I own approximately 18 Bibles, and that number is steadily rising. Bibles are certainly better things to collect than, say… souvenir shot glasses, but why bother? Every time I get excited about a new Bible purchase I start over at Genesis 1:1. And then I get anxiety about having to choose between which Bible to “remove” from my collection and tote around. Plus, there are the impulse buys with the risk of buyer’s remorse (Manga Bible NLT, anyone?) If the most important Bible is the one you read, what practical benefit is there to hoarding so many physical copies of God’s word?
Maybe I just haven’t found “the one.”
Sure, I’ve got my go-to travel Bible. I have my ultra-deluxe Bible that my progeny will someday inherit. I have my wide-margin Bible for jotting theological notes. I have several niche Bibles that fulfill very specific purposes. But what I really want is “one Bible to rule them all.”
As far as I can tell, my dream Bible does not exist. Not yet. But if any Bible publishers are out there reading this, here is my shopping list:
TRANSLATION: New American Standard Bible – forthcoming text update (NASB3?) or the Lexham English Bible (LEB).
BINDING: Black Highland Goatskin. Smyth Sewn. Semi Yapp. Three ribbon markers. Art gilt.
PAPER: 38 GSM Tervakoski Thinopaque Bible Paper with 84% opacity.
PAGE DIMENSIONS: 9 1/8 x 6 1/4 inches (235 x 160mm).
TEXT: Single-column. Paragraph format. Black text. Line-matching. Ideally, I would like a format identical to the ESV Reader’s Bible except for the inclusion of verse numbers (so perhaps closer to the ESV Single Column Heritage Bible). No text notes, cross-references, section headings, etc.
Nowadays it is possible to approximate certain aspects of my dream Bible using Bible apps and websites. But let’s face it – the perfect Bible should not require batteries, power cables, screen protectors, or WiFi. So, until a visionary publisher or Kickstarter entrepreneur creates my perfect Bible, I will have to keep playing Goldilocks. This one’s paper is too thin… this one crowds the gutter… this one has a lousy text block printed in China… this one has red letters… this one capitalizes divine pronouns…