Cambridge NIV Single-Column Text Bible

As much as I like the Pitt Minion, if you ask me to recommend a Cambridge NIV, that's not the answer I'll go with. Instead, I'll sing the praises of the NIV Single-Column Text Bible. Take a look:


The page measures 6 1/9 inches x 9 1/8 inches, which makes it a high wider and a hair taller than the typical hardback novel. A little over 1500 pages, and 1 3/8 inches thick. According to Baker, the US distributor, the type is 10 pt. Palatino. Leading — i.e., line spacing — is comfortable. The text column is perhaps a little bit wider than I'd like, but all in all, this is an elegantly proportioned, downright beautiful setting.
Knowing my affection for single column Bibles, it should come as no surprise that I like this one. Unlike many attempts, the Single-Column Text Bible doesn't cram the words into a too-small space. Instead, they have room to breathe, which makes for comfortable reading. Every translation should be available in a format like this. Once you've experienced it, I can't imagine going back.


The close-up above gives a better idea of the text column, and also the level of bleed-through. I recommended the Single-Column Text Bible to a reader, only to hear back that he'd returned it in disgust because the bleed-though made it impossible to read. Well, okay. But that hasn't been my experience. I've gotten nothing but pleasure from this setting. 
It's a more conservative approach than my favorite single column layout, the original edition of the New English Bible. While the NEB moved chapter and verse numbers to the margin, the Single-Column Text Bible keeps them in their traditional location. I prefer the NEB approach, but think it would be a bit of a stretch to say the superscript numbers are a distraction.


The layout does one thing I find irritating: it indents the lines immediately following section headings (for a better look, click on the photo for an enlarged view). This redundancy offends my inner typographer, but it's not something most people notice. As you can see, the Single-Column Text Bible comes with two black ribbons, art-gilt (i.e., "red under gold") page edges, and a gilt line running around the inside of the cover. 
Speaking of the cover — did I mention it was goatskin? As you can see below, this particular copy has an attractive grain. The boards underneath the leather are a bit stiff, so I'd classify the cover as flexible rather than limp, more akin to the feel of the Pitt Minion ESV


So if you're a fan of soft calfskin or limp highland goatskin, this cover isn't going to give you as much joy. Even so, it's pleasant to handle. Not soft, but certainly flexible.


This is a text Bible, which means there are no reference notes in the margin. At the base of the page, you will find the occasional translator's note, however. Note how, in the photo above, the red-and-gold band forms an inverted V when open. I wouldn't want you to see the photo below and assume I'd stressed the spine. That's just the way this edition looks when it's open.


The "Bible yoga" shot demonstrates that, in spite of the stiffer boards, this cover has some flex to it. And if you're unconvinced, the "newspaper roll" below will hopefully get the point across. Ordinarily, I use smaller Bibles in church, but I've given this one a try recently and found it quite good in that role. The weight of the text block flexes the cover, giving it a limp feel — but not so limp that you worry it will slip from your grasp. 
One more shot to convey the cover's flexibility. Below, some levitation. With the spine supported, the cover slopes gracefully downward. The gilt line and striated art-gilt edges are particularly evident in this shot.


Compared to a compact edition like the Pitt Minion (below), the Single-Column Text Bible is still a handful. But guess what? The improved reading experience makes the extra size not only tolerable but welcome. I'm not saying the Single-Column Text Bible is perfect — no Bible is — but for pure reading enjoyment, I can't think of a better setting of the NIV. 
So if you want a single column setting, don't mind a Bible the size of a hardback novel (albeit quite a bit heavier), then the Single-Column Text Bible is worth checking out. Cambridge markets this as a Family Bible, including pages up front for genealogy, notes, and "family events." There's something a little strange about a single column Bible — a forward-looking format, if you will — including these traditional (and somewhat specialized) features. I haven't filled mine out. In fact, I tend to forget they're even there. If you're into family history, you might find these pages a bonus. They're elegantly produced, at any rate.


The Single-Column Text Bible has been around awhile, and I'm always surprised it isn't better known. If you've used one before, I'd love to hear what you think. If you're interested in checking them out for yourself, here are the Amazon links:

97 Comments on “Cambridge NIV Single-Column Text Bible

  1. This Single Column NIV was actually my first genuine leather bound Bible I purchased after becoming a Christian. My first Bible was a New Living Translation Study Bible, which had the single column setting. So when I started looking for a serious devotional Bible, something I could read and concentrate only on the text of the Bible, I wanted something that provided the most beautiful setting for His Word. So I had in my mind at that time that single column would be the better than double column since it provides a more natural flow of text.
    None of the stores stocked the single column, so I didn’t have any idea how they executed. I took the plunge some 9 years ago and ordered online. What I never expected was how well layed out the text was in the Cambridge Single Column. I can practicaly open to anywhere and see examples of excellent layout. Take for example, Ecclesiastes 3. The line up “a time to”.. in an indented paragraph so you can see how they stack up one after the other. Look at many of the Psalms, they have excellent paragraphs. And then prophets and other text have the quotation section clearly indented and so you can easily see where the context is changing to quotations of God speaking, or the prophet speaking, etc.
    I wish the ESV had this setting, but currently the only single column ESV that I’m aware of is the crossway has each verse broken into a seperate paragraph. It’s something of a hack job compared to the Cambridge single column.

  2. Yes! This is the “perfect Bible” I’ve been writing about. The only thing better about the Zondervan edition of this that I used to have was that the front cover was blank, which I prefer. Looks like a Bible; it seems unnecessary to imprint “Holy Bible” on the front. But yes, this is the Palatino single-column format of the Bible I loved best and somehow got rid of. Still can’t remember who got it or how, but I hope and pray it has helped whoever got it!

  3. This is my second favorite bible of all. The only one that gets more use is my Allans NIV Bold Print Ref.
    I love the single column format of the Cambridge. I keep this bible by my bed, and it is the last thing I read every night.
    I have several other bibles with single column formats – but they are hard cover. One is a Jerusalem Bible from the 60’s, which I read a lot both for the format, and because I love the translation. And I have a few different KJV bibles in single column. I wish I could get every translation in this format, with high quality binding and paper.

  4. Mark – looks like there is a little extra space on the outside margin that could be used for small notes…what do you think?

  5. This is a great Bible format. I bought an early version of this back in the 80s in hardback and still have it. Zondervan also came out with a single column with cross references!! I gave that Bible away to one searching and have never been able to find another. Unfortunately, as I have seen copies of this Bible from Cambridge in various bookstores, the “common Cambridge problem” exists of this inside cover separating from the leather. Other than that, it is superb.

  6. Now, why can’t we get that in the Revised English Bible? (Or even Anglicized ESV or NRSV?)

  7. I bought one of these recently to replace a Hodder and Stoughton single column NIV in bonded leather which needed retiring after twelve years hard labour as my main pulpit Bible. The Cambridge typesetting is simply superb, particularly for the poetry sections. It is simply a joy to read. The paper is beautiful. The point size is big enough for the pulpit for my 44 year old eyes. The leather is goatskin but a bit undemonstrative – nothing like the finish or the smell of an Allan leather bible. But the interior more than compensates for this. My concern with the binding is those family pages at the front: are they sewn in properly? will they eventually pull away from the endpapers (lining)?
    Please, please, Zondervan/Hodders/Cambridge/Allan – can we have a single column TNIV like this? With this quality of type design, paper like this, even better leather?

  8. Look up John 5:4
    in your NIV.
    It is not there.
    ? ? ?
    Google: problems with NIV.

    • There are multiple greek texts and some manuscripts did not include this verse among others as well. My 1984 does mention the “missing” verses in the text notes. The majority of biblical scholars today believe that the editors of the more recent bible translations had access to the oldest manuscripts. Manuscripts that were discovered after the KJV was translated.

  9. DBP – I glad that you take an interest in textual differences between translations of the Bible and I hope you continue to explore both sides of the debate…but this site is “devoted to innovative design and quality Bible binding” (i.e. the physical aspect of bibles) and not for questioning whether a translation is the Word of God…there are plenty of other sites that will do that.

  10. Thank you for your comment Matt.
    The gross omission of verses in the NIV is a matter of layout
    and refers to design and physical aspect.
    I referenced the booklet above to simply point out the missing verses,
    of which, I’m sure, many people are unaware.
    With all due respect and sincerity,

  11. DBP…If you took the time to read the footnotes that I’m sure are in all NIV bibles, you would see why John 5:4 isn’t included in the main body of the text. The people that read this blog are astute enough to see this. This verse is also not in the ESV bible but is acknowledged in the footnotes. The most reliable manuscripts don’t include this verse. I smell a KJV only conspiracy here and I for one won’t stand by while you spout your stiff-necked opinions. There is nothing in the NIV translation that changes the essence of God’s word. The omittance of the verse you have pointed out changes nothing. Christ came to serve as a God-approved substitute for our sin and our acceptance of and faith in him is what we need to have eternal life and salvation.

  12. My copy of this edition arrived today. I’m exceedingly well-pleased, more than I expected. I prefer referenceless reader’s texts, and the single column format was a bonus, so I ordered one. I gasped when I opened it. I had no idea that anyone was still printing the NIV with the old beautiful Palatino font. My first “real” Bible was a first edition Zondervan/Kirkbride NIV Thompson Chain Reference Bible, and it used the Palatino font for the text. I absolutely love that font; it’s so readable, even in the smallest type, and it just looks solid and classy all at once, and the kerning (spacing between letters) is perfect. A few years ago I bought a new NIV Thompson Bible, and was disappointed to see they’d moved to what looked like Times New Roman, with absolutely terrible kerning; it’s unreadably ugly. I wrote and complained sharply! The gigantic and beautiful NIV Pulpit Bible uses Palatino as well. I thought no Bibles were printed with this font since the 1980s. So it was a total shock and a very pleasant surprise indeed for me to see Palatino as the font in this edition. What a relief! My cranky aesthetic sense is soothed, and my eyes and I sing the praises of the Cambride NIV Single Column Text Edition.
    Thanks very much, Mark, for writing on this one.

  13. Jeff Seymour wrote:
    “I smell a KJV only conspiracy here and I for one won’t stand by while you spout your stiff-necked opinions.”
    Your nose deceives you!
    I am adamantly not KJV only.
    One should not assume.
    Multiple translations should be compared.
    My sincere apologies J.M.B. for bringing up the subject.
    I am searching, not judging.
    I was out of line(yet misunderstood).
    Please forgive me.

  14. DBP…I was myself out of line and judgemental. I am an avid reader of the KJV as well as many other translations. In fact there aren’t many translations that I haven’t found beneficial at some time or another. I have, although, found that many of the websites that describe fault with one translation or another to be stiff-necked and sometimes downright evil and scary! One that I recently came across described the NIV as the New International Per-version because one of the translators is a lesbian! Now I don’t know or care about the validity of this claim, but it just illustrates the lengths that some will go. I have always been of the opinion that if you don’t speak and write Hebrew and Koine (common) Greek, your bible is just a translation. A translation interpreted by fallible men. My appologies as well and I hope your search brings you results.

  15. Is anyone aware of a King James Holy Bible that is of a quality make and in single column format?
    sphorner atsymbol gmail dotsymbol com
    Peace and Love,

  16. Stephen, check out the New Paragraph Bible from Cambridge, which is reviewed on the site. It’s a beautiful single column setting of the KJV.

  17. I had no idea these even existed until about 2 months ago. I recently became enthused enough to begin *actually reading* my bible for knowledge and was really frustrated by the 2-column setup with a tiny print. I opened a bible that offered single-column print and immediately bought it.
    I can’t believe I haven’t experienced a single-column bible before (and I’ve had at least 2 bibles at all times since I was 5)!!
    That is a Life Application King James Version (which I wanted) but the print is still small, and I also want some different translations (NKJV, NLT, ESV) but am having a hard time finding them in this single-column style. I kind of like a larger bible, so I don’t mind a larger font adding pages to the book. My bible is 6×9 and about 2 inches deep with a flexible leather(like) cover.
    I, for one, will not settle for anything less. I’m not getting any younger, and whatever makes it easier on my eyes, I’m going to stick with!

  18. I just ordered and received the Pitt Minion NIV, while I like the overall feel and quality of the bible, I’m not particularly impressed with the size of the font or the crowding of the text. I like the idea of the single column layout, I have the SOTRSB, and am enjoying it. My question is, Does anyone know of a NIV single column text of this kind of quality and portability WITH references? I’ve found the references very beneficial over the years and is a non-negotiable for me… Any suggestions? Thanks!

  19. The copy I had of this Cambridge NIV single column had a printing error on a couple of pages of Romans. I contacted Baker Publishing and they replaced the bible at no cost, quickly and with constant and polite communication. They are a great company to deal with and this bible is a thing of beauty.

  20. 3 alternatives to this expensive binding for this nice text-only large-print NIV:
    1. The Great News NT that Mark rev’d August 19, 2008. Lots of copies still avail on and elsewhere but the cheap paper has probably yellowed. NB New Testament only. Just a smidgen larger than a paperback, so the font’s only ~8-9 points but it’s the perfect 12 words/line sizing. The typeface appears to be a slighly narrower version of the Palatino above.
    2. Zondervan themselves made a 6″x9″ cowhide-bound version of this in 1978 that’s been mentioned elsewhere in this blog. I think it’s the exact text block as this Cambridge. My wife gave me one on our first Xmas together and I’ve never seen another since. That was before ISBN’s, but the LoCCN was 78-69799. Beware,I think that number also applies to lesser bindings.
    3. Walmart has recently brought out a Zondervan Essential Bible Series that they brag about being “certified carbon neutral” so I guess they planted a tree or something.
    What’s interesting is the single-column NIV ones called “Find Clarity”. One comes in a brown/gold TruTone (ISBN=0310948878) and another in a burgundy TruTone (ISBN13=9780310949008, ISBN10=0310949009) that I preferred. The box says Walmart on it and googling the ISBN confirms they’re only avail from Wallyworld.
    When I first saw these a month ago, the paper seemed like newsprint but the one I just bought ($18) has fairly decent Bible paper. No, the paper’s not opaque, but it’s not much worse than any other new bible. It helps to read it in less than bright light. Seriously. It’s sewn signatures (lots of stitches) and lays smooth and flat. Which is good since the margins on all 4 sides of the page don’t exceed 3/8″ so don’t expect to take notes except at the section headings. The Zondervan and Cambridge leather models are a Palatino typeface; this one is more of a Times Roman but at least 11-12 points. Pleasant and readable. The volume’s an equivalent thickness but about a half inch narrower and shorter than the leather models so it actually feels better in the hands. Biggest downside to my mind is that the words of Christ are pinkish-red instead of black.
    Oh yeah it’s cheap…no gilded edges (although the corners are rounded) nor gold leaf on the cover or spine. Still, the TruTone cover looks great and after a couple ArmorAll treatments it’s losing that rubber inner tube feel that someone’s commented about. Like the Cambridge above, these are text only, except for the NIV notes that are given as true footnotes (also in large print) on the bottom of each page. Unless you’re really opposed to supporting Walmart, I’d take a look at one the next time you’re there.

  21. Tyler, Sorry I’m 5 months late. If you like NIV you’ll probably like TNIV. Zondervan has a pretty nice single-column edition of it with outside-column references. See ISBN 0310938414. The font is the standard TNIV font, which has a lot of detractors so you might want to see for yourself and look at the sample at
    For you NIV note-takers out there, there’s this nice single-column wide-margin edition: ISBN 0310922178. It has a slightly smaller font than the Cambridge above to make room for all that white space. It comes in an interesting blue as well, ISBN 031092216X.

  22. I bought the Zondervan Single Column NIV in 1996. It is bonded leather but much higher quality than any other bonded leather I’ve seen. Best of all it’s black letter. Sounds like it’s much like the Cambridge reviewed here but probably not as high a quality as the Cambridge. I’ve thought about having it rebound in genuine leather but have never had very good results from rebinding.

  23. two quick comments:
    1. That Walmart single-column NIV I referred to on Oct 9 is now on sale on-line for $15. (They’ll ship to your local store for free.)
    2. Another very similar Bible to this Cambridge NIV is the NASB “Classic Companion Bible” from World Publishing, now Nelson. It’s a single-column, paragraphed setting, with the text in the same very readable Palatino typeface, about 9-10 points I’d say. This is a text Bible, reference-free, using half-inch margins throughout, with the standard NASB-95 notes at the bottom of the page and a small 1500-2000 word concordance in the back.
    I was totally unaware of this edition and just picked up a used leather version (ISBN10 = 0529110601) that is a joy to read. The binding is only side-stitched but it’s rugged, opens up nicely, and feels good in the hand. Paper is thin (.0015″) but it’s remarkably opaque. I’m pretty sure these other ISBN’s are similar:
    0529123142 (imitation leather)
    0529123150 (bonded leather)
    0529110636 (thumb-indexed?)
    052911061X (thumb-indexed?)
    0529110628 (bonded leather)
    I was also pleasantly surprised at how much less awkward the wording is in this new NASB revision compared to the older NASV version I’d been using, but yeah, yeah, this is a design site, not a translation site.

  24. In the last week I have gone a little crazy buying Bibles. I have been spending my Christmas money but it does seem excessive. I have bought a leather NIV Life Application Study Bible to replace the hardback version that I have but is falling apart. But the NIV Bible that I had been wanting for years is the NIV Single Column in a binding that won’t fall apart. I have to say that this Bible is all that Mark has claimed it to be. I like it especially because it doesn’t have references or study notes to cloud the text. Very easy to read and the right size to use for teaching and preaching. I really haven’t found anything not to like about this Bible. The goatskin cover has a nice supple feel and the family record section is especially nice. You can’t go wrong if you have been looking for a readable, single column NIV.
    The other Bibles that I have bought are a ESV Pitt Minion and Allan ESV Personal Reader Version (my reviews of these will be on their respective pages), plus I have the Allan ESV Readers Edition and Leather ESV Study Bible on order. Yes, I have gone crazy.

  25. Now if Allan’s would just rebind one of these in their marvelous highland goatskin, we might just have the perfect NIV Bible…alas, we have to still keep looking…

  26. Dear sir,
    please the reason for contacting you is only to request for a free hardcover or a leather Bible.Please this has being my sweat all the while.Please kindly help me by sending me my request through this address:
    Robert Wemegah,
    jaf school, 642
    west africa,00233

  27. Mine has been my ‘Church Bible’ for 4 years and is beginning to tear where the endpapers are adhered to the front and back covers, despite being carried in a pouch and treated with respect. Any ideas on repairs?
    James Flavin,
    Sydney, Australia.

  28. James, that’s the same way my 80’s era Zondervan leather version of this volume failed. How much do you want to spend? A rebinder (see the sidebar for suggestions)can fix it perfectly but you’ll spend 1/3 to 1/2 of a new one. Or you can use black duct tape (or bookbinders tape, a little more appropriatel) yourself for a fraction the price, but with ugly tape always showing on the inside of the endpapers.

  29. Hi, All! I’ve been reading with GREAT interest the reviews and comments re. different printings of the NIV. As a result, I’m shopping for a few of them!
    I just purchased the Cambridge single-column in black bonded leather from a VERY reputable on-line retailer. When I opened the box, there was a VERY distinct mildew odor. I’ve left the Bible out of the box for a couple of days and the odor is still present. The inside of the box has some gray/black marks that I thought at first may have been light scuffing from the cover, but I’m wondering if that’s actual mold/mildew. The box really has the smell to it.
    They have generously offered to replace the Bible, so good news there! I’m just wondering if anyone has encountered this before. Is there something I could/should do to correct the problem or should I just return it? They said they’ve sold LOTS of Bibles and have never had this problem before.
    Any help/advice would be MUCH appreciated! THANKS!

  30. @Dan, Sure sounds like mold to me. I’d get it replaced; any seller would be expected to exchange or refund your money in such a situation.
    Now if that’s his last copy, so there’s no exchanges, and you got a killer deal, so a refund isn’t that attractive, you might want to attack the mold. First, is it strictly on the cover? Normally books get mold in the pages or spine but if the moisture was confined to the cover and box, maybe it’s just on the cover. That would be good, because a few cleanings with bleach could take care of it. I’m assuming since it’s bonded the mold would be confined to the surface, but before doing anything, see if the cover feels spongy anyplace. That’s a sign the mold has settled into the guts of the cover and simple bleach wipes won’t be enough.
    Unfortunately you pretty much have to go through every page to see if the pages have mold. Do any stick together? Any of those dark gray blotches like you saw inside the box? If so, you have a major problem and I’d take a refund and run.
    And if your general health and respiratory system in particular is not pretty stout, don’t hesitate to return it before taking any of these fix-it steps. Mold can cause serious health problems.

  31. @Robert Wemegah–please contact me at mashmouth(at)gmail(.)com
    If you would like an English Bible, I am glad to ship one to you!

  32. Thanks for the suggestions, Bill! I didn’t see any ACTUAL mold on the cover or inside, but the odor refused to go away-AND it was very pronounced on the INSIDE!
    I did contact the seller, who suggested that I contact Cambridge for a possible replacement under warranty. (This also saved return postage as Cambridge provided a FedEx tag for the return.) I sent it away to Cambridge last week and haven’t heard anything just yet. If Cambridge would decide that it’s NOT defective and therefore covered by their warranty, I assume they’ll simply return it to me, THEN I’ll be back to dealing with the seller who DID offer to replace it. He has more copies, I’m sure and, while I DID get a deal, it wasn’t THAT great a price to warrant keeping it in its current state.
    Thanks again! I’ll update you on what I find out!

  33. Dan, I returned a bible to cambridge back in April. I believe it took around 2 weeks to get my replacement.

  34. So here’s a quick update re. my “smelly” tome! 🙂 Heard from a nice lady from Cambridge yesterday. She informed me that this will NOT be covered under warranty because there IS NO PROBLEM! She says that the leather they use and the gilding used on the sides of the pages combine for this odor and that it’s perfectly normal.
    Not sure what to conclude from this. My leather ESV Study and my leather Zondervan Thompson Chain smell like…leather. So I don’t think it’s my sense of smell that’s off here! Both those Bibles are leather and have gilded edges.
    ANYWAY, I guess I’ll see if I can “adapt” to it. In the meantime, I’ll contact the fellow I purchased it from for his thoughts. Stay tuned!!!

  35. @Dan, that’s interesting. My Cambridge bibles don’t smell bad at all. The only one that smells weird is my NIV Pocket Cross-Reference in tan russet calfskin….it smells like bandaids.
    Anyway, I’m assuming they are shipping it back? Are they going to make you pay the shipping?
    I hope you can work things out with the seller.

  36. Dan, I suppose what she said isn’t impossible, given the many different tanning methods used with leather. But you mentioned black/grey spots in the box, which sure sounds like mold/mildew. I’d take some pictures of the box and bug the nice lady at Cambridge again. I think your assessment is probably right.
    If you isolate the bible from the box for at least a day, does the bible still have the smell? Perhaps the mildew is only in the box?

  37. Well, here’s the final report! I did write the fellow who sold it to me. He said (rightfully so) that Cambridge WOULD know what they’re supposed to smell like! 🙂 True. He went on to say that he will not be able to accept a return for that reason.
    To answer the last couple of questions, I did have the Bible out of the box for app. 4 days. It seemed to help the intensity of the odor on the COVER, but not the interior. Re. the black marks on the inside of the box, my other thought was that the Bible ITSELF is black, so perhaps this would be scuffing from Bible to box, perhaps in shipping.
    Cambridge provided a FedEx tag for me to ship it to them at no cost and they ARE returning it to me, I assume via FedEx.
    So that’s the story! Thanks so much to all those who weighed in on this issue. Guess that’s the end of THIS saga! I’ll continue to check in re. any future thoughts and, of course, I’ll be reading those great reviews. THANKS!

  38. @Dan, I might have missed the part of the story of Cambridge offering to inspect it for you for free. That’s the best. Make sure you send the box with the black spots noted with a PostIt note. I don’t think the black dyes would be leaving marks.
    Worse case, they say it’s not their fault, it’s out of warranty, and costs $500 to fix. In that case, you can try some bleaching tricks etc. On the other hand, they might offer a replacement for a modest charge, or just plain send you a new one. Good luck and please report back.

  39. Hi, All! Meant to report back earlier re. my Cambridge. That odor HAS abated with the passage of time (and use). It IS still present, but not nearly as bad as before.
    I JUST purchased a Cambridge wide-margin NIV in the exact same type of leather. Now, it IS lightly used…but has NO mildew-type odor at all. So maybe it’s at least in part the passage of time…

  40. Dan, so did you send it back to Cambridge? Along with the stained box? What did they say? It sounds like you’re finding it usable, without anything more than air dilution???

  41. I returned it to Cambridge some time back and they said the “aroma” is 100% normal for their Bibles…a combination of the gilding on the pages and the type of leather they use.
    As I noted above, I later got a different Cambridge edition (slightly used)…same leather. NO funky smell.
    I think I’ve simply accepted it since Cambridge says that’s the way they’re SUPPOSED to smell! With the passage of time, reading, and handling, I think it’s a combo of (A) I’m getting USED to it and (B) perhaps it IS abating a bit. Hard to tell and/or be objective at this point…

  42. Dan, I suspect you had mold but that it’s probably truly abating. Keep using the volume frequently and give it plenty of fresh air and sunlight. Whatever you do, don’t store it in the box that had black splotches in it. Rather, keep the box opened up and propped against a window for plenty of heat, sunlight (UV), and air dilution. If the black spots then go away, I’d say that was pretty pretty good evidence of mildew.
    You’re not suffering any respiratory symptoms, are you? Forget the “use frequently” advice if you are.

  43. Thanks, Bill! I’ve concluded that those black spots in the box were INDEED mold! I say “were” as I threw the box away! I’m using the Bible for my daily reading and it really has made a difference. Still has a BIT of “funk” to it, but nothing like it DID!
    No repiratory issues, either! THANKS!

  44. Just got one of these and holy-moley I like it. It’s a big Bible, but its quality more than justifies its size, and it is not so big that it is uncarriable.

  45. I wasn’t sure where the most appropriate place would be to post this link, so I figured I’d keep it under another Cambridge Single Column offering. Take a look at:
    Interesting notes from the description: August 2011 release date, 7 1/16 x 5 1/8 inches, Lexicon No. 1 font, single column format with notes and cross references moved to the outside margin. This edition is “intended to become a staple of the Cambridge list for many years to come as a new and distinctive format, across a range of versions.” This may be why some of the NIV Single Column Text editions seem to be disappearing.
    Still, very good news for single column fans and hopefully something Cambridge moves quickly to bring to other versions.

  46. Thanks Eric. Our dear Donna McCormack tipped us off to this upcoming KJ483X model on the FB page, as well as one in brown, KJ485X, and the more luxurious goatskin KJ486XE, as well as 3 new KJV dwarsliggers (blue, green, and purple) that Baker/Cambridge calls a Transetto. And we’re still waiting for the reduced-size New Cambridge Paragraph bibles promised in January that Amazon will only say “ships in 1-3 months”.
    Unfortunately I don’t think any of these KJVs will compare with these NIVs in readability…the NCPs waste a lot of white space for a notes column, and the August ones come in a smaller package and include references to boot. And with Zondervan saying the 2011NIV will replace the old NIV and the TNIV, one should grab one of these Cambridge beauties before they’re history.

  47. I just bought one of the Zondervan NIV bibles sold at Walmart, single column, paragraph format, called “find:clarity”, larger print for easier reading. The font is larger than the Zondervan NIV wide margin single column bible. This has to be one of the most readable single column paragraph formats around.
    I had preferred the KJV version,and wonder if any one, especially the blogger, has information about this Bible.
    It is found on the website
    KJV Large Print Bible, Find:Clarity.
    However, I cannot locate one of these bibles. Neither Zondervan nor Walmart can give me information about it. Is it the same single column, paragraph format as the NIV version? I would love to have a KJV that is as readable and inexpensive as the other NIV Find: Clarity.
    Walmart and Sam’s Club carries the NIV Find:Clarity, but no religious bookstore could give me information about KJV. Zondervan claimed that only Walmart carries it, Zondervan does not sell it, but it is not on the Walmart website, nor did any Walmart store have information on it.

  48. Hi Mark, Yes that’s the one I commented above on Oct 9, ’09. The other bibles in that Walmart/Zondervan series were “Find: Time” and “Give: Meaning”. Only one I believe was KJV, ISBN 9780310948865. They were at one time all available at my local store, although makes it appear that all these models are being phased out. (I guess, like dogs, every modern edition of the bible has its day.) As I recall, the KJV one, although the cover wasn’t bad looking, had 2-column layout, with too few words per line to be smooth-reading, and was generally unattractive to me. However in hindsight, at the $10 price point for a large-print KJV you’re probably only looking at ABS/IBS paperbacks as alternatives. My advice would be to save your sheckels until you can afford a leather-bound Holman or Hendrickson large print KJV at <$20. If you're really attracted to the single-column KJV format (who wouldn't be?!?!) I've grown quite fond of the bonded leather olive-green Nelson (ISBN 978-1418543112 at ~$18) which is now available in a true black leather (ISBN 978-1418546007 at ~$44) although I can't say if Nelson has improved the binding to true Smyth-sewn or not.

  49. Bill:
    Thanks for your reply.
    If you say that the KJV find:clarity is two-column, I will stop searching for it. I was hoping that I could read the KJV and NIV side by side if they were same format. Oh well.
    I wasn’t looking for another NIV bible, but I bought the one at Walmart because of the format, and I didn’t know how long it would still be available. It is about the best combination of large print, paragraph format, portability, and price that I have seen. Why Zondervan and other publishers don’t print other Bibles like this is a mystery, and only available at Walmart, and not religious bookstores.
    I thought that I could underline words at least, there is no margin, but I am not sure the paper will allow it, the paper seems thin and fragile, and there is bleed-through of text.
    It seems that the best use of a format is to read the whole Bible quickly. The font is large enough to enable one to read for a time without tiring.
    The layout of the poetry for example Lamentations, invites reading. What a difference! Still there is something flimsy about this Bible, but I can’t put my finger on it. Is it the binding?
    The two Nelson KJV single column, I have seen, but the font is too small for me.

  50. Well, Mark, there’s always the New Cambridge Paragraph Bibles, but these are considerably more money. If you think the Nelsons have too small a font, you won’t be happy with the new ones Cambridge has coming out, nor the Penquin paperback version. Which leaves you with the original NCP hardbound at ~$70 or the original NCP leather at ~$200, if you can find one.
    Another option (don’t laugh) is getting glasses, either simple readers at about +1.5 diopters if you don’t presently use corrective lenses, or get a pair of cheap $20 prescription reading glasses from by just adding .5-.75 spherical diopters to your present prescription and just hold the book closer when you read. Sure you can’t drive with these, but keep them by your Bible and you’re good to go.

  51. I’m totally new to this blog – found it because my 30-year-old single column NIV is getting pretty much unusable. What I really want is to buy an identical one. And when I say identical, I mean that (for example) Matthew 10 starts on the right side of the page, 7 lines from the bottom. That type of thing. So I can still look for a particular verse in the same spot on the same page that I always have. (I chose Matthew 10 in specific because of the picture at the top of this blog, which shows that the Bible is not precisely identical to mine). I looked for an ISBN number in my Bible, but maybe they hadn’t been invented yet. So I googled the Library of Congress number, and that’s how I found this blog. But maybe even a LoC# doesn’t guarantee the degree of precision I’m looking for, since the same # was quoted in this blog, and the precision is not as I had hoped. Any ideas or suggestions, anyone? I don’t really know much about all of this; I only know that I’m used to this Bible and would love to not have to get used to a different one . . .

  52. Murray, is it a Zondervan? I have one I rec’d from my wife on Xmas 1980. I’d been thinking it was identical in layout to the currently-available Cambridge, but you’re right, my Mt 10 starts 7 lines from the bottom of page 1301. Yes, these were before ISBNs, which are binding-specific, while LoC numbers (78-69799 for mine) can describe any number of different bindings and even editions so isn’t that useful for searching Amazon, BookFinder, etc. This single-column in Palatino typeface was the original setting of the NIV, after the OT was completed in 1978, and I agree it’s great. It’s totally understandable you’d like to preserve the page layout in your replacement but I’ve only seen these rarely on eBay, where they go for ~$60 in uncertain condition. Good luck!
    There are some newer single-column editions available, (some described above) but they don’t have the exact pagination you’re seeking. Mark rebound one at
    but it’s John 4 is different from ours so that won’t help you either.
    You might want to look into some of the rebinding links in the sidebar here. Since this is a Smyth-sewn binding, it’s amenable to a nice re-bind. Maybe yours can be made like-new? The paper in these is outstanding by today’s standards.
    I got mine as a young man and now I’m an old man, so the Bible has served for a generation. A replacement copy, if you can find one even lightly used, will still have 30-year old binding string, etc. It’s a little like looking for a 30-year-old car in pristine condition because you really liked a particular model. Yeah, it’s maybe possible with enough money and patience, but at some point it’s maybe best to just bite the bullet and admit a new day is here and get something new with new parts. You really can’t beat the quality of this Cambridge, so if you can’t find a replacement Zondervan, please consider re-orienting your memory to the different page layout. You can do it!

  53. Murray, I have the NIV you’re looking for in hardcover. If you want it, it’s yours. Email me at lechroom at gmail dot com.

  54. I’m about to buy this Bible but please help me decide: French Morocco or Bonded Leather?
    I read that the calfskin is not that much better than the bonded, and anyway, that and the goatskin are out of my price range.
    So would I be better off with the French Morocco or Bonded? Which is softer, etc? I can’t find a sample of the burgundy French Morocco anywhere so I have no clue if it’s a nice burgundy or not.
    Does anyone have either of these that would like to comment? Thanks so much! Leslie

  55. Leslie, The goatskin version is on ebay right now for just a bit more than French morocco ($110+$4 shipping). Go to ebay and type the item number (160588230861) in the search box. 9 days 11 hours left in the auction as I write this.

  56. Leslie .. I would avoid the french morocco if possible. I have one and have only read through the old testament twice. The front cover is already showing signs of wear where is it attached to the spine. This is not a daily reader for me, but it does not seem like it is going to hold up.
    Have you considered buying the synthetic cover version from Evangelical Bible (see the clearance section) and having it rebound? For what you pay for the goatskin version, you could have a brand new one rebound and covered in a much nicer (my opinion) leather than what the cambridge goatskin appears to be.

  57. Thanks-I did some poking around on this site last night and everything I found about French Morocco did not sound good. 🙁 I read on the Cambridge site and also in a former review of Mark’s that the bonded leather that Cambridge uses is decent quality.
    Thanks for the heads up on the goatskin-would LOVE to buy that but it is beyond my means. (I found a good deal on the French Morocco or that would have been to high too!)
    So looks like I need to avoid the Morocco. So that helps, thank you! Anyone have opinions on Cambridge’s bonded leather? Thanks again, Leslie

  58. Well here’s another opinion, Leslie. I can attest that the French Morocco on old Oxford bibles definitely got brittle and flaky (particularly on the edges) far sooner than other leathers. But the stuff on my new Cambridge/Baker 533 seems to be wearing very well. (Albeit the paper stinks and the covers aren’t that well attached.) Bonded leather just doesn’t have the same feel as genuine leather. If the “feel” is something that might bother you, I wouldn’t be too hasty to reject the Fr Morocco.

  59. Mark or anyone…what are you hearing about the Cambridge Clarion KJV’s? Baker lists them as KJ483, 5,& 6. The description sounds interesting:
    This is an entirely new setting of the Bible, published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the King James Version but intended to become a staple of the Cambridge list for many years to come as a new and distinctive format, across a range of versions. This particular edition is the first new Cambridge KJV reference Bible for over half a century and has been carefully designed for the modern era to meet an increasing demand for a more accessible format and comfortable reading size.
    It is typeset in Lexicon No.1, a digital font designed for easy reading and with many similar characteristics to traditional hot-metal Bible typefaces, thus marrying the best of the old and the new. The print is black-letter throughout and the text is presented in paragraph (rather than traditional chapter and verse) style and in a single-column format. The notes and cross-references have been relocated to the outer margin, leaving the text relatively free and unencumbered.
    These Bibles include maps and–instead of a conventional concordance and dictionary–a Reader’s Companion which offers the key elements of those features in one place. They are offered in a range of superior binding styles–calf split leather, top-grain calfskin, and edge-lined goatskin.

    They’re only 5″x7″ in size but are estimated at 2000 pages so they might mimic that 19th-century “short and stout” format with a font size that may be quite readable.

  60. Agh! Bill! Now you have me waffling on the French Morocco!
    Now I will have to rethink it.
    Anyone else can feel free to chime in too-thanks! Leslie

  61. Leslie, like some are saying, you can get a cheaper one and have it re-bound. The imitation leather (genuine polyvinyl chloride) one is ~$50 with shipping from Evangelical but I suspect the cover might be so unatrractive to you that you’ll want to spring for the $100 re-bind charge right away. That’s $150 total, more than the goatskin.
    On the other hand, the Burgundy French Morocco is $77 (with a sem bookstore on Amazon having one for $75.) If you like the color, almost for sure you’ll be pleased with the leather, and will use it immediately. If it wears out in 1 decade instead of 3, you can re-bind it then. If you’re on a budget now, that might be the way to go.

  62. I do like the color of the French Morocco. Wow, yes, I didn’t think about rebinding it later on! That’s a great idea, Bill, thanks!

  63. Leslie, I agree with Bill’s advice. I believe that the french morocco will serve you well. If you wear it out, you can always rebind later. The 1984 NIV won’t be available in this format much longer.
    Personally, I grabbed one of the imitation leather ones when they went on sale at It is not the most beautiful bible I have ever seen, but I think it’s pretty cool. 🙂

  64. I picked up the French Morocco version from only to return it, I love the layout of this Bible, but could not get used to the color of the Bible…..
    I will let you know that the Bible was really flexible rig out of the box!

  65. I think I will prbly spring for the French Morocco. I suppose I can just get it rebound, and in the meantime it would prbly feel/look better than the bonded. I just hate to spend more and it isn’t even as durable as the bonded!
    Isaac-you have me concerned about the color-was it a really BRIGHT color?
    Thanks, Leslie

  66. This edition in an NASB translation would be my dream Bible – single column paragraph, not references, text only. Well, a gal can dream…

  67. I’ve got a one new mint goatskin and one new mint calfskin for sale of the single column NIV email me at or cotact me on Facebook by clicking my name here.

  68. I just purchased this Bible, new, at a deeply discounted price from a Christian chain. I had intended get the goatskin Pitt Minion, also deeply discounted, but when I saw the type size and layout, I coudn’t pass it up. They are discounted because I suspect Cambridge is trying to offload the NIV 84’s. What a bonus for me – the translation I love, and at the discount, a way for me to finally get a Cambridge without feeling guilty!
    The downside – it had a HIDEOUS faux ostrich skin cover. I passed it along to Ace Bookbinding for a new black calf skin cover, using a nice chunck of Christmas money, so my “bargain” is a little more expensive than it first appeared, but at least I have a Cambridge NIV 84 that should last a long, long time.

  69. I note Zondervan is coming out with a single-column text layout of the NIV text in May 2012; ISBN 9780310402640 for the leather edition. Zondervan appears to have learned their lesson and are now producing decent sewn text blocks they call “lay-flat”. I know nothing about font, typeface size, or volume size…I’m hoping it’s like the Palatino editions Zondervan made in the late 1980s and not the 8-point layout of their single-column reference edition they make now which packs too many words-per-line to my eye.
    Also I assume it will be the 2011 version of the NIV text, which most find closer to the TNIV than the original 1984 NIV text.

  70. I’m very interested in the NIV single column Bible, due May / June 2012. I still can’t find anything about it’s dimensions, typeface and font size, and do you know if RL Allan will produce one? Thanks!

  71. Yes! Thanks very much. Contacted R.L. Allan & they told me that neither they nor Cambridge have any plans to produce a single column new NIV 2012. Bummer, dude! So, you handled one! How did it feel? 9.25 x 6.25 is getting pretty big. What did you think? No, I won’t buy one on your recommend alone, but just want your opinion. & As I read it, it’s an 8 point size font, which seems pretty small. No / yes?

  72. I only handled the hardcover (brick and mortar stores rarely carry the nicer editions). Size actually felt nice. Not too big, although my preference is smaller. The type was readable, but certainly average, not large at all. The SCR format often means that you get a smaller font than a Bible’s size indicates. You get too many words per page and too many words per line. This is the case with this one. The trade-off of course is the readability of the single column format. It is almost the same as the TNIV Reference Bible released a few years back. I used that for some time and never found the font size to be an issue.
    If I were in the market for an NIV, this would be the one for me. I would probably go the rebinding route, as Zondervan tends to use paper end sheets for its high end Bibles.

  73. The new NIV11 and the TNIV are remarkably similar translations. The TNIV alternatives that Ryan notes had pretty much identical layouts but with about twice as many (100,000) references. Mansfield had good comments and pics at:
    The superflex Renaissance Leather edition was ISBN 9780310941262 (doubt many would find a need to re-bind these) and the cheaper bonded leather edition was 978-0310938415. Amazon still shows some distributors and I have an RL in good condition I’d part with if someone is really desperate.
    I’d say the font on these is a lot closer to 9 points than 8 points so the typeface is readable enough even for an old guy like me. But like Ryan notes, there are more words-per-line than a normal single-column book so I find the readability advantages of single-column lacking in these settings. Your mileage may vary.
    Zondervan is also making text-only versions of these new NIV11s (e.g. ISBN 9780310402640, 9780310402626) but per CBD’s page samples, they have the same pagination and page layouts as the reference editions (minus the reference letter superscripts, as surprising as this may sound) so the words-per-line complaint applies to these as well.
    Now there’s also a 10-point “Giant Print” edition (ISBN 9780310435297) that truly has the single-column layout of a regular book in a “short and stout” volume size. But Zondervan has decided to produce these with ridiculously skinny margins that don’t appear to be a big deal at first but I find quite disconcerting with extended usage. (Crossways is really onto something with the ESV Legacy’s “perfect page” idea.)
    There really is nothing out there now that approaches the glorious Cambridge text edition of the NIV84.

  74. I really want the Cambridge NIV Single-Column Text Bible but I can’t find one anywhere. Do you know another place to purchase on besides Amazon? They no longer have this bible and Cambridge no longer prints it.

  75. Hi Bryan,
    I had a quick look on UK book sources and came across this on
    Cambridge NIV Single Column Text Bible
    I think this it the one you are seeking: am I correct? It is a second-hand copy in “as new” condition, bound in imitation leather, and on sale for about $59 from a retailer in Maryland. If you are in North America, calling him directly is likely to be better than ordering via a UK website.

  76. Bryan,
    Another option is Baker Book House. They sell slightly damaged or discontinued books (Hurt Cambridge’s). They had three of these in the imitation ostrich leather (where there were slight imperfections in the covers). They are selling for $55.00 each versus the original $90.00. You can use as is or do a rebind on it. Here’s their contact inormation:
    Baker Book House
    2768 East Paris Ave. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49546
    Phone: 616-957-3110
    Toll-Freee: 866-241-6733
    Fax: 616-957-0965
    Store Hours:Mon-Fri 7:00a – 11:00p
    Sat 9:00a – 11:00p
    The ISBN for this model is 978-0521757041
    Closed Sunday

  77. John Owlett,
    I am just now getting back to see your post. It looks like the ISBN you gave was a Two-Tone Tan Imitation leather. I really want a premium leather and I know that I can get it recovered. Do you know if the paper quality is as good as the exact bible this post is originally for? I will be contacting Baker Book house soon but I just want to know what to ask for. Thanks for you time!

  78. Sorry, Bryan, but I cannot answer the specific question you ask. However, that has never stopped me in the past from writing a brain dump of assorted information, in the hope that some of it may be of use to you!
    Cambridge no longer publishes any NIV editions. Have they chosen to withdraw from that market? Or (more likely) have they withdrawn their existing offerings while planning what they will do with the new 2011 version of the text?
    In particular, if they intend to publish a Clarion single-column edition of the NIV — as they have for the KJV, the NASB, and the ESV — then I’d suggest you consider buying an inexpensive NIV hardback and waiting. The Clarion Bibles have caused quite a stir on the Bible Design Blog, and an NIV edition in black goatskin or brown calfskin could well be just what you want.
    So, your first questions for Baker could well be
    1. Does Cambridge intend to publish further NIV editions?
    2. Will those editions include a Clarion single-column edition?
    3. If not, will they include a reprint of the previous single-column text edition?
    4. What else are you will to tell me?
    They may be unwilling to tell you much. Not because Bible publishers are secretive, but because their timelines can be uncertain: negotiations with copyright holder can drag, as can arrangements for printing and binding facilities that can handle the quantity, the quality, and the speed needed. Nobody wants to raise expectations they cannot meet.
    By the way: How do you feel about the 2011 version of the NIV text? This is not the right forum to discuss the controversy surrounding it, and I’ve not read the new version anyway, but your individual preference may affect your individual choice of NIV edition. This is relevant because, if Cambridge is not printing a single-column edition anytime soon — and you want to buy a new goatskin Sunday-go-to-meeting NIV in the near future — the only game in town is
    the R.L. Allan double-column NIV Classic Reference.
    Another option, of course, is the one you first thought of: the Quest for a retailer with a copy of the Cambridge NIV Single-Column Text Edition as in this blog post. The contribution I tried to make in my previous comment was a survey of UK online retailers (I live on the South Coast of England) that might not be familiar to the majority North American readership of the Blog. I couldn’t then, and I could not this afternoon, find anyone offering a premium-leather copy. Sorry.
    If you want to continue the Quest, and possibly consider rebinding, then you may want to ask Baker
    5. Is the same text block used for all bindings of the NIV single-column text edition?
    6. Are all of these text blocks Smyth-sewn?
    If you receive useful information in your call to Baker, please do come back and tell us.
    A Smyth-sewn text block lies open more easily, lasts longer in daily use, and is really a prerequisite for having a Bible rebound. Most Cambridge text blocks are Smyth-sewn.
    There are a couple more Cambridge NIV editions you may wish to consider, though both of them are larger than I would want to take to church on Sunday. Both would be superb, in different ways, as study Bibles used on a desk in good light. One is the NIV Study Bible, which weighs 53 ounces and has a line spacing of 8 lines per inch:
    Cardinal Books in London, Ontario has a new Cambridge NIV Study Bible in burgundy goatskin.
    Interestingly, it seems that black goatskin carries a premium over burgundy goatskin! (My copy is in burgundy goatskin and I don’t care: I colour-code my leather Bibles … KJVs are black; NIVs are burgundy; ESVs, where possible, are brown.)
    The final option is the NIV Wide-Margin: has a new Cambridge Wide-Margin Reference Bible, Special Edition, in black goatskin.
    “Special Edition” seems to mean that it is not just a working Bible, but comes in a rosewood presentation box. Be careful. That price is 160 pounds sterling, not 160 US dollars!
    Happy New Year.

  79. Bryan,
    As John stated above, finding the goatskin version of this NIV has proven to be impossible, so the next best thing was the imitation leather, which could then be rebound per your own spec’s. I did talk to Baker House before I purchased one, and they are smyth-sewn, the only difference being the goat and calfskin versions have art-gilting (red under gold), but the imitation leather is just gold gilted. I will be sending my copy out for a goatskin rebind shortly after I receive it.

    • I have both the goatskin and calfskin for sale if still interested.

  80. So I sent out this tweet: “@CambridgeUP You wouldn’t happen to have an extra Calfskin NIV Single column in your backroom do you?”
    Then posted this today on their blog: A few months ago we were contacted by Cambridge (in England) and asked if we would have any interest in some NIV 1984′s that were found in a warehouse in Cambridge. We took the entire.” stock.
    Great news!

  81. Hi Mark, great selection of NIV Bibles you’ve got here, looking for one that I can hold whilst preaching, do you think this would work, or would it be too big to hold comfortably in one hand without it bending too much? If not, do you have any other suggestions/recommendations?

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