Gray NKJV Classic Verse by Verse Center Column Reference Bible

Today I am looking at Thomas Nelson’s Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible. This classic verse-by-verse Bible is now available in gray genuine leather or gray leathersoft, with or without thumb indexing.

ISBNs: genuine leather: 9780785253556, genuine leather with thumb indexing: 9780785253563

leathersoft: 9780785253570, leathersoft with thumb indexing: 9780785253587

All of them are printed in China

Thomas Nelson provided these Bibles in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

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This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon (Leather, Leather-indexed, Leathersoft, Leathersoft-indexed)

Christianbook  (Leather, Leather-indexed, Leathersoft, Leathersoft-indexed

Church Source

and many local Bible bookstores

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Table of Contents

    1. Video Review
    2. Construction and Materials
    3. Typography and Layout
    4. References
    5. Book Introductions
    6. Concordance
    7. Maps
    8. Comparisons
    9. Final Thoughts

Video Review

Table of Contents

Construction and Materials

The Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible is available in either genuine leather or leathersoft.

The genuine leather editions are a solid gray color with five raised hubs and silver lettering on the spine. The page edges are a very nice shade of blue and there are three attached ribbon markers (2 silver, 1 blue). It weighs approximately 2 pounds, 12.5 ounces. The leather editions come in a red and white clamshell-style box.

The leathersoft covers have a purposely more varied dye color. They have silver lettering on the spine and silver lines instead of the raised hubs. The page edges are silver and there are two attached ribbon markers (1 silver, 1 blue). It weighs approximately 2 lbs, 11.7 ounces. The leathersoft editions come in a thinner red and white cardboard slipcover.

The leather covers do have a few higher-end features and will be more durable but they are stiffer, especially just out of the box. It will take a bit of use before they actually lay flat without help in Genesis and at the maps.

Neither version has anything printed on the front of the Bible. Both types of covers come with gray vinyl endpapers and a presentation page on thick paper as the first page.

Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible Presentation Page

This is different from the black and brown leathersoft versions Randy reviewed a couple of years ago (review here)

Both are Smyth-sewn and they have the same off-white 36 gsm paper. It is relatively smooth with just enough texture to be easy to turn.  The paper is glare-free and is fairly opaque.

The ribbons for both are 3/8″ wide, double-sided, and extra-long to easily open the Bible at the corner. The overall size of either edition is 6.5 x 9.75 x 1.5″

Thumb indexing

Thumb indexing is available on either edition. The tabs are black with the book names printed in silver. The names are abbreviated to three letters. The cutting seems to be smooth. I really like the detail of making the lettering silver to match the Bibles instead of just using the more common gold.

 Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible Thumb Indexes

These are largish tabs with 4 book names per tab in most cases. There is one tab with 3 books and one tab with just two books. Since they don’t separate the books with parts this can mean a tab is used for anywhere from 2 to 7 books of the Bible.

I personally prefer the tabs that stick out and have just one book per tab but these are nicely done for the cut-in multibook style of tabs.

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Typography and Layout

The Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible has a 10 point NKJV Comfort Print typeface with a little over 5 lines of text and 5 spaces between fitting in the height of a penny.

Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible Layout

It is a red-letter Bible with a nice rich red ink. The same color of red is used for chapter and verse numbers, section headings, guide verses in the header, and referenced verse numbers in the center column. Both the red and black ink seem to be very consistent.

It is line matched which helps minimize show-through, even under bright lines.

Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible Layout

It is laid out in a two-column verse-by-verse format with references down a center column (obvious from its name). The header shows the page number in the center and has the guide verse in the outer margin.

Poetry is laid out in stanzas and letters are indented. They have taken the time to break the lines in the stanzas at more natural places instead of just as many words per line as will fit even when that leaves just a single word for the next line.

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References

Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible References

There are 72,000 center-column cross-references. They’re keyed to the text with letters. In the center column, the referenced verse is listed first in red ink, followed by the cross-references, and then any footnotes for that verse.

When there are too many to fit in the center column, the rest are placed at the bottom of the second column, under the last verse.

Here are a few example references to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – Ps 102:25; Is 40:21; Jn 1:1-3; Heb 1:10; Gen 2:4; Ps 8:3; 89:11; 90:2; Is 44:24; Acts 17:24; Rom 1:20; Heb 1:2; 11:3; Rev 4:11
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Deut 4:35; Mark 12:29; John 17:3; 1 Cor 8:4, 6
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Isa 7:14; Luke 2:11; John 1:45; Luke 2:7; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9; Matt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:25; Rev 12:5; Judg 13:18; Titus 2:13; Eph 2:14
  • Matthew 28:19 – Mark 16:15; Is 52:10; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38,39; Rom 10:18; Col 1:23
  • Mark 12:29 – Deut 6:4, 5; Is 44:8; 45:22; 46:9; 1 Cor 8:6
  • John 1:1 – Gen 1:1; Col 1:17; 1 John 1:1; John 1:14; Rev 19:13; John 17:5; 1 John 1:2; 5:20
  • John 3:16 – Rom 5:8; Eph 2:4; 2 Thess 2:16; IJohn 4;9, 10; Rev 1:5; Is 9:6
  • Acts 2:38 – Luke 24:47
  • 1 John 1:1 – John 1:1; 1 John 2:13, 14; Luke 1:2; John 1:14; 2 Pet 1:16; Luke 24:39; John 2:27; John 1:1, 4, 14

Table of Contents

Book Introductions

Each book includes a short introduction of just a few paragraphs. They include things like the title, author, themes, setting, major events, major characters, and sometimes a simple outline. They discuss the unique features of the books or provide insights into what makes the book stand out. They’re short, but they generally provide good information to start your study of the book and to help you understand the context.

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Concordance

Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible Concordance

This Bible has a 3-column, 165-page concordance. Proper names for people and places include information as well as references. This concordance is big enough to really be useful for Bible study.

Here are some example entries and the number of references they provide:

  • Christ – 33
  • Christian – 2
  • Christians – 1
  • Christs – 1
  • Faith – 56
  • Faithful – 26
  • Faithfulness – 9
  • Faithless – 2
  • God – 70
  • Goddess – 2
  • Godhead – 2
  • Godliness – 6
  • Godly – 6
  • Gods – 7
  • Praise – 38
  • Praised – 6
  • Praises – 5
  • Praiseworthy – 1
  • Praising – 3
  • Pray – 23
  • Prayed – 3
  • Prayer – 21
  • Prayers – 9

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Maps

Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible Maps

It has the standard 7 full-color Zondervan maps. They’re printed in bright earth-tones on 8 thick glossy pages. There isn’t an index for the maps. The annotation is clear and easy to read so they are usually easy to use. They include information like topography, distance, routes, borders, possible locations of lost places, battles, elevation, cities, and locations for the events of Jesus’ ministry.

Maps include:

  1. World of the Patriarchs
  2. Exodus and Conquest of Canaan
  3. Land of the Twelve Tribes
  4. Kingdom of David and Solomon
  5. Jesus’ Ministry
  6. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  7. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus

 

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Comparison to the NKJV Large Print Maclaren Bible

The Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible and the NKJV Large Print Maclaren Series Bible are almost identical in size. With both being available in several cover options.

 Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible and the NKJV Maclaren Large Print Bible

The text in the Maclaren is half a point larger than the 10 point font of the Center Column Reference Bible. The center column reference Bible has a large concordance and book introductions instead of the slightly larger font.

The Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible is a red-letter Bible instead of the black letter found in the Maclaren. It is the same set of references and translation notes included in both. The center column placement makes them easier to find for most people, while the Maclaren footer placement of the references is sometimes easier for reading.

 Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible and the NKJV Maclaren Large Print Bible

 

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Final Thoughts on the Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible

 Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bibles

The Gray NKJV Center Column Reference Bible is a nice multi-purpose verse-by-verse Bible.  A combination of a large enough font to be readable in most situations, very good versions of a couple of basic study helps, and a manageable carry size and weight with thumb-indexing available if you want it.

This is one of the nicest layouts for a verse-by-verse NKJV I’ve seen. The gray cover with silver and blue accents is one of my personal favorite cover styles and I’m glad to see it added to the options available for this classic NKJV Bible.

Table of Contents

_________________________________________________________

This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon (Leather, Leather-indexed, Leathersoft, Leathersoft-indexed)

Christianbook  (Leather, Leather-indexed, Leathersoft, Leathersoft-indexed

Church Source

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Photography by Lucinda Brown

Thomas Nelson provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Lucinda Brown

Homemaker, Pastor's Wife, and former homeschooler (my kids graduated). I love to read (especially God's Word) but am a reluctant writer. Besides reading I enjoy cooking, gardening, and a large variety of crafts. I don't consider myself an expert at any craft and am always finding new crafts and art mediums I want to try.

2 Comments

  1. Ted

    Great review. I’m wondering how well the pages take ink – especially highlighters. Have you experimented with that yet?

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks Ted. We haven’t tried highlighters yet, but we’ll do some marking and see how well it works.

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