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MOSAIC--Finally, a Wide[r]-Margin NLTse! (Well...kinda)

This entry was originally posted on June 4, 2009, at the original This Lamp site and has been moved here.

Yesterday, via Twitter, I received confirmation from Keith Williams, Bible editor at Tyndale House, that the upcoming Mosaic Bible will have wide margins (of some sort). Currently, no printing of the second edition (2004, 2007) NLT Bible has any significant room for personal notetaking. The first edition (1996) NLT Bible was available in a printing known as the Notetaker’s Bible, which--in my opinion--had the best layout for making personal notes of any Bible I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, it was a weak seller (it didn’t have the advantage of a strong NLT blogosphere base at the time, no doubt) and after going out of print, it was never re-released in the second edition NLT.

In the NLT Mosaic, slated to be released this Fall, the NLT biblical text will be intermingled with full-color art and devotional content. From what Williams said publicly on Twitter, biblical text will have a 0.82” margin on the outside of the page, 0.55” top and bottom, but disappointingly, the inner margin will only have what he calls a “standard” width.

Why do I use the word disappointingly? What’s the problem with this? Well, it has to do with the fact that the Mosaic Bible contains a two-column text for biblical content. Now, I’m not opposed to a two-column wide margin for taking notes. However, as I’ve noted many times here on This Lamp in regard to Bibles suitable for notetaking, publishers often make the mistake of giving the outer column ample space while neglecting the space around the inner column; that is, the space next to the binding.

This runs contrary to the way I’ve experienced writing personal notes in Bibles as well as what I’ve observed in the practice of others. Most of us who write notes in the margins of the Bible need these notes to be in close, if not immediate, proximity to the text upon which we’re commenting. Personal notes are not like the notes in a study Bible which can all be at the bottom. The note-taker does not want to have to create a whole new reference system to connect his or her personal notes to the biblical text.

There is still some hope for a true wide-margin NLT Bible, however. This Fall, Cambridge is going to release a high end Pitt Minion edition of the New Living Translation. In the past, Cambridge has often released a wide-margin edition of a new Bible at some point after initial publication. And Cambridge tends to give the inner margin proper space for taking notes, so there’s lots to be hopeful for here.

I’ve suggested repeatedly that although well-designed, wide-margin Bibles (in any translation) may never become huge sellers, they are used by individuals with great influence by teachers and pastors. These individuals, often referred to as “gatekeepers,” usually have influence over what translations members of a study group or congregation will buy. There’s comfort in reading along in the same translation as the one that someone preaching or teaching is using. So while individuals listening to someone using a wide margin Bible in a particular translation may not run out and buy the same wide-margin edition themselves, they will instead be more likely to buy that same translation in an edition more to their own suiting. Currently, I feel that only Crossway Publishers truly understands this influence as evidenced in their offering of numerous well-designed, wide-margin editions of the ESV.

In spite of my initial excitement and then hesitancy regarding the layout of the upcoming NLT Mosaic Bible, I’m still looking forward to its release. I imagine that it will have much to offer, and at this time any space for personal notes is better than none. Further, I welcome any significant and serious addition to the current offerings of NLT Bibles.

From Tyndale House’s webpage for the Mosaic Bible:

Encounter Christ on every continent and in every century of Christian History.?A new genre of Bible—a weekly meditation Bible—Holy Bible: Mosaic is an invitation to experience Christ both in His word and in the responses of his people. Each week, as you reflect on guided Scripture readings aligned with the church seasons, you will receive a wealth of insight from historical and contemporary writings. Full-color artwork will engage the soul; quotes, hymns, prayers, and poems enhance the rich devotional experience. Also includes a Dictionary/Concordance, NLT word study system with Hebrew/ Greek dictionary. A beautiful layout of art and devotional content, and an online community and content (coming Fall 2009) will extend the experience.

Back Cover Copy
On our own we are little more than bits of stone and glass . . .
. . . Together we are the Body of Christ.

A living mosaic of believers, spanning the centuries and crossing the globe. This mosaic is larger than all of us, yet when we claim the name of Christ, we add our bits to help complete the picture.

Join us on a journey of transforming discovery. Explore a few of the pieces of the picture with us.

Holy Bible: Mosaic is unlike any Bible that you have held before. It is an invitation to encounter Christ both through his word and in the responses of his people. Each week as you read and reflect on God’s Word through guided Scripture readings appropriate to the church seasons, you will also encounter a wealth of insight from the church, including:
Full-color artwork that will engage your soul
Contemporary and historical writings
Prayers, hymns, and poems for devotional reflection
Space for your response to God’s promptings
Opportunity to add your responses to the community at _______________
Add your tile to the mosaic.

Currently, there are plans for both a hardcopy and “LeatherLike” (Antique Brown) editions of the Mosaic NLT. As of this writing, the Amazon page for the Leatherlike edition is incorrectly listed as hardcover.

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Reader Comments (1)

The comments below were submitted with the original post. Please continue any new discussion here.

Keith Williams
The "____________" in the back cover copy for Mosaic can now be replaced with "" The site will be updated from a landing page and going live within the month.
August 27, 2009, 2:59:50 PM EDT – Like – Reply

R. Mansfield
Yes, please let me know, Annissa.
August 21, 2009, 10:00:57 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Annissa Peavy
Hi there! I may have some good news for you! That is if your really interested in a Note Makers NLT I am a wholesale Bible distributor and if I do some digging out in the warehouse or down at our local Bible booth outlet I think I just might have one or two of the NLT Note Makers Bibles left in stock! I will keep you posted I am going out to our Bible warehouse here shortly to get our Bibles shipped out so I will look there, if I can't find one then next week I will viit our bible booth to see if the NLT is there or if it has sold as of yet. (I may get lost in business so if I ahve posted here again by say WED next week, contact me through ebay user ID: Bay-Bibles or try and let me know your the one in search of the NLT Note Makers Bible!) Also if all else fails I do have a gently used one that only has notes in 2 or 3 places that is in really good condition. If none of this is of interest to you please let me know so I won't go a lookin everywhere for ya. LOL Your site is great See ya on ebay! Annissa
August 21, 2009, 8:52:32 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Andrew O.
I came across this photo from the Codex Sinaiticus site and the first thing I thought was: 1600 years later and we can't get a wide margin TNIV...NLT...HCSB...
July 7, 2009, 7:38:54 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Great post as usual Rick. I can't wait to get one. I wanted to ask you a question that is kind of off topic. Reading your posts for a couple of years now, I noticed that you don't seem to be too crazy about the NIV, especially when compared to the NLT. I have never owned an NIV, and I was just wondering what is it that you don't like about it.
June 15, 2009, 3:27:40 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Jay Davis
20 David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you UNTIL all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:20 TNIV Now the NLT... Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly. (so much better)
June 14, 2009, 4:20:58 PM EDT – Like – Reply

David Dewey (in the UK)
The Cambridge Pitt Minion NLT will be available in the UK on July 1 and in the US in August. I am currently in possesion of three copies for review purposes. However, I doubt if there will be a wide margin: the NLT is not yet seen as a Bible for detailed study in the way the ESV or NASB are. The 2004 edition was a major revision of the 1996 first edition. The 2007 is updates the 2004 text, but nowhere near to the same extent. It is not a third edition.
June 10, 2009, 4:43:36 AM EDT – Like – Reply

R. Mansfield
Tyndale didn't consider it a significant enough revision to warrant calling it a 3rd edition. Just speculating here, but there may have been reason from a marketing standpoint to avoid calling the newest printing of the NLT a 3rd edition with the NLT itself being only 13 years old. I do know that translation committees often create minor updates without changing the name of the translation or claiming a separate edition. In fact, I have NLT1 Bibles with different readings in places. Early editions used "friends" in many places for adelphoi that were quickly changed to "brothers and sisters" without any fanfare. I have no idea what other changes might exist between these two printings of the NLT1. The NIV made a pretty significant change in John 1:18 and minor changes elsewhere in the 1978 & 82 editions without changing anything about the name or edition number.
June 7, 2009, 6:58:04 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Is this the 3rd edition technically (i.e. has the revisions from the NLT study bible)?
June 7, 2009, 5:38:00 PM EDT – Like – Reply

While it's a step in the right direction, I'm still hoping for something a little better suited to note taking like the ESV Single Column Reference format. If they are going to give us roomy margins, it should also be in a basic text format, not a themed Bible with other extraneous content. Just my thought...
June 7, 2009, 9:37:04 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Cambridge had a wide margin NASB (77 edition) I received for my college graduation that I used for years. I loved the margins in that Bible, and used that Bible for many years, even having it rebound once. Their new edition of the ESV looks to be the same format, though I am still balking at committing so strongly to the ESV. I hope against all hope with my TNIV... I have an NRSV Notetaker's Bible and love it. It has the Apocrypha as well. The downside is the type size. I still can't be quite as excited for a study edition of the NLT. While I agree it's good for public reading, I'm still not to the point where I like it for personal study as a main Bible.
June 5, 2009, 7:31:01 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Keith Williams
No Antarctica, but then again there isn't exactly a Christian community on that continent from which to draw. More information about the Bible will be forthcoming. It really is quite different from any Bible available right now, or any Bible at all that I'm aware of. You are asking a good question though, Theophrastus.
June 4, 2009, 8:54:52 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Encounter Christ on every continent.... Including Antarctica? Each week, as you reflect on guided Scripture readings aligned with the church seasons.... Is this a lectionary? The description is confusing.
June 4, 2009, 8:22:57 PM EDT – Like – Reply
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June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterR. Mansfield

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