Under the Influence, Part 2: Jesus Saenz

SaenzstackThis could be the start of something. Yesterday I posted a photo of Mark Strobel’s stack of Bibles purchased “under the Bertrand influence,” and that prompted another frequent commenter, Jesus Saenz, to chime in with the following:

“I first ran across your blog while looking for information on the 1599 Geneva Bible from Tolle Legge. Since then I have bought a Deluxe Heirloom Reference ESV calfskin, Cambridge Pitt Minion NASB goatskin, Cambridge Cameo KJV Morocco leather, R L Allan Reference ESV Highland goatskin, In Touch Ministries Wide Margin NASB calfskin, Single Column Reference ESV calfskin, Thinline Cordovan ESV calfskin.”

After I overcame my astonishment at the length of this list, I begged for a photo, and now I’m happy to share it with you. The beautiful thing is, I’m guessing no one here has picked up so many high-end editions so quickly, and that means whenever friends or a significant other insist you have a Bible-buying problem, you can now point to Jesus Saenz’s stack of goodies. Your expenses will seem moderate in comparison!

From top to bottom, here’s the run down.

(1) Cambridge Pitt Minion NASB goatskin
(2) Cambridge Cameo KJV Morocco
(3) Lockman Wide Margin NASB blue calfskin
(4) Crossway Deluxe Heirloom ESV calfskin
(5) Crossway Single Column Reference ESV calfskin
(6) R L Allan Reference ESV Highland goatskin
(7) Crossway Thinline Cordovan ESV calfskin
(8) Lockman Wide Margin NASB black calfskin

I’m especially taken by that Cambridge bound in morocco, second from the top. Of course, Jesus, now that you have black covered, it’s time to add a little bit of red — and build on the brown, too.

So here’s an open invitation. If you’d like to snap a photo of your Bibles to share with the group, I’ll be happy to post it. I can’t be held responsible, however, for any spending frenzies that result — especially during the holiday season. Thanks for sharing the collection with us, Jesus!

17 Comments on “Under the Influence, Part 2: Jesus Saenz

  1. “…whenever friends or a significant other insist you have a Bible-buying problem, you can now point to Jesus Saenz’s stack of goodies. Your expenses will seem moderate in comparison!”
    Thanks, Mark! I needed that!

  2. So, there’s a support group for people like me? How about my wife? I am going to photograph my stack tonight and send it in….

  3. Thanks for the post, Mark.
    I sold a few collectable skateboards to make these purchases… I’ll probably sell a few more boards to buy more Bibles. I need to expand my color palette, all that black looks a little drab. Thanks again, Mark! Before finding your blog I knew I wanted a better Bible than what I had, I just didn’t know what better was. Your blog and all those that post comments have been helpful in fleshing out the details that many overlook into making a great book that just so happens to be Gods Word.

  4. I too enjoy fine bound Bibles, yet I have been able buy remainders @ great prices. I found some great deals @ a place called Ollies (in Penn) or @ american Bible sales (for the NASV update). And just received my ESV from Allens. I am glad others have tghe same drive and love for fine Bibles.

  5. “So here’s an open invitation. If you’d like to snap a photo of your Bibles to share with the group, I’ll be happy to post it.”
    I just wanted to share the story about my first quality bible purchased this month after reading the entries here. I picked up the In Touch NASB via Amazon for $55 as a used copy. The notation from the seller said there was “slight corner wear” and so I decided to take the risk. Here’s a picture of the damage:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2041/2057631344_db30e719ce_b.jpg
    and here’s a picture of the bible itself, which was undamaged:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2315/2057600588_106c602c97_b.jpg
    I saved basically $100 off the retail price this way, and it has been a true blessing. After reading lots of people’s comments and realizing the cost of a true quality bible I had written off my buying one anytime soon (student) and also neglected to post my thoughts. However, my bargain last week, and seeing the experiences of everyone else has finally prompted me to become a little more proactive.

  6. “So here’s an open invitation. If you’d like to snap a photo of your Bibles to share with the group, I’ll be happy to post it.”
    I just wanted to share the story about my first quality bible purchased this month after reading the entries here. I picked up the In Touch NASB via Amazon for $55 as a used copy. The notation from the seller said there was “slight corner wear” and so I decided to take the risk. Here’s a picture of the damage:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2041/2057631344_db30e719ce_b.jpg
    and here’s a picture of the bible itself, which was undamaged:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2315/2057600588_106c602c97_b.jpg
    I saved basically $100 off the retail price this way, and it has been a true blessing. After reading lots of people’s comments and realizing the cost of a true quality bible I had written off my buying one anytime soon (student) and also neglected to post my thoughts. However, my bargain last week, and seeing the experiences of everyone else has finally prompted me to become a little more proactive.

  7. Now I hate to be a bucket of cold water on the fire here, but would it be a fair guess to say that all those Bibles together are at least worth $1000?
    Think about how many believers around the world have no personal copy of the Scriptures at all, then ask how many affordable Bibles would a $1000 worth of high-end goatskin editions buy?
    Is it possible that we’ve lost all perspective here?
    And it doesn’t just extend to Bibles. Too many of us drop hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year on Christian books. But what is the point of always learning if none of that learning gets put into practice? If my neighbor can’t pay his electrical bill because he lost a job and can’t find a new one, what am I doing dropping hundreds of dollars on Christian books?
    I like a nice Bible, too. But truthfully, I probably only need one nice Bible. Even if I’m a “scholar” and can somehow justify having a dozen different translations, why can’t they be simple hardbacks?
    When does all this spending verge on profligacy?

  8. On Africabibles.com (an organization that sends bibles to Africa) $1,000 will ship 500 bibles (King James).

  9. @DLE
    I think it is important for any true student of the word to have more than one bible. In addition, my understanding of the bible is helped immensely by commentaries and other study aids and I simply can’t imagine studying without them. I will grant that there is obviously room for excess with the collection of anything, however we have no idea to what use the bibles put on display here will be put to. In my experience the money spent on bibles and related books has reaped many dividends through insights gained, that would have been lost if money had not been spent on them. While there should be some limit on expenditures, I think that scholarly usage and study merit the expense in many cases. I have come to a point where I am considering selling many of my non-christian books in order to finance the purchase of more bibles and related books for myself and others. I appreciate your concern but also realize that there are legitimate reasons for buying many religious books that are printed.
    Now don’t get me started on christian fiction and $600 bibles, but as for the rest I can see their purchase easily justified.

  10. In 1989 after the National Cathedral had been completed, PBS produced a documentary about its construction over the previous eight decades.
    As I recall, the cost of the cathedral was somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 million. The construction foreman was asked about whether it was worth the cost.
    His response reminded us all that $350 million was what the US was paying for a military bomber in the late 80′s, a bomber that would be obsolete in two decades. But the cathedral would be be standing in two centuries and longer.
    Beyond durability and for my money, the cathedral is clear sign of the life-giving God. It’s beauty will inspire and move to faith countless generations, even though the church can, of course, worship in a tar paper shack.
    In the library at the parish where I presently serve, there is a Cambridge Bible that is bound in Syrian Levant Goatskin and silk sewn. It’s in remarkable shape considering it’s 108 years old. (There’s no way my skin will be that supple at 108!) One wonders how many paperback or other poorly bound Bibles have been printed but consigned to the trash bin in that century.
    An old cliche speaks about the cheap man spending the most, or “The cheap comes out expensive.” One Bible, well-bound in fine materials, will outlast five Bibles made poorly and will, in the long run, be less expensive.
    There is something about the treasure of the word being treated as the treasure that it is and in a form that can be passed from generation to generation for a century or more.
    Having said that, it seems to me that those of us who delight in the beauty of the printed biblical word so bear a mission to ensure that the treasure of that word is extended to people who might otherwise not receive it.

  11. DLE – I think your comments deserve a response. My first question is — do you have a hobby? If so, I imagine your collection has some value? Isn’t that materialistic? Why not sell it all and buy Bibles — or pay for someone’s electricity? Matthew 6:19.
    Are there items in your house that could be auctioned on Ebay…perhaps you even have an extra $1,000 sitting in your savings, checking, or 401K that is excess that could be used for the items mentioned above? Is there any difference between having $1,000 in Bibles versus $1,000 “excess” in furniture? In cars? In electronics? In clothes? Eating out? Movies?
    While my purpose is not to attack you, you should also understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with collecting nice Bibles, there is nothing wrong with having multiple Bibles — not only do they last much longer, but many Bible students consult mutiple translations…perhaps you use only one.
    Further, it is also inappropriate to judge the motives and intents of those people who have such collections. Could it be these individuals are doing more for the Lord than you? Yes, it is possible. So, before you take such a position, perhaps you should look at your own lifestyle and see if perhaps you have opportunities of ministry that are being overlooked. Until then, perhaps you should (a) give those who have nice collections the benefit of the doubt or (b) not participate in such forums discussions.
    In the meantime, I’ll be hoping to purchase another Allan’s Bible this Christmas for my mom. Merry Christmas!

  12. I ordered the Allan’s Reference ESV in tan two weeks ago, which I have not yet received. I also forgot to include my copy of The Reformation Study Bible that I had rebound in dark brown goatskin by Eric at Leonard’s Book Restoration. I will have to upgrade that picture to include two more non-black Bibles.
    I also almost picked up a red Go Anywhere NRSV that I saw at Vroman’s Bookstore yesterday but I may get a BCP/NRSV in red instead.

  13. jesus – I am interested in seeing your bible rebound in brown goatskin (since I am at this moment working on the same project)
    when you upload a photo could you shoot me a pic at my email: mattdmorales@gmail.com
    I am deciding today on what color goatskin to use.
    regards,
    matt

  14. Following up on Brian’s post of 11/27/07 about the Saint John’s Bible project…unless I’m not using the Search correctly, that marvelous project never got described on this blog.
    If you like beautiful works, you must visit http://www.saintjohnsbible.org/
    Brian mentioned the pricey lectionary, but Lit Press has released most of the bible in 7 affordable ($40 on Amazon) quarto-sized volumes. (I suspect the fine art versions are beyond most of our financial reach!) I have this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Saint-Johns-Bible-Gospels-Acts/dp/0814690513
    and it is truly gorgeous.
    Also, a new ESV project, slightly less ambitious (Gospels only) but still noteworthy is:
    http://www.crossway.org/bibles/the-four-holy-gospels-1370-fab/
    More at http://www.makotofujimura.com/four-holy-gospels/
    At $90 on Amazon, it’s more than the mass-produced Saint John’s quartos but has the advantage (?) of normal, modern type-set print, which does make it more readable.
    There’s also a leather version if you’ve got the big bucks.

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