A visual introduction to the TNIV Reference Bible

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Zondervan, I’ve had a chance to put my hands on the new TNIV Reference Bible earlier than expected. Rick Mansfield put together an excellent “hands on” review of this edition and I would echo many of the thoughts there, as well as repeat what I wrote earlier. With those thoughts in mind, I wanted to share some initial observations that may be useful to others out there:

tnivrb01.jpg1. The TNIV RB come with a card-stock slip cover rather than a two-piece box. My only issue with that is that there’s no protection for the long edge of the paper, but a store could easily shrink wrap the whole thing too. The page edges are silver, as was the case with my TNIV Slimline.

tnivrb02.jpg2. I love the single-column format, but I agree with Rick that the body text probably could stand to be bumped up a point size or two. It’s still plenty readable, but compare it to the NASB example in the fourth photo below. The paper quality is very good, with minimal, indistinct bleed through. Much better than most!

tnivrb03.jpg3. The physical dimensions of the cover are 9-5/8″ x 6-5/8″ x 1¼”. It is the same size as my NASB Side-Column Reference Bible from Foundation Publications, other than the width, where the NASB is 1¾”. Personally, I’m happy to have the larger size of this Bible and would have welcomed an even thicker Bible.

tnivrb04.jpg4. The last photo compares the interior layouts of the TNIV RB and my NASB SCR. Note again the larger text of the latter, as well as the room in the margin for notes. There’s plenty of room in the TNIV RB to take notes in the poetry sections, but as photo#2 above shows, narrative sections leave little extra space. For the both the TNIV RB and the NASB SCR, I would recommend moving the cross-reference notes to the inside margins.

I’m planning to use this as my “corporate” Bible for the next few months. I asked some questions earlier concerning choosing a Bible that is consistent with your church’s translation standard; our church has the NIV as their reading and pew Bible and it will be easy enough to follow along with the TNIV. In addition, I’m curious to see how this new TNIV RB will fit into my personal study and reading.

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  1. Posted December 15, 2007 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    I would like to see the TNIV in a layout similar to the NASB In Touch Calfskin.
    Wide Margin, Not too thick & nice sized font

  2. Posted December 15, 2007 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    Jay, the In Touch NASB doesn’t have the cross-references, right? I remember holding that one and being very impressed by the feel of the leather. But for a “big Bible”, cross references are a must (for me).

  3. Posted December 15, 2007 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    I’m glad it’s a Holy Bible and not a regular one.

    Does anyone know the point size of the typeface or what it is compared to the thinline?

    My friend has the NASB and it feels like it weighs a ton. The TNIV would probably feel nice weight-wise but I would agree that it would be nice to have slightly larger text from what I can see. However, I think that typeface is a little easier to read than the typical serif like what the NASB uses.

    I hope you know I was joking in the first sentence. Thanks for the pictures.

  4. Posted December 15, 2007 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    sz, I can’t find my callipers right now, but the point size appears to be the same as or just a hair larger than the TNIV Church Bible hardback, so a point or two larger than the Thinline.

    Okay… looked it up. ChristianBook.com says that the thinline is 7pt. Zondervan says the Church Bible is 8.8pt, while the Reference Bible is 9/9.25pt (I always forget what it means when they list two sizes like that). I would liked to have seen 10 or 11pt…

  5. Posted December 15, 2007 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    The font doesn’t seem to bad, except when compared to the NASB SCR but the NASB SCR is too large a book in my opinion. The TNIV is large enough but doesn’t seem bulky like the NASB. This may be the TNIV I will eventually buy.

    The NASB Wide Margin (In Touch Ministries) does not have cross references.

  6. Posted February 3, 2008 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the picks. I order one from Amazon and should be getting it this week.

    I really like the flow of the TNIV and it is quite faithful to the original, contrary to the many detractors.

  7. Posted February 5, 2008 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    I got my TNIVRB today.


    1. Good layout.

    2. Good references.

    3. Good printing and paper for this edition.


    1. One ribbon (two ribbons would have been good for the pastor).

    2. Size of the font is too small (9.8 would have been good or more).

    3. The binding is already turning loosing in the spine. I was at a local bookstore checking out the copies that they have, and the problem is the same.

    I hope this is corrected in future printing.

    However, the TNIV is a very accurate translation.

  8. Posted February 6, 2008 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments, tc. I’ve been coming more and more to long for multiple ribbons in my Bibles – a rarity in my experience thus far. And the font size issue was something I noted from the beginning – they easily could have bumped it up a point or two and made a “good” edition border on “great.”

    I haven’t had the binding problems, but I also haven’t used it much more than my initial review. It’s still in the slipcover on my shelf…

  9. Jeff Spaulding
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    Several thoughts occur to me as I’ve read these and other comments about the TNIVRB:

    The size is ok, and it’s true that the text is really pretty easy on the eyes. But this edition really is a heavy weight. Holding it in one hand to teach/preach with is no easy feat (maybe this is just me).

    In defense of red-letter, while I agree with everything that’s been said against the use of red letter editions, when I read aloud to the congregation, my reading tone and inflections change when I’m reading Jesus’ words in conversation or a monologue. It helps me to note the coming change as I’m reading publicly, and I do the same thing when I copy/paste Bible text into a sermon or teaching lesson. Setting it apart, as long as it is understood that we shouldn’t be worshiping the words themselves, is helpful at least to me.

    As for a single ribbon marker, this is probably against some religious law, but since I rely upon multiple markings when studying or reading aloud, a long time ago I began carefully cutting out the single ribbon marker, and inserting between the binding and the cover a 4 or 5 color quality ribbon marker available from Cokesbury stores or their catalogue. I have even gone so far as to permanently glue this in, and the result is fantastic!

    I’m thrilled that Zondervan is expanding the TNIV editions, and like others, hope it will continue into higher grades of leather. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a true thinline edition in a slightly larger length/width than the current “thinline”.

    I really appreciate blogs like this, and receive tremendous encouragement from this and others.

  10. Posted April 21, 2008 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments, Jeff, and thanks for stopping by! It’s good to get feedback from people actually using the TNIV RB in “the field”.

    I can appreciate your work on ribbons now that I’ve acquired my first Bible with a modest two markers – they really do come in handy and save needing actual bookmarks or paper slips. I’m finding myself wishing for at least three these days…

    As for your last request, of a larger thinline, did you mean of the Reference Bible, or just the TNIV in general? If the latter, be sure to check out the TNIV XL, which is a larger text size thinline setting. I’ve not been of fan of Zondervan’s thinline due to paper transparency issues, but this otherwise has a very nice form factor.

  11. Jeff Spaulding
    Posted April 21, 2008 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    I appreciate your keeping the conversation about the TNIV going. As a United Methodist pastor, I don’t personally like the NRSV, and while I like the NIV, I like the TNIV much better. I do think it will slowly gain acceptance as long as those who like and appreciate it keep the conversation alive.

    I was actually thinking about something length/width-wise BETWEEN the TNIV Thinline and the TNIV XL, and a bit thinner.