« The Books of the Bible (TNIV) | Main | Join the Conversation »

November 12, 2007



This reminds me a bit of the New Jerusalem Bible that I read regularly 20+ years ago in seminary.

It is a single-column format. The verse numbers are in the inner margin. The outer margins weren't as clean as the NEB example here because they are cluttered with cross references. Footnotes (and there are lots of footnotes) are on the lower part of the right page of a two-page spread and in a two column format.

This is a complete Bible, with Apocrypha, and it is a brick! Page size is 6" X 9.25" Even with 8 pt type, it is 2.75 inches thick and weighs in at 4 lbs, 12 oz. That makes it an unlikely candidate to tote. However, it is handy to anchor small children in a windstorm!

But, like the NEB shown here, the format of this edition of the NJB (identical to the original Jerusalem Bible of the mid-60s) has influenced what I look for in a Bible. It's too bad such basic design is so rare.

ElShaddai Edwards

There have been a few of these paperback NEB NTs on eBay lately if you're looking for a copy that's not falling apart. I imagine that the NEB NT hardback is of similar layout, but more durable. I've been very impressed with the variety and quality of NEB publishing from Oxford from "back in the days".


This afternoon, while scanning the shelves of the parish library, I ran across a hardcover NEB, complete text, with this very design. It's remarkable. For a book that's nearly 40 years old, it's in pristine condition.

It occurs to me that it might be time to cull the library and pull unused texts from the shelves and see if they can find a home elsewhere.

J. Mark Bertrand

Mark, if it's the same one-column format and includes the complete text, could you tell us how thick it is? I surmised it must be pretty large, but it would be great to know for sure.


2.5 inches.


We have better paper (thinner yet stronger and less opaque) now than when that NEB was published so your estimated thickness on the edition you have may be a bit generous compared to what actually could be done today


I read the NEB through somewhere in the 80's. I am away from my home at the present, but I remember it to be a one column Bible. It is an interesting version.

Lue-Yee Tsang

Bonus: each page seems to have the aspect ratio of a golden rectangle.


There are still used copies of the complete Bible available:
Maroon hardcover. Anyone know of a leather version in single-column?

Rod Summers

In the last several months I have have purchased a compact leather NEB NT, hardcover NEB of 1970 (US purchase), 2 cloth hardbacks of the 1961 NEB NT in different sizes (UK second hand bookstore purchased), and an NEB with Apocrypha in the original red leatherex with slip case (UK purchased). I am now shopping for rebinders and leathers for at least two of these. After reading these for a while now I am convinced that this format is unmatched among Bible translations where reading (versus reference look-up) is the main approach to the text. Thanks, Mark, for putting us onto this approach over two years ago now!!!

Martin B.

I had read Mark's review of the NEB NT some time ago and had been on the lookout for one. I was at the used bookstore today and found a leather bound NEB NT for $4.98 . Other than being inscribed with a women's name, having a nice "perfumed smell," and the cover being a little beaten up at the top and bottom of the spine, it is in almost new condition (it looks like the ribbon marker had never been moved from the day it was bound). I suspect the former owner carried it in her purse to church on Sundays and otherwise didn't put it to much use.

This may be as well done a single-column bible as I have ever seen. I have always thought that single-column bibles should move the numbers to the outside margin so that the text flows in an uninterrupted paragraph. The text block itself is a great size, and the fonts used are great; in short the form factor of this bible is awesome. The format (including the font) definitely reminds me of the Message I have that uses a similar format (except this is a real bible translation and not Eugene Peterson's re-imagining). This NEB NT is just a beautifully designed bible.

Thanks to Mark B. for reviewing this a few years ago so that I would know to snap it up when I saw it.


Sure wish I had the ISBN# for this bible. Anyone know?

J. Mark Bertrand

The ISBN is 0-521-50947-5. The tricky part is, I believe the beautiful red cover and the stiff burgundy cover both had the same ISBN, so it's hard to know from the number alone which one you're getting.


Is there anywhere we can find which Bibles are available with verse number in the margins?

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Welcome to BibleDesignBlog.com, a site devoted to innovative design and quality Bible binding. Read the reviews, explore the extensive comments, and feel free to join in. The links in the righthand column give you access to all the reviews, every category (including rebinding projects and "eye candy"), and links to other sites that might interest you.
My Photo


  • 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.

Books by Bertrand

Bible Reviews