I requested an evaluation copy of the Thomas Nelson NKJV Foundation Study Bible through their BookLook Bloggers Program (HarperCollins Publishers) so I could review it. I was curious about this bible as it states that it “provides a foundation for Bible study”. They say that it is “intended for both beginning and experienced students of the Scriptures who want a Bible that contains the key features of a study Bible in a convenient, compact and concise form”. In this review, I will be evaluating the physical makeup of this study Bible, the study tools and features as well as comparing it to the claims made on the back jacket page.
In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by Thomas Nelson or BookLook Bloggers to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
**See all sections below for full detailed review**
I have to admit that I was fairly pleased by the Thomas Nelson NKJV Foundation Study Bible. Mind you, it didn’t stand out above many other study Bibles, but is an affordable solution if you want the basics. You can get this in hardcover (this review) or in Leather-Look and also in KJV as well. The Study tools are nicely done, but like the advertisement states, it is geared toward the foundations of the Christian faith – thus the name. Therefore, it would be highly recommended for a new believer that wants to get into studying the Word of God, but still would be a decent reference/study Bible for the more mature Christian as well. It is laid out very nicely and is nice and compact. As I mentioned this review is of the Jacketed Hardcover version of the Thomas Nelson NKJV Foundation Study Bible, which I would recommend highly if you want a good desk reference study Bible with decent study notes. This Bible is printed on pretty good opaque paper (less show through from back side of pages), and has a very pleasing type face. Easy to use and compact so it feels good in the hands. Overall, I would say this is a decent study Bible – especially if you are looking for one on the more inexpensive side.
DESCRIPTION OF THIS BIBLE:
- Full color dust jacket
- Smyth sewn and glued back (not perfect bound)
- Slightly rounded back
- No ribbon markers in this hardcover version (they are there in the Leather-Look versions)
- Double Column format
- Words of Christ in red text (the publisher calls this study Bible multi-color, but the only color really is the Words of Christ being in red other than the full-color maps at the end which a majority of Bibles have. I guess it is technically multi-color, but it is not full-color in my opinion as I don’t count the typical 8 or 10 pages of color maps at the end in the full-color equation)
- 1,458 pages (not including Pre-Scripture Text Pages and final Maps at end)
- Type size looks like about a 9 point
- Dimensions: 5 5/8″ wide x 8 3/4″ high x 1 1/2″ thick
- Approximate weight: 2.2 lbs
- Printed in China
SPECIAL CONTENT OF THIS BIBLE:
Pre-Scripture Text Pages
- 1 page of a Presentation page (typical basic one: Presented To, By, Date and Occasion)
- 1 page of Table of Contents
- typical Table of Contents and includes page numbers for OT and NT books.
- 1 page of Abbreviations of Books of the Bible
- 1 page Introduction to the NKJV Foundation Study Bible
- This includes the breakdown of the features that the publisher designed into this Study Bible. See the “Scripture Text Pages” section below for more detailed information on how they designed this study Bible
- 5 pages of Preface to the New King James Version
- This is the typical “letter” from the translators
Scripture Text Pages
- Each book starts off with a nicely done half page introduction that includes
- Information about the Author of the book
- Approximate time when the book was written
- Key Verses contained within the book
- The major theme of the book
- Study Notes on the lower portion of each page of biblical text. These Study Notes are a concise version of the Study Notes that were originally done for the NKJV Study Bible. These notes are done in a concise manner that focuses more on the foundations of the Christian faith, making it a very good resource for new believers especially, but also a decent reference/study Bible for mature believers as well.
- Cross References
- Often, Bibles will have cross references in the margins somewhere (side, center, etc.), but the NKJV Foundation Study Bible does it slightly different. The cross references are combined into a box at the bottom of each page following the Study Notes.
- There are two types of cross references done in this Study Bible. First, they have the normal ones which are directing the reader to further study of words and concepts. Then they have the conceptual cross-references which reference the same concept or idea covered in two more different places within Scripture. These conceptual cross-references are indicated by square brackets
|Normal Cross Reference Example|
|Conceptual Cross Reference – showing them inside brackets such as
1:13 which has a Conceptual Cross Reference of Matt 28:20.
- Theological Notes
- These are specific study notes that the publisher designed to point toward the more important doctrines of the Bible. These are denoted by bold text followed by a dash. They also have two indexes in the back that list out where these are shown by location (in Scripture) and then alphabetically by Theological Note title.
- New King James Version translators’ footnotes
- Typical footnotes from the translators for the New King James Version.
|Translator’s Footnotes showing for 4:6 and 4:8 at the bottom of the
Scripture text (above the double line).
Post-Scripture Text Pages
- 3 pages of Theological Notes Index by Location
- Lists out the Theological Notes found in this Study Bible. These are listed in the order of how they appear start to finish throughout Scripture.
- 3 pages of Theological Notes Index by Title
- Lists out the Theological Notes found in this Study Bible also, but instead lists it in alphabetical order by the Theological Notes title.
- 46 page concordance (not exhaustive by any means, but then again, if you’re a serious bible study person, you probably have a separate concordance like Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or something similar).
- 8 additional full-color maps
- World of the Patriarchs
- Exodus and Conquest of Canaan
- Land of the Twelve Tribes
- Kingdom of David and Solomon
- Jesus’ Ministry
- 2-pages of Paul’s Missionary Journeys
- Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus
MY OVERVIEW OF ENTIRE BIBLE:
Ease of Use:
Study Tools Helpful & Informative:
- Quite a lot of study notes – as I mentioned before, these concise Study Notes are geared to the foundation of the Christian faith, so don’t expect the notes to go as deep as other Study Bibles.
- Maps are done nicely in color, however on some of the maps, the font size is very small which would make it hard for some people to read without some kind of magnifying tool. With that said, the layout and printed type on the maps are done very nicely
- The book introduction pages are done very nicely and give a great background to each book of the Bible.
- Cross references, as I mentioned, are done in a manner that I have not seen prior to this Bible. Very clean and easy to use.
Does Commentary Convey Biblical Truth:
Durability of Bible:
For a hardcover Bible, I would say that this seems to be a pretty durable bible. Again, please note that I have a personal preference toward leather bound books. This bible does appear to be Smyth Sewn (or section sewn), which means it will hold up better than some strictly “perfect bound” or glue back bibles (similar to general paperback books). Due to this being hardcover, I would probably classify this as more of a desk reference version.
One thing that I feel I do need to point out is that after a little bit of use, I did notice that the binding loosened up a little bit. This caused the printed sections to be very visible, not just in the spine area as expected, but also as the book laid open, you can see visibly on the face of the pages where the section/signature breaks are located. I’m not a huge fan of this, but it doesn’t affect the usability of the Bible. Most people might not even notice it. However, according to the Thomas Nelson does have a lifetime guarantee on this bible as shown on the back page of the dust cover. You can see more about their guarantee here. NOTE: They do expect you to register your Bible to activate the lifetime guarantee as it states on the aforementioned link.
- Scriptures appear to be about 9 point font, which tends to be fairly standard size and font used in many bibles.
- The study notes are a tad smaller in point size (possibly 8 or 8.5), but it is done in a very clean and easy to read font.
- Scripture text and the commentary text are clearly separated by a double black line separating the two areas into an upper section (scripture) and a lower section (study notes and cross references)
- There is a little bit of room to write in the outside margins to write in if you desire (just about 3/4″ margin), but probably not quite enough for any serious note takers that like to write in the margins of their Bibles.
- Paper used for this bible is a nicely opaque paper so you don’t get nearly the show through that you do with other bibles that use cheaper/thinner paper.
- The line-matching (printed lines on the front of the page vs. the back side of the page aren’t lined up very good. However, with that said, the paper is pretty opaque, so I wouldn’t knock down my rating like I have in some other Bibles that I have reviewed in the past.
- Full color maps in the back and normal print throughout this Study Bible is very good.
MY EVALUATION OF SINGLE BOOK (Philippians):
Ease of Use:
Study Tools Helpful & Informative:
Does Commentary Convey Biblical Truth:
MY CHRISTIAN REVIEWER RATINGS:
Below, we have the overall ratings that I would give to this particular bible with a 1 to 10 range. Keep in mind that when I am doing these ratings, it is based on the physical makeup, format, extra-biblical content and value of the bible, not rating the Word of God itself as that would be off the chart 🙂
Quality: 8.3 (I never rate a hardcover book higher than a nicely sewn and bound leather book simply due to long-term durability. Basically, this means without proper care, any hardcover bible type will not last as long as the leather bound sewn version of that same Bible. With that said, for a hardcover book, the quality is pretty good with one exception – see my comment above about the binding being a little loose on my copy.)
Appearance: 8.0 (The appearance of this Bible is clean – layout is done nicely for a basic Study Bible. Nothing stands out particularly above other study Bibles in appearance, but how they did the cross references was a pleasant surprise)
Value: 8.5 (Basing this rating as a hardcover bible – the value of this bible is good – especially considering the low price for what you get)
Innovation: 6.5 (I can’t say that there is anything major that stands out as innovative other than the cross references and also the publisher’s claim about the foundational study notes. They are done well and do a nice job covering the foundational points of the Christian faith. They do have a link on the back dust cover that you can visit that has some very good reading plans and study resources related to the NKJV Bible.)
Other/Wildcard: n/a (No real wildcards to speak of to adjust the rating points for this Bible.)
Overall Rating: 7.8 out of 10 (see note about Value above)
Bible Formats and Options:
ISBN: 978-0718034320 (Jacketed Hardcover NKJV – This review)
ISBN: 9780718035686 (NKJV Leather-Look Earth Brown Matte)
ISBN: 9780718037154 (NKJV Leather-Look Coral Sheen)
ISBN: 9780718035730 (NKJV Leather-Look Earth Brown Matte, Indexed)
ISBN: 9780718037284 (NKJV Leather-Look Coral Sheen, Indexed)
ISBN: 9780718037321 (KJV Jacketed Hardcover)
ISBN: 9780718037406 (KJV Leather-Look Earth Brown Matte)
ISBN: 9780718037420 (KJV Leather-Look Rich Turquoise)
ISBN: 9780718037413 (KJV Leather-Look Earth Brown Matte, Indexed)
In 1798, Thomas Nelson founded his first publishing house in Edinburgh, Scotland, determined to make books, particularly Christian classics, affordable to the common man. In 1931, Pat and Bernie Zondervan began their publishing journey in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they began buying and selling books and Bibles. HarperCollins Publishers acquired Zondervan Publishers in the 1980s and Thomas Nelson in 2012, integrating the two similar, yet uniquely different, publishing groups under one leadership. Today, the strength of these great names—Thomas Nelson and Zondervan—continue to represent the highest quality in Christian publishing, creating the Company’s foundation.
HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. is a world leading Christian content provider. Our parent company, HarperCollins Publishers, is the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world and is a subsidiary of News Corp. Though the Company formed in 2012, its heritage dates back to the late eighteenth century. Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, two highly sought-after Christian inspirational brands, are the keystone publishing programs.
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