Update 01/04/2013: Lockman has confirmed that they are completely sold out of the black calfskin version of the In Touch NASB and what inventory remains of the navy blue calfskin and burgundy calfskin will not be replenished once it sells out. In other words, this bible is being discontinued and if you want to secure a copy of the blue or red variety you should order yours immediately. The navy blue In Touch is currently selling for $99.99 at www.evangelicalbible.com as well as the burgundy In Touch at $102. These are the nicest NASB’s on the market right now and a worthwhile investment for your library. Don’t delay ordering or you will be stuck trying to track one down on Ebay at a higher price down the line.
For those of you who aren’t aware, there exists a group of people who share a passion for collecting and using expensive Bibles. If I were to guess I would bet most people would consider an expensive Bible to cost somewhere between $50 and $100. In the premium Bible collectors community, an expensive Bible generally costs more along the lines of $100 upwards of $250. For those of you wondering whether or not a copy of the Bible is worth $250 and whether it is a good stewardship of money, I encourage you to check out this well written article on why spending $250 on a Bible is not poor stewardship.
Regardless of your opinion on the wisdom behind spending $200+ on a Bible, there are premium Bibles available for purchase right now that cost around $100. Case in point, the In Touch Ministries Wide Margin NASB in blue calfskin which I will call “In Touch” throughout this review. This is a New American Standard Bible (NASB) text block wrapped up in a beautiful dark blue calfskin shell with wide margins, silver gilding, dark blue ribbins, size 10 font, and little to no bleed through in the paper. If you don’t know what gilding, bleed through, and wide margins are, keep reading, I will explain as I go along. The picture above was taken outside in natural lighting to demonstrate exactly how dark this blue calfskin is. This Bible is also available in black (sold out as of 1-4-13) and burgundy Calfskin leather as well.
The picture you see immediately below is the In Touch sitting next to the RL Allan Longprimer KJV in Atlantic blue calfskin, or the 53BL if you are a Bible geek. It is important to compare similar colors against each other in order to more accurately establish color as color of leathers can vary depending on the light source, and the computer monitor the pictures are being viewed on. Sometimes people purchase a Bible after seeing a picture on their computer, and when it arrives it appears to be something completely different. As you can see these are both blue Bibles, and the In Touch on the left is a much darker blue. This picture was also taken outside in natural light to achieve maximum accuracy in color. The grain of the Allan is more pronounced than the In Touch, however, the grain of the In Touch to me, is more aesthetically appealing. From here on out, the picture will follow the written explanation. Judge which is more appealing for yourself:
Here is a closer view of these two Bibles in the picture, the In Touch on top, and the Allan on the bottom. The grain of the In touch leather is more obvious in this picture:
Now compare the spines of these two Bibles. The In touch has raised ribs separating each section of writing, whereas the Allan is practically flat. The In Touch is also fairly flat on the spine and the Allan is curved. Notice that both of these Bibles are essentially the same height:
Here you can see the gilding (painted edges) on the In Touch. The color used on this Bible is silver, which is not a traditional color at all. Most premium Bibles either have gold gilt or red with gold gilt (which is considered to be the nicest by most). Cheap bibles usually have no gilding, or use an extremely thin gold gilt. Personally I think the silver looks outstanding with the dark navy blue calfskin shell. What do you think?
Now compare the In Touch’s silver gilt to the extremely rare Allan gilt, which is blue. What’s interesting about this Allan Bible is that when it is closed, the gilt appears gold. Yet when you open the Bible it is quite noticeably blue:
The In Touch comes with two thick dark blue ribbons. For most people two Ribbons are sufficient enough. Some Bible reading plans also include a year round reading of both Proverbs and Psalms, along with the Old Testament and New Testament, so in that scenario three ribbons would be preferred. Personally, I read the Bible from the beginning to the end, so technically one ribbon is sufficient for my method. Whatever your Bible reading plan may be, the In Touch dark blue ribbons are of excellent quality and highly appealing and they won’t be falling off anytime soon:
This was the last picture that I took outside of the In touch. This is a double column verse by verse format text block with no references to speak of. The font is right around a 10 pt. and the margins are generous on the outside, top, and bottom. I would estimate the outside margins to be 1.25″ which is probably big enough for you to put some sermon notes in there, and still be able to read them from the pulpit. ( I realize this isn’t typical sermon reading methods, but if you are like me and you are either traveling, or asked to preach at random, it is a luxury to have your notes written down inside of your Bible). This is the chief benefit of owning a wide margin Bible. If you don’t currently own a wide margin Bible, I highly recommend you purchase one and start filling it with notes. Wouldn’t it be cool to give your Bible full of notes to your kids when they grow up? They will have their own study Bible written by mom or dad:
The ghosting (how much text from the next page is present on the current page) is minimal in the In Touch. The In Touch really excels in this category. The In touch was manufactured in the United States (which is actually rare these days) and the paper is very white and feels of excellent quality. While there is some ghosting present, it really is minimal. I’m going to show you examples of some other Bibles ghosting so that you understand just how good the In Touch paper is, but check out the In Touch’s paper for yourself to see the excellence for yourself:
This is the paper of the RL Allan Longprimer in Atlantic Blue Calfskin mentioned above ( a $200 Bible), notice there is very little bleed through (ghosting) in this text block as well. This paper is from the Netherlands, and is considered by most to be really good paper:
Now the Cambridge Wide Margin NASB:
Now compare the paper from the In Touch and the Allan to the Crossway ESV Legacy paper (which I will say only cost $30) This paper is from Italy, and is actually a huge improvement from the previous paper sources Crossway used, yet not even close to the quality of the In Touch or the Allan Longprimer ghosting wise (I will note that this picture was taken in an area of the Bible where the verse does not run all the way to the end of the paper thus making the text on the other side of the paper quite visible):
The In Touch’s paper is the best out of these four examples, and for what it’s worth, all four of these text blocks are hailed as really good in the premium Bible enthusiast community. If you were to compare the In Touch to the ESV Study Bible, The NIV Study Bible, or most other Bibles available at your local Christian bookstore, you would immediately notice exactly how great the In Touch’s paper is.
In summary, the In Touch NASB in premium navy blue calfskin is an excellent buy. For around $100 you are getting the calfskin binding, silver gilding, two thick navy blue ribbons, wide margins, raised ribs on the spine, excellent paper, size 10 font, a full concordance, all wrapped up in a fairly portable shell, with the reliability of the NASB translation. Joyful reading, and God’s blessings to you!