Review | NASB Heritage Bible, Passaggio Setting

Zondervan recently launched the Passagio Setting Bibles, a new Bible layout that combines single-column and double-column settings in one Bible format. The term passaggio comes from the world of classical singing, describing the shift a performer makes between vocal registers. Passaggio Setting Bibles shift between the visual beauty and clarity of a highly readable single-column text for prose and a clean double-column text for poetry.

The Passaggio Setting Bibles are currently available in NIV and NASB in Heritage and Thinline editions. In this review, I’ll look at the NASB ‘95 Heritage Bible in blue buffalo leather.

The NASB Heritage Bible, Passagio Setting comes in a beautifully-designed brown clamshell box cover that showcases Zondervan’s GLE logo (which stands for Genuine Leather Edition). I believe this is in line with Zondervan’s effort to make their genuine leather Bibles more set apart. If that indeed is the case, their effort is succeeding. This Bible’s quality is noticeably far higher than their previous genuine leather Bible releases. Zondervan’s GLE Bibles is an excellent and more economical substitute for their Premier Collection Bibles.

I like that this Bible is very handy and portable. It measures 5.75 x 8.80 x 1.5 inches and weighs 2 lbs, 7.5 oz. And as aforementioned, it is bound in a blue buffalo leather cover. The leather is supple, grainy, and has a matte finish which I really like. I have other Bibles in buffalo leather and this one wins the match in terms of quality. Not to mention, it is edge-lined and contains raised spine hubs – some features that are more common in premium Bibles. The cover is perimeter-stitched with dark blue vinyl liner, complemented with a beautiful gilt line. I must say that it was a great decision to include five raised hubs on the spine as it reinforces the cover and carries the overall weight of the block when it is open. The text block is smyth-sewn with blue under matte gold art-gilt and two double-sided satin ribbon markers. This, by far, is one of the finest text blocks that I have ever seen!

This Bible boasts a 36 GSM premium European Bible paper and line-matched texts—some more features that are commonly found in premium Bibles. The text is set at a 10-point easy to read Comfort Print typeface. But above all these, the most remarkable part of this Bible is that the scripture texts are printed in blue all throughout! You read it right—BLUE TEXT BIBLE. Zondervan made a very bold move this time, and it is incredible! I absolutely love the blue text. It is something new, unique, refreshing, but at the same time does not compromise the readability of the text. On the other hand, the chapter headings, titles, and page numbers are printed in matte gold. This blue-gold text color setting complements the overall blue and gold color scheme of this Bible.

Aside from its impeccable construction and very thoughtful design, the highlight and cherry on top of this Bible is of course the layout that it showcases—the Passaggio Setting. This text setting can be described in one word: brilliant. It not only allows the text to be read in its natural and rightful setting but also makes it more efficient in terms of page space and usage. Furthermore, the texts are presented in a verse-by-verse format. I am a huge fan of the verse-by-verse layout and I am so glad that this Bible is formatted this way. Not only do I find it more readable but also more convenient in finding verses. This layout is simply perfect.

Final thoughts

I love everything about the NASB Heritage Bible, Passaggio Setting! Physically-wise, its thoughtful design and high-quality materials and built make it pass the premium standard in Bibles. Content-wise, the Passaggio Setting and the verse-by-verse format make a perfect combination! I hope to see this layout in other translations in the future. This Bible offers an excellent Bible reading experience like no other. With an upgraded cover and liner, this could make an incredible Premier Collection entry. If you love the NASB ‘95 and are looking for a gorgeous and readable edition, look no further!

This Bible retails for $139.99 and is also available in a brown leathersoft edition.


Disclosure: A review copy of the NASB Heritage Bible, Passaggio Setting in blue buffalo leather (ISBN 9780310456476) was provided for review by Zondervan, from whom you may purchase a copy.

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