Lockman has just released the NASB 2020 Reference Bible in both a Prime Edition and an imitation leather edition. This is a hand-sized edition that’s great for all-around use. In this review, I’ll look at both editions. Both were printed in Korea.
Lockman 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.
This Bible is available at the Lockman Foundation Store
Table of Contents
- Video Review
- Typography and Layout
- Bible Atlas
Both have two double-sided 3/8″ ribbons- brown for the Old Testament and black for the New Testament. They’re long enough to pull to the corner to open the Bible easily. The head/tail bands are black. The overall size is 6 x 9 x 1 1/2″. The goatskin weighs It weighs 2 lbs, 2 oz, and the imitation leather weighs 1 lb, 15 oz. This is my personal favorite size as I find it to be a great balance for all-around use.
The cover is brown goatskin. It’s soft and thick and has the right amount of stiffness to easily hold it open in one hand. The outer cover wrinkles slightly when opened. I love the deep brown color. It has perimeter stitching and a little more overhang than normal. There is no printing on the front. The spine is squared and has 5 raised hubs and text that’s printed in gold.
The liner is edge-lined in cowhide and it includes a gilt line around the inside perimeter. The edge-lined tab isn’t too stiff. It doesn’t try to close in Genesis 1. It has a few thick end sheets and presentation pages that give it structure. The text block is sewn. The page edges are art-gilt with red under gold. The red isn’t too light, so the art-gilt stands out well.
The imitation leather is maroon Leathertex (although, it looks more like brown to me). It looks and feels like cowhide. It’s brown with a texture and some color variation. I like the look and feel of this imitation leather. There is no printing on the front. The spine is rounded and has 5 hub indications and text that’s stamped into the cover.
The liner is paste-down vinyl. This one is a little stiff and doesn’t want to stay open at the beginning of Genesis. The page edges are gold-gilted.
The paper is 31gsm. It’s off-white in color, which I find easy on the eyes for long periods of reading. Although it has slightly more show-through than I’d like, it has a decent opacity for this thickness. It’s more opaque than the Large Print Ultrathin. It does not glare under direct light. This paper is great for reading. The texture is smooth. It feels elegant while still being easy to grab and turn. I had no trouble separating the pages between my finger and thumb.
Typography and Layout
The 2020 edition of the NASB text is presented in a double-column, paragraph layout with poetry in stanzas. The text has a ragged right edge (meaning it’s not right-justified). Old Testament quotes are in all caps. Cross-references are placed in a single column across the footer. The header shows the book name, chapter, and verse numbers in the outer margin, and page numbers in the center. Footnotes are placed under the column they correspond to. Section headings are in a bolder print in italics.
The typeface is a 9.5-point, black letter. The print is dark and consistent throughout. There is enough space in the text to keep it from feeling cramped and make it easy to read. Verse numbers are large and bold. They’re easy to find at a glance, making this text great for preaching and teaching. The text is line-matched, meaning the lines on both sides of the page are placed in the same location to reduce show-through. It does reduce show-through a lot.
It has around 7-8 words per line. Cross-references and footnotes are keyed to the text with letters and numbers. They’re easy enough to see and I don’t find them too distracting. Supplied words are printed with italics. The lines for poetry are divided in good places, but the word count still creates a lot of lines with a single word. Overall, I find the text highly readable and easy to preach from.
This edition has 95,000 cross-references in the footer. The primary chapter and verse numbers are in bold, making them easy to find quickly. They’re excellent for study and sermon prep. Here are a few example references to help you compare:
- Genesis 1:1 – Ps 102:25; Is 40:21; Jn 1:1, 2; Heb 1:10; Ps 89:11; 90:2; Acts 17:24; Rom 1:20; Heb 11:3; Job 38:4; Is 42:5; 45:18; Rev 4:11
- Deuteronomy 6:4 – Matt 22:37; Mark 12:29, 30; Luke 10:27; Deut 4:35, 39; John 10:30; 1 Cor 8:4; Eph 4:6
- Isaiah 9:6 – Isa 7:14; 11:1, 2; 53:2; Luke 2:11; John 3:16; Matt 28:18; 1 Cor 25:25; Is 22:22; Is 28; 29; Deut 10:17; Neh 9:32; Is 10:21; Is 63:16; 64:8; Is 26:3, 12; 54:10; 66:12
- Matthew 28:19 – Mark 16:15; Matt 13:52; Acts 1:8; 14:21; Matt 25:32; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 8:16; Rom 6:3; 1 Cor 1:13, 15; Gal 3:27
- Mark 12:29 – Deut 6:4
- 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; Phil 2:6
- John 3:16 – Rom 5:8; Eph 2:4; 2 Thes 2:16; 1 John 4:10; Rev 1:5; Rom 8:32; 1 John 4:9; John 1:18; 3:18; 1 John 4:9; John 3:36; 6:40; 11:25
- Acts 2:38 – Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; 5:31; 20:21; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 16; 22:16;
- Romans 10:9 – Matt 10:32; Luke 12:8; Rom 14:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11; Acts 16:31; Rom 4:24; Acts 2:24
- 1 John 1:1 – John 1:1; 1 John 2:13, 14; Acts 4:20; 1 John 1:3; John 19:35; 2 Pet 1:16; 1 John 1:2; John 1:14; 1 John 4:14; Luke 24:39; John 20:27; John 1:1, 4
This edition has a reduced set of translation footnotes. They’re placed under the column of text they correspond to and include the chapter and verse number in bold. This makes them easy to find. I’ve actually wanted to see this design for a long time. I’m glad they used this design. They include alternate renderings, explanations of the original languages, etc. These are helpful for studying and getting insights into the 2020 NASB translation.
There are several tools in the back for study. Presentation/family pages are placed in the front.
Presentation and Family Pages – several thick pages in the front for records. They include the presentation page, marriages, wife’s family tree, husband’s family tree, births, deaths, and occasions to remember.
NASB Topical index of the Old and New Testament – this is a large index that covers many topics. It’s somewhere around 120 pages with two columns per page. It includes people, places, events, concepts, theology, etc.
Introductions to the Books of the Bible – this provides a paragraph for each book of the Bible with information about its title and the main themes of the book. They’re not detailed, but they are insightful.
Read Through the Bible in a Year – This provides two readings per day- one from the OT and one from the NT with various readings from Psalms intermingled between both. It includes the date, OT book and chapters, and NT book and chapters.
The Parables of Jesus – this is a table that lists every parable that Jesus taught and provides the reference for each of the four Gospels.
The Miracles of Jesus – this is a table that lists every miracle that Jesus performed and provides the reference for each of the four Gospels.
In the back are 9 maps printed on 8 semi-glossy pages. They’re colorful and include a lot of information. The large land areas have a sandy texture while all of the other colors are flat (or solid). It doesn’t include an index to maps, but the maps do have a lot of annotations with explanations and Scriptures. The maps include cities, empires, distance, routes, battle sites, mountains, settlements, seas, journeys, etc.
- The Biblical World of the Patriarchs
- The Exodus Route and Conquest of Canaan
- The Twelve Tribes of Israel
- The Divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
- The Herodian Kingdom in the Time of Christ
- Old Testament Jerusalem / New Testament Jerusalem
- The Ministry of Jesus
- The Missionary Journeys of Paul
Leathertex vs Goatskin
Both editions have the same paper and ribbons. The only difference between them is the covers and page edges. The Leathertext is slightly smaller and lighter, but it’s hard to tell the difference without weighing and measuring. I recommend getting either the Leathertext to see if you like the layout or getting one of each to have a good one and a cheaper one that you can use without having to worry about it.
Lockman Prime Edition NASB 2020 Large Print Ultrathin Reference Bible
Lockman’s Prime Edition NASB 2020 Large Print Ultrathin Reference Bible is a larger Bible. It has mostly the same tools and the font is a touch larger. It has a better poetic setting. I find the Reference Bible easier to carry and use.
Lockman Prime Edition Large Print Compact Bible
Lockman’s Prime Edition Large Print Compact Bible is a lot smaller and has a better setting for poetry. The text is more cramped though.
Lockman’s 2020 NASB Reference Bible is my favorite of the 2020 NASBs from Lockman so far. The size is great for all-around use and it has plenty of tools for study and sermon prep. The text is highly readable. I would like to see poetry formatted like the Large Print Ultrathin. If you’re looking for a 2020 NASB for all-around use, the NASB Reference Bible is a great choice in both goatskin and Leathertex.
This Bible is available at
Lockman Foundation Store
Lockman 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.