Glimpse: Cambridge Loose-Leaf KJV

I’m not a socialist, but I sometimes wish the US government would take charge of the cellular networks, so that we’d get coverage wherever there happen to be roads and competition would focus on building better phones rather than spinning off redundant (and incomplete) networks. Whenever I float this theory — usually while driving through someplace like Montana where AT&T doesn’t seem to think cellular reception is needed — it usually gets shot down. Even I don’t agree with myself entirely, because this rationale sounds a little bit like the argument for why we should only have one Bible translation. And I happen to think that in a multitude of counselors there is wisdom.

But there’s no denying that when the Authorized Version rules the waves, diversity held sway in the realm of design and binding. Instead of forty translations, each available in black and purple plastic, there were a variety of formats that seems utterly decadent in retrospect. Perfect example: the loose-leaf Bible.

Cambridge Loose-Leaf KJV - Spine

It’s exactly what it looks like: a Bible in a three-ring binder. And not some cheap photocopy of an edition, either. This is the real thing, a complete edition of the Concord KJV printed on creme-colored India paper. No wide margins, because it doesn’t need them. You can interleave all the notepaper you want … handwritten jots, typed notes and outlines, printed pages. Knock yourself out. It’s wonderful.

Cambridge Loose-Leaf KJV - Cover Detail

The Cambridge Study Edition. I love that, implying as it does that if you’re serious about study, you’ll need to be able to take your Bible apart and put it back together, along with all kinds of additional material. The rings are large enough to accommodate quite a few additions.

Cambridge Loose-Leaf KJV - Title Page

Cambridge Loose-Leaf KJV - Rings

Cambridge Loose-Leaf KJV - Spread

The only mistake here is that the cover page doesn’t say “words of Christ in atomic pink.” If nothing else, they jump out at you, especially on the creme background.

I don’t think you can still get one of these from Cambridge, but there are still loose-leaf editions floating around, including even a loose-leaf edition of the NIV Study Bible, which is pretty sweet. Does anyone out there use one of these? I have to admit, I bought mine with the best intentions and didn’t make much use of it. I’m curious if anyone is actually toting a well-interleaved three-ring Bible around.

By the way, if this whets your appetite, take a look at the loose-leaf offerings at ChristianBook.com. I’m amazed these things are still being made. There is even a copy of the New Oxford Annotated NRSV with Apocrypha. I have a feeling none of them are on India paper, though.

23 Comments on “Glimpse: Cambridge Loose-Leaf KJV

  1. I wonder if anyone has completed this exercise for filofax – i have looked around to no avail?

  2. I’ve never seen one of those before. Thanks for sharing with us. I can’t imagine putting that in my satchel and carrying it to the pulpit. My desk doesn’t seem to have enough space on it to use something that large.

  3. Funny that you should mention it; I was actually looking at that loose leaf New Oxford Annotated Bible the other day. Unfortunately, it is only available in the NRSV edition, which is a shame because the RSV New Oxford Annotated Bible is both still in print and my study Bible of choice. A loose leaf edition would be (I think) perfect for a rebinding (binding?) project because it hasn’t been bound yet and you could specify everything (including moving the Apocrypha between the Testaments, where most people seem to prefer it to have been placed in the first place–NOAB puts it at the very end, after the essays). Seems like the loose leaf NOAB had decent margins, too (unlike the bound edition).
    I’m actually playing with the idea of writing to Oxford University Press and inquiring about buying loose signatures. I really love my RSV NOAB, but there’s only so much that replacing the cover is going to do for it. I’d love to be able to have one with larger margins and with red under gold page edges.

  4. I had an old American Standard New Testament loose leaf but never used it due to size. About two years ago I bought the NASB loose-leaf and rebound it into five different books (law, history, wisdom, prophets, NT) using plastic comb binders. I did this due to my 12 year frustration of trying to get an NASB in a wide margin. Of course, Cambridge has since come out with their WM version. But I have now moved away from the NASB as my primary, so the five books remain on the shelf.

  5. Mark, your loose leaf Bible post reminds me of the Blank Bible. Originally made famous by Jonathan Edwards, there are several blogs/forums discussing them. Tony Reinke’s blog is a good launch point. These unbound Bibles make a lot of sense for those who prefer to write down their notes vs. typing/scanning them to electronic format file. Just imagine yourself in your last years, and your kids would like your life’s accumulation of Bible study work to cherish. Given the volumes of notes, etc. I’m sure you’ve got, you could easily have a Blank Bible for each book of the Bible. Now all you need to do is have RL Allan custom bind each one of them using highland goatskin (possibly black for OT books and brown for NT books), and you’ve left yourself quite a legacy your family will cherish for several generations. Doesn’t that sound much more appealing than leaving them a couple of thumb drives (or hd drives) and a bunch of unorganized paper piles?
    The loose leaf Bible is convenient because it’s essentially a ready made Blank Bible, and they’re often printed using a heavier paper weight. The downside is that we’re stuck with whatever format/layout the publisher chooses to use. That’s the real benefit of the true Blank Bible, in that you can choose whatever translation and format/layout works best for you. Given KJV is in the public domain, I recall a couple of sites that provided the full translation, footnotes and all, in a free downloadable Word format. I suspect this could provide more flexibility in designing your own layout, even down to font size and type.

  6. Brian | Somewhere around here, I have a NASB loose-leaf with a six-hole punch, spaced just right for Filofax. Unfortunately, some parts are missing because I stuck them in binders I later misplaced. But I think with the decline of paper planners it’s going to be harder to find a small-format loose-leaf. One work-around: I got some pre-perforated paper from Filofax and printed the creeds and some benedictions on them, then carried them with me over the summer while traveling. You could so something similar with the Bible, assuming you had access to the text you wanted and lots and lots of time/patience.
    Heather | Rebinding a loose-leaf wouldn’t be practical, because it’s not in signatures. The pages are individual, which means there would be nothing to sew together. Buying loose signatures would be a better bet.
    California Dave | There’s a link to Tony Reinke’s project in the right-hand column under Rebinding Links. I’ve been tempted many a time to do my own layout of the text, but I’m going to wait until someone puts a team of designers at my disposal to do the actual work! 🙂
    Iyov | I don’t disallow them on purpose, it’s just a default of Typepad’s I’m too ignorant to undo. If anybody knows how to enable it, I’d appreciate the tip. I’m always trying to use HTML only to realize it won’t work.

  7. That’s kind of what I suspected–thanks greatly for your input. I will let you know if I manage to talk OUP into selling me some signatures. I do hope that someone comes out with a loose leaf RSV, ideally with the Apocrypha. I really like the idea of being able to interleave your own notes. The best that I could find poking around on the Internet was a NT only, from 1946 (I think) and already written in. There’s probably something better out there, though. Thanks again so much, and thanks for running such a great blog!

  8. Thanks for your information. Most of the posts in the blog is really valuable. Regards

  9. one thing that interests me in particular is what the wear and tear is like? do the pages tear easily around the rings or is there some sort of system that stops the pages tearing.

  10. I like the Concord layout from Cambridge and have looked for this particular edition since seeing this post… so far no luck. It is truly a difficult, if not rare, edition to find.
    It was last printed in 1993, ISBN-10: 0521150280, ISBN-13: 978-0521150286

  11. Dear Mr. Bertrand,
    I am looking for a Cambridge KJV Loose Leaf Bible preferably the Concord addition like the one in your pictures. Do you know of any around? If so I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know where I can find one. Thank You! Pastor Ralph Cole Sr.

  12. WOW, this’ll keep me busy for years. I’ve been subscribing to your RSS feed for months, but somehow I missed this great list.

  13. WOW, this’ll keep me busy for years. I’ve been subscribing to your RSS feed for months, but somehow I missed this great list.

  14. I have this same rare looseleaf Bible in mint condition, never used. Willing to sell it for $125 which includes shipping. Email me if interested for details.

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