I just received the Great Adventure Bible from Ascension Press this afternoon. Overall, I like this edition. It has surprisingly opaque pages with little ghosting; the font is large and very readable. I’m estimating the bible text is close to a size 10 font. When we discussed the announcement for this edition back in July, I was curious to see what the “alpha cowhide” imitation leather cover would be like. It feels very nice! The material is nearly identical to the imitation leather cover on Fr. Nicholas King’s complete translation of the Bible, for anyone who has seen that edition. This is not a plastic or rubber-feeling cover. It has a softness and flexibility that feels very nice to hold.
The bible is not as thick as I expected. It measures just a hair over 1.5 inches thick. I’m very impressed that Ascension was able to produce a bible with decent-sized font, minimal ghosting, and opaque paper in such a manageable size. The pages are line-matched, but the binding is not precise enough to match the lines on subsequent pages. Since the paper is so opaque, this poses no practical problem for reading.
This is also a red-letter edition, so the words of Jesus in the New Testament stand out:
Note that the cross references, footnotes, and textual notes are separated by line dividers at the bottom of the page. Explanatory footnotes are few and far between. I suspect that these are the same footnotes that appear in other editions of the RSV-2CE, but I do not have another copy to compare it to at present.
As you can see in the previous two photos, there are colored tabs at the page edges that correspond to the colors in the Great Adventure Bible Timeline (the bible features a color diagram of this, in case you don’t have the Great Adventure study materials). The color tabs show at a glance the time period of salvation history that each book of the bible corresponds to. There are also at-a-glance pages that provide information about each of the color-coded time periods. Here’s the information page for the Messianic Fulfillment period:
There are in-text informational boxes that highlight pivotal events in salvation history, and there are major informational pages on the covenants God made with his people. Here is one on God’s covenant with Israel through Moses:
The bible features 14 color maps in the back which are readable and useful. They feature very bright colors, however, and my first impression is that they look a bit cartoon-like:
The Great Adventure Bible’s study materials bear a nihil obstat and imprimatur, and the biblical text retains the usual imprimatur page that was held over from the original RSV-CE:
A final downside: This bible has a glued binding. At this price point, I was optimistic that it would be sewn, but it is not. In fact, my copy has a slight gap between the glued pages around Jeremiah chapter 50, which seems like a quality control problem:
Here’s a view of the gap from between the pages of Jeremiah 50:
It’s disappointing to see a glued binding with quality issues in a bible that is selling for $60. It certainly makes me pause to think about whether this bible is worth the price. The study helps are interesting and useful, but not extensive. It would be hard for me to justify the price simply for the additional study material presented here. On the other hand, the cover is very nice, the text is larger than many bibles in this size range, and the pages are surprisingly opaque, making the reading experience very good. Ascension Press notes that they have already sold 81% of their stock, so if you’re interested in this bible, now is a good time to get one before they are backordered.