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4 Stars Out Of 5
Best Reading Bible on the Market
March 4, 2016
I love this Bible, just a few niggles stop it being a 5 star.
I love the format. In my opinion it's the best 'Readers Bible' on the market, despite the fact that this was not designed as a 'Reader's Bible', rather a single column text Bible, so that means that it does have chapter and verses marked, along with chapter headings but they are all in Black and the verse numbers are so small and unobtrusive I can honestly say that I don't notice them when reading. There are no subheadings, and that really does make a big difference in allowing an unobstructed reading experience. As is standard with the NKJV text, translation and manuscript notes are included, though discretely at the bottom of the page so as not to be easily ignored. The nice font, text size and line spacing (leading) all add to the ease of the reading experience.
So what makes it the best Reader?
Firstly, it is absolutely the most accurate translation. It is the most literal rendering, whilst retaining the poetry of the KJV, it corrects the majority of the translation issues.
Secondly, unlike the majority of 'Reader's Bibles', particularly the most popular ESV, The NKJV single column Bible is laid out in 'novel format', which means that the text is in paragraphs, with speech on separate lines, as it should be. I tried a sample of the ESV Readers Bible and the fact that the speech was hidden in the paragraphs made it harder to follow and annoyed me.
Thirdly, the spine is sewn, which has a mull margin that is fixed into the cover, so in theory, it shouldn't fall apart as readily as the glued spine versions. (On that subject, I was sent the imitation leather version first by mistake, and that has a glued spine, along with a scarily overpowering chemical smell. Though the text block was identical, so if you are not allergic to latex or sensitive to chemicals, that version can be found for much less. It is also available in Bonded leather, again with glued spine.)
So the cons that lost it a star?
1. I have a few Nelson NKJV Bibles, and this is the cheapest feeling paper of all, probably because it is matt rather than a smooth, it is the same paper as the cheaper imitation leather version, so for a genuine leather Bible this is disappointing, it is also extremely see-through, so there is ghosting. However, if you put a piece of black paper behind the page, it miraculously removes any ghosting. Though having said all that I find the Bible perfectly readable regardless.
2. Unlike with the ESV Reader there is no line matching, which contributes to the ghosting, hopefully, Nelson will resurrect this Bible with line matching (and better paper) and it will immediately become a 5 star hit.
3. The corners of the cover are a bit untidy, which for a genuine leather Bible, is disappointing.
4. The leather is thin and the folded edges along with the mull overlap show through slightly, at least on my copy.
And yet with these niggles, it is nearly a 5 star review.
The layout is great, making it so easy to read - you will be amazed at how much more you read this way, but more importantly, the proper layout brings the 'story' to life and will help you to get a greater revelation and understanding of the Word, some sections of the Bible read very differently in this format. Though the psalms is left in poetry format, and proverbs left in point format, though grouped in related paragraphs, which means this is one of the places where readers will gain new insight into the text, because taking verses in a single line can be read out of context.
The size is also perfect, it feels great in the hand, the page is approximately US half size/junior and ironically, the thinner paper means that the book block is approximately 1.25" thick, so not too heavy or bulky. And despite being thin, the leather actually feels very nice in the hand, probably because it doesn't have the artificial gloss finish applied to so many 'genuine leather' Bibles, making them feel almost plastic.
To conclude, if you want an accurate translation, that reads easily and allows a greater experience of, and engagement with, the text, then this is quite possibly the Bible for you.
For those tossing up between this and the Cambridge Clarion NKJV Clarion Reference Edition, I can tell you that the Clarion is a beautiful Bible, the paper is creamy smooth, the text is line matched and as such that Bible eliminates a lot of the negatives of this Bible. Plus it is a superior quality, but costs more than 3 or 4 times the price! It does however, have section breaks and headings, and whilst they are in such a format to be far less obtrusive than normal, I find the gaps between sections especially, do affect the reading experience, and the side references can occasionally prove a distraction. A compact size, so 1.33" shorter and slightly narrower, this also means it is thicker, so I find it less comfortable to hold. These things - to me - make it less 'readable'.
You can download the sample of the book of John and I would recommend printing this out first as it shows just how well this text format reads and helped me to decide on my purchase.
If Nelson take a leaf out of Crossways book, and produce a line matched version on creamy smooth paper, this could potentially be the best Bible ever! Well...
This is one of the best NKJV Bibles in my opinion, for these reasons:
-Excellent font type and size make for incredible readability (easy/pleasant on the eyes);
-Single column, paragraph format make for better visualization of subsections of the text, which almost always relate to a thematic chunk (sub-story), helping in Bible study and interpretation.
-The genuine leather is above average for Nelson (and many others) available today: very supple, yet "tough".
-Sewn binding makes the Bible lay flat from the box.
-There are less "in-text headings" than other Bibles, which for me is an advantage as it is less intrusion in the text (others who use in-text headings to locate familiar passages quickly may not like that). Every chapter has a heading though.
-Line matching from one page to the other (this happens sporadically, but it is not consistent throughout).
-Side column references.
Please note there is a "leatherflex" (faux leather) version of this Bible, which I also bought inadvertently, and that is not as good. The inside pages are the same, but the binding doesn't seem to be sewn, and the cover is like a bad cardboard and it is not hard. That cover is ISBN 1418542547. The genuine leather I am reviewing is ISBN 1418545996. The genuine leather is black, but slightly glossy, so the picture on CBD made it look like a blue-grey (must have been the flash of the camera). trust me, it is black!
The NKJV is an excellent translation. The translation is very exact, and the resultant English is very readable. The single column enhances the readability. There is a general lack of footnotes and cross references, which is fine. This Bible is made for reading, not so much for study.
The book is printed in the USA. The binding is done with a glued-over, bonded leather-like cover. It has the faint smell of denatured alcohol --- which I like. That smell has always meant a fresh book to me.
The quality is cheap, reminds me of a gift bible you can buy for 8 bucks or so. To me, the genuine leather doesn't feel any better than imitation leather. Very dissapointed with Nelson. How long this paticular bible will hold up?, I am not shure. Though quite a bit more expensive, you can go to evangelicalbibles dot com and pick a Schuyler NKJV and get a real quality bible. Only reason I bought this Nelson was I didn't have the money for a Schuyler, and wanted a church bible too, saving the Schuyler for home use.
Conflicted! I really like the NKJV, so I was very happy to see the NKJV in a single column format with a good text block and font. Nothing distracting, with even a good margin in the gutter. Very nice. But everything else about the Bible needs a lot of improvement if one wants a Bible they can use for a while. I would only hope that Nelson publishes this text block in the Signature Series (and does a good job with it, unlike the current ultra slim edition), or lets someone else publish it, which I think I would prefer because Nelson bibles are not known for their quality these days.
Unbelievable, but there were whole pages with very light print. The first page starting with Genesis 1 was extremely light, the following pages were darker, then another extremely light page followed by darker pages, etc. etc. The paper is cheap, way too thin. A lot of ghosting, especially the bold subtitles would horribly show through, it looked like smudging. The binding is cheap. I was hoping for a Smyth-sown bible, but wasn't surprised when it wasn't. The "genuine leather" was cheap, of course.
CBD sent me another bible and the pages were not alternating light and dark, but everything else, of course, was the same. Not worth the $ at all. Stick with the leather soft, which is just as good and save $11 if you want this bible.
If they at least had better paper which could handle the excellent font and not bleed through, I would be half-way satisfied. Perhaps Nelson will let someone else publish this Bible who can do it right. I would then recommend it to everyone in my church.
So sad for NKJV which I really like as a version along with many other people. I would've thought Nelson might have done something especially good with the NKJV because to the 400th year anniversary.