Looking back at this, I wish I had gotten this Bible in hardcover (if available). It's too thick to carry around as an everyday Bible (I use my Scofield for carrying around to church and stuff). Overall, I love Dakes notes ... it's great for studying when you are offline.
The covers of my review copies are both an imitation leather called Leathersoft. One is black and the other is burgundy. They both have the title embossed into the cover. This is one of the better imitation leathers that I've felt. The liner feels like vinyl-covered paper. The connecting point is taped. Most Bibles are made this way, but due to how large and heavy this Bible is I am concerned about how long it will last. Time will tell.
The binding is section sewn. It has no trouble lying flat. It stays open in Genesis 1 and will lay even flatter once it's broken in.
Paper and Print
The paper looks like the standard paper found in today's study Bibles. It feels like good quality and the opacity isn't bad. There are 10 blank pages in the back for writing your own notes.
The Bible text has a 9-point font (9/10) and the notes have a 7-point font. The print quality looks very consistent throughout. The black-letter seems to be consistent. The red-letter does fade a little but it's not bad.
The layout is updated to a more modern study Bible style. The text is presented in two-column, verse-by-verse format. OT quotes are in oblique type and poetry is set to verse. Notes are presented at the bottom of the page in three-column format. There is a header that includes the book name and chapter numbers that appear on that page, a summary of that page, and the page number. There is a footer that contains the NKJV notes that are keyed to the text by numbers.
There are two types of section headings within the text. The first type is the NKJV section headings in bold. The other type is in smaller text that is centered, numbered, and presented in outline form. Many of them include references.
There are symbols in the margins next to some verses. A star indicates a prophecy, a circle shows a command, a triangle shows a promise, and a square shows a message from God.
Notes and References
Notes and references are keyed to the text by letters. Rather than having them keyed separately, they both appear in the same location, at the bottom of the page under the same key. The notes appear first and then the references. This makes it easier to find them quickly. I like the way this system works because there's just one place to look on the page for all of the information you want.
A lot of the notes are factual and include statistics. For example: Exodus 13:5 says "24th prophecy in Ex. (13:5 fulfilled). Next, v. 19." This gives a chain reference for all the prophecies in Exodus. There is also monetary information. It's nice to know how much a shekel is worth in 2013 dollars. There is also information on geography, cultures, customs, etc.
Other notes contain lists, such as Acts 13:4, which list the 15 places of Paul's first missionary journey. It seems like lists comprise the majority of the notes. I found them helpful and informative.
There are also Greek and Hebrew definitions. There are plenty of them throughout the whole Bible. Some give simple definitions. Others give longer explanations with references to other verses that use the same word. These are great for word studies.
There are also doctrinal notes. The doctrinal focus is Trinitarian, Pentecostal, and old-earth Creationism. Prophecy is a major theme throughout the notes with a focus on the various dispensations.
Even more notes are found at the end of each book. These are presented in 3 columns per page. Most books have around 2 or 3 pages. Genesis includes 14 pages of notes. Isaiah has 39, Daniel has 13, Matthew has 2, Mark has 1, John has 2, Acts has 3, Romans has 3, and Revelation has 13. They include information like the notes found in the text - primarily lists, facts, Greek and Hebrew definitions, etc.
Like all study Bibles, I encourage readers to do their own study using multiple passages and study tools with prayer. Remember that notes are not infallible - only God's Word is infallible.
Rather than having book introductions, the Dake Annotated Reference Bible contains book summaries. It's basically the same information; it just appears at the end of the book. The summaries include the date and place of writing, the author, main theme of the book, and statistics.
Complete Concordance and Cyclopedic Index
This is a concordance and encyclopedia rolled into one. It has 338 pages and is presented in 3 columns per page. It contains many verses and facts. Facts are given in lists. The entry for God includes 15 full columns and has 8 lists:
â€¢ 44 appearances of God
â€¢ 10 arguments for the existence of God
â€¢ 22 attributes of God
â€¢ 12 facts about God and His Righteousness
â€¢ 5 Hebrew Words for God
â€¢ One Main Greek Word for God
â€¢ Things that Please God
â€¢ The Word "High" used for God
There is even an entry for evolution which has 9 full columns and includes:
â€¢ Utter Foolishness of Evolution
â€¢ True Science Rejects
â€¢ 12 Fallacies of Evolution
â€¢ A Christian Must Believe That:
â€¢ 15 Facts Disproving Evolution
The Biblical entries appear before the lists. This makes it easy to distinguish the concordance portion from the encyclopedia portion. It also makes it easy to find what you're looking for because you don't have to look in more than one place for all of the information. This version differs from the KJV edition. The KJV edition gives the page numbers to turn to, whereas the NKJV edition prints all of the information in the cyclopedic index. This makes the cyclopedic index larger but it's easier to get to the information.
There is a lot of information in the cyclopedic index. There is information that is doctrinal based (like always, do your own study) and information that is factual based (non-denominational). It is a good resource for sermon and class prep as well as personal study. There is even a reading plan to read the Bible through in one year.
I have one very small gripe about the layout of the index. The cyclopedic index would be easier to use if it had the first and last words at the top of the page. On most pages it doesn't matter, but there are some pages that are extended from the previous page and continue to the next page. This causes you to flip a few more pages to see where you are in the index.
Maps and Charts
The maps and charts have mostly been replaced. There are 9 pages that include 11 color maps. Some of the maps contain notes. I would like to see an index to maps added. The charts are also color and include outline studies of the various dispensations.
The Dake Annotated Reference Bible in NKJV is a lot nicer edition than its older KJV brother. The newer layout and font is much easier to read and use. I would like to see Dake Publishing update the KJV edition to match the NKJV edition. There is a wealth of information on every page. This Bible excels at lists and facts and would be a good resource for sermon and class prep, and personal study.
See this review on Bible Buying Guide for over 40 high-res photos.
Dake Publishing provided these review copies for free. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review. My opinions are my own.
The old Dakes layout of pages worked really well keeping the book block to a very compact form. This new layout helps to organize the information better and also gives much more breathing roomâ€”but the book block is much thicker because of it.
The scripture text font should have been bolder and larger with less kerning (line spacing). I know they were trying to reduce ghosting (see through from the other side of the page) but the text comes off faint in low light. Also, in design terms, the font for Bible text is pretty weak juxtaposed next to the font for notes creating a visually bland page design.
The headers should have been larger especially the verse outlines which are key to the Dake's system. They really missed an opportunity to use a more readable, modern typeface for at least the text block and outlines.
Also, the embossed Dake title on the cover is way too big and positioned too low on the pageâ€”looks like they miss-positioned the hit. All of the above items tell me they didn't really have a strong design team but I'm thrilled to at least get Dake in the NKJV.
Personally, I miss the original system of notes being keyed alphabetically. Now, they are keyed by the actual verse numbers with notes labeled aâ€”z. This new system has a ton of a's and b's on each pageâ€”old way was faster and easier to find a note. Certainly nothing wrong with the new system though.
Other than that, the actual binding seems better than most Bibles these days and is sewn which is a really strong feature considering the great price point. This cover material is used by many publishers and better than the bonded leather cardboard stuff but won't last more than a few years. Great for a rebinding project though.
All in all, a well priced Bible but it honestly has some font issues along with a really thick profile. I will use the NKJV Dake as a home study Bible but will stick to the older version for my prison rounds due to the thinner text block and lighter weight.
Hope this helps. Highly recommend but as with any Bible with notes added always makes sure you check with other sources to verify your thoughts and theology.