If I were forced to choose a single Bible over the many study editions lining my desk, I’d probably pick this one!
Actually I have two copies of The NKJV Study Bible to review as Thomas Nelson kindly sent me one in bonded leather with full-color illustrations and another less expensive leathersoft edition without the images. However, both are presently discounted on Amazon and both seem to have the same comfort print text, footnotes, and articles.
Regarding the text, the New King James Version (NKJV) retains the poetic style of the KJV but with contemporary language incorporating recent scholarship, such as the wealth of information found in archeological digs and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid-20th century. Unlike the KJV, however, the NKJV capitalizes pronouns referring to God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which I prefer but may be the choice of the publisher, rather than the translators.
With sewn pages and comfort print font, this study edition includes the typical features found in most well-done study Bibles but with an impressive two-page list of the brief articles scattered throughout the testaments. For example, insights and information are offered on “The Noahic Covenent,” ‘The Abrahamic Covenant,” and the “Mosaic Covenant” in the Old Testament and articles on “The Lord’s Supper,” “Parables: More than Stories,” and “A New Way to Worship” in the New.
In addition, the section “Bible Times and Culture Notes” give us a quick acquaintance with "Ur," "The Code of Hammurabi,” “The Music of the Psalms,” “The Province of Galilee,” “The Origin of the Synagogue,” and much more.
Other features include “Charts and Diagrams,” ranging from “The Feasts and Sacred Times of Ancient Israel,” “Job’s Counseling Sessions,” and “The Christ of the Psalms” to “Grace vs. the Law,” “Right Living in a Wretched World,” and “The Facts of Love In 1 John.” And “In-Text Maps” help us to locate “Abram’s Travels” as well as Paul’s missionary journeys.
In the front matter, “Word Studies” refer us to the descriptions and initial appearances of key words in their biblical order, while an extensive “Concordance” has been included in the back.
In most Bible study discussion groups I’ve attended, members often have no idea of the wealth of aids their study editions include, but these back pages bear close attention. Besides the “Table of Monies, Weights, and Measures” and color maps generally included, this edition offers lists such as:
- Teachings and Illustrations of Christ
- Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ
- The Parables of Jesus Christ
- The Miracles of Jesus Christ
- Prayers of the Bible (OT and NT)
My favorite addition, however, is the 8-page chart “From Biblical Book to Contemporary Hook,” which lists the book, theme, Christ-focus, implications, and hook. For example,
Comfort in God
God is my only comfort in life and in death in a world of seemingly unchecked evil.
Jesus offers true comfort and rest to those who come to him (Matt. 11:28).
In any trouble, we may find comfort in God and in his care for us (1 Pet. 5:7).
When things go wrong, where do you turn for comfort? Do you really believe that God knows what he is doing?
From Genesis to Revelation, these book-by-book major themes provide us with prompts for Bible study discussions, sermons, nonfiction books, devotionals, and (my preference) poems.