NKJV Compact Single Column Reference Bible

Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Compact Single-Column Reference Bible is a hand-sized single-column edition at an affordable price. It’s made well and includes the Comfort Print text designed exclusively for the New King James by 2K/Denmark. It’s similar to the regular edition but has its own layout. Also, this one does not include reading plans as the regular edition does.

ISBN: 9780785218227. It was made in China. It comes in a one-piece clamshell box.

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.


This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)



Barnes and Noble

Church Source

and many local Bible bookstores


Video Review

Cover and Binding

The cover is black genuine. It has a nice embossed grain that looks and feels elegant. It feels like a tough leather. It isn’t highly flexible but it isn’t overly stiff either. The liner is paste-down vinyl. It has perimeter stitching. The front has no writing. The spine has 5 spine indications, HOLY BIBLE, NKJV, and the Thomas Nelson logo printed in gold. It’s Smyth sewn but it will need to break in before it will lay open on the first page.

It weighs 1 lb, 12.6 oz. and the overall size is 7.5 x 5.5 x 1.5″. It is a little thick for its footprint, but I didn’t think it was awkward to hold or carry. It actually feels more balanced than I expected. Of the NKJV Single-Column editions, this is the one I prefer to hold for reading and carry with me.

It includes two satin ribbons at 3/8″ thick. It has a black ribbon for the OT and a red ribbon for the NT. They do look large but I don’t think they’re too large for this Bible.


The paper is 36gsm Bible paper. It’s white in color and it’s very opaque. It has no glare under direct light. It has a smooth texture, which is just slightly rougher than the paper in the Premier Collection. I find this paper to be even easier to turn than the Premier Collection (and I love that paper). This is excellent paper for reading and marking. Page edges are gold-gilt.


The text is presented in single-column paragraph format with references in the outer margin. The header includes the book name and chapter numbers in the outer corner in red with the page number under them, separated by a black line. The layout follows the same design as the regular edition, but this is not the regular edition reduced in size. It’s a new setting designed specifically for this size. The pagination is different between the two.

The typeface is the Comfort Print designed for the NKJV by 2K/Denmark. It’s labeled as 9-point, but the design makes it look slightly smaller than the 8.75 Clarion. It’s a black-letter text with red highlights for the book names, section headings, drop caps, cross reference and footnote keys, the header, and the pilot chapter and verse numbers in the margins. I love these red highlights. They chose the perfect shade of red.

It has around 6-68 characters across with around 14 words per line. This is a little more than the regular edition, but it isn’t too much for comfortable reading. The text never feels crowded and it doesn’t have too much space. It does include line-matching to improve readability.

The OT quotes use the newer NKJV formatting style that does not include oblique type.

Cross-References and Footnotes

It has over 72,000 cross-references that are left-justified in the outer margin along with the standard NKJV footnotes. They’re placed at the bottom of the page, so they’re not near the verses they correspond to, and they’re keyed to the text with letters. The pilot chapter and verse numbers are in red and the cross-references and footnotes are placed under the pilot numbers.

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 17:20 – Mat 21:21, Mk 11:23, Lk 17:6, 1 Cor 12:9
  • Mark 11:23 – Matt 17:20; 21:21; Luke 17:6
  • 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 2:19 – Mat 26:61, 27:40, Mk 14:58, 15:29, Lk 24:46, Acts 6:14, 10:40, 1 Cor 15:4
  • 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

The NKJV translation notes are my favorite footnotes because they provide manuscript variations and identify the manuscripts.


The concordance is 58 pages with 3 columns per page. It’s the same concordance as the regular edition, but with a different layout. It includes red highlights for the keywords in the header in red and the pilot letter in the listings. This is a good size concordance. Except for Jesus, it doesn’t include proper names. As long as you don’t need to search for names it’s good for personal study and sermon prep.

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

  • Christ – 13
  • Christian(s) – 2
  • Faith – 40
  • Faithful – 20
  • Faithfulness – 5
  • Faithless – 2
  • God – 38
  • Goddess – 2
  • Godhead – 2
  • Godliness – 4
  • Godly – 3
  • Praise – 25
  • Praised – 4
  • Praises – 2
  • Praiseworthy – 1
  • Praising – 3
  • Pray – 14
  • Prayed – 2
  • Prayer – 16
  • Prayers – 5


It includes the standard Thomas Nelson maps (which are from Zondervan and made by International Mapping). It has 7 full-color maps printed on 8 thick glossy pages. These are some of my favorite colors for maps. It does not include an index but the maps are annotated well. They include 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


Here’s how it compares to the NKJV Single Column Reference Bible and the Clarion.


The Clarion has a footprint and a slightly larger font. Its paper is thinner and not as opaque. The layout looks great, but it’s plain when compared to the Thomas Nelson. Their overall size feels about the same when carrying them around, but I prefer the darker font and more opaque paper of the Thomas Nelson. The Clarion does lay open on page one much easier.

Single-Column Reference Bible

The regular sized NKJV Single-Column Reference Bible has the same design features, but it has its own pagination. It’s a larger Bible and has a larger font. It adds a reading plan, but all of the other tools are the same. This one has the same paper as the Premier Collection, but the next printing will probably have the same paper as the NKJV Compact Single-Column Reference Bible. Both are excellent choices and I recommend the larger edition if you prefer larger print.


The NKJV Compact Single-Column Reference Bible is an excellent compact Bible. It has the full set of NKJV references and a nice concordance and maps, making it a good choice as a primary Bible for anyone that doesn’t need larger print. I find the font smaller than other 8-9 point editions, but it’s darker and the opaque paper helps make up for the font size. This edition can be easier to read than editions with larger fonts. I highly recommend the Thomas Nelson NKJV Compact Single-Column Reference Bible to anyone interested in a single-column NKJV for carry.


This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)



Barnes and Noble

Church Source

and many local Bible bookstores


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

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.


  1. John

    Any plans of Thomas Nelson releasing a kjv version?

  2. Susie

    Does this bible come in a version where Jesus words are in red?

  3. Alexander thomson

    Thank you for this excellent review, which is just what I needed at present!
    To cut a long story short, the readership of both KJV and NIV is declining both in US and UK. Here, in UK, I have been asked about the situation and what I might recommend. At the same time, some individuals have been asking me about good smaller Bibles that are suitable for carrying and/or reading, and which have decent cross-references.
    So, I searched your work, and found this review! I duly purchased a copy of the reviewed Bible; and I have been using it, and have been showing it to others. We are all agreed that it is an excellent Bible for our purposes!
    On a personal note, I missed the excellent smaller Bibles that the Victorians and Edwardians produced, but which seemed to have disappeared for a long time. Nelson has done an excellent job in producing the present high-end Bible.
    The other excellent Bible that many have used – following your review! – is the ESV Personal Reference Bible, the ESV compact single-column reference Bible. This also is an excellent Bible, but it would be good to see it transformed into the same format and colours of the NKJV! I often carry both, as the one gives the traditional text and the other gives the critical text. Both are just the right size to carry in my Bible case!
    As a Brit, I am pleased that both these Bibles are black letter!


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