After the successful launch of the original Filament Bible and the corresponding Filament App in 2018, Tyndale House Publishers has doubled down on the concept of using a digital app alongside a physical Bible with their new Filament Bible Collection. Calling it “the future of Bibles,” Tyndale now offers several different editions of the New Living Translation and the King James Version in a wide variety of cover options, and they all pair seamlessly with Filament, a free digital app filled with study tools, devotionals, videos, and interactive content.
For this review, I’m working with editions of the NLT Thinline Reference Bible and the NLT Personal Size Giant Print Bible in genuine leather. To see a full list of Filament-enabled Bibles, visit the Filament Bible Collection website.
NLT Thinline Reference Bible – Overview
The NLT Thinline Reference Bible seems to be the flagship edition of the new Filament Bible Collection, and will likely feel familiar to many people. The text block is 5.5” wide and 8.5” tall, and it measures just over one inch thick. I have always loved Thinline Bibles, because they are neither too big nor too small, making them a great option for carrying with you. This Bible could fit comfortably into your purse or backpack.
The overall aesthetic look of the NLT Thinline Reference Bible is very clean and modern. The covers of the genuine leather editions have a nice texture to them, and I like the simplicity of the text on the spine. It seems to be constructed well, with a Smyth-sewn binding that allows the Bible to lay flat. I noticed that the art gilding on the page edges caused some of the pages to stick together slightly at first, but that did not prove to cause any significant issues.
Inside you’ll find a standard double-column reference Bible with translation notes and cross-references located at the bottom of the right column of text on the right page. The NLT Thinline Reference Bible has an 8.75pt text size, but that jumps up to a 10.25pt text size in the Large Print editions and a 12pt text size in the Giant Print editions. The text is line-matched, which minimizes show-through on the page, and generously spaced for a comfortable reading experience. In the New Testament, the words of Jesus appear in red.
At the back of the Bible, you’ll find the Tyndale Verse Finder (an index that provides the location of verses for a variety of keywords) as well as a really cool Visual Overview of the Bible, which essentially replaces traditional Bibles maps with a robust set of full-color charts, maps, and infographics.
Filament Bible Features
- 75pt type size
- 5” x 8.5” trim size
- 125” thick
- Line matching
- Smyth-sewn binding
- Presentation page
- Ribbon marker
- Word of Jesus in Red
- Translation Notes
- Tyndale Verse Finder
- Visual Overview of the Bible
Don’t Forget the App
You notice that this sounds a lot like a review of a normal Bible. That’s because, at first glance, these new editions in the Filament Bible Collection look a lot like a typical Bible. In fact, if you didn’t know it was a Filament-enabled edition, you could easily start reading and studying without even knowing that the app existed. There are a couple of spots on the title pages of the Bible that mention the Filament app. However, the only other indication is the small Filament logo on each page right next to the page number.
I actually love this about the new Filament Bible Collection. You can use them like you would any other Bible, and they work just fine for that purpose. But these Bibles really start to shine when you grab your phone or tablet and open up the Filament app.
How the Filament Bible App Works
The first time you open the app, it will ask you to scan the QR code on the title page of your Bible. This tells the Filament app which Bible you’re using. Once you do this, you’re ready to go. Scan any page number in the Bible, and the Filament app will offer you three different options: Study, Reflect, or See.
- The STUDY window is essentially a digital Study Bible. There you’ll find study notes for individual verses and passages, detailed book introductions, and articles about key people and topics. By the looks of it, this content matches what you’d find in the latest physical editions of the NLT Study Bible.
- The REFLECT window is designed to help readers connect the ideas in the Bible to their lives with devotional content curated from other Tyndale resources (i.e. one of the reflection pieces for the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15 is taken from Kellye Fabian’s book called Sacred Questions: A Transformative Journey Through the Bible).
- The SEE window is filled with visual content, including interactive maps, illustrations, infographics, and excellent videos from The Bible Project.
Overall, I was impressed with the Filament app. It looks nice, it runs smoothly, and it’s fairly easy to use. I personally think that scanning the page number is a little gimmicky, but the good news is that you have the option to simply type in the page number instead to get the same results. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of going back and forth between the physical Bible and the app, but once I got into a rhythm, I enjoyed it.
All Told, the Filament Bible App Provides Free Access to:
- 25,000 study notes
- 350+ videos
- 40+ maps and infographics
- 400+ profiles and articles
- 1,500+ devotionals
- a library of worship music
Bible Reading Reimagined
We live in a world where digital versions of the Bible have been downloaded by hundreds of millions of people. I love how technology allows us to carry the Bible with us wherever we go simply by loading an app onto our phones.
At the same time, there’s something special about holding a real Bible in your hands and turning the pages as you read. I think what I like most about the Filament Bible Collection is that it embraces technology while still encouraging people to read and study with a physical copy of the Bible. As far as I can tell, the Filament app does not include the full text of Scripture. This means you actually need a physical Bible in order to use the app effectively. Thankfully, that Bible can be easy to carry, because the Filament app takes care of the rest.
The Filament app is an impressive tool that contains an extensive collection of study and devotional material. Additionally, the physical editions in the Filament Bible Collection are solid Bibles for everyday use. When you put the two together, it creates a unique and meaningful way to read and study that Bible that makes great use of modern technology.