There are several different types of study Bibles. One type tries to do everything. These Bibles are either too large or they don’t do enough of any one thing. Another type focuses on one thing. The advantage in this is they can excel at that one thing. A disadvantage is they don’t have anything else.
The NKJV Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible tries to find a balance between the two – focus on one thing and excelling at it while still giving you some great tools worthy of solid Bible study. In this review I take a look at the black genuine leather edition and see if it can strike that balance that’s so difficult to achieve.
The cover is black genuine leather with a paste-down liner. The stamped grain is similar to goatskin. It’s not overly stiff and it’s gotten more flexible as I’ve used it. I like the look and feel of it. It does take some time before it will stay open in Genesis.
The binding is glued. Since this is a large and heavy Bible I would like to see it available in a sewn binding so it will last longer. I realize this would add to the cost, but it would also add to the value of this Bible. – Note – the next edition will be sewn.
The overall size is 9 3/8 x 7 ½ x 2. It has one ribbon.
The paper is highly opaque and has a white tone. It’s thin, but not too thin to turn easily. It does have a slight glare under direct lighting. I haven’t written in it but it has some space and pages for notes. I think it would have some show-through but it wouldn’t be any worse than the typical study Bible.
The text is presented in double-column verse-by-verse format, making this Bible well-suited for study and teaching. Poetry is set in stanzas and letters are indented. Old Testament quotes are in oblique type.
The font is around 9 point with around a medium boldness and is consistent throughout the text. This is a red-letter edition. The red is dark and easy to read. The red actually looks bolder than the black letter and I find it easier to read than the black. The columns are 2 1/16” wide and average 42 characters across with around 7 words per line. The text doesn’t feel cramped, but the codes are hard to ignore.
The text is marked up with codes. While it doesn’t mark every word, certain key words are coded to Strong’s dictionary with Strong’s numbers. If there are two numbers then this shows the original language uses two words and only one word is needed in English. When the number is bold it indicates that the word is annotated in the dictionary. Words with Strong’s numbers are also underlined. If two or more words are underlined but they share the same Strong’s number this indicates that the original language used one word but multiple words are required in English.
They also have grammatical codes – indicators to show the part of speech. There is a section in the back that explains what the codes mean. Some passages are marked with a key. You’ll find another key in the commentary section at the bottom of the page with an expanded note. The keys just show that there is a note for that verse.
Section headings are in bold large print and stand apart from the text, almost like chapter titles. This makes them easy to see and is helpful if you need to scan the page to get an idea of the setting. The header includes the book name, chapter, and verse on the outer edge and the page number in the center.
It has 1” outer margins and ¾” inner margins for notes. Other note space include books starting on a new page (leaving some space at the end of some books), and pages in the back for notes.
References are mostly in the center column. If there are too many to fit then the rest are placed under the last verse on the page, giving you two places to look. This isn’t a problem but it’s not ideal either. Footnotes are placed separately under the last verse within the column the footnote relates to.
I personally find the text difficult to read aloud because of the markup. I’m fine with that because the primary purpose of this Bible is study – not public reading – but it is difficult to preach from until you get used to it.
References are placed in the center column. They’re physically placed close to the verses they correspond to and are keyed to the text with letters. Each reference includes the chapter and verse number in bold. This makes them easy to find quickly.
The references are quite extensive. There are plenty here for deep study.
- Genesis 1:1 – Psa 12:25; Isa 40:21; Jn 1:1-3; Heb 1:10; Gen 2:4; Ps 8:3; 89:11; 90:2; Is 44:24; Ac 17:24; Rom 1:20; Heb 1:2; 11:3; Rev 4:11
- Matthew 17:20 – 20:21; Mark 11:23; Lk 17:6; 1 Cor 12:9
- Mark 11:23 – Mt 17:20; 21:21; Lk 17:6
- John 1:1 – Gen 1:1; Col 1:17; 1 Jn 1:1; Jn 1:14; Rev 19:3; Jn 17:5; 1 Jn 1:2; 1 Jn 5:20
- 1 John 1:1 – Jn 1:1; 1 Jn 2:13, 14; Lk 1:2, Jn 1:14; Lk 1:2; Jn 1:14; 2 Pet 1:16; Lk 24:39; Jn 20:27; Jn 1:1, 4, 14
One of the advantages of the NKJV is its detailed footnotes and they’re retained here. The footnotes cover manuscript variations and they identify which family of manuscripts have which variations. They also cover Hebrew and Greek explanations, alternate renderings, references to the OT quotes that are quoted in the NT, measures, alternate names, and more. I like the NKJV footnotes a lot. They strengthen the translation in my opinion and I’m glad to see they are retained in this Bible.
Each book has a short introduction that covers the history, setting, culture, customs, archaeology, the author, style of writing, purpose, and more. They have enough information to be helpful without getting in the way. I found them informative and useful for study and sermon prep.
In standard study Bible format, commentary on the text is placed at the bottom of the page. There are lots of notes and they’re quite extensive. They include information about the text and cover exegetical, theological, geographical, and historical information. It does contain some theological bias. As always I recommend using the commentary for study and to do your own study. All commentary is by fallible man and should never be accepted without question.
Some of the commentary is used to critique notes and doctrines from various sources such as study Bibles. It sometimes gives various views and reveals problems with some of the views. It also includes some analysis of the original languages as they apply to the text.
Table of Weights and Measures
This is a single table that includes the biblical unit, approximate American and metric equivalents, and biblical equivalents. Many of these are also given in the footnotes. It’s simple and straightforward.
Grammatical Codes and Notations
This is an explanation of the grammatical codes that are placed within the text. For example, if you see a word that has a pp over it you can turn to this section and find out that it’s a present passive and get an explanation of what that means. This is helpful for digging deeper into the word studies.
The Scripture Index is 43 pages with 3 columns per page and provides a list of verses that appear in the footnotes and introductions. It shows the verse that’s being referenced and the verses where the reference appears. This is particularly helpful if you want to see all of the comments about a specific verse.
The concordance is 215 pages with 3 columns per page. It’s extensive and is an excellent tool for study. It’s one of the better concordances that I’ve seen in a study Bible. It breaks the entry down into subjects. It includes short phrases and gives alternate entries to look up.
For example, for Christ it includes the subtopics preexistence, birth, deity, humanity, character, mission, worshipped, OT types, and lots more.
Here are a few sample entries with their number of references.
- Christ – over 160
- Christian – 2
- Christians – 1
- Christ’s – 6
- Christs – 1
- God – over 130
- God the Father – 15
- Goddess – 2
- Godhead – 2
- Godliness – 6
- Godly – 6
- Gods – 7
- Faith – 98
- Faithful – 43
- Faithfulness – 16
- Faithless – 4
- Praise – 72
- Praise the Lord – 19
- Praised – 15
- Praises – 8
- Praiseworthy – 1
- Praising – 7
- Pray – 60
- Prayed – 12
- Prayer – 38
- Prayers – 17
- Praying – 5
- Prays – 2
AMG’s Annotated Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries
This is a powerful tool that combines the complete Strong’s dictionaries with AMG’s word studies. The dictionaries are among the strengths of this Bible and is what sets it apart from other study Bibles. This is a 737 page dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words. It includes the Strong’s number (and they’re listed by their number), the word in Hebrew or Greek, the word in English transliteration, and the definition.
Many of the words have an expanded analysis that gives a lot more detail about the word. It does include some theological opinion, but it’s easy to tell the difference between the definition and the expanded analysis and it is helpful for study.
When you see a keyword in the text that you want the definition for just look at the number and turn to the dictionary. This is an excellent tool for studying the original languages.
Pages for Notes
There are 19 pages for notes (counting both sides of the page). 3 of those pages are marked “NOTES” at the top. This is the same paper as the rest of the Bible. They’re blank, so no ruled lines to help you. You can easily place a sheet behind a page to faintly see some lines to help you when writing. Actually, it’s a good idea to place a few sheets behind the page that you’re writing on anyway to keep from indenting the page underneath.
It has 8 pages of maps from mapquest.com. They’re printed in full color on thick glossy paper. There isn’t an index but they are annotated well and easy to use. They include:
- World of the Patriarchs
- The Twelve Tribes
- The Kingdoms of David and Solomon
- The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
- Assyrian Empire
- Israel in the Time of Jesus
- New Testament Jerusalem
- Paul’s Missionary Journeys
The maps include borders, rivers, topography, cities, dates, routes, distances, etc.
A bookmark is included that contains the grammatical codes to the grammatical notations. This is handy because you don’t have to look up the codes as you study. Just reference the bookmark and keep on reading. You’ll only need to reference the back of the Bible for more extensive information on the notations. The bookmark shows the letters for the codes and the name of the codes, followed by their numbers.
With its vast amount of tools I consider the Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible one of the most useful study Bibles available and the NKJV edition is as good as it comes. This is one of my favorite study Bibles and I’m glad to see it available in the NKJV. Although a sewn binding would be better, the glued binding is still very much worth the investment. This is a welcome addition to the NKJV family.
It won’t take the place of a course in Hebrew or Greek, and it’s not as complete as having the Hebrew and Greek material separately, but for a study Bible this one can’t be beat. While it does specialize in the original languages it also contains lots of great study tools with its references, footnotes, and concordance to make it a good study Bible. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in studying the original biblical languages.
Photography by hannah C brown
AMG provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own.