KJV Sovereign Reference Bible Review

KJV Sovereign Reference Bible Review

 

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When it comes to KJV Bibles, few players have more experience than Thomas Nelson, Cambridge and Holman are, perhaps, the only two. Lately, Thomas Nelson Bibles (hereafter Nelson) has been putting out some very nice Bibles and, now, they have put out what may well be the best KJV in its price class, the KJV Sovereign Reference Bible.

Before we go further, I want to disclose that Nelson sent this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review just an honest one.

The Elephant in the Room

Let’s just deal with this now…The Sovereign Reference Bible bears a striking similarity with the flagship of KJV Reference Bibles, the Schuyler Canterbury. There are those who accuse Thomas Nelson of copycatting the Schuyler but I think that is a little disingenuous. Where most people see a copycat, I see an homage. It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery and if that is true, Schuyler Bibles ought to be very flattered. Schuyler has put out an incredible product (I know because I have it) but at a price point that is out of reach of a good many Christians, most of whom will have only one Bible for most of their lives. The Sovereign Reference Bible has similar design cues but they are in fact, rather different Bibles. I will highlight some of those differences as we go.

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the black genuine leather edition and one of my several contacts at Nelson has informed me that the “genuine leather” is actually cowhide. I have handled enough leathers over the years that my initial assumption was “this must be cowhide” and I was right. There is a very pronounced pebble grain on the cover of the Bible. The grain makes the Bible a delight to hold which also makes one more inclined to read the Bible. I was surprised that we have an edge lined cover. I had expected a paste down liner and was glad to find otherwise.

The text block has a smythe sewn binding. The Sovereign in sewn a little tighter than most other Bibles. The tighter sewing makes the Bible feel more sturdy. The tightly sewn binding will require a little break in for the Bible to lay flat in Genesis and Revelation but rest assured it will happen.

Paper

The paper is one of the most obvious differences between the Sovereign Reference Bible and the Canterbury. It is a darker paper and just a bit thicker. It has a somewhat linen feel to it

Marking in the Sovereign Reference Bible should not be an issue regardless of what you choose to use as a writing instrument. I am partial to Prismacolor brand of colored pencils.

Layout and Font

The font is 9-point in Comfort Print. It is elevated by red ornamental drop caps fir the first letter of each chapter. They are quite beautiful and, incidentally, the reason people feel this Bible copycats the Canterbury. In both Bibles, I love the ornamental drop-cap feature. The KJV is steeped in elegance, majesty, and shows off the beauty of the English language in ways other works cannot and the ornamental dop caps highlights that elegance.

The Sovereign is laid out in a double column verse by verse format with references in the footer and book introductions in the header of the text. Subject headings are provided in a bright red font.

The Black Letter text portions are the darkest font that I can recall seeing recently. It calls to mind the Brevier Blackface Bible from R. L. Allan

The NT is a red letter edition which ought to be self-explanatory. The red is very nicely done, a deep rich red, almost cranberry in color. It is very easy on the eyes.

Helps

Cross References

Thomas Nelson’s complete reference system offers 72,000 time tested references, a clear advantage over the Canterbury. For decades pastors, myself included, have relied on Nelson’s Comprehensive Reference System for sermon preparation and understanding the Bible.

Concordance

The comprehensive Topical Concordance is another of Nelson’s best features.  This is not as in-depth as the Cyclopedic Concordance that Nelson includes in the Open Bible but, to the best of my knowledge, this is the most comprehensive Concordance available outside of two specialty Bibles. It is an incredibly valuable tool.

Introductions

Each book of the Bible gets a one paragraph introduction. The introduction offers basic background information on each book of the Bible.

Miracles of Jesus Reading Plan

The Miracles of Jesus Reading Plan offers 37 miracles that prove the deity and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Parables of Jesus Reading Plan

The Parables of Jesus Reading Plan presents us with 39 lessons that Jesus teaches about Kingdom Life and being His Disciple.

Full Bible Reading Plan

The Full Bible Reading Plans give us a Morning and Evening reading to guide us through the entirelty of Scripture in a year.

As a Preaching Bible

For almost everyone that takes this Bible into the pulpit, this is an excellent choice. I have a single gripe about the Sovereign Reference Bible and it is here-I would find it easier for preaching if the font were 10-point. Otherwise, it is an almost ideal choice. The paper and font perform extremely well in most instances.

As an Every Day Carry Bible

Being a “personal size/hand size” Bible makes this unit ideal for carry. It is a little thick for my usual briefcase but that is easily correctable. You should have no problems carrying the Sovereign on a day to day basis.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I find the this Bible to be quite nice. I wish the font were a little bigger but it is not a deal breaker for me. I think most people who own this Bible will find it to be quite enjoyable.

2 Replies to “KJV Sovereign Reference Bible Review”

  1. How could anyone would want to purchase a hard-to-comprehend KJV with all those medieval old English word usage? Whenever I picked up my KJV and started to read just one paragraph, I would put it down and had lost total interest…all because its hard to understand.

    I had since then purchased an NLT (New Living Translation) Bible and had started reading it.

    I hadn’t “put it away” since the day it arrived from Amazon!

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