If you like the KJV translation of the Bible and you have a strong shoulder, the NKJV Study Bible: The Complete Resource for Studying God's Word -- Full Color Edition is a good one for you. This thing is heavy, familiar (because it retains the cadences and modernized version of the good-old-KJV), and very insightful.
This Bible has the usual Book Introductions, and outlines, cultural notes, charts, maps, and diagrams that one finds in all study Bibles. Those are all good but what totally blows me away is its other features which show a thoroughness that just thrills me.
The Bible is set up as follows:
A Foreword which lists all that is contained in the Bible, A Table of Contents of the entire Bible, Special Abbreviations, Preface to the New King James Version. After this, there is an article entitled "How to Understand What the Bible Means by What It Says." This is a neat little article by Earl D. Radmacher which everyone who reads the Bible should read. It depicts a four-part process: Word Focus, Word Relations, Context, and Culture.
Then there is a listing of the Books of the Bible entitled "Books of the Old and New Testament", a list of Articles, List of Bible Times and Culture Notes, List of Charts and Diagrams, List of In-Text Maps, List of Word Studies. These lists show the titles and pages of the articles scattered throughout the Bible. Thus the List of Articles contain articles in all the Bible books.
For instance, the articles in Psalms are: The Poetry of the Psalms, Image of God: His Reflection in Us, Psalms on Creation, Psalms of Lament, Royal Psalms, Two Sides of the Coin, The Messiah in the Psalms, Psalms of the Passover, The Sanctity of Life: Created in His Image.
The Bible Times and Culture Notes section lists the historical, geographical, and cultural illustrations and notes. The same goes for the Charts and Diagrams, Maps and Words Studies sections.
The Bible Itself: Then The Old Testament. After this, there is the Harmony of the Gospels, which shows how the gospel passages work together. The New Testament.
Then the Table of Monies, Weights, and Measures, Teachings and Illustrations of Christ, Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Christ, The Parables of Jesus Christ, The Miracles of Jesus Christ, Prayers of the Bible, Subject Index to Annotations and Features, Concordance, Map Index, Maps.
This is a really good Study Bble. One of the best.
First of all, The NKJVStudy Bible includes verse by verse study notes. Yes, every verse has a commentary. In certain books such as the psalms, even chapters have commentary! These notes even have cross-references. Not just a few perfunctory ones, mind you! In addition, there are cross-references in the middle of each page. Included in the notes sections are also inset boxes with Word Studies, vocabulary definitions and explanations of translations based on Strong's dictionary. The notes on the verses have an academic feel but also feel very human. The writers really went all out and mined all the Bible verses for meaning.
The chapters in the Bible are divided with sub-headings which are always useful i.e. Balaam's First Prophecy, Balaam's Second Prophecy, Balaam's Third Prophecy.
The Subject Index and Concordance are very good and should be useful to most people.
If I have anything to whne about -- and I often find something to whine about when it comes to Bibles-- it's a very small complaint. And it seems odd to complain about it seeing the NKJV goes over and above most Study Bibles. But here goes: They include a page called Prayers of the Bible. Now, they didn't have to include this page. Most Study Bibles don't. But if they are going to include it, I think they should've been less perfunctory about it. Considering the amount of work done with the rest of the Bible, the scantness of this list is appalling. I suppose they could have said, "SOME" of the Prayers of the Bible. Then I would've been pleased. But they missed the boat on that one. For instance, they listed only three prayers by Paul. Anyone who has read the epistles know there are much more than that. Even if Paul only says, "I bend the knee and ask the Father..." it's still a prayer, right?
This is the Full Color Edition. The color is useful for illustrations, photographs, maps, etc for the most part but they are also used with the sub-headings in the chapters. Interestingly, the words of Christ are not in red letter. . .which I half-expected. A lot of people like that. And if they were going full-color, that would've been easy enough to do. The font is not n large print but it is readable by most folks. And I suspect if they had made the font any larger the book would be a back-breaking labor to carry around.
I like this Bible a lot and highly recommend it. I won't be carrying it to church though. Although I like the NKJV I will continue carrying my Gardener's NIV Bible to church. Because I've already started marking that one up and because it is way less heavy. Anyway, a highly recommended Bible. So far, my favorite Bibles have been
NIV Integrated Study Bible, NIV Spirit-Filled Bible, the One-A-Day Chronological Bible, the NIV Gardner's Bible, and this one.