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Last night I got home from work, and my wife said, “We need to go to the church tonight for the Lenten Service. Our new minister of spiritual growth wants to talk to us about mentoring a couple of the confirmands.”

Whoopie.

It’s not what I wanted to do, but I was a nice honey and went. I met the young boy who I was asked to mentor. He’s really a pretty nice kid, though I am aware that he has been a bit of a problem child at times. Anyway, I got my mentor materials and the kid and I went up to the sanctuary for the Lenten service. Well, it’s not really a service, like we have on Sunday mornings. It’s actually more of a large group Bible study, where the pastor leads the study and we frequently broke up into small groups for short discussions.

The Bible passage we were looking at was from II Corinthians 6, and the pastor asked us to open our Bibles to the passage and read responsively, every other verse with him. I quickly realized that my TNIV wasn’t going to work very well when everybody else was using the NRSV pew Bibles. Well, I followed along as best as I could in my TNIV as there wasn’t any pew Bible close at hand for me, and I didn’t want to make any kind of scene by getting up and walking to where I could get ahold of one. No biggy. And so we read the passage, and then the pastor started talking and asking questions about one of the words in the sixth verse – patience.

Well, I’m afraid I am starting to lose patience. I could ask why we have to use the NRSV, but we’re a United Methodist Church. That’s what we use, as a congregation. That’s what was selected as our pew Bibles years and years ago.

Well, the pew Bibles have rather small print, and they’re hardcover, and I like to bring my own Bible. I do own a New Oxford Annotated Bible which has slightly bigger print, but it’s hardcover, and it’s big and heavy. So it stays at home.

To get to the point, I’d sure like to get ahold of a nice NRSV with 10-11 point print, a soft bonded leather or imitation leather cover, NO apocrypha, two-column text, and maybe even some cross-references and text notes, all for around $30. Something that’s not too big and bulky like a study Bible. It’s like the NRSV manufacturers think that the NRSV is only meant for young scholars and kids who don’t need large print, and nobody wants leather, but only hardcovers.

It’s getting frustrating. I know there are some available from such manufacturers as Cambridge, Allan’s, and Oxford, but I don’t have the money to sink into a nice Bible like that, and I’m not sure a NRSV is really worth that kind of money. (oops, did I really say that?)

Anyway, I was perusing a few websites late this morning, and I did come upon a hopeful sign. It appears that Harper is coming out with some low-cost bonded leather NRSV Bibles later on this spring or summer. I don’t know yet if they will have any large-print versions available, but it does give me a glimmer of hope.

Even so, there are Bibles I’d rather have. I’m looking forward to getting copies of the new NIV next year, and the new Common English Bible whenever it comes out, and I really need to find a good replacement for my beat-up old NASB Giant Print Personal-size Reference Bible. If I have to try and read along in church with my TNIV while everybody is using the NRSV, well, so be it.

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