NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

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The Premier Collection from Harper Collins Christian Publishing’s Zondervan and Thomas Nelson brands boast some of the most impressive Bibles you can find at prices near impossible to believe. I have reviewed several  volumes in the Premier Collection and find myself being more and more impressed. This time I am reviewing the Premier Collection’s Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible (Thomas Nelson provided a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review) in black goatskin.

I will just go ahead and spoil the surprise now – The Premier Collection Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible represents the pinnacle of what is available in the New King James Version. It is equal to, if not better than, the NKJV offerings from Cambridge Bibles.

Features include:

  • Complete text of the trusted New King James Version
  • Verse-style Scripture format
  • Premium goatskin leather cover
  • Raised spine hubs
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art gilding on page edges
  • Gilt line stamped and perimeter stitching
  • Exclusive Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print®typeface
  • Three double-faced satin ribbon markers, each 3/8-inch wide
  • Premium European Bible paper, 36 gsm
  • Line matched text
  • Complete cross-reference system
  • Easy-to-read 10-point print size

 

The Cover and Binding

Of all the editions of the Premier Collection, this has the finest goatskin available. It is, actually, softer than the buttery soft goatskin of the MacArthur Study Bible. It is an ironed goatskin; you can actually see the grain on the skin but it is very soft and smooth to the touch. The lining is edge lined with a leather liner. I would swear it was a calfskin liner but there are a number of ultra-soft leathers which could easily be the material lining the Bible cover.

 

As it should be, the front cover is not profaned by the profanity of any stamping- regal, scholarly, subtle; it is the ideal for the front cover of a premium Bible. 5 raised ribs adorn the muted gold of Holy Bible , New King James Version, and Thomas Nelson on the spine.

 

The sewn binding is over-sewn in Genesis and Revelation. This is done so that the Bible will lay flay anywhere that it is opened. Nonpremium version are not over-sewn and will require a bit of uses to get the text all the way flat.

 

Layout, Font, Paper

Let’s start with the incredible paper. It is 36 GSM European Bible Paper. I was impressed with writing  in this Bible- I tend to be heavy handed which can cause issues of ghosting/see through although it was less of a problem in this Bible. I will make a marking recommendation, though. I would suggest use of colored pencils as they will provide optimal marking without need of worrying about bleeding through the page.

 

This is a red letter edition, a spectacularly well done red letter edition. Many times a red letter edition will fading or pinkish text but there is no such issue here. Even though red letter

editions are not something I am enthusiastic about, Nelson is doing their best to convert me and they are succeeding nicely.

 

The layout is what many  of us “older” Christians are familiar with. It is double column, verse by verse, with center column references. Just like its KJV cousin in the Premier Collection, it eliminates the harsh black lines that separate the reference column. Also like the Premier KJV, the Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible has chapter headings, verse and chapter numbers in a soft red. I find this feature makes it more pleasing to the eye.

 

Helps

References

Thomas Nelson states they have included the complete NKJV Reference System, which would total somewhere between 72,000 and 90,000 references. Both the center column and the footer include translator footnotes and textual variants.

 

Introductions

Each book includes a 1-2 paragraph introduction. Thy are brief introductions on the content and background for the book.

 

NKJV Concordance

Thomas Nelson provides a concise concordance to the NKJV. There is not anything new to say so I will not provide additional comment except to say that I really wish Nelson would add their  excellent Biblical Cyclopedic Index to the Premier Collection.

 

For Carry, Personal Use, and 1-to-1 Ministry

The Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible is very close in size to the NKJV Preaching Bible and it slips into a briefcase nicely. It is very easy on the eyes. It is very easy to have someone look on with you while reading in a personal discipleship setting.

 

During my carry times, I have had this Bible in multiple lighting environments and overall, it has worked out really well, with no issues in any particular lighting.

 

As I have done with other review Bibles, I left it to sit on the desk at my secular job to gauge the reaction of the public to this Bible. A couple clients thought that it was a very premium journal but one client did recognize it as a Bible and it opened a brief discussion. The reactions of my clients were positive, which does not surprise me as this Bible is designed to turn heads. As a pastor, I want my Bible to be the center of attention. At least twice in every sermon, I hold up my Bible for my online audience to see that there really is a Bible in my hands and the Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible is exquisite as the center of attention. It is as much a distinguished gentlemen as it is an attention grabber.

 

Use in the Study

Like me, most pastors are bi-vocational as are most Sunday School Teachers and both groups may find themselves with limited tools and, most likely, only one physical copy of the Bible. Therefore it is needful to mention the utility of the Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible. One of the foundational truths we learned in the Protestant Reformation is that the Scripture interprets the Scripture; the reference system that Nelson has provided do not simply give you a foundation for study and lesson prep but they actually take you to the top of the intermediate level and could even take you into advanced study depending on the tools it is paired with.

 

I have hand written some notes in this Bible and have not experienced any bleed through. I wrote in ball-point pen; for Bible annotations I use and recommend Pilot Company’s Better Retractable brand of ball-point pen. I had suggested, earlier, the use of colored pencils to mark so I would like to suggest two brands. Prang are my preferred as they have a very soft tip and do not tend to tear the pages. I also use Crayola for the deep rich color they provide.

 

As a Preaching Bible

It has no rival. I still had to take my glasses off to read, due to some visual changes, but the text was crisp and clear. The shadowing that I normally see around the letters on the text were nonexistent. I did not notice any glare at all while reading form the text. Often times “Bible paper” is challenging to turn but the pages turned with ease and gave a wonderful sound when turning pages.

 

In many Bibles, finding your verse number can be a challenge, even in verse by verse formats so putting verse numbers in red was absolutely genius. The red is very easy on the eyes and provides an excellent offset to the black for easily finding the verse you are looking for. The three ribbons were helpful in marking our my major texts for the lesson; I really wish there were five ribbons but that is nitpicking and I can have a bookbinder add in two more at a later time.

 

Compared to the NKJV Preaching Bible

The Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible and the NKJV Preaching Bible share similar features but even the similarities are distinctively different enough to make one preferable to the other. While both are double column verse by verse layouts, the Preaching Bible is very similar, in layout, to the ESV Verse by Verse Reference Bible and the Classic Verse by Verse retains more of a traditional format with its center column references. The cover materials, goatskin on the Classic Verse by Verse and calfskin on the Preaching Bible, put both solidly into the Deluxe/Premium Bible Category. Both have excellent, highly opaque paper and the satin ribbons on both are exquisite.

 

I find myself preferring the Premier Collection’s Classic Verse by Verse reference Bible but that is entirely aesthetic as there is no utilitarian difference between the two Bibles.

 

Would I change anything

There are two additions that I would make, if Nelson were to take my counsel. First, I would add wide margins, lined notes pages, or both. Any cost addition would be negligible for adding notes pages and this Bible really needs to have a place for some annotations.

 

I would also add the Biblical Cyclopedic Index that Thomas Nelson uses in the Open Bible. I find it much more useful than a traditional concordance

 

Buying Advice

Pastor Appreciation month having just passed, I would, first, recommend this Bible as a gift for the pastor (Christmas is coming and at some point in the year, he will have a birthday.) I am very passionate, and perhaps a little biased, about a pastor having a Bible that will outlast him. True, there are rebinders, but the pastor really ought to have a high quality Bible that will last him a lifetime. (Lest anyone should ask, I have provided premium Bibles as gifts for the three pastors who have most influenced my ministry and also serve as mentors)

 

I would also recommend this for the seminary student as a graduation gift. It would make an excellent reward for a job well done in learning the craft of sermon preparation.

 

The price point is sufficiently low as to make it accessible to anyone who enjoys the New King James Version.

 

Final Thoughts

In the New King James Version, it would be hard to top this Bible, unless of course they add wide margins to this exact format. I am a bit of a traditionalist so I prefer this format to the NKJV Preaching Bible. Your Bible should be a delight in every way since it is the foundation for your relationship with the Lord and this is most certainly a delight in every conceivable way.

 

 

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