Summer is in full swing here in New England, and I'm taking a few minutes to review an outdoor-friendly Bible. This compact and unusual copy of the Word made it from Alabama to New England in just two days via padded mailer.
I am reviewing the Pink & Brown KJV Waterproof New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs from Bardin and Marsee publishing. The KJV version is a text only, verse by verse copy of the Bible printed on synthetic paper. The New Testament retails for $24.95, the Bible for $44.95. Bardin and Marsee provided my review copy, but didn't influence my review in any way. I am not being paid, nor will I receive proceeds from future sales of this Bible.
Features I liked:
- Every bit of this New Testament is 100% waterproof. The cover, the binding, the pages --- all of it. I can tuck it under the seat while I'm kayaking, and it will be none the worse for the wear. Somebody (ahem) leaves the Bible tucked in the pocket on the back of their chair or lying on the picnic table overnight? No problemo! The dew, or even a thunder shower, isn't going to affect this Waterproof New Testament one. little. bit. Our side porch at home eats books for breakfast, but I don't have to worry about this Bible being left out overnight by accident: the dew or blown in rain wipe right off. The Waterproof NT did not float in our unscientific home testing involving a stockpot and a drop from about 1.5 feet.
- Being waterproof means the New Testament is also wipeable. Wipeable may not be quite as glamorous as scuba diving with the Word, but it ends up being a more important feature for me. Despite my best attempts at hand-washing stations and General Cleanliness for the Greater Good, camp life is sticky, squashy, and dirty. A damp rag and a quick swipe made quick work of all the grimy bits and bobs that clung to the Bible. I also didn't have to fuss about making sure the table was dry or not setting the Bible THERE. Nothing I tried stained it, even pizza sauce. Wipeable=worryproof.
- The Waterproof New Testament doesn't feel waterproof. I was expecting a plastic-y hand feel similar to children's books, but it's much more like a map or guide book. The cover and pages are a normal thickness, and similar enough to paper that they aren't distracting. You can write on the pages with a ball point pen or highlight with a dry highlighter if you so desire. The unique material left no ghosting from printing on the other side of the page. The pages didn't glare when read with my headlight at night, either.
- The size. At 4-1/4" x 7" x 3/4", the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs is the same dimensions as many maps and guide books. It fit perfectly in both my daypack and regular overnight pack pocket. To keep the size this compact, the New Testament I reviewed has no internal references and very little extra material in the front or back. The print is small, but similar to or larger than most outdoor guidebooks and maps.
- Instructions are included for caring for the unusual paper. Waterproof doesn't mean indestructible. A clear, concise set of instructions for use and care appear on the index page. Most notably, don't let the Bible come in contact with petroleum products like bug spray, sunscreen, or even some wipes. Anyone who's camped much knows to keep plastic and petroleum apart, but I was glad for the reminder. Temperatures over 150 are not recommended, so the glove box of the car is not a great place to store a Waterproof (or any other) Bible.
- The extra material was well planned.
- Front matter contains a presentation page, index, instructions, and a page of Quick References. The Quick References includes topics such as Knowing Christ, True Hope, and Decision Making followed by a couple of references that speak to that subject. Any one of the 35+ topics would be good for personal or family study. (A note to parents: s*x is one of the topics listed.)
- The back matter is 7 pages of lined notepaper. Thank you, Bardin and Marsee -- a very nice touch!
- A few technical details.
- The pages are gluebound in signatures, not cut and glued individually. Single pages aren't going to work their way loose and blow off the top of the mountain never to be seen again.
- A serif font. I find sans serif fonts difficult to read once the print size is reduced enough for compact Bibles. This copy appears to be in the 7 point font range.
- The cover on the copy of the NT, Psalms and Proverbs I reviewed is pink brown with a modern design. Not my usual choice, but very visible in a pack or at camp. Sky blue and green/brown are also available.
- An elastic closure is offered as an accessory and highly recommended. B & M will install the closure in-house if ordered with the Bible.
- Rounded corners. Thank you, thank you. Square corners are easily damaged in outdoor settings. Rounded corners are standard on guidebooks, but unusual for a Bible.
- A tight binding. Normally I'm looking for a binding that lies flat when open. The opposite is necessary for a Bible in outdoor settings: I want a Bible that naturally falls closed. When we dropped the Bible in a pot of water, none of the interior pages got wet -- just the cover. Had interior pages gotten wet, the publishers recommend squeezing out the excess water, wiping the exterior, and then using normally. I expect looking at the binding that it will loosen and lie flat over time which is why the elastic closure is recommended.
- Covers can be stamped with your name. Covers and pages can also be customized by organizations.
- Waterproof notebooks and journals as well as suitable pens are also for sale on the site.
Features I would include:This Bible was designed by people who love and use the Word of God and spend a great deal of time outdoors. Every detail was considered. I found nothing I would consider a negative in a specially purposed outdoor Bible.
- The one change I would make if I were customizing is including a clear gospel presentation with simple graphics in either the front or back matter, similar to the gospel of John put out by the Pocket Testament League. The Gospel of Christ is one of the topics listed in the Quick References, and the introduction to the QR section specifically highlights that topic as being the most important truth of all.
- I would love to see Bardin and Marsee offer a Gospel of John with an included gospel presentation for outreach purposes. Ladies' Kayaking trips, Sportmen's banquets, and Teen campouts have always been powerful evangelistic tools in our churches.
I highly recommend the Waterproof Bible for a variety of places that are normally a problem: boating and the beach, camping, summer camp, porches, potting sheds, and even the kitchen. The Waterproof Bible would have been ideal when I lived on the Florida panhandle and spent 2/3 of my life dripping wet. I intend to buy a Waterproof Bible for high school grads planning to attend college or enter the military. This Bible would also make an excellent gift for missionaries who are in tropical climates or third world countries.
Love you in sunshine and rain,