Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Waterproof Bible NIV NT

My Damaging the Cambridge ESV post received quite a lot of feedback and among the comments was a recommendation for Bardin Marsee Publishing's waterproof Bible (thanks to Donna Lynn McCormack for the recommendation). I had never heard of the product before, but now that I've handled the edition I am amazed that they are not more prevalent. The NIV New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs is an outstanding example of many editions to come from Bardin and Marsee Publishing.

I received my inscribed copy and was immediately struck by the quality of paper. It's 99% opaque, somewhat slick feeling, unusually strong and quite heavy. The small NT has a decent weight to it, which I don't mind at all, but I wonder how a full size Bible would feel. The size is somewhat large for a New Testament, I have full size Bibles that are smaller, but it's still very portable.
The page layout is clean and leaves some spacious margins, especially at the header and footer. However, the print is quite small, it's actually the same size as my pocket NT and Psalms, which is less than half the size. The space is nice and improves readability, but a larger font and less margin could be the way to go. For those of us who are note taker's with young eyes, the present format remains optimal because it allows more margin for notes.

The paper's unique qualities make it an interesting case for note taking. The purple smears in the photo above are actually the archival quality ink of a 005 Pigma Micron. This is one of those rare occasions where the tables are turned and less is more. Any wet or fine tip ink pen is going to sit on top of the paper's water resistant material and remain moist and smear. It also won't be water resistant because it has nothing to absorb and dry it. The red pen above is a simple Bic ballpoint pen and that's what I would have to recommend. The simple ink pens have drier ink and they don't smear on the paper. No bleed through will occur because of the paper's unique qualities and the thickness prevents imprints on the other side. This edition isn't designed to hold a massive amount of notes, but the margins can hold a homemade chain reference system and simple ink pens will do the trick. For highlighting I would have to reccomend a dry Bible highlighter which Bardin Marsee sells on their website. The wet highlighters will smear even worse than the pigment pens.

The NT lacks any study aids but does include a table of weights and measures in the back and a page of quick references at the front, which is more than most New Testaments.


The moment you've all been waiting for... yes, yes I did.
I gave the Waterproof Bible a thorough soaking, a baptizing if you will. I'll let the pictures do the talking.


The Bible's unique coating is indeed waterproof. The water beads up and rolls of the cover and the pages. The water may get trapped between the pages, but the resiliency of the paper actually allows you to WRING THE WATER OUT OF THE BIBLE. This is nothing less than impressive. The Bible does stay damp for a while, but the paper is in no way harmed and it's completely and comfortably readable 30 seconds after being soaked, just slightly wet. The strength, durability and resiliency of the paper begs the question as to why more Bibles aren't made this way. The only downside would be the weight, and I'm sure many wouldn't mind a Bible they could really thump on the pew or pulpit.

The Waterproof Bible goes above and beyond the call of duty. It's not only waterproof. It's water resistant. It's damage resistant. It's the closest thing to impervious I've seen in a Bible. The publisher assures that the Bible is equally impervious to mud and other substances, and I'm inclined to believe them. I wouldn't drop it in a vat of acid, but I could see any normal substance wiping right off the page. Granted the binding isn't sewn and the cover is a thicker variety of the same smooth slick paper, but this Bible is not made for show, but for durability. Only time will tell if the glue on the spine is completely waterproof, but the quality construction of the rest of the Bible leads me to believe it will be. This is the perfect Bible for the outdoorsman, the hunter, the fisherman, the missionary, or the camper, and it will finally allow me to accomplish my dream of reading the Bible in the shower (no more putting a plastic bag over my hand and flipping the pages one-handed). 

Bardin and Marsee is coming out with a number of new editions in October that will expand the variety of translations available and you couldn't go wrong in ordering a copy of your favorite translation for camping trips, adventures or just for everyday use.     

A review copy was provided free of charge by Bardin Marsee Publishers. I was not required to give a positive review, but an honest review.



  1. Jonathan, thanks for the write up.

    I don't own one, but I have repeatedly handled one in a local book store. It looks and feels indestructible.

    I do plan on getting one to just leave in the Jeep. Right know I worry that my pocket addition will get ruined when I get caught with the top down in a rain storm.

  2. I heard the new editions of the Waterproof Bible coming out in October will be up to 33% lighter in weight making it very comparable to paper Bibles.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I'm eagerly looking forward to the new editions. Hopefully I'll be able to review a whole Bible soon.

  4. Re: leaving it in the jeep, the one I saw in the store said that you should avoid extreme temperatures. Apparently the same material that is waterproof is not necessarily going to hold up well if you leave it in a car all summer.

  5. As for heat the middle east is a very hot area of the world and the Waterproof Bible seems to be working quite well. I like how the binding is glued AND sewn.

  6. I have noticed that these products are actually sown and glued. If you look closely in between the pages, you will see thread. I suppose that the thread is waterproof as well.

  7. Thanks for the info. I couldn't quite tell if they were both or just glued. It's good to know. That assures me that it will last for a long time.

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