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...