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Tag: Thomas Nelson Bibles

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.

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

The Abide Bible and Journals are a very interesting offering from Thomas Nelson. They are not a study Bible system and neither are they a devotional system. Rather, I would describe them as a personal worship system. The Abide Bible is offered in both New King James Version (NKJV) and New English Translation (NET) and the Abide Bible Journals are offered with the NET. In this article we will review the Abide Bible in the NET alongside the 1st and 2nd Peter journal. (Both Bible and journal were provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As I was not required to give a positive review, my opinions are my own.)

 

 

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Abide Bible_Thomas Nelson Official Page

Abide Bible-Taylor University

From Thomas Nelson on the Abide Bible Journal

The Abide Bible Journals are designed to help you experience the presence of God and grow in your relationship with Him as you read and interact in Scripture. Each volume contains a book or section of Scripture in a clean, single-column format along with powerful passage-specific journaling prompts. And most important, right within the Word, lightly lined pages invite you to respond to what you’ve read and abide with God in active prayer and reflective response through the act of putting pen to paper.

The prompts within the text are based on four ways of engaging deeply with the Bible:

Praying Scripture: Pattern your prayers after biblical texts

Picture It: Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant

Journal: Focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life

Contemplate: Follow the simple 4-step practice of feasting in God’s Word

 

The Concept:

The concept for the Abide Bible comes from John 15:4,

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

As I understand from Thomas Nelson, the Abide Bible is designed to take you beyond simple reading of the Bible and to move you into the arena of actually living the Bible; having a vital, active relationship with Holy Scripture and more importantly, its author.

 

The Translation

I am reviewing the New English Translation. I have commented on this translation before, if you will recall, I rather like it. NET is a meaning based (dynamic equivalent/thought-for-thought) translation completed by the students and faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary. They Full Notes Edition carries with it all 68,000 translators’ notes, a fact which makes in the most heavily annotated English Bible available.

 

Many of my colleagues will say that a meaning based translation is not suitable for study but in the case of the Full Notes Edition, I could not disagree more. It is designed for study.

 

In the case of the Abide Bible, the footnotes are not provided, not that such a deprivation would negatively impact your experience with the Bible. While I love the NKJV, I think that the NET is a better choice for the Abide Bible. Given its intended use, I want a translation that does not require me to reach for a lexicon but instead, I want a translation that feels like I am with friend, which you definitely will get from the NET. I am also quite glad that the journals are in the NET Translation for the same reason, I want something that is easy to use.

 

Cover and Binding

The journal is softcover with an adhesive binding. I would have preferred to see a hardcover option but I understand that it would be enormously impractical given the groupings of the books.

 

The Abbie Bible that I was sent is the brown leathersoft. Thomas Nelson has really stepped up their game with their imitation leathers. Having handled many leathers over the years, I could tell from the touch that it is not real leather but I am not sure most people would pick up on that-it is very convincing. The binding appears to be sewn. I am glad to see sewn bindings return to the Thomas Nelson Lineup. Sewn bindings wil, literally, last you a lifetime of use.

 

Paper Layout and Font in the Journal.

The paper is a crisp white but not so bright as to cause glare. It performs very well in most light settings, including the Arizona sun, which is quite unforgiving.

On the left page we have the text of Scripture in a single column. On the right page we have the Abide Journaling Prompts and a lined column for journaling. Following the last page of journaling prompts we have an additional 15 lined pages for additional thoughts.

The font in the journal is quite a bit larger for the Scripture portion than what is found in the Abide Bible. I would gauge it at 9-point font while the journaling prompts come in at 8-point. Both, though, are quite readable.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font in the Bible

I am told that the paper is 36 gsm. You can see that it is quite opaque so it should work rather well for marking, highlighting, or journaling. There is a little bit of a newspaper texture to the paper which makes it rather easy to turn the pages.

Unlike the NKJV edition, this is a black letter Bible. The text is laid out in single column paragraph format, which is ideal for the intended use of the Abide Bible.

The Abide Prompts are in the outer column. Many of the pages, I would guess about half, include ample space for journaling.

Helps and Prompts

Introductions

 Each Introduction includes the usual material  including historical and literary context. It also adds a section called Prepare which is designed to help you to engage with Scripture.

Journaling Through Scripture

This section is not for a personal journal or even prayer requests. Instead, guided prompts help you to interact with scripture and to record/catalogue insights that you gather. Journaling is a critical component of Inductive Study which is the essential method to understand and internalize the Scripture.

Engage Through Artwork

“Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.” The Bible, itself, is art; it is God’s masterpiece and has inspired countless artistic works over the years. The artwork provided does not simply help us to visualize what we see in scripture, it spurs us on to worship by bringing the text to life.

 

Praying the Scripture

“Pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayer and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you want to express.” This is a similar concept to the Prayer Book used by some denominations. Many of us do not really know how to pray but the Abide Bible helps to guide us through the process.

Picture It

“Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant in important events.” The Bible IS literature, among other things, and the best literature invites us into the story. We identify with the characters and, on varying levels, the story speaks to us.

Contemplate

We are given a  4-step practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture.

Assorted Articles

There are some articles explaining how to engage with Scripture, studying vs engaging, and why we read the Bible. These are more of background material rather than what will take you through the process.

 

Final Thoughts

The Abide Bible and Journal  is an excellent resource when used as a complete system. Could you use each one separately? Yes but they are better together.

My preference is for the NKJV for study and teaching though the NET will do quite well for understanding and internalizing the Scripture.

It is important to remember that this will take time and discipline, but this is to be expected; nothing worth having comes easily. I think you, dear reader, will enjoy the Abide Bible and Journal and they will help you with your growth.

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.

NKJV Spirit Filled Life Bible Review

NKJV Spirit Filled Life Bible Review

 

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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.

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. 

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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.