Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The Writer's Bible

The Writer's (Journaling) Bible features full size journal pages. High quality journals fold and lay completely flat making them easy to hold and write in.  The Bible text is large for easy reading with heavier paper so that ink does not show through.  The Writers Bible makes a great spiritual journal and personal/small group study tool.  

Convenient 6″ x 9″ size
Lays Flat – easy to write in
Folds Back – easy to hold in one hand
Easy to read classic Garamond font, black
12 point type and larger
Full page of journaling space for each page of scripture
Additional journaling pages provided in the back
Journaling area is on the right hand side – freedom of writing hand movement
Left Hand Versions available too!
Bible book introductions
Section headings
Perfect for personal study, small groups and pastor notes
Multiple translations and languages
Lightweight (<1 lb), easily held with one hand
Extra large font and custom configurations are available

Wide margin and interleaved Bibles are my absolute favorite study tool, and I rejoice every time I see one on the market, which makes The Writer's Bible a special treat. The pragmatic design and focus on customization should make it an attractive option for those who love journaling, note-taking and exploring the text of the Bible through personal commentary. Because of the lack of interleaved Bibles on the market, The Writer's Bible should shoot to the top of the list for those who want a modern translation interleaved text but don't want a three ring binder or don't have the gumption to create their own.

These editions are designed to be available in a large number of formats from a single book to collections. This edition is Paul's Letters - Volume 1 in NASB, which includes Romans and First and Second Corinthians with brief book introductions. Each page of Bible text includes about twenty verses paired with a  ruled page on the opposite side, ready to be filled with notes and commentary.The publisher has future plans for non-ruled pages as an option, which would be far preferable. I would rather have crooked lines of notes with more space for graphs than cramping my copious notes, charts, lists etc. into a ruled page.

The fact that these editions are portions rather than the whole text may turn some people away, as will the fact that they are spiral bound. The focus of this project is practicality. Few will be carrying a backpack full of these editions to and from church and Bible study. These are editions for use and study, not for show. Their usability will be the main concern, and they are highly usable.

The flexibility of the spiral bound format is a huge plus. It allows a full wraparound for reading or writing without the clumsiness of a binder or the chance of tearing pages out.

Dividing the books into portions was wise, though a full Bible or New Testament option would be interesting. The fact that these are in portions allow people to buy editions as they move on in their study and keep them more portable and affordable.

The editions are streamlined, with few extra features apart from book introductions (which could really be done away with) and extra note pages at the back with boxes for custom numbering, which means you could key them to pages where you ran out of notes and need to continue on the back.

The single column format partnered with a 12pt font and a generous margin makes the text readable and far from cramped, a surprising luxury in a wide margin or interleaved Bible. My only caveat with these editions is the price. At one point it was around $15.00 which some will feel squeamish about spending on what seems like a fairly simple product. For those who will really use these editions, the price is worth it, but it means that the whole Bible will cost quite a bit of money. I hope the editions gain traction and production becomes more economical.

The design may seem simplistic and leave some wondering, "Why can't I do this on my own?" And you can. But it probably won't turn out this well. There is an elegance and wisdom to the design which will only improve as the publisher expands customization and options. These editions are far more impressive once you enjoy using them.

The Writer's Bible is currently unavailable as the publisher is working on "process improvements for producing these which will allow further flexibility for flowing text correctly at all font sizes, custom page insertions, left or right handed versions, and your new great suggestion for blank journal pages." Hopefully we will see more options and editions at the end of June, at which point I hope to revisit these editions with a new portion for review. In the meantime you can contact the publisher at www.journalbible.com.

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