I recently wrote a quick review of the three main Greek Reader's New Testaments available today. As part of that review, I pointed out a couple reasons why the Tyndale House Greek New Testament (THGNT) Reader's Edition was my favorite of the three. I would like to expand on that review today and showcase both the hardcover and premium leather editions of this Greek New Testament. My sincere thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of the latter edition for inclusion in my review here.
Internally, both the hardcover and leather editions are identical. Let's look first at the binding/paper then at the layout of the text and covers.
Binding and Paper:
Both editions are beautifully printed in Italy by L.E.G.O. and feature a Smyth-sewn binding which means the bindings on these bibles will last for many years. Both are printed on 70 gsm paper produced in Austria by Salzer. This weight of paper is thicker than that used in most bibles but thinner than the paper in your printer at home or copier at work--I don't feel like I need to treat it delicately when reading, and it handles note-taking beautifully. The line matching between pages is absolutely perfect, so the only time you notice any ghosting at all in the body of the text is in white spaces following the last line of a paragraph. The color of the paper is sublime. Salzer calls it "natural white," and it falls somewhere in shade between the bright white of standard copier paper and the creamy color of the older UBS Greek New Testament.
The THGNT is typeset in an Adobe Text font which, to me, is the clearest Greek font of those used most in my library, including: Nestle-Aland, UBS Reader's edition, UBS 4th edition, Rahlf's Septuagint, TBS Textus Receptus, and Robinson-Pierpont Reader's edition. Until now, the easiest for my eyes was the UBS Reader's edition, but the THGNT edges it out as a slightly more pleasing and readable font. In addition to the clear font, there is about 1/8" of space between lines and between 8-10 words per line...all of which combines to make an incredibly-pleasing visual layout.
Unique among contemporary editions of the Greek New Testament, the THGNT uses ekthesis whereby the first line of each paragraph extends slightly into the left margin (think "hanging indentation" in your word processor for a contemporary analog). This makes for some very interesting and striking emphases when passages start several paragraphs in a row with the same word--an emphasis that is entirely lost using our standard indentation scheme.
The paper choice and typesetting create a near-perfect combination of readability and aesthetics. I have copies of all the Reader's Greek New Testaments on the market (that I'm aware of) and, in my opinion, none of them comes close to the THGNT in layout.
This edition contains non-contextual glosses and parsing information for every word appearing 25 or fewer times. This choice provides readers with 74 fewer vocabulary helps than the UBS version (a total of 2061 possible footnotes depending on how each version handles repeating words). While this requires readers to know more vocabulary, it is definitely not a hurdle to serious students of Greek who are probably well on their way farther down the vocabulary frequency list. In addition, there is parsing information for uncommon or potentially confusing verb forms. What I especially like about the THGNT format is that the verb helps appear at the bottom of the second column of helps, slightly separated from the vocabulary section. This makes referencing those difficult verbs very quick and easy. There are two appendices, one with definitions for words appearing more than 25 times and another linking "surface forms" (i.e. the in-text spelling) to the lemma (i.e. dictionary form) for all words aside from proper nouns that do not have footnoted information in the main text. This unique addition allows readers who may be confused about a form to find the dictionary form of a word to prompt their memory or allow them to look it up in the glossary--an incredibly helpful and novel feature for Reader's Greek New Testaments that only the THGNT has. I didn't think I'd use it as much as I do, but all other things being equal (which they aren't) this appendix alone would make the THGNT my number one choice.
Externally, as mentioned the THGNT Reader's Edition comes in both hardcover and leather editions. The former can be found for about $30, while the latter is closer to $120. The black hardcover comes with a slipcover and is simple and elegant. The leather edition comes boxed and features a black, pebbled leather that is unbelievably soft but doesn't make me think I need to handle it with great care. It is one of the finest leather covers I have ever held and will doubtless outlast me (and I hope I have at least half a century to go). The leather edition features art-gilded pages that are beautifully done with red and gold. The leather cover is far better than the "genuine leather" covers from most bible publishers and is certainly on par with what you'd expect from a bible at this price.
Over the past few months, the THGNT has grown on me and has replaced my UBS version to become the Reader's Greek New Testament I use every day. For the purpose of providing a beautifully laid out Greek New Testament with just the right amount of helps, it is without equal in my judgment. This will doubtless by my Greek New Testament for years to come. Regarding the cover options...the hardcover edition is the one I tuck into my bag every day--a task it handles beautifully--but the leather edition is the one my children will fight over after I've gone to glory.