Wondering what to get that hard-to-buy-for Bible fanatic in the family? Looking for last minute ideas for ministers and mentors? If so, then the Bible Design Blog Last Minute Christmas List for 2009 is just what you need. I've compiled an index of items that an, um, enthusiast like myself would enjoy receiving — and more importantly, things I'm pretty sure you can still get your hands on in time. These are also things (for the most part) I haven't review here on the site. So here goes…
ESB Study Bible in Cordovan Calfskin (Crossway)
NIV Study Bible in Black Goatskin (Cambridge)
Nothing says "I love you" like a big leather-bound Study Bible. (Nothing says "You need a theological education" like a big leather-bound Study Bible, either, but you don't have to include that in the gift card.) We have two magnificent options to consider here: the award-winning ESV Study Bible in Crossway's best binding, the brown cordovan calfskin, and the classic NIV Study Bible in luxurious black goatskin from our quality-conscious friends at Cambridge.
Plenty of superlatives have been written about the ESV Study Bible, and they're all well deserved. It's a beauty inside, printed and bound in the USA on Primalux GSM 30 paper. But have you seen the cordovan calfskin wrapper? If you ask me, it blows the black version out of the water — and the lining is almost prettier than the cover:
If you've e-mailed me about the ESV Study Bible, I've probably suggested the Olive Tree iPhone software as the best edition. Now that there's a cordovan calfskin one, I'm in love with the physical book.
And then there's this beauty, Cambridge's NIV Study Bible in splendid (and splendidly flexible) goatskin. They did a great job on the details here, giving a classic Study Bible the luxe treatment. Trust me, it's not easy to make it stand up like this for the photo:
People always tell me that a big Study Bible and a limp cover don't go together. Here's a good illustration of why those folks are wrong. The flexible cover lets you get the part you're not looking at out of the way, making for a handier (though probably still two-handed) hold. The NIV Study Bible has a two-column text layout with references in the center.
One thing I really like about Cambridge's execution here is how restrained they were with the spine decoration. No logos, not extraneous information, just the basics in an elegantly proportioned layout. Pure class.
Tyndale's 1526 New Testament Facsimile Edition (Hendrickson/British Library)
The Geneva Bible 1560 Facsimile Edition (Hendrickson)
Next up, two facsimile editions from Hendrickson, perfect for the antiquarian or historian (and nicely priced, too). I don't have a copy of the Geneva Bible, but based on what I've seen with Tyndale's New Testament, I'd expect it to be excellent, too. Hendrickson and the British Library worked together on the 1526 New Testament facsimile. The attention to detail shows. The pages are printed in glorious color on nice, thick paper. ("See-through" is not an issue here!) The cover is black genuine leather, not my favorite, but the stamped grain is attractive and the imprinting on the spine is nice.
When you open it up, you won't care so much about the cover anymore. With a little practice, your eyes adjust to the sixteenth century spelling and suddenly you're reading the New Testament they way they did back when Henry VIII was on the throne. This would really make a remarkable gift this Christmas season.
Tyndale's New Testament and the Geneva Bible are probably the greatest milestones of English-language Bible publishing during the Reformation era. It's nice to see them both readily available in facsimile form.
Pigma Micron Pens
Yesterday's review of the Allan's Journal includes buying information, my thoughts, and a bunch of photos. If you can get them in time, these will make a unique gift. One thing I forgot to highlight before is the flexibility of the journals, which makes them especially nice for pocket carry. I love Moleskines as much as the next guy, but can your Moleskine do this?
If a big leather-bound Study Bible tells your obsessed loved one how much you care, nothing communicates your profound concern over his growing Bible nerdiness like a set of Pigma Micron archival pens in a variety of colors. Just be sure to let the kids know they're not for drawing pictures: "These are Daddy's special pens for writing in his Bible!"
For the person who has everything, even a Kindle
Rethinking Worldview in paperback
Rethinking Worldview for the Kindle
And of course, the Christmas season would not be complete without a shameless plug for my 2007 book Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World. It's even available for the Amazon Kindle, a high-tech reading device woefully lacking in goatskin trim. As you can see in the photo, it makes a nice companion piece to the full-size Allan's Journal, too.
And if you have sharp eyes, you'll notice the lettering on that gray box. Shades of things to come in 2010! (But if you can't wait for my review: it's very nice.)
So there you have it! Your last minute holiday dilemmas are officially solved. No doubt I've forgotten some excellent alternatives, so if you think of any, feel free to share them. Merry Christmas, everybody!