Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV in Black Goatskin

This is going to break some hearts. Six or seven years ago, my friend Darrel Schiel, who was then the intrepid manager at the now-defunct Grapevine Books, made a habit of buying seconds from Baker, which he sold to customers at a discount. As you know, Baker distributes Cambridge Bibles in the United States, so it was no surprise when a bundle of French Morocco-bound KJV Pitt Minions arrived. They were seconds, too, though I could never quite figure out why, covered in shrink-wrap and offered for about $20 each. The color selection was impressive: black and burgundy, naturally, but also green and blue. I stocked up and used them as giveaways.

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 9
Above: The Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV in Black Goatskin.

When Cambridge re-introduced the Pitt Minion KJV, I was already familiar with the format. During my search for quality-bound Bibles, I’d discovered the Trinitarian Bible Society, which offered an older edition of the Pitt Minion in black calfskin with two ribbons and art-gilt edges. I actually bought mine during a visit to Dublin, then tracked the TBS down online when I got home and ordered some more of their editions. I was impressed. The Pitt Minion is essentially a small thinline reference Bible, poised right at the cusp of hand-sized and tiny, with relatively readable type for its size.

THE COMPACT CHALLENGE
If you’ve been reading these short essays for long, you know I have an affinity for small Bibles. I don’t want to exaggerate — I use and recommend pretty much every format, and since we have the luxury of a variety of editions (a rare thing, historically and geographically), I suppose we might as well suit the size to the task — but when I think of the quintessential Bible, the one-size-does-all Platonic ideal, it tends to have a small footprint. Why? Because I like the idea of a Bible you can carry around easily, handy and discreet. The editions I use most tend to be the compact ones.

And therein lies the challenge. Because I’m also one of those people who prefers a Bible (any book, really) to be flexible, even liquid in the hand. Not everyone is. I know some of you like the structure offered by a moderately stiff cover, and as long as it opens flat I can relate. But again, my ideal is limp, and that’s not such a common characteristic of small Bibles. (For that matter, neither is opening flat.)

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 4
Above: The grain, as you’d expect, is beautiful, the fit and finish excellent.

A larger Bible has some factors weighing in its favor in this regard. The thickness and weight of the paper lends a feeling of flexibility to many larger editions. The current crop of goatskin-bound Cambridge wide margins are a perfect example. The covers are incredibly flexible, but the added size and weight of the text block takes full advantage of that, resulting in a feeling of absolute indolence. Those Bibles have no backbone, in the best possible sense.

But smaller ones, by definition, lack the size and weight, so it can take a lot of use to make them supple — and even then, there’s no guarantee.

THE GOATSKIN PITT MINION
Which is why, when I first heard about the goatskin editions of the Pitt Minion, I was intrigued. My calfskin version from the Trinitarian Bible Society had grown quite flexible with use — not limp, but comfortably soft — and the French Morocco seconds I’d picked up at Grapevine were similarly pliable. They bucked the trend where smaller Bibles are concerned. So how much more could a goatskin cover really offer?

I have three goatskin Pitt Minions on hand to compare: a black NKJV, a burgundy NIV, and a brown KJV. At first, I was planning to cover all three in a single go, but I decided to take them one at a time, so we could get a better sense of each one. By and large, they’re the same, but there are some small differences worth noting. So in this review, I’m going to focus on the black NKJV.

It was extraordinarily limp right out of the box — no surprise. But what did surprise me was how ready it was to open flat. My calf and morocco Pitt Minions, in spite of their flexible covers, have never wanted to stay open on a table, but this NKJV did so without hesitation. In fact, it seemed to open wider than the typical edition, so that I could see right into the gutter without any difficulty. Most books have a swell or curve to the pages, so when you open them flat on a table and look from the bottom, the two sides form a ‘V’ in the middle. The gutter is at the bottom of a deep canyon, as it were. The Pitt Minion’s ‘v’ is lower case, like it’s not trying to hard to sit up. (This is a characteristic of both the NKJV and the burgundy NIV, but the brown KJV — like its calf and morocco cousins — doesn’t open flat like this.)

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 8
Above: The Pitt Minion seems to open more fully than many Bibles, especially smaller ones.

I can’t explain why the text block lays so flat, but it does, and as a result, the Pitt Minion is great for one-handed use. When I hold most small Bibles one-handed, I keep three fingers behind the spine while placing thumb and pinkie on the inside edges — imagine a makeshift music stand with a bad manicure. This keeps the Bible open wide enough for comfortable reading, and is similar to the way you might hold a mass market paperback. But the Pitt Minion doesn’t need it. It stays open much more easily.

THE STANDARD OF BEAUTY
Thin is in these days, with our Bibles getting to be as anorexic-looking as our models. Looking at all the thinlines on the shelf, you feel this overwhelming urge to feed them. The real problem, of course, with thinlines (and, I suppose, with models) is how they get to be so thin. Hint: it’s not by using thicker paper. Peruse the comments on BibleDesignBlog.com and you’ll quickly discover that the number one complaint about Bibles these days — even more aggravating, it seems, than adhesive bindings — is how translucent the paper has become. (Some people call this “bleedthrough,” referencing the ghosted impression of the printing on the reverse of the page, but that term always makes me think of ink bleeding through when you write on the paper.)

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 7
Above: The paper is opaque, the text clear and readable.

It bugs me, too. Some beautiful layouts — the Standard NRSV from Harper Collins, an elegantly-proportioned single column setting — are ruined by the terrible paper on which they’re printed. And this seems to be more of a norm these days than an exception. Of course, Bible paper has always been thin, and has never been notorious for its opacity, but some of this stuff looks like wind would blow straight through it, that’s how insubstantial it is. So the question becomes, how much can you put up with? And is “thin” really worth it if the price is less opacity?

Make no mistake, the Pitt Minion is thin. That’s one of its selling points. But to my eyes, the paper seems quite good. Yes, you can see the impression on the reverse of the page, but it’s faint, and not pronounced enough to be distracting. In fact, what I like about the Pitt Minion is that it seems to defy the odds in so many ways. It’s limp when you’d expect stiffness, opaque when you’d expect the opposite, and readable when you’d think the type would be too small.

Because of course, small type is another way of achieving thinness, because it allows more words to be crowded on the page. But the NKJV layout doesn’t seem crowded to the eye. As you can see, it’s nicely balanced. The choice of font helps, too. (Both the NKJV and NIV are superior on this count, the KJV less so.)

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 5
Above: The mandatory ‘yoga’ photo. The goatskin is every bit as flexible as you’d expect.

SIZE AND COMPROMISE
In a lot of ways, the Pitt Minion gives conflicting impressions. When it’s closed, it seems like a small Bible. When it’s open, it doesn’t. Typically, whenever I’m using a compact edition, I’m keenly aware of the trade-offs. This week, as I was chatting with a group of students at dinner, I had to look up a verse in the New Testament. I’d slipped a Compact ESV into my pocket earlier, so that’s what I used. “Give me an extra minute here,” I said, squinting at the tiny type, “I’m using a tiny Bible so it’s going to take a bit longer.”

With the Pitt Minion, that doesn’t happen — at least, not for me. The references are there, the text is readable, and the page size is taller and wider than most compact Bibles tend to be. In fact, if it weren’t for the thinness, the Pitt Minion would feel more like a hand-sized Bible than a true compact.

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 1
Above: Here, you can get a better idea of how much ‘ghosting’ — or if you must, ‘bleedthrough’ — the Pitt Minion has. It’s present, but not distracting. Also, you can see that this is a full-featured reference Bible, completely lacking the stripped-down feel of some compact editions.

I think this is why the format is so popular. The Pitt Minion feels trim without coming off as compromised. They didn’t strip out the power windows and the air conditioning just to get it to the desired weight. Instead, it’s a full-featured edition in svelte package.

That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. The Cambridge Pocket Cross-Reference NIV I reviewed early on in red Cabra bonded leather represents a different approach to the problem. It’s not as tall as the Pitt Minion and not as wide, but it’s noticeably thicker. Since it isn’t marketed in the United States, most readers here are unfamiliar with the format. When I compare the two, I’m conflicted. I appreciate the smaller footprint of the Cross-Reference NIV, and don’t mind the extra thickness, which only serves to fill the hand. But there’s no denying the Pitt Minion’s larger page size is an advantage, and its thinness coupled with the limp binding make handling it a real treat. If you don’t like the slim profile, there are other options, but I have to say, it’s really grown on me.

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 2
Above: The black goatskin binding comes with art-gilt edges and a single red ribbon. I’d prefer a minimum of two, three if I could get them.

Let’s get down to specifics. If you visit the official Cambridge page for the NKJV Pitt Minion, you’ll find the relevant numbers. The font is Lexicon, sized at 6.75/7 pt. (i.e., small), and the page size is 174 x 120 mm, which is 6.85 x 4.72 inches if you’re wondering. (The Cross-Reference NIV, for comparison purposes, is 6 x 4.25 inches, set in 6/7 pt. Olympian.) It’s a red letter setting, as you can see from the photos, with a concordance, references and maps.

It looks like the Cambridge strategy these days is to make popular translations available in the Pitt Minion format with an accompanying Pitt Minion wide margin. Both the NASB and NKJV are available in both formats (and only those, I believe), while the NIV is available in both formats and more. ESV editions of the Pitt Minion and wide margin are coming in a few months’ time. Based on the examples I’ve seen, I’d say this is an excellent strategy to pursue. The Pitt Minion makes a great all-around Bible, while the wide margin is at the top of its class. It would be nice if a similar line were taken with other translations — I’d love to see the NRSV and the REB in Pitt Minion trappings, for example.

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 3
Above: Here, I rolled up the Pitt Minion like a newspaper and held it in my fist. Sorry I couldn’t get a better focus. But I think this illustrates just how supple the binding is.

You don’t need me to tell you that the Pitt Minion is an impressive little Bible. Everybody’s talking about them. If anything, I’m late to the game. Until I saw the goatskin editions, I took a “been there, done that” attitude toward the format, but now I’m anxiously awaiting the brown goatskin Pitt Minion ESV.

As you know, in the English-speaking world, we’re spoiled for choices, both when it comes to translations and editions. In some ways, having so many choices makes it harder to just pick one. If you’re looking for a versatile edition of the NKJV, well-suited to study, carry and worship, I think the Pitt Minion is one of the best you’ll find.

Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV 6
Above: The sleek profile of the Pitt Minion makes it a pleasure to use.

58 Comments on “Cambridge Pitt Minion NKJV in Black Goatskin

  1. After my somewhat dissappointing discovery that the new Persoanl Size “Genuine Leather” ESV was actually terrible to hold in the hand, I decided to get in my truck on my lunch break the other day and head down the road to Westminster Theo. Sem. in Glenside (Philly)PA to pick up the Tru-version. 16 bucks later (45% off), I took’r for a spin. Man was I impressed.
    Though it be not leather, well, neither is the “genuine leather” for that matter, I have to admit it is extremely comfortable to handle and to hold. So supple and pliable…it feels like water almost.
    So I echo, as well, your thoughts Mark. I too have an affinity for small bibles and those which are “barely noticable” when handled. By that I mean, a book that is so comfortable you forget you are holding it.

  2. I don’t know Mark. When I look at your photos I see bleedthrough not only of the reverse page but of the page beneath that. For example, look below Obadiah 1:21 in this photo:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmarkbertrand/2573152295/sizes/o/
    and you can read from the page below “And has founded.” Actually, if you look directly to the left of the “And” in “And has founded” you’ll see a bleedthrough image from the reverse side of the page beneath the photographed page. In other words — four levels of bleedthrough. That doesn’t seem acceptable to me.
    You are certainly correct in your assessment of the HarperCollins Standard NRSV — it has unacceptable bleedthrough.
    May I ask — how does the bleedthrough compare between this edition and the TBS Pitt Minion KJV?

  3. Thank you for mentioning REB! I’m over here still drumming my fingers, waiting for more printings and bindings of the Revised English Bible, my favorite. Got the standard red hardback (x2), the black bonded leather, and the Oxford Study Bible. Would love a Pitt Minion edition, with Apocrypha, please. Oxford? Cambridge?

  4. I’d second the call for a new REB edition. I love the Cambridge hardcover (way better than the Oxford ones, by the way), but I’d really like something in a more compact format.
    While we’re on the topic, I would also really like a plain old KJV, but paragraphed. (Yes, I know about the NCPB.) All the typesettings I can find seem to have been done decades ago. Does anyone know of something?

  5. More thanks for mentioning the REB. I recently purchased a French Morocco REB Text Edition with Apocrypha. Love it. Wish they had it in goatskin. Pitt Minion would be great.

  6. I have the leather PSRB of the ESV and I took up Mark’s challenge from awhile back. I have applied leather conditioners to it and I have flexed it often. It is quite flexible now; it does not just lay flat in my hand, it actually hangs down on both sides. Mark, when the time comes, I would like you to compare the design of the Pitt Minion with the PSRB.

  7. Man, I miss Grapevine. Try finding anything from Banner of Truth at Lightway, er, Lifeway…..

  8. Iyov,
    I made a comment on your blog as well. I have to agree with Mark here. The way that you enhanced the photo really makes your complaint seem like a stretch. The amount of bleedthrough here seems quite a bit less to me than many other versions this small and thin, and even if you can barely make out a 4th layer of text on high zoom, this is still easily readable.

  9. Mark,
    What’s your opinion of the red ink? Is it dark and easy to read, or is it on the pink side?
    This edition looks beautiful and nearly perfect on every count. I really can’t wait for the ESV now!

  10. Another thoughtful review! I bought one of these in its NASB version after buying one of the Crossway ESV Personal Reference Bibles, mostly because I really like the size (h x w) of the Personal Reference Bible and wanted a New American Standard Bible in the same format. The goatskin was appealing, so I ordered one and have been very pleased. A few comments:
    In answer to the question just above, I strongly prefer black letter text on both practical and theological grounds, but the red ink in mine is almost crimson and is much easier to read than any other red letter bible I’ve handled.
    The opacity of the paper is superior. Perfect? No, but much better than anything comparable. This is a thin bible, and to have this degree of opacity in a bible this thin is unexpected. This also contributes to making the P-M easier to read than most comparably-sized bibles. The typeface and leading are also very well-designed for reading, especially considering its relatively small size.
    Contrary to my comments on the ESV Personal Reference Bible, the notes and references are relatively unobtrusive. The binding is wonderful…limp, opens flat…and did so without a lot of “exercise” and breaking-in. I have gotten my ESV PRB to almost the same point, but only by artifically accelerating a lot of wear/use.
    My only request for the NASB Pitt Minion would be for a black-letter version. The NIV is available as a black-letter bible, and it would be nice if the NASB were also. Going back to the immediately preceding post, though, this is not a “pink letter” bible and most people would probably be happy with it as it is.
    In practical terms, this is a great choice for a carry-arounnd bible. I am traveling this weekend and decided to bring this bible with me for reading and study. It was a perfect choice. Even in the modest light on the plane, without the overhead lights on (my seat was on the aisle, not by the window), it was easy to read the Pitt-Minion. Highly recommended.

  11. I also have the NASB Pitt Minion and it is highly readable. In normal reading light the bleed through is minimal and I agree the font is very easy on the eyes.
    I have a question re J. Newell’s comment:
    “The typeface and leading are also very well-designed for reading…”
    What is meant by “leading” in this context? I’ve seen it before and have tried to look it up without success.
    Thank you.

  12. J. Newell,
    Thanks for the reply, I’m very glad that the red ink is easy to read. I have to say I’m currently torn between red and black letter versions. Theologically I used to be against red lettering, but then I realized two things: First, those people who supposedly only read the red words of the Bible are going to hold to their anti-Pauline theology regardless of what color the text is printed in. Second, Christianity is hierarchal, and the Son of God definitely holds a higher place in that hierarchy than the Apostles. Again, I don’t think that means we should ignore the words of Paul, but I also don’t have a problem with a simple artistic expression of the uniqueness of Christ (which is all the red lettering is meant to be). I’ve come to see the red lettering as the same as the art-gilt edges; it makes the book itself more aesthetically pleasing.
    Given all of that, though, it would still be more detrimental than beneficial if the ink was difficult to read, which is why I asked.
    Thanks again!

  13. For as long as I can remember I was always taught & understood RED LETTERING to be “a simple artistic expression of the uniqueness of Christ”. I had no idea that there were groups of ‘red letter’ people who held to an anti-Pauline theology mindset & that people who liked the RED LETTERS could be catagorised in such a manner. The issue seems a little trivial to me. I’ve noticed some new editions formatted using blue-letter-fonts, is there any ‘theological’ message behind these choices that I should be aware of, or will it just be easier on my tired eyes?
    In regards to the ‘bleed-through’ issue discussed here, I find that excessive bleed-through is annoying too, but unless it’s excessive I don’t worry about it, I’m usually too engrossed in trying to correctly comprehend the text I’m reading to be distracted by a little ‘ghosting’.
    An interesting observation came to mind though as I read the comments above.
    Some weeks back I tried photographing an old Bible of mine & was surprised at how well the pics turned out, but I also noticed that using lamps & a flash for lighting seemed to give the camera “x-ray vision” or at least the ability to accentuate any of the above mentioned ‘bleed-through’ issues. The point being, what the camera sees & what the human eye sees (or notices) is not always the same thing!
    @ Kathy,
    RE your “leading” question – I’m not an expert in the field but I’ve been trying to edit my own sermons & presentations lately to create DVD’s that can be passed around. When formatting the text that appears on the screen you have many options to manipulate it including what is called “leading” which refers to the amount of ‘vertical’ space between the lines of text, turning the “leading” up increases the space between each line of text, turn it down too much & the lines will eventually sit on top of each other & overlap etc. The term “tracking” is similar but allows you to increase or decrease the ‘horizontal’ space in between the actual letters of the words, for example, turning the “tracking” down will cause the letters to bunch up & overlap each other & visa versa.
    Hope that helps :)

  14. Leading refers to the extra space between lines. So-called because lead metal was used for the purpose in the early days of printing. A 12pt typeface without leading will have six lines to the inch vertically (there are 72 pts in an inch).If there are 6pts of leading – a very generous amount, there will be only four lines to the inch vertically. 12pts of leading and you have double line spacing. Leading will often be very small amounts, typically 0.5 to 1.0 pt, but even this can alter the appearance of a page, add more white space and make reading easier. Of course, Bible publishers minimize leading in order to keep the whole Bible compact. 10 pt text on an 11pt line (i.e. with 1pt of leading)is very readable, but produces quite a large Bible, at least 9″ x 7″ in most cases. The Pitt Minion offers around 6.75 pt text on a 7pt line. The text (a modified Times or Lexicon) is quite narrow but semi-bold, making it both compact and readable.

  15. Thank you for the explanation on leading. This information will be very helpful in determining the readability of a Bible sight unseen (with publishers who provide such information!)
    Re: Stuart’s comment about flash photography and bleed through, I considered that as well when I read Iyov’s comments above. It is evident on the close up of the open NKJV pm on the Baker website, and on the Bibles Direct page for the bold print NIV. In natural light these Bibles show minimal bleed through. Sometimes digital photography is more detailed than we need!

  16. I have this exact same edition and it has become my absolute favorite reading Bible, I must confess (though I’m eagerly awaiting the ESV Pitt Minion). I can tell you first-hand that the reason I love it so much is precisely because it is so perfectly suited for the hand, it lays remarkably flat, is surprisingly readable, and contrary to the speculation here and at lyov’s blog about the “bleedthrough”, it has very little! Mark was almost understating the matter to say that it is not distracting. The photos at the linked blog are a stretch, to say the least. Get one and look at it in person and you won’t see much of anything to complain about.
    Cambridge has gotten so many things absolutely right about this format. This little Bible is truly a gem.

  17. I have what I believe to be an older version of the Cambridge KJV Pitt Minion. It is a black goatskin leather Bible with the Cambridge Crest on the spine as opposed to just the word Cambridge (does anybody know if having the seal signifies an older version?) Out of all my Bibles I bring this one out to play the most due to it’s personal size, beautiful texture and unique quality. The goatskin is unlike my Wide Margin Cambridge Goatskin and even my Allan Highland Goatskin. The texture seems to have long wrinkles and deep creases and the luster almost looks like the Bible is greasy. I just love looking at this Bible.
    I was commenting to my wife that the leather on my Pitt Minion smells better than my Allan 5C Highland Goatskin. To this she replied that this “aroma” was from the “paint or dye” used on the leather of the Pitt Minion as opposed to the much softer smell of the Allan. Can anyone comment on this? Does Cambridge use more paint or preservatives on their leather? Regardless the Pitt still smells and looks spectacular. Ill post some pics as soon as I can of my Stack.
    One issue I am having with my Pitt that I also have had with my Cambridge KJV Cameo with Apocrypha in Black Calfskin is that the leather page right after the main cover but just right before the dedication page has come undone. It has completely torn on my Cameo and ripped right down the center of the cover and “where the book starts.” The pages in the Cameo look sown but the cover appears to have been glued at the time of production and it has since torn. My wife has since used a hot glue gun to glue the cover back to the “bulk” of the book. Needless to say aside from the Cambridge KJV Cameo with Apocrypha being rare and out of print, the Bible looks tattered and beat up. Plus some pages have completely detached from the binding. Im afraid of putting serious time into my Pitt because I’m afraid that what has happened to my Cameo will happen to my Pitt. I’ll get some pics of this up soon also. Does this problem sound familiar to any of you all who are Loyal to Cambridge? I am wondering if the tearing is a usage issue or a design error.
    All in all I still love the Pitt Minion.

  18. Stuart,
    I think the worry for some people (specifically anyone who holds firmly to “sola scriptura”) is that putting Jesus’ words in red subtly endorses the idea that some parts of the Bible might be more inspired than others. Theologically, they believe that all of Scripture is equally inspired and equally authoritative. But like I said, the so-called “red letter christians” who claim that Jesus’ teaching was different from Paul’s are going to believe what they believe regardless of the text color. I think the term “red letter christian” was invented by their opponents anyway, as a kind of derogatory term, so it isn’t as though anyone was consciously deciding to read only words printed in red. The name was simply convenient.
    I agree that it seems too trivial to make a big theological fuss about.
    But then again, I think that about single-column vs. double-column too! :)

  19. For me the Red Letter serves as useful “markers” for me to look up certain passages quickly. Thats all.

  20. It is quite small print. I purchased the NIV and the NASB in this edition from Baker Books. However, I have not purchased the NKJV simply because it is quite expensive for a small Bible that you can only read from and this requires focus reading. This Bible is not for teaching that is for sure. It is simply too small and easy to lose your spot when trying to teach from a particular section of Scripture. While I love the leather and the paper, it is small print and readers need to hear that stressed enough.

  21. To Charles: I have a copy of the Cambridge “Presentation Reference Bible” (KJV, used to be the “Turquoise” edition) bound in calfskin, but it’s a very thick, supple leather and one of my favorites. I’m having the same problem, though–this edition is lined with some kind of coated paper, and it’s splitting in the gutter where the lining sheet is folded. It’s worse in the back, but starting to develop further in the front. I’m at a loss to know what to do about it–this Bible has had consistent but not heavy use, so the split isn’t a function of rough handling. This particular copy is also extremely well printed (you have to watch Cambridge Bibles in the newer printings, some of them have “issues”) and I don’t really want to exchange it.
    (I have another copy of this Bible printed on goatskin, with art-gilt edges–it’s one of those Bibles with the intoxicating smell. It stays in the box, only out occasionally for admiring and smelling.)
    This copy also has the crest on the spine, and it’s relatively new–maybe 5 years. The crest actually is a sign of a newer edition–older Cambridge Bibles tended to simply have the word “Cambridge” on the spine.
    Lee

  22. “In a lot of ways, the Pitt Minion gives conflicting impressions. When it’s closed, it seems like a small Bible. When it’s open, it doesn’t.” I can’t imagine a more accurate description.
    I have two Pitt Minions (NIV and NASB in goatskin). IMHO these are as close to perfection as they come. I got my NIV from Cambridge and my NASB from Allan’s. The Cambridge NIV is more limp, but the Allan’s leather is much more beautiful and they both lay flat.
    Even though I have two ESV bibles from Allan (Tan and Black Goatskin) I am going to buy the Pitt Minion ESV when they are released — even if I have to sell plasma! If your eyesight is not as clear as you would like you should still give these bibles a look-see. The print is really clear in spite of its being compact. I have had my two Pitt Minions for nearly a year and I am still awestruck when I occasionally take a step back from the text and take in the bible that holds it!

  23. I came across this site a few weeks ago as I was in the process of researching for a new Bible purchase, and let’s just say I’ve spent a lot more time “researching” than I ever thought I would. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the specifics of what I was looking for, but thanks to this site (and this post in particular) I’ve come to the conclusion that the ESV Pitt Minion will be just about perfect. I just wish it would come out already! Is there a set publication date or does anyone have a good idea of when it will be published?

  24. While I’m not a red-letter fan (Every Scripture is inspired by God…) one place that red lettering serves a very useful purpose is in the gospel of Matthew. Flipping through a red letter edition shows you readily how Matthew arranged his work around discourses that carry themes. It looks as if he combined sayings of Jesus into themes and built the stories of Jesus around them. For instance, the “Sermon on the Mount” is probably a compilation of teaching and “on the mount” hints of OT themes of God’s word sounding forth from the mountain. Luke is arranged differently (maybe more chronologically) and the teachings of Matthew 5-7 are dispersed in Luke’s tract. Hence, the synoptic problem.

  25. @ David N,
    Thank you for the clarification on the theological issues surrounding RED LETTER font choices. I realise in hindsight that probably most of the people here are more than likely ‘BLACK LETTER’ supporters, in fact I think I’m leaning towards that preference myself after being introduced to all these lovely Bibles, but not for theological reasons. I’ve simply weened myself off those little RED addictive letters that jump off the page & hit you square in the eye with something profound! I still enjoy a good red-letter-read every now & then but only because it’s special & atheistically pleasing to me.
    The only real problem with RED LETTER Editions that I was aware of was the risk of embarrassment when studying with those who are not convinced of the Deity of Christ; issues can arise over exactly which words were actually spoken by Christ (specifically in the Book of Revelation) & which words came from Angels or God Himself – it’s not a clear cut answer even when you look at it in the Greek. If we can’t be sure that all the words in red are specifically Christ’s the RED LETTER reader may experience momentary embarrassment as the uncertainty of which words actually should or shouldn’t be in RED kicks in – to be fair the BLACK LETTER Editions just do a better job of masking the problem, but again it’s all a bit trivial in the larger scheme of things.
    Apologies to anyone taking offence at my comments regarding the trivialness of these RED LETTER issues – none intended; I like both editions!

  26. So far I must say the Cambridge Pitt Minion has become my favourite Bible version. It is just SO convenient! From the sofa to the bed to the dining table…it is just so CONVENIENT! I guess the superb binding has A LOT to do with the whole reading experience. It is pure JOY to use.
    The ONLY “negative” experience was when I brought it to a prayer meeting and was sharing the bible with a brother together – he complained the typeface was too SMALL!

  27. Ha! I just read my comment above stating that I enjoy reading Red Letter Editions because it’s “atheistically” pleasing to me — Woops, I meant — “aesthetically pleasing” – simple MS spellcheck error (and yet no one rebuked me) ;)

  28. I’m torn between red-letter or black-letter. On one hand, I am so used to red-letter since I’ve used the NIV since I got my first Bible. In the gospels, since you are usually looking for something Jesus said, it is easier to find the passage if it is highlighted. (Also, red-letter matches the art-gilt pages.) On the other hand I like black-letter because it is less distracting and easier on the eyes (to me) than red. Black-letter also has more flow to the text, as in a regular book.

  29. I am looking for a KJV w/Apocrypha – Red Letter – Leather bound. Is there any such thing? I have searched the Internet to no avail.
    Please help.
    Don

  30. Where can I by a KJV Pitt Minion that you are showing here on this web site? One that is black and that has a red ribbon marker?

  31. With your affinity for small bibles you should check out leatherbibles.com and see the two new NASB compacts rebound in black or tan calfskin. They sure look sweet!

  32. please send me a free bible for me to know GOD better.please send it through this address;
    jaf complex school,
    p.o.box 642,
    ashaiman-ghana,
    west afrca-00233.
    thanks.

  33. I have been tempted to purchase this bible because I need an NKJV in a small size for prison ministry. But I really dislike red letter bibles. Does anybody know of a bible of similar quality and size to this, but in black letter edition? I see that there has been some discussion here about red letter, but I don’t see any recommendations for alternatives. Anybody have one?
    Thanks
    David

  34. I just receieved this same bible today, a replacement for the Nelson Compact Signature that I did not like the cover on. This is a wonderful edition with a nice feel in the hand and much nicer looking than the Nelson. I do wish it was a two ribbon bible but the text size and how nicely it lays makes up for that.
    Mine was $81 on Amazon as they are currently running a sale.
    Tony

  35. Could you kindly tell me where I may purchase a copy of the leatherbound OXFORD STUDY BIBLE (REVISED ENGLISH BIBLE)WITH APOCRYPHA? I cannot locate a bookstore that sells them in the U.S.
    Prof. Hong
    200 Old Palisade Road
    River Ridge Bldg., Unit # TH-1
    Fort Lee, NJ 07024-7000
    U.S.A.
    Phone: (201) 461-2428

  36. I have had a number of the Nelson Signature Series NKJV bibles and I love the incredible ‘softness’ of the calf skin and am spoiled; but alas the problem is that they don’t hold up (they are looking for new manufacturer) but I’m tired of waiting and considering the Pitt Minion goatskin; two questions: It seems so stiff; does it soften up? and I mark in my bibles (sorry, I use them) and I use colored brite liners……. will they bleed through terribly on this paper since it’s so thin? I hope I don’t sound like a bible pygmy to the rest of you, but there it is. thanks. je

  37. Does anyone know if a Pitt Minion NASB from Allans has the same binding as a Pitt Minion NASB purchased elsewhere? I read on another blog that for the Pitt Minion, Allans doesn’t bind the Bible and therefore the Bible is no different than buying one through a retailer like Amazon.
    Thank you.

  38. That’s correct, Lynn. Allan’s resells Cambridge editions in the UK, but only the ones with an asterisk next to the item number at Bibles-Direct.com have Allan’s bindings. If you live in North America, having a stock Cambridge imported from Scotland isn’t the most economical option.

  39. I just bought one of these based on your review and I love it.
    Keep up the good work!

  40. Dear Brother / Sister in Christ,
    Greetings in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ !!!
    I am glad to introduce myself as the head of Lord’s Ministry in Georgia, U.S. As a part of our Ministry we send free Bibles to all who request us and who cannot afford to buy one but have a thirst on the Word of God. Please let me know if I can get the KJV Version of Bible in bulk at $1 a piece so that the love of God reaches all around the globe to the Glory of our Almighty Lord Jesus Christ.
    Yours in Lord’s service,
    JAMES ALFORD

  41. Greetings! I am a student but have no Bible. Please send me one.
    Box ta 703
    taifa accra
    ghana

  42. Mark, Scott, Roy,
    I would like to bring some clarity to the “Cambridge Crest” which is on some of the Cambridge Bible versions from Cambridge University Press.
    The “Cambridge Crest” is infact the Royal Coat of Arms of the Royal Family in the United Kindom of Great Britain.
    If you look in a Cambridge King James Version of the Bible at one of the pages at the front of the Bible it states:
    Rights in the Authorized (King James) version of the Bible are vested in the Crown.
    The Royal Coat of Arms is then displayed then the following is stated:
    This Bible is published by Cambridge University Press, The Queens Printer, Under Royal Letters Patent.
    Their are only three publishers allowed to print the King James Version in the UK, namely Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Collins in Glasgow. Any other printer within the UK would have to have special permission from one of the three above priinters.
    This may also apply to the Book of Common Prayer.
    In summary then, the “Cambridge Crest” is the Royal Coat of Arms and is only found on the King James Version of the Bible Published in the UK and therefore does not indicate older or modern versions

  43. Hello,
    I just for the first time came across this term “Pitt Minion”, and got to this site by googling to try to find out what it means. What is the “Pitt Minion Format” exactly? Is it defined by its small typeface? By the thinness of its bibles? Is there something particular about the page layout? Is it something about the binding?
    I have an Ultra Thin Reference Edition NIV from Holman, and I can’t tell how the text looks any different than what you’ve got in the pictures up there. Is it a Pitt-Minion and I just didn’t know it?

  44. Hey RubeRad,
    The Pitt Minion is a portable bible produced by Cambridge….the “pitt” in the name comes from the Pitt Building where these were originally printed and “minion” is a type of font or size of font used in the bibles.
    You can read more about them on the Cambridge Bibles website. They are really handy to use…after I got my first one, I immediately bought two more of different translations to use as references in my daily reading.

  45. OK, so this page:
    http://www.cambridge.org/uk/bibles/kjv/pitref.htm
    seems to say that Pitt-Minion is defined as
    (a) slimness,
    (b) a particular small but readable typeface, and
    (c) “Cambridge bold-figure cross-reference system”
    I looked at the full-res pictures of the text from above. Is the “Cambridge bold-figure cross-reference system” substantially different than other center-column reference systems? I see that they mix cross references and text notes. That seems like a good enough idea, but is there more to it?

  46. I think what they mean RR is that the font of the reference symbol letters is bold-face.
    Something that isn’t mentioned much that I love about these old “plate-press” center-column reference settings (like so many KJV Cambridges) is that the correct reference is always lined up right next to where you’re reading, whether that’s a left column or a right-hand column on the page, so the ref symbols from a-to-z jump across the center column, not down the left column and then down the right. The modern printings that were set by computer are always in order down the center column as you read so that there’s a slight delay for your mind to figure out that the reference for a verse at the top of the right column is probably halfway down the center column. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but once you’ve used it, you hate to give it up.
    It’s one reason why I prefer the “end-of-verse” reference system that many of the newer Bibles are using. And you also get more words per line without that center column, always an issue in readability for 2-column settings in the normal 3:2 aspect ratio.

  47. Interesting. I can imagine how lined-up center references (whether from left or right) would be useful; I certainly resonate with the slight but continual annoyance of trying to find references in the center column.
    Looking again at the full-res Obadaiah/Jonah picture above, this one doesn’t do that; the left column references are on the top, and the right column references are on the bottom.
    But there is (a) a helpful vertical space in the center column separating left-side notes from right-side notes (even at the expense of bleeding the right-side notes to the bottom of the right column), and (b) left-side notes are left-aligned in the center column, and right-side notes are right-aligned. I can see how use of this center column would be greatly helped by those visual cues.

  48. Thank you for the excellent review with pics. This prompted me to purchase one, which I find to be better than my Thomas Nelson Signature Series in almost every way. The leather is not as soft and luxurious as the Nelson, but, it is much more rugged and for that reason, will become my church Bible.
    Thanks again!

  49. To the commenter who was looking for a KJV single-column: Cambridge now sells the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible in goatskin for under $100!

  50. I just picked up a Cambridge NKJV Promo Pitt Minion Bible…Tan Stitched Cowhide…no indication it will ever be in production….may be the only one…dont know how to post a picture here but have an photo added to a ebay auction now running…selling a REB Dark Red Calfskin Testament.
    The Promo NKJV is the tan Bible on top of a NLT Pitt Minion.

  51. Can some kind person tell me whether it is possible to purchase leatherbound copies of the NKJV that are black letter (ie NOT red letter) and are anglicised; ie that use UK spelling instead of US spelling? The Cambridge NKJV is anglicised but includes red lettering. I want to buy copies for grandchildren. My own copy is a beautiful one published by Samuel Bagster; but I understand that that edition is no longer available.
    John L.

  52. I bought one of these from an reputable online company, and it was falling apart out of the box! Not a good buy, I would rather stay away from Cambridge and the seller from now on.

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