A Couple of Things to Share

Some Bible-related, some not. First, Joseph Nally was inspired by a rebinding project of mine to send his bilingual edition (RV60/NKJV) for a transformation featuring "unembossed, natural soft-tanned premium goatskin in delicious chocolate." I'm not sure how he knows the leather is delicious, and I was afraid to ask. But the whole story, along with some tasty (!) photos, is online here: Family Reflections: Bible.

Here's a teaser:

Thanks for sharing, Joseph! Now for a couple of non-Bible-related notes. In addition to writing the books listed in the right-hand margin, I occasionally publish other stuff which I like to share with my readers here. In this case, it gives me an opportunity to introduce some publications which, if you're not already clued into them, you should be.

The first is Books & Culture, the brainy review published by Christianity Today under the editorial direction of John Wilson. When my novel Back on Murder came out, they ran a favorable notice. Considering how big an influence B&C has been on me, you can imagine how pleased I was. Now I've had the pleasure of writing for them — and about something I love, too: the novels of James Lee Burke. Follow the link and enjoy: "The Glass Rainbow" | Books & Culture.

The second piece is a long article on "the theological value of noir fiction" published in the latest issue of By Faith, which is now available online. This one was quite a personal coup, too. If you've never heard of it before, By Faith is the magazine of the Presbyterian Church in America. Long before I was a presbyterian, I was impressed by the magazine. It's not what you expect when you hear the term "denominational publication." Not to mention, in the print edition, my contribution is listed just under an illustration of Tim Keller, which means I've finally managed to do something that impressed my wife! You won't see that online, but you will see a very film noir looking clip art man in his undershirt, tapping away at a typewriter: "Writing About Reprobation: The Theological Value of Noir Fiction" | By Faith.

Every so often, I put together a piece about things tangentially related to Bible study — notebooks, Filofaxes, sermon-writing. These posts have always generated interest, and I'm hoping to do more of this, especially in light of a "notebook epiphany" I've recently experienced. In preparation, I'd love it if some of you with obsessions along these lines would open up about them and share what you're using: tools, methods, etc.

14 Comments on “A Couple of Things to Share

  1. Thanks for sharing Joseph! I REALLY like the look of that goatskin!
    Mark, I really like the idea of things related to Bible study. I’m very curious to hear about your “notebook epiphany”.

  2. Yeah John, it does look fantastic, but it feels as good if not better than it looks in my opinion.

  3. I collect thoughts and quotes in any way I can: scratch paper, moleskin, iPad, etc. If it is really something that I think I can use for a sermon or class then I dump it in a folder on my computer called Think Tank. If the idea expands then I give it its own folder inside Think Tank where I can collect additional quotes, thoughts, pictures, sound bites, files, or whatever. Then when the time comes, God and I organize the stuff for presenting. When I’m teaching or preaching I use an organized document that was incubated in the Think Tank as my notes.

  4. Have you had a chance to look at the new Matthew Henry Study Bible put out by Hendrickson? I bought the hardback and love the layout. However before I buy a leather version I’d like to get your professional opinion.

  5. My own “notebook epiphany” came about six years ago in the form of a Circa notebook from Levenger. I was excited to find that Staples has a much more economical (albeit limited) line called Arc (and, if anyone is wondering, yes-the circa paper, punch, and rings work perfectly with Arc!). I love the ability to change ring sizes and covers-I’ve even used my “nice” leather cover with small rings to hold sermon notes while preaching. I’m in the slow process of punching looseleaf NASB pages to make my own multi-volume wide-margin system. That’s a system that has definitely worked for me!

  6. I use a leather Levenger Circa for lots of notes, and also carry around their Shirt Pocket Briefcase, which I think is especially genius. I love to use the notecards for quick thoughts as I read and they are a great way to keep your place in a Bible or other book.

  7. I’m trying to find Think Tank software on the web but do not see it. Could you give the web address? Thanks.

  8. @Michael: Think Tank is just the name I’ve given to a folder on my computer.

  9. Although I have not seen it yet, I am cautiously optimistic about the new Norton Critical Edition of the English Bible (KJV) forthcoming later this year (ISBN 039397507X and 0393927458). Perhaps you are familiar with the Norton Critical Edition series — it is a standard series of annotated volumes used in literature classes. The editors working on these volumes are top-notch, and the blurbs are impressive at least:
    Robert Alter: “The Norton Critical Edition of The English Bible, King James Version, appearing on the four hundredth anniversary of the great translation, is a real gift to the English-reading world, making this classical version freshly accessible. The introductions to the different biblical books are apt and often illuminating; the generous annotation clarifies archaic terms, corrects translation errors, and provides insight into the texts; and the appended critical and historical materials give readers a wealth of relevant contexts for both Old and New Testament.”
    Harold Bloom: “Herbert Marks demonstrates in this work that he is now the foremost literary exegete of the King James Bible and of the Hebrew Bible that it translates.”
    If the work is up to the standard of the better volumes in the Norton Critical Edition series, I expect this will become the standard secular teaching text on the King James Bible, and because of its explanation of archaic terms and phrases, may prove useful for ordinary readers as well.
    (I should mention that additional materials and notes included in the Norton Critical Edition of the Writings of St. Paul [ISBN 0393972801] make it the best secular one-volume guide to the subject, although it uses the TNIV translation of the Epistles and Acts and Elliott’s translations [ISBN 0198261810] of the apocryphal works related to Paul.)

  10. Ok Mark. What is the deal with the “notebook epiphany” already!? It never ceases to amaze me how you prioritize your “job” and novel writing over this blog! Am I wasting Filofax pages? Should I be using Rhodia pads instead of Moleskin? I hanging on by a thread here.

  11. so I know I’m late to the game but the link above doesn’t work any more – can somebody help me out?
    I just sent my ESV Compact off to Leonard’s to be rebound in the chocolate brown goatskin, so I’m curious what other people’s finished products look like. Thanks!
    grace and peace

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