NASB Side Column Wide Margin Reference Bible


Your Bible; it says a lot about you. Notes in the margins tell the story of how God has spoken to you over the years. Highlights and underlines point out words and verses that speak to you the most. Maybe the pages are dog eared and the cover is coming apart at the spine. Spurgeon said that a Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t. But what has that got to do with a review of a Bible? Everything…

Most people have only one Bible that they use on a daily basis. It is an uncommon event for them to purchase a new one. The entire purpose of this site is to help you, the reader beloved by the Father, choose your new Bible. I would like to share with you why I think the NASB Side Column Reference Wide Margin Bible should be your next Bible.

First, translation choice. There is perhaps no choice more important that which English translation that you use. New American Standard Bible is absolutely uncontested as the most literal translation that you can invest your resources in. It is endorsed by and often times used by some of the most well known ministers today, including but not limited to Drs. Stanley, MacArthur, Sproul, Swindoll, Lawson and many others and it is always my first choice. You can read most translations for devotions but for in-depth study or lesson preparation, you definitely want a word for word translation and nothing comes close to NASB for literalness.

Second, there are three choices of cover for this Bible, Leathertex (a very convincing imitation), Genuine Leather (usually pigskin) and Genuine Calfskin, the version which I will be reviewing today.

Third, the margins. I love wide margin bibles, as does Randy and the margins, here, call out to be written in. They are 1-inch wide and while I have seen as large as 1.2 in times past, this seems to be the standard size. Every page has these luxurious margins for your notes and personal cross references. In fact, it is this feature alone that makes this your personal bible. No one else will ever put the same content into their Bible.

Fourth, Notes and References. 95,000 cross references. Pause a minute and let that sink in…even my Thompson Chain, which I dearly love, does not come close. 95, 000 references guide you through every possibility of Scripture interpreting Scripture. Accompanying the references are translators notes, showing alternate translations as well as what variant Greek manuscripts may or may not have in the text.

Speaking of text, that is the fifth reason why the Side Column Reference Bible, Wide Margin deserves to be your next Bible. It is vibrant black text in what I estimate to be either 10 or 11-point. The text is quite easy to see, even in direct light. Some will be sad that this is not a red letter edition; I am not. Red letter editions are nice but they can be hard to see when behind a lectern.

Sixthly, the leather. It is buttery soft and the smoothest I have ever touched. It lies flat no matter where it is opened and it is sufficiently limp to lie over the open palm without discomfort.

The paper surprised me; it is rather thin for a Bible so obviously intended to be written in. I have not written in yet but I am almost certain that there will be, at the very least, ghosting even with a ballpoint pen. I leave it up to you if you will use a liquid highlighter; I definitely will not. There is a crayon like alternative found at most Christian booksellers that will do nicely. You will still get your highlight but without the pesky bleed through.

If you only have one Bible, be sure this one is it. Study Bibles are very nice and quite useful, however, they can easily keep you from doing your own in-depth study. This Bible however, gives you the tools you need but allows you to discover the Bible’s riches on your own.


Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581351606
  • Publisher: Foundation Publications
  • Publication date: 12/28/2013
  • Format: Leather (Calfskin) Bound
  • Pages: 1841
  •  IMG_20140705_122028438 IMG_20140705_122049099 IMG_20140705_122114426 IMG_20140705_122132314 IMG_20140705_122211476 IMG_20140705_122253840 IMG_20140705_122324055 IMG_20140705_122430194 IMG_20140705_122433811 IMG_20140705_122613519
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

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About The Author


  1. Don Denison

    Dear Matthew:

    It is good to see your review of this bible, many regard the NASB with respect, I do as well, though for my own reasons returned to the Authorsied translation after using the NASB as my primary bible for about 10 years. Our pastor uses the NASB as do several of our members.

    My copy of the NASB was purchased in October of 1972, I still own it and occasionally read it. It has seen rather heavy use, most of the gold lettering on the spine is worn away, but I can still see New American Standard Bible , Reference Edition, Concordance, and Foundation Press Publications and their Crest. According to the information printed inside the cover it is a First Edition, published for the Lockman Foundation. When I bought this bible, it was impressive indeed, and also has almost all of the features that you cite in your review, I thought that it would be interesting to compare the two, and note how well mine has held up over the years. Much of the rather small yapp on the cover is worn away, the paper has taken on a yellow cast, the gilding has held up rather well, this edition was bound without hubs. Further, this bible is not the Revised NASB but rather the original version, it is 9’X6″X1 3/4″ (a BIG bible), has a Concordance of 115 pages, maps, and six blank pages (both sides = 12 total) in the back. This bible also has virtually the same side references as the one you reviewed, there are some expansions of the notes in these side columns but the number of the references are about the same as in the pages you have shown in your review, the Old Testament and the New Testament are page numbered separately, and there is about the same amount of ghosting of the print through the paper (too much). If I were to begin using this bible regularly again, I doubt that it would last much longer, perhaps 1-2 years. For comparison, my father’s Oxford Schofield Reference Bible, while worn has many years left in it even though it was purchased in 1954, and used daily until his death 2000. I have found bibles of the size of mine difficult to use hand held, the tendency while seated is to rest the bible on the abdomen, which erodes the lower margins of the cover and pages quickly. The printing and font size of my bible appears to be about the same as the one you reviewed.

    Briefly, for those who use the NASB, a bible of roughly 5X7X1 1/8 inches with a font size of at least 8, and a Calfskin cover, one much like the Cambridge Cameo but in NASB would allow easy handheld reading, portability, and would not risk the erosion of the lower margins that a larger heavier bible does. I don’t know if there are products following these specifications available in NASB translation, but one such would be close to an all around bible for those who prefer that translation. I presently use three bibles, one a lowly Cambridge Personal Concord, purchased for just under $50.00 to use until I found a “Good One”, it gets a lot of use even with the small type because it is easy to handle and has very good references and other helps, I also use The Westminister Reference Bible, while it has double side reference columns, and copious other aids, it, because of its size, is too large to use regularly hand held, as is the LCBP Thompson Chain Reference Bible. I think I will probably end up with a Cameo from Cambridge with Vachetta Calfskin and 8 point type. I hope readers of the NASB can find something of that dimension to serve them. The physical size of any book, Bible or any other kind, will determine its usefulness to the reader, it is difficult to find one with the necessary helps, appropriate size, and with useful font size that can serve as one’s all around bible. I love my Westminister with its 200,000 references, embedded dictionary and its many appendices, but I find even it too large for hand held reading. It takes quite a bit of experience to learn what works best for each person’s style of reading, what works for one will not necessarily work for another. My guess is that it will take about 3 different bibles, unless of course, one gets lucky the first time, your excellent review will help shorten this process.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

  2. norm

    If you’re ever fortunate enough to locate a 2002 edition of this Bible, then you would have found a bible most likely with the best paper ever used in a bible, past and present. The paper in the 2002 edition is very opaque with almost no ghosting and the 1999 edition, although not as opaque, is worth seeking out as well.

  3. Brittany

    Do you by chance know if the black leathertex version of this bible ISBN-13: 978-1581351583
    is made in the USA or another country?

    I just purchased another bible from Lockman Foundation (ISBN-13: 9781581351316) prior to purchasing the leathertex version of this reviewed bible and am severely allergic to it. I know it’s a genuine leather bible, and the tanning chemicals could be to blame, but the smell is horrifically strong and I can’t be anywhere near it if it is not sealed up somewhere other than where I am located in the house. It is printed in China. I’m freaked out about buying a new bible now but did purchase this bible (in the leathertex cover) online and it should ship out via Amazon tonight. I’m scared to buy any book or bible now thanks to the reactions I experienced with the NASB Ultrathin Large-Print Reference GL Reference bible.

    • Randy Brown

      Hi Brittany. If I’m remembering right it’s made in China. I will double-check but I’m pretty sure that’s right. Here’s the review: I don’t think it has the chemical smell you’re describing. I’ve smelled that before (usually on calfskin editions). I’ve never smelled it on imitation leather. Being allergic to it makes it very difficult to buy a Bible without seeing it in person. I will make sure I start mentioning the chemical smell if a Bible has it just in case it helps.

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