NKJV Reader’s Reference Bible Review
Scripture interprets Scripture; perhaps you have heard that before and you have wondered how that works out. Sure, there are plenty of reference Bibles on the market; some are end of verse and some are center-column but all of them can leave you wondering which passages are most relevant to the passage you are studying. It happens that Holman Bible Publishers has remedied that problem by bringing us the NKJV Reader’s Reference Bible. Note: This Bible was acquired at my own expense; Holman did not solicit this review and they did not receive advance notice of its writing.
About this Bible
Holman made an excellent choice in using the NKJV; it is a very well done translation with excellent footnotes and utilizes the Textus Receptus Greek NT. I would absolutely love to see the Reader’s Reference Bible to be released in CSB as well.
For this Bible, Holman has used a single-column paragraph format, which is commonly called a Reader’s Edition. It is called this because it lays the text out more like a traditional book thereby making it easier to read. Under normal circumstances, this would not be my preferred format. That being said, I find the layout very useful. We will discuss further in the section on the refences.
The text block is bound in hardcover with a sewn binding. To remind you, a sewn binding is to be more desired because sewn bindings will last significantly longer than a glued one.
Font, Paper, & Readability
We have been given a bright white paper with fairly strong opacity. I believe that the paper is the same gsm weight as the HSCB Study Bible, perhaps even a little thicker or it might even be more on par with the HCSB Minister’s Bible. There is a tiny amount of see through, not so much as to be irritating, though; it is more of a faint shadowing on the page.
This is a 9-point font, which many publishers consider to be a large print. Holman does not bill this particular Bible as a large print so I will not bill it as such either. This Bible has a black letter text but there is a surprise with the references. They are in a bright blue text. At first the color takes a little adjustment but it is very clever; almost all of the major Bible publishers offer a red-letter edition and to the best of my knowledge, I have never seen a blue-letter edition. Overall, this coloration is quite interesting, which is part of the reason why I decided to purchase and review this Bible. As is my habit, I compared the text in a number of lighting settings. The only issue I found was very slight and it was in direct sunlight; it can be a bit severe in direct sunlight because of how white the paper is.
I found the Bible to be quite readable. It is often the case that, with a reader’s edition, you can easily get lost in the text. It is easily possible to consume large amounts of text in a single sitting, which I have done repeatedly.
Holman has provided the references in two different formats for us, traditional end of verse and full text references. The full text references are what I was referring to earlier when I said that Scripture interprets Scripture. In the Old Testament, you can see the foreshadowing of the New Testament with the appropriate references provided. In the New, you can look back to the old to see the continuous harmony of the text as the singular Word of God. We often refer to seeing the “scarlet thread” of redemption throughout the Bible but, in this edition, we can follow a “blue line” through the unity of the Bible. There are also end of verse references and I would like to see many more of those.
Some things left to be desired
Despite Holman giving us an excellent tool for understanding the Scripture, there are a couple items left to be desired. Here are my suggestions for what could be added.
There needs to be some measure of an introduction. We don’t need the usual study Bible introduction but since Scripture interprets Scripture and that fact is the main point of this Bible, it would be nice to see, at least, a small introduction showing how each book fits into the whole of the Scriptures.
If ever there was a Bible that screamed for wide margins, this is it. The likelihood of learning something new is extremely high and a wide margin would be a perfect fit for the student of the Bible.
I have seen several of the premium Bible publishers include lined note pages in the back of their Bibles. Notes pages would be ideal for the same reason as wider margins. It is extraordinarily likely that you will find new insights that you want to jot down for ready reference.
The NKJV text has some excellent footnotes that are provided. However, they are noticeably absent here.
This is one Bible that I can recommend without any reservation. I can virtually guarantee it will provide a noticeable impact into your study. I would imagine that this will be a first edition and it is very well done. I hope to see Holman take the suggestions that I have offered, it may well be the best reference Bible ever made.