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Thompson Chain Reference Bible by Zondervan

Thompson Chain Reference Bible by Zondervan

 

 

Thompson Chain Photos

 

Before we even begin the review I want to share that I have a very special connection to the Thompson Chain Reference Bible and I want to disclose that it is one of my most highly recommended tools for Bible teachers. In October of  1996, I taught my fist Bible lesson from my grandfather’s Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Nearly 25 years later, it is one of two Study Bibles that I recommend, almost to the point of insistence.

 

This will be a simultaneous review of three of the four TCR currently offered by Zondervan. Zondervan Publishers sent me KJV and NASB Editions and Bible Gateway sent me the New King James Version. Note: All three Bibles were sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review (even though I am definitely going to give a positive review) simply an honest one.

Translations offered:

Currently, Zondervan publishes the Thompson in the NKJV, NASB, KJV, and ESV. The NIV will follow very shortly.

NKJV-  New King James Version is far and away my most used translation. It Is very literal, much like its predecessor though it is, oddly not as popular.

New American Standard Bible- Considered to be the most literal English Translation currently available, The NASB is the heir of the most literal English translation that has been made, The American Standard Version.

King James Version- The definitive English Bible, the standard for more than 400 years. The Thompson Chain has been continually offered in the KJV for over 100  years.

 

What makes the TCR unique?

Complete alphabetical and numerical indices listing all 8,000 topics with corresponding pilot numbers and Bible references for comprehensive topical study. It happens that this is the feature which causes me to say that the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is one of the only two Bibles you will ever need.

If a pastor were to take one topical chain per week, it would take just under 154 years to preach all 8000 topics. You would quite literally die before you ran out of things to preach, Were you to preach one topical sermon every Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday Evening Worship Service, there is 51 years worth of material.

 

Bible study aids:  biographical sketches of the most prominent people in the Bible, an archeological supplement, glossary, concordance, Bible harmonies, and outlines of each book of the Bible.

If you thought the Topical Chains were impressive, these additional helps essentially put a seminary grade library in you backpack.

I will just address one of these, the analysis of each book of the Bible. These are presented in an Expository Outline Format.  Each outline presents the minimum necessary to understand each book.

Key Verses and Key Thoughts provide basic information readers can use to develop their own study

Paper, layout and font

The font comes in at 8.5 which is a little smallish for me. The paper is crisp white but there is not a lot of glare, even in the unforgiving Arizona sunlight. The red-letter section is much better than in older editions. Unlike earlier editions, where the red letters were rather pinkish, the red letters here are a deep rich cranberry.

The text is laid out in  a quad column format. Scripture texts are in the center two columns and the reference chains are in the outer columns.

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the jacketed hardcover but the TCR is also available in a a very nice imitation leather and a bonded leather. I a told that when the Comfort Print Editions release next year, there will genuine leather options and a Premier Collection Edition,

Thompson and Key Word Bible, Perfect Together

The Thompson Chain Reference Bible pairs perfectly with the Keyword Study Bible. Most of the world’s pastors have no seminary training and so these two work together as the perfect study library for a pastor. I wish it were possible to merge the two into one physical book but that massive tome would be too much to try to carry. I have said that there are only two study bibles that you really need and these are it.

 

For Every Day Carry

The Thompson is a fairly standard size Bible. It is fairly easy to use for every day carry. In my case, it stays on my desk with my =magnifier. In most cases, though, you will not have any issues using it for daily carry.

For preaching and teaching

The TCR is not designed for pulpit use. However, it is ideally suited, more so than any other, to lesson prep. As I mentioned earlier, the Thompson chain is absolutely the perfect choice of lesson preparation.

What about the NIV Thomason Chain?

Fear not, the NIV Thompson Chain will return in the Comfort Print Edition. I believe that the new edition will be the 2011 NIV despite the fact that Kirkbride only published the NIV TCR in either the 1978 or 1984 NIV.

From what various sources tell me, the NIV will remain in paragraph format as per Biblica’s requirements. I am also told that, at the very least, the NIV will be the Premier Collection Offering for the Thompson Chain

Do I recommend it?

I sure do! For nearly 25 years, the Thompson has been on my desk and has been a primary choice for lesson preparation. Like I said, there is between 41-134 year’s worth of preaching material

 

 

Maclaren Reference Bible Review

Maclaren Reference Bible Review

 

Maclaren Bible Photos

 

The Preaching Bible from Thomas Nelson has been updated/retired in favor of the Maclaren Reference Bible. The two Bibles are nearly identical so there will be some overlap in my review. Like the Preaching Bible, the Maclaren is offered in both KJV and NKJV.

Note: The Brown Bible in the photos is the Preaching Bible and the black is the Maclaren.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson provided one in KJV in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review- my opinions are my own.

Translation Choices

The Maclaren Reference Bible is available in both KJV and NKJV, the most conservative and faithful English translations available. The Maclaren Reference Bible takes one of the best preaching Bibles available, makes a few tweaks and adds new cover options designed to appeal to a much broader audience than the Preaching Bible did.

NKJV is my translation of choice for preaching and I will be ordering the thumb-indexed version as soon as it is available in the US.

Cover

There are several cover options available: Leathersoft/imitation leather (what I am reviewing), Genuine leather/cowhide, and Goatskin. The Genuine Leather Edition also has an option for thumb indexing.

In the Maclaren Reference Bible, Thomas Nelson has really stepped up their game with the imitation leather cover. When I frst touched it, I thought, for one brief second, that the box might have been mismarked. However, I have handled enough cowhide in my life to realize that it was, by far, the most convincing imitation leather that I had ever encountered.

The imitation leather cover has a vinyl paste down liner. The liner lends durability to the book. Doubtless, many will use the Maclaren as a main Bible and it will find itself being carried regularly  so a paste down liner and imitation leather cover are wise choices.

Page Layout

Nelson really hit a couple of my favorites with this layout. We get a double column, verse by verse format with the references at the foot of the page. This layout is my ideal format for a Bible, especially one that I will take into the pulpit.

Paper, Font and Margins

This paper is absolutely outstanding, possibly the best that I have ever seen in a Thomas Nelson Bible. I would estimate it at a 36-gsm paper. It is very opaque and this is, perhaps, the most important feature in a Bible other than the font used to display the text. You should not have any issues with a highlighter or ball-point pen to mark in this Bible.

The font is Nelson’s Comfort print and it is very easy on the eyes. The font is very crisp and dark. It works well for me in many lighting situations. Unlike most Bibles, I do not have to hold this one close to read from it when preaching, I can let it rest on the pulpit and still see with no issues.

This is not a wide margin edition and I cannot, for the life of me understand why it isn’t. So many pastors make annotations in their Bibles and with this paper, the Preaching Bible would be the perfect choice for note-making.

Pulpit Use

All of the Bibles that I review get real world usage before the review is written. I am very peripatetic while teaching and this Bible’s design makes it very easy walk around with it while teaching.

The only other Bible that has given me as much enjoyment to teach from is my beloved 334 from Nelson (it’s the thumb-indexed one in the photos).

For carry/Field Ministry

I carried this Bible, daily, for about a week. Being that it is essentially the Preaching Bible in a less expensive cover It is very bright in Arizona and I expected to have some challenges reading in direct sunlight but I did not experience any issues, much the same as the Preaching Bible.

What was added

On the Maclaren, Thomas Nelson added Maps. That and the various cover options were the only real change.

Final Thoughts

The Maclaren is essentially the ideal reading Bible. As it happens it is also the ideal Bible for preaching. Just like its predecessor, I find that I can read it without any issues in most situations.

Just like its predecessor, I love the Maclaren. As I mentioned earlier, the Genuine Leather Thumb-indexed NKJV will become my main teaching Bible as soon as it is available.

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

As we transition into 2021 and the Bible Essentials Series, I want to provide some background as well as structural/organizational materials for you to better understand the Bible.

Let’s begin with some introductory material adapted from What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta Mears, Halley’s Bible Handbook, Wilmington’s Bible Handbook, the NKJV Open Bible, the Essential Bible Companion, athe the Bible Reader’s Companion.

 

The Old Testament is an account of a nation (the Jewish nation). The New Testament is an account of a man (the Son of man). The nation was founded and nurtured of God in order to bring the man into the world (see Genesis 12:1–3).

God Himself became a man so that we might know what to think of when we think of God (see John 1:14; 14:9). His appearance on the earth is the central event of all history. The Old Testament sets the stage for it. The New Testament describes it.

As a man, Christ lived the most perfect life ever known. He was kind, tender, gentle, patient and sympathetic. He loved people. He worked marvelous miracles to feed the hungry. Multitudes—weary, pain ridden and heartsick—came to Him, and He gave them rest (see Matthew 11:28–30). It is said that if all the deeds of kindness that He did “should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

Then He died—to take away the sin of the world and to become the Savior of men.

Then He rose from the dead. He is alive today. He is not merely a historical character but a living person—this is the most important fact of history and the most vital force in the world today. And He promises eternal life to all who come to Him.

The whole Bible is built around the story of Christ and His promise of life everlasting to all. It was written only that we might believe and understand, know and love, and follow Him.

Apart from any theory of inspiration or any theory of how the Bible books came to their present form or how much the text may have suffered in passing through the hands of editors and copyists or what is historical and what may be poetical—assume that the Bible is just what it appears to be. Accept the books as we have them in our Bible; study them to know their contents. You will find a unity of thought that indicates that one mind inspired the writing of the whole series of books, that it bears on its face the stamp of its author, and that it is in every sense the Word of God.

 

Old Testament—Principal Places

There are 12 principal places around which the history of the Old Testament is written:

  1. Eden (Genesis 1–3)
  2. Ararat (Genesis 8:4)
  3. Babel (Genesis 11:1–11)
  4. Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:28–12:3)
  5. Canaan (with Abraham) (Genesis 12:4–7)
  6. Egypt (with Joseph) (Genesis 37–45, especially 41:41)
  7. Sinai (Exodus 19:16–20:21)
  8. Wilderness (Numbers 14:26–35)
  9. Canaan (with Joshua) (Joshua 1:1–9)
  10. Assyria (captivity of Israel) (2 Kings 18:9–12)
  11. Babylon (captivity of Judah) (2 Kings 24:11–16)
  12. Canaan (the land of Israel—return of the exiles) (Ezra 1:1–2:70)

As you build the story of the Bible around these places, you see the whole history in chronological order.

Old Testament—Principal Facts

Still another way to think through the Bible is by following the great facts in order:

  1. Creation (Genesis 1:1–2:3)
  2. Fall of man (Genesis 3)
  3. Flood (Genesis 6–9)
  4. Babel (Genesis 11:1–9)
  5. Call of Abraham (Genesis 11:10–12:3)
  6. Descent into Egypt (Genesis 46–47)
  7. Exodus (Exodus 7–12)
  8. Passover (Exodus 12)
  9. Giving of the Law (Exodus 19–24)
  10. Wilderness wanderings (Numbers 13–14)
  11. Conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua 11)
  12. Dark ages of the Chosen People (Judges)
  13. Anointing of Saul as king (1 Samuel 9:27–10:1)
  14. Golden age of Israelites under David and Solomon—united kingdom (2 Samuel 5:4–5; 1 Kings 10:6–8)
  15. The divided kingdom—Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12:26–33)
  16. The captivity in Assyria and Babylon (2 Kings 17; 25)
  17. The return from exile (Ezra)

New Testament—Principal Facts

  1. Early life of Christ (Matthew 1:18–2:23; Luke 1–2)
  2. Ministry of Christ (Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  3. Church in Jerusalem (Acts 1–2)
  4. Church extending to the Gentiles (Acts 10–11; 13–20)
  5. Church in all the world (Romans 10–11, 15; Ephesians 1:22–23)

Principal Biblical Periods

  1. Period of the patriarchs to Moses (Genesis)
  2. The godly line—leading events
  3. Creation
  4. Fall
  5. Flood
  6. Dispersion
  7. The chosen family—leading events
  8. Call of Abraham
  9. Descent into Egypt; bondage
  10. Period of great leaders: Moses to Saul (Exodus to Samuel)
  11. Exodus from Egypt
  12. Wandering in wilderness
  13. Conquest of Canaan
  14. Rule of judges

III.  Period of the kings: Saul to the captivities (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, the prophetical books)

  1. The united kingdom
  2. Saul
  3. David
  4. Solomon
  5. The divided kingdom
  6. Judah
  7. Israel
  8. Period of foreign rulers: captivities to Christ (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel)
  9. Captivity of Israel
  10. Captivity of Judah
  11. Christ (Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  12. The Church (Acts and the Epistles)
  13. In Jerusalem
  14. To the Gentiles
  15. In all the world

 

Principles and Helps for Bible Study

Accept the Bible just as it is, for exactly what it claims to be. Pin your faith to the Bible. It is God’s Word. It will never let you down. For us human beings, it is the rock of ages. Trust its teachings, and be happy forever.

 

Read your Bible with an open mind. ­Don’t try to straitjacket all its passages into the mold of a few pet doctrines. And ­don’t read into its passages ideas that are not there. But try to search out fairly and honestly the main teachings and lessons of each passage.  Ultimately, the text says what the text says. We need to look at the cultural context, genre, word choices, etc. Our search is to understand the Bible in similar fashion to how the original readers would have understood it.

 

Keep a pencil at hand. It is a good thing, as we read, to mark passages. Mark texts that resonate with you and passages that challenge you to grow in your faith.  Reread passages you have marked. In time a well-marked Bible will become very dear to us, as the day draws near for us to meet the Author.

 

Habitual, systematic reading of the Bible is what counts. Occasional or spasmodic reading does not mean much. Unless we have some sort of system to follow, and hold to it with resolute determination, the chances are that we will not read the Bible very much at all. Our inner life, like our body, needs its daily food.

 

Try to set a certain time each day for whatever reading plan you are following. Otherwise it is  likely that one would neglect or forget to read the Bible.

 

The particular time of day does not greatly matter. The important thing is that we choose a time that best fits in with our daily round of work, and that we try to stick with it and not be discouraged if now and then our routine is broken by things beyond our control.

Memorize favorite verses. Thoroughly memorize them and repeat them often to yourself — sometimes when you are alone, or in the night to help put yourself to sleep on the everlasting arms. These are the verses that we live on.

 

Suggested Reading Plans

The Learning Supplement for each book will include options for reading each book.

 

On Marking and Journaling

Start with a wide margin Bible in your favorite translation. I find Prismacolor Pencils to be ideal for marking. You could underline specific words or entire verses. Some people draw symbols or pictures. Others put detailed nots into the margins. Whatever you choose to put in the margins, these notes and symbols  are what makes the Bible truly yours.

NKJV Spirit Filled Life Bible Review

NKJV Spirit Filled Life Bible Review

 

Additional Photos of the Spirit Filled Life Bible

 

Buy from Amazon (Affiliate)

The NKJV Spirit Filled Life Bible is a very interesting study Bible geared toward those in the Pentecostal Tradition, specifically Classical Pentecostalism. Dr. Jack Hayford leads a team of  Pentecostal scholars in bringing us one of the two most popular study Bibles for Pentecostal Christians

Thomas Nelson provided a copy of this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own.

Disclaimer: I have a strong Pentecostal background having come of age in the Assemblies of God, even though I no longer attend that denomination. There are certain contributors to this Bible that I vigorously disagree with but I still found  much of the material to be helpful.

A Pentecostal Study Bible? Answering mockers and skeptics

It is true that there are many in the Pentecostal Movement with weird ideas but there are also some very well-known scholars and pastors who are very well versed in the Scriptures; Dr. Gordon Fee and Dr. Wayne Grudem (more charismatic than full Pentecostal) come to mind.

Translation Choice:

This 3rd Edition is offered in the New King James Version, previous editions were also offered in the NIV and the NLT. NKJV is a very conservative, essentially literal translation. It is ideally suited for the Bible teacher who prefers systematic exposition of the Bible.

Study Helps:

  • Word Wealth–Far and away, my favorite feature of the Spirit Filled Life Bible is the Word Wealth Section. There are more than 650 word studies (including over 100 new ones) which shed light on key terms, drawing important meaning from the original Greek and Hebrew. Each of these is a single paragraph that explains the basic meaning of the word. The Strong’s Number is provided for additional research, either by the pastor or the student in the audience.
  • Kingdom Dynamics –Kingdom Dynamics illuminates the present aspect of Christ’s Kingdom, here, on earth and prepares us for His future millennial reign.
  • Truth-In-Action –This is one of the most interesting features that I have encountered in a study Bible. These are 1-page articles that provide help with practical application of the particular truths presented in each book of the Bible.
  • Praying the Word –192 guided prayers based on significant passages throughout Scripture
  • Book introductions and outlines The traditional materials covered in a normal study Bible are here but there are three unique sections that I have not found in any other study Bible: Personal application (How can apply the truths of this book to my life?), Christ Revealed (What does this book teach us about the person and work of the Lord Jesus?), and Holy Spirit at Work (What is the Holy Spirit doing to advance the work of Christ’s Kingdom, even if not obvious?)
  • Full color in-text maps, diagrams, and charts offer the opportunity to visualize where the events happened.
  • Verse-by-verse study notes There are approximately 10,000 study notes designed to illuminate the scriptures for the reader.
  • Nelson’s Complete Cross Reference System with Concordance All 72,000 of Nelson’s cross references are provided to help the Scripture to interpret the Scripture. Nelson also provides a full topical concordance for those who like to find what the Bible teaches on a particular topic.

 

 

Cover and Binding

This edition is the brown leathersoft with sewn binding. Thomas Nelson has really improved the quality of their imitation leather and this one will last for years.

Paper, and Font

The paper has kind of a newsprint feel. It has a matte finish which is very easy on the eyes. Interestingly, the paper also has a soft cottony feel to it and it is very easy to turn the pages.

This Bible is a red letter edition with red that is surprisingly well done. There is no fading of the red and it doesn’t turn pinkish in any areas. The comfort print font is very readable for a 9-point font.

As a Carry Bible

It is a very portable Bible at 6” x 9” and about 2 pounds. I did not notice any issues with carrying it.

Should you buy?

Yes, even if you  are not Pentecostal. Certain of the helps are immensely helpful and you will not notice any bias.

Giant Print Thin-line NKJV Review

Giant Print Thin-line NKJV Review

NKJV Giant Print Thin-line Bible Photos

 

Many is the Bible that has tried to unseat my Nelson 334 Personal Size Giant Print NKJV Reference Bible {I have tried to retire it four times but it just won’t quit} and today, I am reviewing the nearest contender to do just that, the Giant Print Thin-line NKJV. (Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give positive feedback and my opinions are my own.)

The Translation

As you can tell from the title, this is offered in the New King  James Version. NKJV and I are the same age (both issued in 1982) though we have not been together that long. That being said it has been 13 years in service for me with  800 1 on 1 discipleship sessions, 300 Sunday school classes, 25 Sunday morning services, 3500 daily readings and 1 international trip. For as much as I have thought I enjoy other translations, NKJV is my go to translation.

Like its predecessor, the KJV, NKJV is a formal equivalence translation with the New Testament based on the Textus Receptus, the same manuscript which undergirds the New American Standard Bible. In fact, NKJV has only one rival for literalness, accuracy, and excellence for study, the NASB. I would put the NKJV at a 10th grade reading level- it isn’t difficult to comprehend but it is not a simplistic translation either.

The Cover & Binding.

This is the black leathersoft edition but, if you did not handle a true leather on a regular basis, you would never know that. Thomas Nelson even managed to add a grain to the imitation leather, a feat that is quite impressive when you stop to think about it; it is a touch you would not expect to find and it is a tactile delight. As far as imitation leathers go, this is the best I have ever handled. I will make a bold statement and say that the feel of this edition even surpasses that of Crossway, who has virtually defined the imitation leather market.

Thomas Nelson has returned to sewing the binding in their Bibles and I am glad to see that. A sewn binding ensures your Bible will last a lifetime. Not only is a sewn binding incredibly durable (Ask my model 334 if you do not believe me), it will lay flat virtually anywhere you open the Bible, a feature which comes in handy if placing the Bible on a lectern.

Layout and Font

The NKJV Text-block is laid out in a double column paragraph format in the new Comfort Print Font, which comes in at a 13-point measurement. I do wish it was in a verse by verse format but that is a little nitpicky.

With the deep rich coloration of the ink, it is very easy to read, so easy as a matter of fact, that I was able to swap out Bibles in the middle of a sermon and deploy this Bible when a smaller print verse by verse Bible became challenging to read. Among Bible publishers, Thomas Nelson has some of the best red ink you can find for your red-letter editions and this edition is no exception. The Giant Print Thin-line is beyond easy on the eyes and if you find yourself headed for bi-focals, as I am, you will find this Bible an excellent choice.

I specifically asked to review a thumb-indexed copy because Nelson handles thumb-indexing much better than most. Something that almost no one realizes is the fact that thumb-indexing is completed by hand so no two thumb-indexed Bibles are identical. The thumb indexing is just the right size and each tab covers about three books each.

Paper

The paper is a touch thin, most likely 28gsm, and fairly opaque; there is a bit of show through nowhere near as bad as with some of its competitors. Despite being fairly thin, the pages turn rather easily.

What about writing in this Bible?

If you use the correct writing implement, there should be no issue with writing or other marking in this Bible. For pencils, Prismacolor or Prang are preferred and for ball-point, Pilot or Zebra will provide you with the best writing experience. Realize, of course, that this is not a wide margin Bible so your ability to write in it might be somewhat limited unless you have really tiny handwriting.

Helps

This is a plain text Bible so the only helps you are given are the translator’s footnotes. As a teacher this does not bother me; I want the men and women who are in my audience to do the work of searching the Scriptures on their own rather than relying on someone else’s work as their primary source of understanding. The footnotes include textual variants and are as well annotated as the NASB or HCSB- you will find them most useful.

Use in Preaching/Comparison to the NKJV Preaching Bible

As I mentioned, I swapped this Bible onto my pulpit mid-sermon. The deep ebony of the black letters and the larger font made it very easy on the eyes and I had no issue quickly returning to the morning text as the verse numbers are rather bold for rapid locating.

The Giant Print Thin-line can easily hold its own against the NKJV Preaching Bible when in the pulpit. The font is a touch larger, compensating for not being in a verse by verse format, with the added benefit of thumb indexing, an option not available in the NKJV Preaching Bible.

Making it incredibly difficult to choose one or the other is the fact that each Bible offers a preferred feature, perhaps even two, that the other does not. The Preaching Bible is verse by verse with references at the bottom of the page while the Giant Print Thin-line offers the larger font and thumb-indexing, both of which make for faster text navigation.

For Every Day Carry

Tall and thin, the Giant Print Thin-line will easily fit into most briefcases/laptop bags. It clocks in at ¾”-1” and weighs around 1.5lbs. It is not a feature you often hear about in technical terms, but this Bible is incredibly well balanced. What I mean by that is that many of its competitors are a touch unwieldy for one handed use and a person who is peripatetic while using their Bible could easily drop the book. Not so here. I cannot go so far as to say that Nelson intentionally designed this for single handed use but I would encourage you to try using one handed and you can draw your own conclusion.

The overall design makes it very readable in most lighting situations. I gauge a Bible’s readability by using it with my bedside lamp which offers a muted white light for reading before sleeping and I will say I was delighted; many Bibles do not perform well in that setting because of issues with paper or font. With the Giant Print Thin-line, Thomas Nelson has a winner on its hands- it is very readable indeed.

Final Thoughts/Should you buy it?

I can easily recommend this Bible to anyone considering it. A number of solid use cases come to mind for this particular edition of the Scriptures; I use it under several of those scenarios. It would not be a regular visitor to my pulpit simply because I have been using a verse by verse format for nearly 25 years and that is not a habit I have any plans to break.

This Bible is incredibly affordable which does lend to an ability to use this Bible for gift giving (Many churches give a Bible to the newly baptized and this would be a great choice.) and also lends itself to being able to keep several copies on hand if one were in college/seminary.

I do not really envision any situation where you would be dissatisfied with this edition of the Scriptures. The only suggestion for improvement I might offer would be to offer it in a good quality leather but a good re-binder can easily replace the cover for you. If you buy the Giant Print Thin-line, you will be quite satisfied.

Jeremiah Study Bible Review (Recovered Content)

Jeremiah Study Bible Review (Recovered Content)

 

The content below was recently recovered following an earlier server failure.

 

Jeremiah Study Bible Photos


(Disclaimer: I have a personal relationship with one of the contributing editors. Also, Dr. Jeremiah is the Senior Pastor of my church)

Note: This Bible was not provided by Turning Point, Shadow Mountain, or Worthy Publishing. It was a gift from my wife. 

Have you ever wondered what the Bible really says, what it means, and/or how it applies to your life? If so, you are in good company and this Bible is definitely for you…

The best way for me to describe the Jeremiah Study Bible is to say that it is an unexpected pleasure. Most study Bibles feel very academic, which is ok since their primary purpose is to guide you through your study of the Bible. The Jeremiah Study Bible, however, feels much more intimate, almost as though Dr. Jeremiah has come into your living room for a personal discipleship session.

Dr. Jeremiah’s own words about the Jeremiah Study Bible:

“I want people to understand what the Bible says, what it means, and what it means for them. These three things are central in my thinking when I prepare to preach, and they serve as the framework for the structure of The Jeremiah Study Bible.”

This is the Bible you want to give to someone who is new to in-depth Bible Study. Why?

This Bible is a 2,200 page one-of-a-kind study tool, featuring insightful and practical content:

Unique introductions

For every one of the 66 books of the Bible, there is a unique and captivating introduction that will open readers’ eyes to the experiences and the background of the Biblical writers through whom the Holy Spirit breathed. Smart-phone and tablet users can utilize a barcode scanner application and access a special video introduction as well as other online content designed to make the Bible come alive in new ways.

8,000 individual study notes

Accompanying the Scripture text in this Bible are more than 8,000 study notes. Relevant issues and key points made in the text have notes to expand upon the thought being developed. These notes are educational, to be sure, but they are not dry and boring as can be the case. I have found many of the notes to show something I have not seen before, despite over 20 years of study and frequently consult other resources as a result. In the interest of full disclosure, the notes are dispensational, pre-tribulational and baptist (Shadow Mountain is in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention)

Sidebars

Word studies, historical insights & more are positioned within the text that offer additional insight beyond the notes. To make these segments even more useful for readers, we have created a sidebar index for the entire Bible. A quick glance will direct you to the biblical topic of your choice. (Many of these are marked off in a box labeled f.y.i)

Essentials of the Christian Faith (Approximately 50+ full-page articles)

Scattered throughout this Bible are more than 50 articles that cover foundational doctrines of the Christian Faith.

Teacher’s Topical Index

The best way to learn is to teach. The Jeremiah Study Bible includes a Topical Index for teachers covering approximately 50 topics in depth.

80 page concordance

I believe this might actually be larger than the standard concordance offered by Thomas Nelson for the NKJV. As with other concordances this is an invaluable tool for gathering references

Lifetime Guarantee from Worthy Publishing

If your Worthy Publishing Bible fails due to a manufacturing defect, you may replace it for free at anytime. If the same Bible is out of print, discontinued, or otherwise not available, we will replace it with a Bible of equal or greater value. However, this guarantee does not apply to normal wear and tear. Most hardcover Bibles do not offer a lifetime guarantee against defect so this is a very nice feature.

Paper and font

On the back of this Bible, it indicates a full size font, which appears to be 9 point. The paper is moderately opaque; there is only slight ghosting and I do not see much bleed through. The black is extremely clear and easy to read, I only wish I could say the same of the red. In direct light I had a bit of difficulty with the hue.

Overall Impression

I do have a small complaint, and I hope I do not offend anyone. I, personally, would have chosen HCSB for this study Bible, simply because it is an “easier to understand” translation.

That being said, from time to time, people ask me if I can recommend a good Bible study resource so they can begin in-depth study. The Jeremiah Study Bible has become my primary recommendation for new students. It is academic without being dull and boring, practical and easy to understand without being simplistic. Overall it is a great choice if you are new to Bible Study or if you simply want a different perspective. Having listened to Dr. Jeremiah for ten years before having the opportunity to worship at Shadow Mountain, I can assure you that every time you turn to this Bible, you will find a nugget that you hadn’t seen before. In fact if I could sum up this resource in one sentence it would be this;

The Bible: Read it again for the first time.

 

Lucado Encouraging Word Bible

Lucado Encouraging Word Bible

 

Max Lucado has released his 4th Bible and this one looks to be extremely helpful

Note: Thomas Nelson sent this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.

 

Encouraging Word Bible Photos

 

Translations Offered

The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible is available in New King James Version (NKJV) and the New International Version (NIV), my favorite of the two being the New King James.

 

Classification

Thomas Nelson classifies this as a study Bible and I can see how they come to that conclusion with the inclusion of introductions, notes, and outlines. I classify it as a devotional Bible. Max Lucado is very well known as a devotional writer and some of his best material is found here.

 

Cover and Binding

There are several cover options available: cloth over book-board, brown leathersoft, blue leathersoft, and e-book. I am reviewing the brown leathersoft. It is a very convincing imitation leather, so convincing, in fact, that when I first saw it I thought they had put a natural leather in a slipcover. Nelson is sewing the bindings on their Bibles again which is a very good sign because sewn bindings will literally last a lifetime.

 

Paper, Layout, & Font

We have the Thomas Nelson Comfort Print Font in 9-point font. This one is particularly readable where some of them are rather small. The notes are in an 8-point font.

 

The Bible text is laid out in a single column paragraph format with the notes in the outer margin. Many of the margins include dot-grid paper for journaling or other note taking.

 

The paper is around 28-gsm. For as thin as it is, the paper is pretty opaque. If one were going to write in this Bible, I would recommend pencil. It is possible to write in it with a ball-point pen but I am not sure that I can recommend it as it looks like there would be show through.

 

Helps

Introductions and Outlines The Introductions and Outlines are much improved over earlier Lucado edited Bibles. Included in this section are key verses, key themes, and key people to call your attention to the most important points to know for each book.

 People of the Word: 98 new articles encourage believers through the lessons learned by people throughout the Bible

For Your Journey: 691 marginal notes mix Max’s storytelling style with biblical context to lead you into a deeper walk with the Lord

Jesus Through the Bible and Growing in Christ: 115 articles provide both inspiration and practical lessons to build you up

God Cares for You and Growing Up Spiritually verses are subject-specific and provide another resource in your study of the Bible

Where to turn when . . . Scripture reference list provides topical lessons to help with both your spiritual and emotional well-being.

 

Overall Thoughts

Max Lucado has been the general editor of several Bibles and, including this one, I have owned 3 of the 4: The Inspirational Study Bible, The Devotional Bible, and this. I did not have the opportunity to own the Lucado Life Lessons Bible. There is no question that Max Lucado is an excellent writer. Admittedly, his style is a little light on exposition for me but when I am looking for resources to encourage other believers, Max Lucado’s writing is where I turn. His book, In the Grip of Grace, was life changing for me.

 

I do recommend this resource to a particular audience more than others. Believe it or not, I recommend it for those engaged in counselling ministry. We, who are counsellors, frequently find those who are discouraged or otherwise lacking fulfillment in their Christian walk and the Encouraging Word Bible will most definitely be helpful.

 

NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Reference Bible, Premier Collection

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Additional Photos

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.

 

 

MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition, Premier Collection

MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition, Premier Collection

 

The premier study bible has been updated after 20 years and two million copies sold and, to celebrate, Thomas Nelson has added it to the Premier Collection. (Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review only an honest one and my opinions are my own.)

Translation Choice

The 1st Edition, the 20th Anniversary Special Edition, and now the 2nd Edition all come in the New King James version. The Late R.C. Sproul, David Jeremiah, and Dr. Gary Coombs (president of Southern California Seminary) all love and prefer the NKJV, as do I. It is one of my two most heavily used translations (more than 1200 lessons in 23 years). It is fastidiously literal with the New Testament based on the venerable Textus Receptus, and the Old Testament drawing from the Stuttgart edition of the Biblia Hebraica. NKJV is heavily footnoted with references to textual variants as well as alternate translations being offered.

In terms of choice for study, the NKJV has only one true rival, the New American Standard Bible and, happily, the MacArthur Study Bible will soon enough be released in the NASB.

Cover and Binding

This Bible has a milk chocolate colored cover in the same exquisite goatskin as the remainder of the Premier Collection. It is as silky, smooth, and soft as Ghirardelli Chocolate (my favorite) and, perhaps even more touchable than any other goatskin Bible that I own. The goatskin easily rivals Cambridge Bibles  and sits on a level nearly equal to the famed goatskin covers of RL Allan and Sons. To say that this cover drips quality is a perfect exercise in the art of understatement; it is a masterpiece, a work of art worthy of the ultimate book man can get his hands on-flawless goatskin aged to perfection and surrounding the holy words of Scripture.

A leather liner ensures the flexibility of the cover. There is a gold gilt line encasing the perimeter of the Bible and, in tiny, gold all caps, at the bottom of the page, we find the words “goatskin leather cover.”

The front of the Bible is totally blank and the spine has MacArthur Study Bible, New King James Version, and Thomas Nelson stamped in soft gold lettering.

As with the rest of the Premier Collection, the binding is sewn allowing the Bible to lie flat irrespective of where the text is opened. Both the front and rear of the Bible contain overcast stitching to reinforce the sturdiness of the text Block.

Paper, Typography, Ribbons

There are 3 satin ribbons, 3/8” wide and they are offered in red, baby blue and mahogany. For some, three is the ideal number, but is the minimum that I find acceptable. The general idea behind the three ribbons is that you will have one to mark your OT readings, one for NT, and the last one for Psalms and Proverbs. If this were a preaching Bible, I would insist on two more ribbons. However, what we are offered, here, is quite adequate to the task at hand.

The paper is a 39 gsms European Bible Paper. This Bible actually has thicker paper than its siblings in the Premier Collection and it feels very similar to the paper used in the Cambridge Concord Reference Bible. The edges of the paper have red under gold art gilding. The paper is quite opaque allowing almost no show through.

2k/Denmark has designed all of the fonts in the Comfort Print Family and they ply their trade impeccably in this Bible. The text of Scripture is 9-point and the notes are 8-point. I have to say that this is the easiest 9-point that I have ever tried to read.

Layout

The Scripture text is laid out in double column paragraph format. The notes, which are also in paragraph format, are laid out in a triple column format (extremely helpful given the addition of 5000 more expository notes). In between the text of Scripture and the Notes Section you will find the Thomas Nelson Complete Reference System, comprised of 72,000 cross references and translator’s notes.

Helps

The shining stars of the MacArthur Study Bible are the helps provided. For 50 years, Dr. MacArthur has made it his mission to “unleash God’s truth, one verse at a time” and in the MacArthur Study Bible every tool a person could need to comprehend God’s Holy Truths is made available to the reader. Let us look at the helps provided…

25,000 Exegetical and Expository Notes on Scripture

While many study Bibles offer commentary on Scripture, the MacArthur Study Bible goes further. By adding 5,000 notes to the previous 20,000, the MacArthur Study Bible now rivals the ESV Study Bible as the most heavily annotated Bible available.

The notes that are provided draw out the meaning of Scripture (exegete) and explain said meaning (exposition). However, they do not stop there; these notes whet the appetite and draw the reader further into the Scripture. Several pastors both well-known (Steve Lawson) and not well known (me) consult the MacArthur Study Bible on a regular basis. I would go so far as to say that if a person desired to understand and teach the Bible to others, the MacArthur Study Bible would sufficiently stand on its own and need no other tools

Book Introductions

The MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions provide a wealth of information for the student. We are treated to the usual information such as author, circumstance of writing, audience, etc. The difference in the MacArthur Study Bible’s introductions is the Interpretive Challenges Section. Several books of the Bible are difficult to interpret (think Revelation if you don’t believe me) and the MacArthur Study Bible deals with those challenges head on by identifying the challenges and then addressing them in John MacArthur’s signature direct approach.

Overview of Theology

This section does not appear in any other Study Bible, including Crossway’s excellent Systematic Theology Study Bible or Ligonier’s Reformation Study Bible. I absolutely love this feature. It is a very succinct Systematic Theology, ideal to educate the new disciple or for a seasoned pastor to teach through. The closest comparison is found in the Ryrie Study Bible’s Survey of Christian Doctrine.

I would advise that any study in the MacArthur Study Bible should begin here. Each subsection is well sourced with Scripture, succinct and logical. I can think of no better foundation for a new disciple than this Overview of Theology.

Maps and Charts

The maps and charts provided give contextual insight into the Scripture and provide aids for those who are visual learners. (It is always hard to comment on maps and charts because they are very plain and straightforward.)

Thomas Nelson’s Concordance of the New King James Version

As I said above, the NKJV is one of the two most fastidiously literal English translations available and is very well suited to study. To that end, Thomas Nelson provides one of the most detailed concordances that is available in a Study Bible. I would love to see Nelson import their Biblical Cyclopedic Index into the MacArthur Study Bible, but in doing so they would obliterate any need for any of their other excellent resources. I digress…

The Concordance provides breadth and depth to each word or topic being studied. A person could, literally, spend their entire life studying the words and topics in the concordance and only barely scratch the surface of the Bible’s truth.

Final Thoughts

If you had not guessed by now, I love the MacArthur Study Bible. I have multiple Editions: the NASB, NIV, ESV, 1st and 20th Anniversary Limited editions in NKJV, and digital copies on two different software platforms. By any stretch, the MacArthur Study Bible is my most oft reached for tool and it should be yours as well. If I were to find any negative in the MacArthur Study Bible, it would simply be nitpicking. As I have said, it is the Premier Study Bible and now in the Premier Collection it comes in a format worthy of the ultimate study Bible.

 

 

The NKJV Open Bible Review

The NKJV Open Bible Review

 

2019 sees the relaunch of what the late Dr. Jerry Falwell called the best study-reference Bible in existence, the Open Bible. The Open Bible has been a perennial favorite for me and I think it is one that you will enjoy it as well. 

Click for photos of the Open Bible

 

Disclaimer:  Thomas Nelson sent two copies, one brown imitation leather and one black imitation leather free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Some information from Thomas Nelson

Product Description

The Open Bible (NKJV) is a great way to explore Scripture with the tools and helpful information that you need to understand it better. It features an easy-to-use topical index of over 8,000 names, places, concepts, events and doctrines. It also includes book introductions and outlines to with information on the historical context and themes of each book in the Bible. The Open Bible (NKJV) is sure to help you glean more from God’s Word.

Features include:

  • Topical index with 8,000 plus names, places, concepts, events, and doctrines
  • Book introductions and outlines provide historical context and themes of each book in the Bible
  • References include both verse and page number
  • Visual Survey of the Bible
  • 9-point print size

 

Layout

We will start with the biggest change first…The layout has always been a double column verse by verse format and that has not changed. What has changed, though, is the referencing. They are now center column and feature all 72,000 of Nelson’s references. Candidly, I don’t like the new format. The end of verse references that we had before were, to me, quite sufficient. I find that the new format looks just a little busy for my taste.

Cover, Ribbons and Binding

I’m reviewing the imitation leather ones but there are also genuine leather and hardcover versions available as well. The binding appears to be sewn as the Bible does not have any issues lying flat where I open it. There is some cockling (that popcorn sound) when you open the book. The cockling sound is a little irritating but it is not overly terrible. We receive two ribbon markers for your daily OT and NT reading.

Font

We have Nelson’s Comfort Print series in 9-point font. The Open Bible is a red-letter edition and the red is really well done. Different publishers will often have trouble with the red lettering but Nelson executed quite nicely; The red letters are deep and rich.  Overall the font is very easy to read.

Biblical Cyclopedic Index

This is the standout feature of the Open Bible but it has been renamed for 2019 and is now called the Topical Index. There are 8000 entries cataloguing various topics in scripture. I have always found this to be most useful. It is very similar to the indexing that Kirkbride does with the Thompson but its keyed to the Nelson Referencing System.

Paper

The paper is surprising. It is fairly heavy (maybe 30-34 gsms) and quite opaque. This would work really well with colored pencils or with very fine tipped liquid highlighters.

Overall Thoughts

The Open Bible is a Bible which I have enjoyed regularly in the past. Overall it will be something I will continue to enjoy. I confess that I do not care for the center column references but overall it is a very worthwhile Bible to own.