NIV Clarion Reference Edition, Black Calf Split Leather

First Impressions

NIV Clarion Calf Split–wow, this is a nice reader. I recently reviewed the ESV Clarion Calfskin (so you will see similar sentiments in this review), but there are some differences that are worth noting. Similar to the ESV Clarion Calfskin, the NIV Clarion Calf Split is such a good reading Bible. The single column layout displayed in this edition stands alone. There is no competition (outside of other Clarions of course).  It is truly one of the best reading experiences on the market. The Calf Split version was recommended to me by several Bible aficionados and I am glad that I listened–this edition lays much nicer than the Goatskin version. The Calf Split (and Calfskin) versions lay and read easier, because the text does not creep into the gutter as much as the Goatskin version. Regarding the cover, the Calf Split is the stiffest of the three Clarion covers offered by Cambridge: Goatskin, Calfskin, Calf split. One advantage the Calf Split has over the other covers is it’s “rougher” texture, which prevents the Bible from sliding down your hands when you tilt the Bible. This makes it much easier to hold and read. The Calf Split is not as flexible as other high end leathers, but is much nicer than a bonded or “genuine” leather Bible. The durability of this Bible seems far superior to many other Bibles on the market without the Goatskin price tag. This NIV Clarion does have one positive that the ESV Clarion Calfskin regretfully does not have–minimal to no page curling. The thickness of the paper (GSM) is slightly higher on the NIV, which helps mitigate or eliminate any page curling. The ESV Clarion Calfskin version regretfully suffers a lot of page curling. When I lay the Calf Split on a table or hold it in my hand, it is a complete joy to read. If you want a single column Bible that has cross references, I would say the Clarion is the Bible for you.


Yes, yes and yes. The Clarion shines in readability with its 9pt size font single column layout. The pages are thinner than I prefer, but Cambridge utilizes line matching to minimize any ghosting of the text. The cross references are in the outer margin which add to readability–some reference Bibles put the cross references in the gutter, forcing your eyes to jump two sets of references before getting back to the text. All in all, you cannot go wrong with choosing the Clarion as a highly readable Bible.

Recommended Uses

The Clarion begs to be brought with you everywhere. It is highly portable and readable. It offers cross references, maps and decent margins to write in to encourage inductive study. I have also heard of some pastors preaching out of this Bible–I however, would recommend a double column format for preaching and teaching. Whether you are in a hammock or your office, this Bible could go anywhere and do anything for you.

– Paul

Technical Details

Font Size: 8.75

# of Columns: Single

Margins: 1″ (cross references throughout)

Red Letter/Black Letter: Black

Cover: Calf Split

Lays Flat: Yes

Estimated Life: Lifetime

Art Gilting: White under Gold 

Paper Quality: Thinner than I would prefer, but line matching minimizes ghosting. Page feel is very nice.

LxWxD: 7.50″ x 5.625″ x 1.625″

# of ribbons: 2 ribbons 

# of maps: 15

Cross References: Yes, in the outer margin

Concordance: Just under a hundred pages

Publisher/Printing: Cambridge

ISBN-13: 9781316601341


Text Edition: 2011

Where to buy:,

Detailed Images