Friday, May 05, 2006

TNIV wide-margin reviewed

You know I'm a fan and dedicated user of Today's New International Version (TNIV). If you're an NIV user, I'd encourage you to switch to the latest edition of the NIV - the TNIV. You also know I'm a note-taking sort of guy. So you can well imagine that I've been impatiently waiting for the publication of the TNIV in a wide-margin format. Well, such an edition has finally shipped and I'm the proud owner of one now. What's my verdict? Let's take it to court.

Innocent. Of course, I enjoy the text; it's the TNIV. The wide-margins are truly generous. Great! I like the unique shape of this edition (square, not rectangular; no, it's not a Bible for squares, but it is a square-shaped); it's surprisingly easy to hold and lays flat very, very nicely. It's thin, making it rather light-weight, something virtually unheard of among wide-margin Bibles (wide-margin Bible almost always means "thick and heavy"). It's a red-letter edition, has a bit of a concordance in back and some very clear maps. It didn't cost an arm and a leg either ($35 retail; for just @23.09 [!] at Amazon). The color I selected is pleasant (two-tone brown). And I really like the fact that almost all editions of the TNIV now match up in page-for-page arrangement.

What that last one means is if you're like me and you can't recall a specific text's reference, you can often remember that it's located "on the right hand side, in the first column, near the bottom center" in your Bible. But what if you're not looking up this passage in your personal Bible; how will you find it without a serious concordance? If it's a TNIV, particularly one printed within the last couple of years, that Scripture you're looking for will be found in the exact same spot on the page in virtually any edition of the TNIV. Sweet!

Guilty. The text is a bit smaller than I would have liked, but it is clear. The pages are very thin and not so opaque so I'm anxious to see how much of a "bleed through" I get with my handwritten notes. I may have to go completely to pencil and dispense with pens; not something I want to do. The scripture references and page numbers are near the true corner of the page rather than at the corner of the text. That wasn't very bright. That makes it extremely difficult to "thumb through" or "feather" a Bible and find a specific passage you're looking up - something I do nine out of ten times in opening my Bible! And this fact burns my bacon a bit - it's "printed in China."

Matters the jury is still out on. As is the case with a great many Bible made today, particularly less expensive editions, I'm a bit suspicious of the quality and strength of the binding. Will the cover come loose from the pages a year from now or will a page try to fall out? Only time will tell. I know this, the "break in" went just fine.

Overall. Not factoring in the price, I'm pleased, but not ecstatic. I'd give it a solid B. Given the great price and that now is a good time to pick one up because the publisher, Zondervan, is offering a $10 rebate these days, I'd pump that up to an A-. After all, a $13, bonded-leather, wide-margin Bible in any major version would be a steal and this TNIV makes that a reality. I wish everyone at MoSt Church had one and made good use of it!