Tuesday, May 22, 2007

TNIV Reference Bible: Thick or Thin?

A lot of us are excited about the upcoming TNIV Reference Bible. Some want to use this Bible to teach or preach from. Others simply want a quality TNIV in an edition with readable print and a cover that doesn't call attention to itself. We've been told that the Bible will measure 6.25" x 9.25"

But how thick is it?

This is something that Zondervan hasn't told us. Is the TNIV Reference Bible going to be a Bible with standard thickness with Bible paper at least at a weight we can scribble an occasional annotation, or is it going to be a thinline with paper too thin for any reasonable amount of handwritten notes?

Consider some numbers for a moment. A lot of us who wanted a decent looking TNIV for public use have bought the TNIV Thinline Bible XL which according to the Zondervan website is 1248 pages and 1.2" thick.

So what if the TNIV Reference Bible is only 1" thick? At 1408 pages, that would mean that the printers would have to use thinner paper in the Reference Bible than what's already used in the Thinline XL.

In my own experience with the XL, the anecdotal information I've heard from others, and from the reviews I've read on Amazon.com, everyone seems to complain that the paper in the Thinline Bible XL is too thin.

So what would you think if I told you the upcoming TNIV Reference Bible is a thinline and there's a possibility that paper even thinner than that in the Thinline XL would have to be used?

I should state up front that NO ONE has told me this is the actual case. So far Zondervan has not released information regarding the thickness of the upcoming TNIV Reference Bible, and I cannot find any definite information yet.

Earlier today, I was in a bookstore and I looked at a leather-bound TNIV College Devotional Bible (not for me--I was just looking). Now it is listed as being over 1600 pages, and it is 1.7" thick. It's definitely not a thinline, the paper is not too thin, and I imagine it would be fine to write on. At the same time, this Bible is neither too thick nor too bulky. In fact, as far as leather Bibles go, I thought its thickness was just right.

So at 1408 pages, why can't the upcoming TNIV Reference Bible also be a non-thinline somewhere between 1.5" to 1.7" thick? I'd like to know your opinion. I'd like to open up this post as a bit of an informal poll. We aren't going to have anything in the sidebar, simply your discussion in the comments. Try to answer the question along these options as best as you can:

• I do not want the TNIV Reference Bible to be a thinline. Why?

• I'd really like the TNIV Reference Bible to be a thinline. Why?

• Although I plan on buying this Bible, I really don't care whether it's a thinline or not. Why?

Please be polite and constructive in your comments. This Bible, as far as I know, has not yet gone to press, so maybe there's still room for some influence. I would also like to limit discussion in the comments to the topic at hand, so if you have no interest in this Bible, please refrain from posting.

But for those of you who want a copy of the TNIV Reference Bible, what do you think?


ElShaddai Edwards said...

I've looked at the Thinline XL several times and if the forthcoming Reference Bible is of similar "thin-ness", then I would not purchase it for several factors:

[1] I am not a heavy duty note writer, but I like to have the option of ink and/or highlighter without highlighting the verses on the other side of the paper.

[2] I hate the feeling of having to peel pages apart or wet my fingers to separate pages.

[3] I don't trust the long-term sturdiness of a thinline Bible that will be used regularly for study and reading.

The only thinline Bible I've ever really liked was a NASB Reference Bible (ISBN 1581350260) from Foundation that I picked up as a "travel Bible" in my NASB-only days. But I eventually put even that aside and went back to my "big" NASB Reference bible (ISBN 1885217668).

A thinline TNIV Reference Bible would be a disappointment to me and I probably would just find a leather cover for the black and blue TNIV "Church Bible" hardback (ISBN 0310922704) that I'm currently using.

Anonymous said...

I'd like either. I'm not a note taker. I like thin Bibles, but currently, the ESV I carry is a more standard sized reference Bible.

But I'm glad to see it coming. Cross-references are the most important feature of any Bible in my opinion. The only Bible I'll buy without them is a small pocket version.

I bought the TNIV Study Bible simply so I could have a TNIV with cross-references.

MhacLethCalvin said...

I'm excited to purchase my very first TNIV Bible.
I'd like it thick for my sermon outline that i can scribble beside the text.
I prefer it to have a bigger font too so that my eyes will not skip when I read the passage. :-)

MissionalGirl said...

size matters here...i experimented with the "thinline" thing and i'll never buy another one again...i am a notorious note taker so reasonable margins (not necessarily wide margins) matter to me...i like to write my sermon outlines right in the margins since i'm not a manuscript preacher...it would also help if the pages should be sturdy enough to write on..as for the cross references, i honestly prefer center references...its easier to follow but that might just be me but i really want to think of the new believer who is trying to find their way through scripture...study helps in the back of the bible would also help...i'm not expecting a thompson-chain reference copy but basic things like topic index, excellent concordance (which i expect), and even simple Bible book introductions would be helpful

Jay said...

"So what would you think if I told you the upcoming TNIV Reference Bible is a thinline and there's a possibility that paper even thinner than that in the Thinline XL would have to be used?"

A tragedy . . .
I think it will be regular size 1.5 or around that.
I probably will not buy it because I am waiting for a TNIV like the In Touch NASB or 6x9 wide margin or similar with good leather (not blue and pink.)

Gary Zimmerli said...

I don't care for the thinline Bibles. I like what they usually call the "personal size" with large or "giant" print. It's a bit smaller than the standard size, making it more comfortable to use when I'm not sitting at a desk or table.

I'd still buy the TNIV if it's a standard size; that would be fine. I don't really want the thinline, but if that's the only way it comes, I suppose I'd try it...but it's not my first choice.

Anonymous said...

I ordered the TNIV Thinline from Amazon a few days ago. Before ordering it I looked at it at my local bookstore. It's over an inch thick. The pages didn't seem too thin to me.

If this new reference Bible is a thinline like the one I ordered, it may still be over an inch thick. But the pages may still be too thin for many note takers.

I'll probably still order this new edition, unless it's ultrathin like some of the Nelson's I've seen.

Clay Knick said...

So are all the editions of the TNIV
have been unsatisfactory. A thinline with a lot of bleed through for the TNIV Ref. Bible
would be a sad development. I
would not buy it.

Peter Kirk said...

Like Joe, I like thin Bibles, because there is less bulk and weight to carry around. I never write notes in my Bibles. It almost seems like sacrilege to do so. And that's not because it's the Bible - I have more or less the same attitude to any book, although I do sometimes make soft pencil notes in books which are not valuable. Yes, when the paper is very thin there is a problem with seeing something of the page behind, but usually the contrast remains adequate. I would really like a good pocket size thinline reference TNIV, if a British edition appears - as a good substitute for the equivalent NIV which I carried around the world for more than ten years, recently replaced by a non-reference small TNIV.

R. Mansfield said...

I apologize for having to delete a comment, but as I said in the original post, if you have no interest in this Bible, please do not leave a comment.

opinion-minion said...

It's a reference Bible. Thinline reference editions are allowed only after the "suitable for pounding, waving, and note taking" reference Bible is released. At least, that's how it should be. After all, it doesn't look very impressive to wave around one of those skinny things!

Seriously, though, a reference Bible should be tough. Added to the fact that many people seem dissatisfied with the thickness of the paper of previous TNIVs, Zondervan needs to get this right.

I personally own a TNIV Study PB, which I use for reference, and a slender TNIV that I use for reading. I'm always writing or noting in it, and while there is (inevitably) some show through, it's actually done fairly well.

I also have a question. Is the TNIV reference Bible simply going to be a TNIV with the NIV references tacked on, or lightly edited, or is there going to be a major overhauling of the references? I have no idea how this could be found out before publication, but it would be interesting to know.

R. Mansfield said...

Is the TNIV reference Bible simply going to be a TNIV with the NIV references tacked on, or lightly edited, or is there going to be a major overhauling of the references?

I'm not completely certain, but I do know that you could compare them using the proofs that I posted in the First Look at This Lamp. My guess is that the cross references match those found in the TNIV SB. However, with the topical ties at the bottom, they're claiming something like over 100,000 cross references--supposedly more cross references than any other Bible.

PeterHumphris said...

I suppose the best way forward for Zondervan would be to produce more than one edition of the TNIV Reference Bible!

For myself, I would not purchase a thinline simply because I am looking for a Bible I can use for study & preaching which will accept yellow hi-lighting and red biro writing without showing through to the next page.

My concern about the lack of info on the Zondervan web-site stems from the negative comments on Amazon re the "too thin paper" in the ESV Single Column Reference Bible by Crossway. But I am optimistic that Crossway, for their next print run, will use heavier paper.

The only recent Bibles I have owned that have had suitable paper for note taking are the NIV Bold print hardback which was excellent - but has little margin space. The other is the ESV Deluxe Reference Heirloom edition - expensive but with great quality paper.

But what I am really looking for is a single column TNIV (not so concerned about cross-references etc.) with a good quality heavy paper (never mind the weight or size!) and a proper sewn binding which will last approx. ten years of note-taking use. A bonus would be 20-30 ruled blank pages bound in at the ends along with some good maps. The TNIV is the Bible I use at our services each weeks so such an edition would be well used.

The TNIV Reference Bible as advertised ticks some of these boxes, but until we know the weight and quality of the paper I'll have to reserve judgement on a purchase.

It seems to me that creating a preacher's Bible is not rocket science - but I'm not always convinced that others see it that way!

The TNIV I am using at the moment is the large print hardback TNIV published by IBS - but though nearly perfect, again the paper is just too thin for making comments on.

Gary Zimmerli said...

It seems to me, from reading these comments, that it is time for Zondervan to give due consideration to producing serious TNIV Bibles for serious Bible students and pastors.

Jay said...


I purchased the above TNIV Bible from Hodder which is similar to the USA TNIV Thinline except it has better font(my opinion)- additional study pages and a black cover. Cambridge I think does a similar Bible. It is a little thicker - more like a personal Bible than a Thinline. The TNIV Reference examples I have seen seem to use the USA Font that it not as clear as I would prefer but again that is my opinion. The topical notes are nice but I have always liked placing references and notes near the verse they pertain too. For example a Thompson Chain. I personally think the TNIV Study Bible is too big for pastors pulpit use although it is good for study and reference.