Last week, the folks at Cambridge bibles were kind enough to send me a review copy of the recently-released Pitt Minion NLT in beautiful black goatskin leather. I’ve never actually owned or even had the pleasure of looking through a Cambridge bible, but I’ve read of their almost legendary reputation for being all-around top of the line editions. After just a few days with one, I can say without reservation, if you are looking for a magnificent compact edition of the NLT you can treasure for years and pass on to your children, look no further…here it is!
For those unfamiliar with the Pitt Minion layout, it is a compact bible that fits comfortably in your hand and reminds me of the bible I often saw on my grandmother’s night stand. Though this edition is the up-to-date 2007 edition of the NLT, everything about it is beautifully reminiscent of bibles from years past. Here is how it stacks up in size against the ESV Personal Reference Bible and the NLT Slimline Reference Bible:
As one would expect from a high-end bible (the list price for the goatskin edition is $129.99 / $93.59 on Amazon), the binding is Smyth-sewn, which allows it to lay flat right out of the box and ensures there will be no worries down the road with pages coming unglued or whole chunks coming loose as the binding becomes brittle. As you can see, after just one week of moderate use, it lays wonderfully flat, even when opened to Genesis 1. From this shot you can also see the beautiful art-gilded, red under gold pages–another touch of elegance from years gone by:
As if laying flat wasn’t indication enough of the ‘limpness’ of the binding, you can see how it flows beautifully around my hand when held:
Oh yes, did I mention it was goatskin? Beautiful and soft to the touch. Not as supple and smooth as the Premium Calfskin ESV editions that Crossway has published, but certainly soft and pleasing to the hand.
As a compact bible, the text is small, as you would expect. The copyright page says the typeface is 6.75 point. In contrast, the ESV Personal Reference Bible is set in 7.4 point type and the NLT Slimline Reference Bible in 8.0 point type. That said, even with the smallest typeface of these three comparable editions, the Pitt Minion is by far the clearest and most readable of the three. Here is a comparison between the NLT Slimline (left) and Pitt Minion NLT (right):
…and here is a comparison between the Pitt Minion NLT (left) and ESV Personal Reference Bible (right):
In my opinion, the ESV Personal Reference Bible has a better layout–I’m a huge fan of single column layouts–but the two columns of the Pitt Minion allow for a more compact edition that gives up nothing in overall readability with its smaller but perfectly clear font. In general I am not a fan of red-letter editions, but it somehow seems appropriate in the Pitt Minion because of its classic feel. Fortunately, I haven’t seen any type offset between black and red lettering, and the dark red ink is neither too bright nor too pink to allow for easy reading:
The cross-references and footnotes in this edition are the same as those found in the NLT Study Bible and Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT. Unfortunately, the Hebrew/Greek word study notes from those editions didn’t make it into the Pitt Minion. I find those a nice touch to the other editions, as they point out places where impo rtant original language words are used and provide nice, succinct definitions of words that pastors/teachers often emphasize. The Dictionary/Concordance is the usual 100+ page edition that has thankfully become the standard in recent NLT editions. It’s more lengthy than that found many other bible editions and is quite helpful if you don’t have a full concordance or electronic search at your fingertips.
One of my favorite features in the Pitt Minion NLT is the maps. As I’ve confessed before, I’m a complete cartophile, and this edition doesn’t disappoint! The maps are the same Moody Bible Institute maps found in Crossway’s ESVs but with the added bonus of more than twice as many as Crossway includes. There are a total of 15 maps, including many that are extremely helpful for OT study, and an eight-page map index. Fantastic!
In case you haven’t picked up on the general tenor of this review, I absolutely love Cambridge’s Pitt Minion NLT! If you’re ok with the small print, I can think of no better quality, compact edition of the NLT that you can enjoy for many years.