-margin Bibles from Cambridge. Rather than return the Bibles, however, I simply used some clear, multi-purpose glue (I forget the name of it off hand) to glue the flap down. Although it's annoying to have to do this on a brand new Bible, the fix has worked great.


Chris Spenner

For those interested, I just received my replacement NASB wide margin in goatskin from Cambridge, as my cover had been coming unglued on the edges, and the NASB now also includes the stitching around the edge of the cover. Folks at Baker did not know this, as they told me they had fixed the problem but that the stitching similar to the other wide margins was not on the NASB. And I am pleasantly surprised, this new NASB looks to be bound even better, it lays open flat much better, and is less “stiff” around the midsection, though they do add a bit of heavy-weight paper to the middle of the paper liners (if that is the correct term for that portion) for support. Easier to write notes in the inside margin. The spine is even appearing to be more “rounded”; overall it feels much better, and I am more confident this will last a good long while.

Chris Spenner


Allan's just re-sell's the Cambridge wide margin NASB. They cannot purchase the NASB text block due to the Lockman Foundation holding the rights to it (or something legal like that). I, too, would love an Allan's wide margin NASB, but according to them, I should not expect to see one, at least anytime soon.

Sean Reed

My wife purchased for me the Cambridge NASB Wide Margin Bible with a goatskin leather cover. What a disappointment! The spine is rounded and has no definition; looks like someone simply wrapped a piece of leather around the pages. The leather on the inside cover is uneven; looks like a kid cut it with a pair of craft scissors. And the outside edges of the cover are also uneven.

I've purchased several Cambridge Bibles before and have always been positively impressed. I imagine this one is simply a lemon.

What bothers me the most is the rounded spine. Is this an anomaly or just the way Cambridge makes them?


Is this in the paragraph format? I like the traditional chapter and verse format which I have now in my Nelson's NKJ wide margin Bible, which I have had for 15 years. I am looking for another one, but am told it is no longer available. Any ideas where I might find one?


Ordered mine today . . . my library of Bibles keeps growing thanks to these reviews. At least I have a small amount of justification with this one in that I don't have a good quality NASB. I have 2 Bible Study Books that go hand in hand with the NASB translation and I've been considering this Bible for quite some time due to the amount of space the wide margins provide for notes. (AND THE GOATSKIN!!!!) I can't wait to feel that water in my hands!


Hi Mark, UPDATE......I just received my Goatskin wide margin NASB this week, and Cambridge has made some changes. The spine is now rounded,it now has the additional line of stitching along the cover's edge,the inside front cover says "Goatskin cover", and it has that shinny leather like lining, all identical to the Cambridge EVS wide margin verison that you reviewed.

I called Baker(Cambridges US distributor) and they informed me that the "linning is leather". To me it feels more like a Synthetic material.

John Hingelberg

Hello Cyberspace,

Is the wide margin pointless if I don't plan on writing in it? I want a quality NASB, but the Pitt Minion might be too small for my taste. The Goatskin seems to be a priority at this point.

Would I be better off with the Reader's Edition ESV I read such good reviews about? I have an ESV1 in Tan Highland Goatskin and question whether the Reader's Edition would be worth the cost.

How do the NASB and ESV translations compare? Please, I need some experienced counsel...



John, if your committed to the NASB and are willing to wait until this fall you can pre-order the new Allen NASB from Evangelicalbible.com or from Allen's site.



I use the NASB and ESV in my daily readings and there isn't a lot of difference in those two translations most of the time (that I can tell).....I sort of think of the ESV as a more readable version of the NASB really.....but I don't have a seminary education, so somebody else could wade into deeper waters than I on the merits of one translation over another.

What I can tell you is that if you enjoy the ESV1 from Allan's, you would love the Reader's Edition. It really gives you more options for study than the ESV1....larger type, more room at the margins for notes and it's not too big/heavy to carry around. They struck the right balance between having room at the margin for notes and not producing too large of a product, as far as I'm concerned....

I recommend cutting off your tv service or some other cost saving measure and buying both the Reader's Edition and the new Allan's NASB when it comes out....haha.


I printed out Text Samples from cambridgebibles.com of both the NASB and the NKJV wide-margin versions and is it me or is the NKJV font slightly bigger or something? It is either very slightly bigger or more spaced out, making it easier to read IMO. Unfortunately they don't have a sample for the wide-margin ESV to compare with.

Mark Henderson

Umm, third last paragraph, first line: that should be 'eminently' practical, not 'imminently', yes?

Enjoyed the review.

Chris Bloom

Maybe he meant that it wasn't practical right now, but would be VERY soon ... ;)

Jason Mayfield

I just bought one! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyIbhtyOrWg&feature=g-all-u&context=G2ff3a31FAAAAAAAAAAA


You are a bad, bad man, J. Mark Bertrand. You twisted my arm firstly with the idea of wide margin bibles (that's how I discovered your blog) and then this NASB wide margin - I was a NKJV die-hard, although I do possess several other translations. Now this review was bad news, to my bank account at least.

I ordered myself this same bible albeit in French Morocco leather. It arrived today. It's a benchmark for me - it's the most expensive book I've ever bought (and what a book!) and it's also my first proper leather bible. I've been living with a scribbled-note infested Scofield Bonded Leather NKJV bible - well-loved but seriously lacking space for my own notes.

I love it! It's brilliant. The quality seems superb - nothing immediately wrong with it apart from one thing. Boy is the cover stiff! I've read elsewhere that French Morocco softens in time, but this is a bible I would call an investment, where I have plenty of space for notes, it's thinner than my Scofield despite the larger footprint (which I don't mind). Oh, and two ribbons!

Thank you, for this blog - now, a single column NASB with wide margins. :-)

I forgive you - and thank you for the experience that wide-margin will offer me.


If anyone is intersted, I have this edition (cambridge nasb wide-margin goatskin), and I have not used it. It has just sat in the box for the last few years. I bought for my wife as a wedding gift, but it was just too big for her liking. I just bought her the Clarion edition of this bible and she loves that.

I hate to just let this bible just sit in its box. If anyone is interested in buying it, please email me at [email protected]
I'll be more than happy to give you a good deal on it.

p.s. Mr. Bertrand, I hate to be turning you blog into a marketplace for bible resells. That being said, you could have a bible marketplace on this website and take a commission off of every trade (maybe $2-5 dollars). Anyways, wouldn't be much money but maybe at little extra to help contribute to this website.


J. Mark Bertrand

Not a problem, Justin. The comments thread on the top post is specifically intended for this sort of thing, but I don't have a problem with people connecting with each other to buy/sell. The Facebook fan page is another place to let people know what you have or what you're looking for.


Just wanted to say this Bible is amazing. My only gripe is that the font is really small. Now I understand it has be or the Bible would be a foot thick, but I still long for something a little more readable. Might have to break out the magnifying glass in a few years. Oh well, the goatskin MORE than makes up for it.

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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