Reader-Friendly NLT: The Schuyler Caxton and the Tyndale Select Reference Edition

I am doing something today I don’t think I’ve ever done before at Bible Design Blog: reviewing two editions side-by-side. But then, it’s a unique situation. Two beautiful renderings of the same impressive design, both printed and bound by Jongbloed in the Netherlands.

The Tyndale Select in black goatskin (top) and the Schuyler Caxton in dark purple goatskin.

The Tyndale Select in black goatskin (top) and the Schuyler Caxton in dark purple goatskin.

A TALE OF TWO EDITIONS
Tyndale refers to this text setting as the NLT Select Reference Edition, while Schuyler offers it under the Caxton name. Both editions are printed and bound in the Netherlands by Jongbloed, and at first glance appear quite similar. The Caxton, however, features several grace notes that make it the more luxurious of the two — in particular the leather lining, upgraded ribbons, and wider range of cover colors. (As far as I can tell, the Select is printed on the same 28 gsm Indopaque paper as the Caxton.) If you prefer the Select’s more minimalist cover aesthetic, though, you can choose not only between black and brown, but also goatskin and calfskin covers.

For all the details on the Schuyler Caxton, visit the product page at EvangelicalBible.com. And for the scoop on the Tyndale Select, check out their beautiful web presentation.

CaxtonSelect1

For Schuyler, the Caxton represents both continuity and improvement. The consistent quality that has made Schuyler a market leader in the high-end Bible market is readily apparent here. In this sense, the Caxton is a ‘boring’ release — in the best possible way. You get exactly what you’ve come to expect from Schuyler’s line. At the same time, the leather lining marks a step forward for Schuyler, much nicer than the shiny synthetic liner in the Select’s cover (which is comparable to what we have seen in Cambridge editions from Jongbloed). More importantly, while this is not the first single-column setting from Schuyler, I believe it is the best.

The Select marks an even bigger advance for Tyndale, which dropped the former Select line (reviewed here) some time back. It’s great to see them returning to the high-quality market — and doing so in partnership with Jongbloed, too. Crossway entered this field awhile back, working with Jongbloed to bring us the excellent Heirloom line. Tyndale’s move ensures that readers of the NLT will enjoy Bibles of comparable design and quality.

THE TEXT SETTING
Since both editions use the same text setting, let me cover the interior design first. In a nutshell, the Select/Caxton offers a reader-friendly reference edition in the spirit of Cambridge’s Clarion and Crossway’s Personal Reference. The similarities are striking, especially comparing the Clarion. The same typeface is used, Lexicon, which a lot of designers I’ve spoken with consider the ideal when it comes to Bible typography. The cross reference system looks similar, with boldface chapter and verse headings in the outer margin and references underneath. Textual notes are placed at the bottom of the text column.

CaxtonSelect14

The Caxton (center) features a reader-friendly reference layout similar to the Cambridge Clarion (right), but with proportions more akin to the Crossway Legacy (left). It occupies an interesting middle ground.

Comparing the Select/Caxton to the Clarion, however, you notice some differences. The chapter headings are set in bold italics instead of the Clarion’s plain italics. The page header is in all-caps, like the Clarion, but the spacing between letters is looser, which gives a more elegant impression (and is in keeping with the generally whiter, more spacious page).

The biggest difference has to do with page proportions and the resulting impact on the proportions of the text column. The Clarion page measures 5” x 7”, a classic footprint for books intended for hand-held reading. On that page, the text column is 3.5” wide and 6” tall, which creates a wide, page-filling impression. The Select/Caxton, however, is a larger book. The type size has been bumped from 7.5 pt. to 8.75 pt, and so the page is enlarged to accommodate, measuring 5.25” x 8.25” — comparable in width to the Clarion but a full 1.25” taller. The taller page allows a taller text column: the Select/Caxton’s single text column is 3.625” wide and 7” tall. In other words, while it’s only 0.125” wider than the Clarion, the Select/Caxton’s column is a full 1” taller than the Clarion’s.

Reader-friendly editions compared: The Clarion (top) is smaller than the Select and the Caxton (center), which occupy a middle space between it and the Heirloom Legacy (bottom).

Reader-friendly editions compared: The Clarion (top) is smaller than the Select and the Caxton (center), which occupy a middle space between it and the Heirloom Legacy (bottom).

As a result, the Select/Caxton sits prettily between the Clarion and another beloved single-column text setting, the Crossway Legacy. I mean that literally. This text setting looks like the fruit of a conversation that went something like this: “What if we took the text setting of the Clarion and gave it the proportions of the Legacy, minus the huge margins?” The Heirloom Legacy, in case you’re wondering, has a text column that measures 4” wide and 6.5” tall.

Another significant difference has to do with the line spacing, what typographers call ‘leading’ since in the old days of metal type, spacing between lines was achieved by inserting plugs of lead. Making allowance for my middle-aged eyes, I estimate the leading of the Clarion to be about 9.5 pt., while the larger Legacy has roughly 11 pt. leading. When I apply my scale to the Select/Caxton, though, I get something along the lines of 11.5 pt., which gives each line a bit more air to breathe. This can aid both readability and your ability to keep your place on the page, since lines spaced more generously are harder for the eye to mix up.

To be honest, I find the difference in type size between the Clarion and the Select/Caxton fairly negligible. I knew from the stats which one was larger, and confirmed this by measuring, yet eyeballing the two side-by-side I can’t really tell much difference. That is not the case with the leading, however. The extra line-spacing has a curious effect. At times the Clarion’s type appears as large or larger to my eyes, but the Select/Caxton’s lines are easier to skim over. I am not sure which page I prefer, frankly, and I cannot guarantee you would experience the same effect. It goes to show how significant even the smallest changes can be to the way we process words on the page.

The Caxton (left) compared to the Allan NLT1 (right).

The Caxton (left) compared to the Allan NLT1 (right).

Comparing the Select/Caxton to another high-end NLT, the R. L. Allan NLT1 (reviewed here), illustrates two very different approaches to readability. The Allan features Tyndale’s Premium Slimline Reference book block, a two-column text setting that packs larger individual words onto a considerably larger page. Even setting aside the Select/Caxton’s superior paper quality, I would argue that the Select/Caxton, by virtue of its spacious one-column text setting is both more readable and more suitable to general use.

Both the Select (top) and the Caxton (middle) improve the reading experience over the Allan NLT1 (bottom) -- but that big, floppy green cover is still amazing.

Both the Select (top) and the Caxton (middle) improve the reading experience over the Allan NLT1 (bottom) — but that big, floppy green cover is still amazing.

One last detail I want to point out is that, thanks to the New Living Translation’s more fluent use of dialogue tags, the translation benefits particularly well from a single column layout. As the passage below from Acts 22 illustrates, despite the slight anachronism that comes from retaining dialogue tags at the beginning of speech instead of in the middle or end of the line, which is much more common in English today, the NLT is formatted in a way that will scan smoothly for readers, with minimal confusion about who’s saying what. This isn’t always true in more literal translations, where retaining the antique grammatical form of the dialogue tags prevents new speakers from being indicated by the start of a new paragraph.

Here you can admire both the way the single column setting shows off the NLT's fluent formatting of dialogue and the way the generous line-spacing makes reading easier.

Here you can admire both the way the single column setting shows off the NLT’s fluent formatting of dialogue and the way the generous line-spacing makes reading easier.

The print impression in both Bibles — at least, both of my review copies — was nice and dark, consistent from page to page. Line-matching seemed very consistent, too. Occasionally I found what appeared to be mis-matches, but in fact this was the result of other pages showing through underneath (a harder metric to control). Jongbloed did an excellent job with the printing on these editions.

THE SCHUYLER CAXTON
Now that we’ve looked inside and considered what the Select and the Caxton have in common, I want to explore their differences more, which have mainly to do with the binding. My review copy of the Schuyler Caxton is bound in limp natural grain goatskin, in a shade of dark purple that I imagine resembles the shade of a Roman emperor’s toga. Byzantine emperors were said to have been “born to the purple,” and many quite literally were, their mothers having given birth in a palace chamber lined in porphyry.

I wish the Schuyler logo (bottom) were scaled down to match the proportions of the Cambridge one (above). Where logo size is concerned, less is more.

I wish the Schuyler logo (bottom) were scaled down to match the proportions of the Cambridge one (above). Where logo size is concerned, less is more.

The color compares favorably with the Cambridge Prayer Book & Bible bound in purple calf split leather. Like the Cambridge, the Caxton’s lining is black, and you know how unhappy black liners inside a color cover make me. My objection to the practice is rooted in the fact that black has been the default option for so long. To me, a color cover with a black lining just screams that no one was paying attention to the details. Having said that, in this instance I happen to know for a fact that someone was paying attention to the details. Early in the process, the folks at Schuyler queried me about what color lining to use with a purple cover. The available options were limited, and as much as it pained me, black was indeed the most complementary of the choices. The others would have made for jarring combinations. All this to say, I’m not deducting points for the black lining in this instance — not that I keep track of points to begin with! — but I don’t want anyone to think I’ve made peace with the thought of black linings in non-black covers. I haven’t, and I never will.

Whether my photos capture this or not, I must say that the purple cover and the purple ribbons make a painfully elegant combination. This is high church through and through. The red-under-gold page gilding and the gilt line around the inside cover are standard on Schuyler editions (also present on the Select), but something about the purple-on-purple combination elevates the look, each shade bringing out the richness of the other.

The purple ribbons look great with the dark purple goatskin cover. Good luck getting one of the happy few owners to part with one, though.

The purple ribbons look great with the dark purple goatskin cover. Good luck getting one of the happy few owners to part with one, though.

The bad news is, the purple Caxtons are all gone, sold out during the pre-order phase, and there won’t be more of them for months. Mourn if you want, but there are some beautiful color combinations available. Personally, I would suggest either the dark green or the antique marble brown. Or the blue. (Like I said, there are options.)

One tweak I would love to make to the Schuyler’s aesthetic is the scale of the printing on the book’s spine. It’s simply too large. The ‘HOLY BIBLE’ and ‘NEW LIVING TRANSLATION’ are borderline for me, but I would reduce them at least ten percent. This would make the spine less crowded and give a more refined impression.

The logo at the bottom could be reduced considerably more. Graphic designers often complain about the perennial client request to “make my logo bigger,” and for good reason. You want attention and you think the best way to get it is to yell. The design equivalent of a raised voice is the big logo. The reason designers buck is not just that oversized logos result in an unbalanced overall look; it’s because yelling doesn’t really have the effect the yeller thinks it does. Things that are balanced, in scale, in proportion, communicate a level of assurance that look-at-me enlargement never does. Over time, Schuyler’s cover decoration has grown more sophisticated. Bringing the elements into proportion on the spine should be the next big step.

The leather lining of the Caxton (left) is not only nicer, it seems to eliminate the squeek of synthetics.

The leather lining of the Caxton (left) is not only nicer, it seems to eliminate the squeek of synthetics.

Inside the cover, the story is all about the leather lining. While it may create a subtle improvement in feel, the gain I noticed most actually had to do with sound. One of the gripes I’ve heard from readers is that some high-end Bibles, when you handle them, make a squeaking sound. With the synthetic liner on the Select, I get a little bit of that — but I haven’t heard it once with the Caxton. Admittedly, comparing two individual copies falls short of a definitive test, but I’m going to tentatively agree with folks who’ve traced the sound back to the synthetic liners.

A NOTE ON THE HINGE
The Jongbloed hinge has been a concern of mine for awhile, and the Caxton review copy was sent along with a note to the effect that, while the problem hadn’t been eliminated, the in-house team at Schuyler felt that the hinges on the Caxton weren’t as stiff as past editions have been, resulting in a Bible more apt to open flat. Imagine my disappointment when I opened my Caxton and found it would not lay flat. The good news is, the disappointment has abated. Let me explain.

Out of the box, it wasn't a pretty sight: the Jongbloed hinge strikes again.

Out of the box, it wasn’t a pretty sight: the Jongbloed hinge strikes again.

Out of the box, the Caxton did not feel any different to me than past Jongbloed Bibles, and I can confirm that the hinge is still there, and it is still stiff. What I found, however, was that with just a little bit of use, my Caxton was opening pretty much flat. Maybe the leather lining helped? Having two bindings of the same book block in hand presented a rare opportunity. I decided to see if the application of brute force would make the Select open flat the way the Caxton was. After bending the cover back and struggling with the hinge in ways I really wouldn’t recommend, I found that yes, the Select would open fairly flat, too. While these Jongbloed editions might not open as flat as, say, an Allan right out of the box, this seems to confirm that things get better with a bit of use.

Better and better: With use and abuse, both the Caxton (back) and the Select (front) opened pretty much flat.

Better and better: With use and abuse, both the Caxton (back) and the Select (front) opened pretty much flat. Perfect? No. But a big improvement.

Having said this, I should note that the new Heirloom Omega ESV, also printed and bound by Jongbloed, does open flat right out of the box — at least, my copy did. It, too, has a hinge, but a shallower one. I will be writing about this edition in the future.

Crossway's Heirloom Omega (front), also printed by Jongbloed, opens flat out of the box thanks to a shallower hinge. The Caxton is in the background.

Crossway’s Heirloom Omega (front), also printed by Jongbloed, opens flat out of the box thanks to a shallower hinge. The Caxton is in the background.

THE TYNDALE SELECT
The impressive thing about the Tyndale Select is how favorably it compares to the Caxton. “Of course it does,” you’re thinking. “It’s the same book block printed by the same printer and bound by the same binder.” True enough. But Jongbloed can do a wide range of work at a variety of quality levels. The work they do for Allan, for example, is higher spec than standard Jongbloed-printed Cambridge Bibles. And when a major publisher releases a luxe edition, the details do not always live up to the hype.

The black goatskin Select (top) compares favorably with its rival.

The black goatskin Select (top) compares favorably with its rival.

That isn’t the case here, however. Tyndale has created a beautiful website to promote the Select, and this Bible deserves it. This is a well-made, elegant edition suited to deep reading, teaching, and study, the kind of Bible you could settle down with for the long term. While I have only seen the black goatskin option, based on my experience of Crossway’s similar Heirloom line, I feel fairly confident in recommending both the goat and calf editions, based on your preference. The Select features an excellent text setting in a variety of fine cover options.

Everything I’ve said so far about the Caxton’s quality applies equally to the Select, with two exceptions. The liner is synthetic rather than leather, and the two ribbons you get with the Select aren’t nearly as nice as the Caxton’s three. These factors do make the Caxton the more usable of the two, if we’re thinking of lifetime Bibles here.

Two ribbons and art-gild page edges.

Two ribbons and art-gild page edges.

The Select might have one advantage, though. The aesthetic of the cover may be more to your taste. Stacking the printing at the top of the spine gives the cover a clean, modern look. While I prefer the classic feel of the Schuyler, my graphic designer wife gives the Select her thumbs up. I suppose the fact that the choice might come down to which spine you like the look of best illustrates how successful Tyndale’s return to the high-end market has turned out.

NEW LIFE FOR THE NLT
I have turned to the New Living Translation for years as a back-up when working with more literal translations like the ESV, typically relying on an old hardback from the time of the original release. Despite my appreciation, I have never used the NLT as much as I might because the editions I’ve owned just aren’t designed the way I’d like. I thought that might change with the Allan NLT1, but despite my adoration for that big, floppy cover, I could never warm to the text setting itself.

Suddenly I find myself spoiled for choices: the Caxton in its beautiful array of colors, now with leather linings, and the Select in black and brown and the choice of goatskin or calf. The text setting, obviously, is what makes this Bible such an attractive option — but having it available in so many different color and binding options sure doesn’t hurt. NLT fans should be rejoicing about now. They’ve never had it so good.

Every translation with any kind of following deserves a reader-friendly reference edition like this, a single column setting with nice proportions that can serve today’s Bible reader as an all-around staple. There should be a NASB just like this, and an NIV and an NRSV. Insert whatever your favorite translation happens to be. If the NLT is your go-to, I can’t think of a single reason why you wouldn’t want a Caxton or a Select — or both — on your shelf. Not just on your shelf, either, but in your hands, and in the hands of your friends, your congregation, your Bible study partners. As far as the NLT goes, this is the text setting to have, and it’s available in a range of options that makes it simple to find the perfect edition for you.

If you love the NLT, it doesn't get any better than this.

If you love the NLT, it doesn’t get any better than this.

37 Comments on “Reader-Friendly NLT: The Schuyler Caxton and the Tyndale Select Reference Edition

  1. Hi, Mark.
    I’m waiting (impatiently) for my Tyndale select goatskin brown Bible. It is still at customs clearance in Spain!!! I find your review very interesting, though I don’t want to be influenced. I have been temptend to read you comment, so I have an idea on what will I have when I received it. My comparison will be done with three Bibles in front of me: Tyndale Select NLT, Tyndale Legacy NLT, Crossway ESV Heirloom thinline (and I’m not sure if including Westminster Reference Bible black premium calfskin leather). What do you think of these three (or four) Bibles to be compared?

    Best regards

  2. Saw the NLT Tyndale Select – I like it but maybe too thick. I wouldn’t mind a New Testament with NLT 9-11 Font size. Same with Zondervan NIV Study Bible – too thick.

    • Jay Davis,
      If thickness of the Bible is an issue and you are wanting a NLT, consider the Allan NLT. This one is luxurious highland goatskin, thin line, red letter, opens flat with a beautiful deep red under gold for the brown and black, blue under silver for the purple ( if it is still available). Large footprint, very floppy supple, and no hinge squeak!

  3. Reference your last paragraph: “There should be an NASB just like this.”

    Yes, please. Would love for Schuyler to pioneer a new single-column setting for the NASB; it’s long overdue.

  4. The Schuyler Caxton NLT is a fantastic bible for those who can read Clarion sized print. I’m disappointed that the Schuyler NLT was not offered in the Quentel series with the nice, larger font. I have the ESV Quentel and love it. I guess most persons can comfortably read the Clarion sized font for long periods of time without any eye strain.

  5. Very excited about this edition. I enjoy reading large sections of scripture out the of the NLT and this format should be perfect for longer reads. My fondness of the NLT has grown over time and while I tend to call the ESV my primary bible the NLT seems to get pulled out just as often 🙂

    I pre-ordered the brown.

  6. I have the blue Caxton en route. I checked the Tyndale website, and it appears that only the goatskin versions are edge-lined and have art gilting. As far as pricing between Schuyler and Tyndale, the goatskin versions are priced the same. It just seems to me that with the leather liner, higher quality ribbons, and color options, it’s a hard sell to go with the Tyndale version.

    As for the hinge, I sure hope my copy settles down quickly with use. That is an annoying “feature” I deal with on my Quentel, Omega, and even the Allan NASB Reader. Since I’ve been using my Clarion pretty much full-time, I don’t know if the hinge will get better on these guys once I get around to using them more.

    • Great feedback on the hinge of your collection. Please come back and post feedback after you’ve had it for a bit.

      Thanks,

      Mike

  7. I received the calfskin edition and I found it very nice and opens flat right off the bat but I followed what they told how to prepare the Bible I will open the evangelical edition later (I received it today also)

  8. Received my purple Caxton today. Not outrageously purple. A lovely colour, rich with the art gilding. Smells wonderful, and I am allergic to cheap ink!
    There is always something with a handmade item, I have to tell myself. There are some scars in the leather lining. Someone decided it was good enough, but I’d have used that hide on a smaller book myself, cut round it! I wish the ribbons were glued in either all straight or all pleated, but not as though no one cares how they are arranged. But they are thick and there are three. Clarion only has two. And the first signature isn’t sitting right. Stepped slightly. There was a bright golden line along the edge, as if there were a ribbon separating it from its neighbour, and it keeps opening on page 76. Something happened post gilding pre binding? Or someone opened it hard.
    But my hinge is flat! Pancake flat. How? I take time to open the first time. The book covers first, flat they want to go, text block sticking up perpendicular. Makes an inverted T. Support the pages. Lay down a few pages front and back, run a finger carefully down the gutter. Don’t snag a nail on the gilding whatever you do. Keep doing this till you meet in the middle, keeping it fairly even. I’d say how many pages at a time depends on how many there are in a signature/section. The fewer the better, if you have the time. My bible now opens flat. I was told this was how to open a book properly, so it doesn’t always open at the same page, or crack the spine. I suspect someone opened mine hard at page 76. My method hasn’t fixed it unfortunately.
    But it’s a fine book. Now the job of comparing what it says!

  9. Covers: eta. As flat as they want to go (and it gets easier as you proceed). Not to force things

  10. I appreciate that you included even a one-line mention of the NRSV. It deserves something more than Oxford’s genuine leather around a text block produced for college hardcover text books. I can only hope some day a publisher will give the translation some love.

  11. My Blue NLT Caxton arrived today – just 4 days after shipping to England, very impressive turnaround. I did order the Purple but was informed the stock hadn’t arrived and was not prepared to wait longer, especially as the Purple was only a flip of a coin more desirable to me than the blue. I must say I love it – this is a truly outstanding and beautiful Bible in proportion, print, layout, binding, finish, construction etc I own the Quentel NASB and ESV but this is my favourite of the three because of its portability. I hope they present an ESV in this format. I have no issues with the squeeky or stiff ‘hinge’ others have mentioned with Schuylers – I follow the same method as Belinda described above, repeating several times on any new Bible, and mine opens flat and squeek free from just a few hours use. Truly brilliant Bible presentation – the NLT translation will take some adjusting to, but am excited by reading text afresh – but lets have the same model in NASB and ESV.

  12. Hi Mark. I also have both and noticed the spine on the Caxton is more squared than the Select, which is more rounded. Have you observed this on your copies too?

    • The final photo should give you a good idea how my two copies compare. It’s always hard to draw conclusions from such a small sample. I don’t *think* the spines are treated differently systematically, but there is always variation from one example to another.

  13. Pingback: Tyndale’s NLT Select Reference Bible and Schuyler’s Caxton NLT: A Comparative Review | Holy Writ & Sacred Witness

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  15. I wish everyone would lay off and quit knocking the jongbloed hinge. The hinge is the most important aspect of the bible being bound. If the hinge on big bibles are done like R.L. Allan’s; then the bible will fall apart in a few years. Allan bibles are usually thinner and can get away with this practice. If you want an Allan dont get a Schuyler. I like them both because they are so different from each other. Allan is more refined and limp. Schuyler is built like a tank. Both are great but very different. I had an Allan fall apart after a year or so. My schuyler NKJV still looks brand new. I can carry schuylers around, and i leave the Allans at home. Now about this edition. Im glad Schuyler took the bull by the horns and made a single column for the NLT. I also like the size of this edition. It seems perfect for large or small hands. Purple is my fovorite color outside of blue. Why not make a purple liner, or a black liner with a purpleendsheet; like they did with the NKJV in red. I would like to know if Schuyler will ever make a HCSB edition. Or if Allan will bring it back.

  16. Hi Mark,
    I gotta ask why you have such a strong disdain for a black liner with differing leather covers. Black goes with everything, especially brown; that old 80s/90s fashion rule died for a great reason. Black and brown look great together… well-worn and well-oiled brown leather has black undertones that are brought out with black being coupled to it. There’s a slightly better argument for black and blue not exactly being happy together, but in book design, you always have black ink on the interior and throughout the entire block, so black is always going to work no matter what. I say if there’s black ink, black leather will ALWAYS look great.
    -C

  17. Mark, do you have any knowledge of an NLT single-column that’s like Crossway’s Heirloom Legacy that you reviewed? http://www.bibledesignblog.com/2014/10/crossway-heirloom-legacy-esv-black-brown-goatskin.html.

    I fell in love with everything about that Bible, but I really want to stick with NLT. These Bibles are solid, beautiful works, but that work Crossway did on the Heirloom Legacy has me seriously considering making ESV my primary reading translation!

    Thanks for the reviews. I’ve never seen a resource like this before!

  18. The Caxton NLT in dark green goatskin is my first Schuyler Bible and only my second green Bible. My other green Bible was published by Thomas Nelson in the 1970s, a time when color choices abounded and leather ruled the shelves of Christian book stores. Walking into a Christian book store today can be a pitiful sight, while it is true that we are blessed with an abundance of translations and a wealth of study Bibles and reference systems that the Bible reader of the 1970s could not have dreamed possible, it is also true that quality sewn bindings and leather covers are elusive at best. Thankfully places like Evangelical Bible exist to populate the territory abandoned by most Christian book stores decades ago.

    I used to own a goatskin leather NLT Pitt Minion and loved reading it as my “before bed” Bible, but sadly with the passage of years my eyesight made using a Pitt Minion a difficult chore rather than the blessing time in God’s Word should be and I reluctantly parted ways with my beloved NLT. Since that time I have been searching for another high quality NLT to take the old one’s place. Everything I would consider (and there are sadly few choices in the NLT) was either poorly bound in synthetic materials or was printed in a font that my middle aged eyes make impossible. Last week I came across the Schuyler Caxton and thought it might be what I have been searching for. For me the hardest choice and it was an agonizing decision to make, was what color to choose. I was torn between the stunning looking imperial blue and the dark green. The blue has the unusual feature of blue under gold art gilt page edges, but the green Bible took the day. When Schuyler comes out with an NIV I will certainly get it in blue. I placed my order on a Tuesday and expected to receive it the following Monday since Wednesday was a holiday, but to my surprise it was waiting for me in my box on Thursday evening, the shipping times from Evangelical Bible are nothing less than amazing.

    Upon opening the box I was immediately impressed with the feel of the goatskin in my hand it is soft and supple and the experience of holding it is enhanced greatly by the inside leather lining. However, it is not so buttery soft that it fails to hold its form, I own some bibles that are so soft the cover will literally fold over on itself, not so with the Caxton. The edge of the cover has a single row of stitching that I assume serves to attach the goatskin cover to the leather lining. One surprise to me were the 3/8” ribbon markers in various shades that I would describe as gold, bronze and copper, this is a very nice touch that speaks to the overall attention to detail that went into the design of this Bible. The paper used is very white and, thanks in part to very careful line matching shows very little bleed-through. The size of the font is very similar to that found in the Cambridge Clarion and the ESV Reader’s Bible, however due to line spacing, the number of words per line and the overall layout in short paragraphs, I find the Caxton NLT to be the most readable by far. In addition the thousands of cross-references, a very good dictionary/concordance has been included. There are also eight pages of maps. Bible publishers seem to be moving away from including maps in Bibles, an omission that for me is a deal breaker as I am always referring to maps so that I can place where an event is taking place. The maps in this edition are very basic, I would like to have seen more, but at least there are a few basic maps.

    One feature that this Bible has that has been very controversial has been the hinges on the front and back endpapers that extend out about 17mm. These are designed to make this Bible more durable, but it also results in this Bible not laying perfectly flat when opened at the very beginning or end. However, I have found that it will sit opened (although not flat) on my desk with the Bible opened to Genesis 1 or the last map in the back. I plan to read this Bible while holding it in my hands most of the time, so for me the hinge is a very minor issue, but if you plan to do most of your reading at a desk or table you may want to give more consideration the hinge issue.

    It is clear to me that this Bible has been designed, printed and bound by people who pay the greatest attention to detail, people for whom this is a craft, not a job. It is hard to imagine anyone who would not be pleased with this Bible, with the exception of those who plan to read from it while seated at a desk for whom the hinges might prove a minor irritation. In my opinion this is by far the finest and most readable edition of the NLT on the market today. I stated at the beginning of this review that this was my first Schuyler Bible, but given the outstanding quality and design I doubt it will be my last.

  19. Read on another website review of the Schuyler that it doesn’t handle ink and highlighting well. Would you agree with this statement? bibleexchange.com/tyndales-nlt-select-reference-bible-and-schuylers-caxton-nlt-a-comparative-review/

    Also, purple is available again, considering that because of the royal representation it presents, but the blue page gilding seems to be really soft on the eyes. Thoughts?

    • Hi Jeremy. Mark’s perspective will probably be more helpful than mine, but as I wrote the review you’re referencing I thought I’d give me two cents (review also published on my blog: https://writness.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/tyndales-nlt-select-reference-bible-and-schuylers-caxton-nlt-a-comparative-review/).
      1. This is the 28gsm indopaque paper that Crossway has used for their Heirloom line and Cambridge for their Clarion. I’ve seen this paper with writing and highlighting…there is more show-through than something with heavier paper. But unless you go with a 38gsm Quentel or Wide-Margin (neither available in NLT), I believe you’re probably going to wrestle with some noticeable show-through when you mark it up (even 38gsm has show through). I write and highlight all over in my 32gsm Allan ESV, and I can see it on the other side of the pages. It doesn’t bug me much. But it may bug someone else– all a matter of perspective I suppose. I think its pretty certain it will be slightly more noticeable on the Caxton or Select, but not awful. I will say this: Get a good pen and highlighter…I mostly use blue and brown Pigma Micron 005, which is a .2mm archival pen…you can get a multicolored set on amazon. And I use eco zebrite highlighters.
      2. I’d also like to comment on the art gilt. I had the blue (as you saw in my review). I normally love blue-under-gold, as thats what I have on my Allan ESV. But in the Schuyler, I didn’t like it as much. I traded my Caxton out for the Dark Green, which has red-under-gold, and I like that better. But based on the popularity, it seems plenty of people disagree with me about the blue (as that one sold out with the purple!). Personally I love my Green… the perfect color of a “living translation.”

      • Excellent feedback Jeffrey! Thank you very much. I also appreciate the pen and highlighter recommendations. I did look more at your blue art gilt comparisons and I started to agree with you about not being a big fan of that teal look that was produced as a result.

        I’m probably in the same boat you are in. Highlighter bleed thru has never really bothered me either.

        I also really like the way the green bible and the color ribbons go so well together. But everyone is going crazy for the purple for some reason! They all seem like pretty slick bible’s. I’ve never spend this amount of money on a Bible, so I’m tending to be very selective about this purchase.

        Thank you for the advice!

  20. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the outstanding review on these bibles.

    I recently received the Schuyler Caxton in Imperial Blue, and it is by far, the most exquisite bible I’ve ever owned!

    The quality and craftsmanship of this edition are simply breathtaking. From the deep, rich color of the blue, supple leather, to the gold with blue underlay pages, this Bible does not disappoint. Finally, a quality binding of my favorite translation, the NLT.

    I have often commented that the NLT is one of the best translations available today, but presented in the worst possible bindings on the market. I searched high and low (for years) for a quality version of the NLT. Thankfully, Schuyler has finally met and exceeded my expectations beyond even my standards.

    Thanks for a well-written, and informative blog. If it was for your review, I wouldn’t be holding this amazing edition today!

    • Hey Dean,

      I just received my beautiful dark purple Caxton edition last week. The brightness of the pages and the clarity of the words are amazing! I have struggled for some time “choosing” which translation to use. I recently read a book that breaks down the different translation philosophies of the ESV, NIV, HCSB, NLT. I wasn’t 100% convinced which one to go with, but finally broke down and went with the NLT, mainly because I love some of the relationally focused insight I seem to get from it when reading. Also because I really love the look of this dark purple Bible =)

      If this isn’t appropriate, I’m sure a moderator will take care of it. But I would love for you to either respond here, or you can message me through my FB page at /iJeremyMorris. I would love to hear more about what you love about the NLT translation and your confidence in it.

      Even this morning, I was reading 1 Samuel 3:7, I loved what it said, but my first instinct was to go check other translations to see what the Bible “really said”. Is that weird?

      Thanks in advance for any help from anyone. God bless, and buy one of these Bibles. They are beautiful!!!

      • Hi Jeremy,

        As you are most likely aware, there are two general types of translations used today. The word-for-word translation (aka formal-equivalence) and the though-for-thought (dynamic-equivalence). While both offer clearer insight into the more difficult passages of the word, they also have their own distinct advantages.

        In my opinion, what sets the NLT apart from the others is that it utilizes both of these translation methods, and does so where each makes the most sense. Thereby, giving the reader an overall better reading and comprehensive experience.

        While I also appreciate other translations such as the NSV, I still prefer the NLT hands-down and find myself turning to that version more often than any other translation. I find it to be the most accurate and understandable, but without compromising the original meaning of the scriptures to the point of non-recognition.

        Hope that helps.

  21. As always, great review!

    I’ve posted a similar comment on another Schuyler review, but I’ll post it again here. In reference to the stiff hinge, I have the Schuyler single column NKJV, and after minimal use, it lay almost as flat as my thin Allan NKJV. I don’t see the hinge as a problem, especially as it makes the binding more durable. It does loosen up with use.

    Also, in my quest for a good NASB, the people at Schuyler/EB told me last year that they are considering a single column NASB similar to their single column NKJV. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that. It’s a shame their SC NKJV won’t be reprinted, as it’s an awesome (in the true sense of the word) and very readable NKJV. It’s my favorite Bible at present. So sad that it’s going away after the current stock is gone.

    • Regarding the hinge, I agree 100%. Mine has loosened up quite a bit with just a little use and it does provide additional durability. The bible, while flexible, also feels sturdy in your hands.

      In addition, I find this to be a much better binding than previous Allen bibles I’ve owned, where as a result of page/cover sizing, my pages often got stuck and bent on the lip of the inside cover. This doesn’t happen with the Schuyler bible.

      Can’t recommend this bible enough!

    • Yes the NKJV single column is awsome but I guess its not very popular. The only thing i wish the nkjv had was a bolder font throughout. The chapter headings stand out a little to much. I would like to see a NASB single column done like the NLT Caxton. The Caxton is absolutely perfect in terms of size, portability, bleeed through, and very easy to read. And it just looks right. (you know what I mean?) But seriously; I would like to see bold font in more bibles other than the KJV.

  22. Are there any plans for other translations to be done in the Caxton format?
    Is the NLT Caxton the first of a series, or the only? Inquiring minds want to know… 🙂

    • Any plans Schuyler will make a bible in the Holm Christian Standard Version(HCSB)?
      I’m still holding high hopes they will.

      • I have no idea about a Schuyler HCSB, but just as a somewhat related FYI, I found out yesterday that the HCSB is being revised next year, and will then be known as the CSB.

        The NASB is also being updated next year, with a Schuyler SC NASB in the works.

  23. Patience, patience. This is a small firm with a bunch of irons in the fire already. Just give them a little love for all the great stuff they’ve accomplished already, not the least of which is getting the attention of the other high end publishers/binders with the Schuyler line. Evangelicalbible and Schuyler, along with Mark Bertrand have given voice to those who treasure fine Bibles, and books in general. I bet this rock thrown on the pond will have as yet unforseen blessings. Fp

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