I know I said I was going to hold off buying one of the new NIV 2011 Bibles, but I think I’m addicted to buying new Bibles. At least I’m not running out to the nearest Bible bookstore and buying whatever I can get my hands on! 😉

But the fact is, I do want a copy of the latest revision of the venerable NIV translation. And I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit, and I think I may have come to a conclusion, of sorts.

My thinking is that it’s early in the game. I personally think the new NIV is an exceptional translation, and I want one, but I don’t know if I want it enough to pop for a fine leather cover, or go for black letter, and so on. And like I said, it’s early in the game, and I expect the offerings of this new revision will change over time.

I have decided that the new NIV will very likely be a frequent-use, carry-to-church Bible, probably even my main everyday Bible. That means I have some requirements for it. First, it’s gotta be large-print. It can’t be 8 point; that’s too hard to read. And I don’t really need anything as large as 12 point either. My perfect size right now is probably around 10-11 point, depending on the style and darkness of the font.

Secondly, I don’t like big, heavy Bibles when I want to carry it to church. I like what is generally described as “personal size”, around 5 inches by 8 inches by 1.5 inches thick. But I have also found the large-print thinline to be a very desirable size. They usually come in the standard 6X9 inch size, but only an inch thick or less, and usually with a 10.5 point font. Right now Zondervan is not making a personal size NIV 2011, but they are making the large-print thinline, so that’s what I have decided on for now.

The next question concerns genuine leather, bonded leather, and the new soft leather-like imitation leather covers. Obviously my preference would be for a soft, but durable genuine leather cover. My second choice is the soft imitation cover, and my third choice is the bonded leather. But more on that in a bit.

I would like to have a reference Bible, with a good cross-reference system along with lots of text- and translators’ notes. Some of the plain text Bibles contain good text and translators notes without the cross-references, but I would prefer the whole nine yards, so to speak.

The other sticking point for me is the red-letter/black-letter thing. Once in a while I come across a red-letter Bible that I can read comfortably; my NASB Personal Size Giant Print Reference Bible is a case in point. The font is 9.5 point, but it’s so dark and clear that the red letters cause me very little difficulty in reading. But that’s really an exception, and the truth is, I’ll take a black-letter Bible any day.

So the new NIV 2011 Bible I’m looking for would look like this: large-print thinline, reference, black-letter, and genuine leather cover. The problem: they’re not making such a Bible right now. So what do I compromise to get one? How close do they come to it?

Here’s what I’ve come up with: ISBN: 0310439221
It’s a large-print, thinline, black-letter, reference Bible, but the cover is bonded leather. I figure as a beat-around everyday Bible, I can put up with bonded leather for a few years. Other than that, it’s got everything I’m looking for.

ChristianBook.com has this Bible for about $35 plus shipping & handling; Amazon has it for just under $30. ChristianBook will have it available on March 18, Amazon will make me wait until March 29. No big deal since I probably won’t be ordering it until after then anyway.

My question is, how happy will I be with it after a couple years when the bonded leather has started peeling? I may be smarter to wait and see if they offer it in genuine leather or soft imitation soon. I know I can get it with either if I am willing to forgo the black-letter, but I’m not. If I can get black-letter, that’s what I want. And a few years down the line they may build exactly what I want…or they may not. Either way, this one should fill the bill for a few years, at least.