The Open Bible NKJV – Review

The Open Bible from Thomas Nelson has been one of the most popular NKJV study Bibles for many years. It’s now been updated with the Comfort Print typeface designed by 2K/Denmark. It’s available in several covers. I’m reviewing ISBN: 9780785222408, model 5456brn, brown genuine leather, made in China.

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 book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Church Source

Thrift Books

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Table of Contents

  1. Video Review
  2. Cover and Binding
  3. Paper
  4. Typography
  5. References
  6. Book Introductions
  7. Study Material
  8. Concordance
  9. Maps
  10. Conclusion

Video Review

Table of Contents

Cover and Binding

The cover is genuine leather. It looks and feels more similar to calfskin. It has a slightly pebbled grain. It’s brown, but it’s a light shade that’s close to burnt ochre. It’s stitched around the perimeter. It has nothing printed on the front. The spine includes The Open Bible, NKJV, the Thomas Nelson logo, and 5 non-raised spine rib indications printed in gold.

The liner dark brown paste-down vinyl. The text block is Smyth sewn and it stays open easily.

It has 3 long and wide ribbons in red, dark brown, and blue. The overall size is 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.75″ and it weighs 3lbs, 0.6oz.

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Paper

The paper is around 36gsm. It’s white in color and it’s very opaque. It seems to have a coating. It’s easy to turn. I think it’s the same paper as the new Maxwell Study Bible.  The paper has the perfect contrast with the print. It does have some cockling (wrinkles from the binding) in the spine, so the paper is slightly noisy as you turn the pages. The page edges are gold gilded.

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Typography

The text is presented in a double-column verse-by-verse format with poetry set to stanzas and letters indented. Cross-references are placed in the center column. The header includes the book name and reference in red in the outer margin and the page number in black just inside the outer margin. The commentary is placed at the bottom of the page.

The typeface is the Comfort Print text designed by 2K/Denmark. It’s a 9-point when compared to a Times New Roman. It looks like an 8-point when compared to most Bibles with an 8-point font. It’s more readable than most Bibles because of how dark the font is and how opaque the paper is. The red-letter is medium/dark and stands out nicely. I find it easy to read.

It has around 8 words per line. It’s printed with line-matching to improve readability. Chapter numbers, reference keys in the center column, and commentary titles are in red. Being verse-by-verse, the layout is great for preaching and teaching. I like that the first letter of a new verse that continues a sentence is in lower-case, showing that it’s part of a larger context. The section headings are bold and stand out.

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References

The 72,000 cross-references and translation footnotes are placed in the center column. It provides the references first and then the footnotes. The pilot reference is in red. It shows the references first, and then the footnote for each verse.

Here are some 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 footnotes are the standard NKJV translation footnotes. These are my favorite footnotes because they provide manuscript variations and identify the manuscripts. They’re great for study and seeing insights on the translation.

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Book Introductions

The book introductions cover a short overview, the author, time of writing, Christ in the book, keys to the book, a detailed survey, and a detailed outline. Most take around 4 pages. They’re highly detailed and well-written. They include information about culture, history, key people, key events, important messages from the book, etc. They’re excellent for study and teaching.

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Study Material

The purpose of The Open Bible is to provide a complete reference system so you can do your own study. This includes an extensive topical index, the largest concordance in an NKJV, charts, articles, and a doctrinal study system with on-page articles. Most Here’s a look at the study material.

Study material includes:

  • How to Study the Bible – a detailed article about Bible study. It covers personal and family study and includes principles on interpretation.
  • The Christian’s Guide to the New Life – This is a doctrinal study of 32 outlines that cover major doctrines. It also includes study notes that are placed at the bottom of pages of specific passages. They’re short articles and include the page number for the next article.
  • Topical Index – This is a 194-page index with over 8000 names, places, concepts, events, and doctrines. This is a great tool for study and sermon prep.
  • One-Year Reading Plan
  • Visual Survey of the Bible – this is a set of diagrams between the Old and New Testaments. It has 24 pages and provides a graphic overview of the Bible’s events.
  • Harmony of the Gospels
  • The Jewish Calendar
  • Jewish Feasts
  • Tables of Monies, Weights, and Measures
  • Teaching and Illustrations of Christ 
  • Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Christ
  • Parables of Jesus Christ
  • Miracles of Jesus Christ
  • The Laws of the Bible
  • Between the Testaments – an article about the history between the testaments.
  • The Apocrypha – an article about the apocryphal books.
  • The Scarlet Thread of Redemption – an article about salvation through the Bible from start to finish.
  • A Guide to Christian Workers – a guide to witnessing to others.
  • Prayers of the Bible

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Concordance

The concordance is 195 pages with 3 columns per page. This is the most comprehensive concordance I’ve seen for the NKJV. The first or last word is placed in the header in red. It includes proper names and provides topical information about people and places.

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

  • Christ (see Jesus, Lord Jesus Christ, Love of Christ, You are the Christ) – 8 major topics, 170 references
  • Christian – 2
  • Christians – 1
  • Christ’s – 6
  • Christs – 1
  • Faith – 107
  • Faithful – 43
  • Faithfulness – 16
  • Faithless – 4
  • God – 70
  • God the Father – 15
  • Goddess – 2
  • Godhead – 2
  • Godliness – 6
  • Godly – 6
  • Gods – 7
  • Praise – 82
  • Praise the Lord– 19
  • Praised – 15
  • Praises – 8
  • Praiseworthy – 1
  • Praising – 7
  • Pray – 60
  • Prayed – 12
  • Prayer – 38
  • Prayers – 17
  • Praying – 5
  • Prays – 2

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Maps

It includes Thomas Nelson’s standard full-color maps. They’re from Zondervan and include 7 full-color maps printed on 8 thick glossy pages. It doesn’t include an index but the maps are annotated well. I’m a fan of the bright earth-tones. They show 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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Conclusion

The latest version of The Open Bible in NKJV with the Comfort Print text and amazing paper is a welcome update. The goal of The Open Bible is to provide a complete reference system to help you do your own study, and with the massive topical index, huge concordance, and 72,000 references, it does provide a lot of reference material for study.  The print and paper quality create a readable experience that draws me back to it again and again. The verse-by-verse layout is great for study, teaching, and preaching, If you’re a fan of The Open Bible, you’ll love this edition. I recommend The Open Study Bible for anyone interested in a topical study edition for personal study, and class and sermon prep.

Table of Contents

_________________________________________________________

This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Church Source

Thrift Books

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.

6 Comments

  1. Jim hilbrant

    Great review Randy on the Open Bible,clear and thorough,I will add this Bible to my study library…thanks again…Jim hilbrant

    Reply
  2. ReX Goose

    Looks good.

    Reply
  3. Mike Powers

    Excellent review… I just got my NKJV Open Bible yesterday. Mine comes with the brown Leathersoft cover. I am very impressed with it.

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks Mike! I’m glad you like it. I love that paper.

  4. Cherie

    First up, I’ve loved the Open Bible the most since about 1982. Content wise, it beats all the other study Bibles. In later years Thomas Nelson made a mistake with their cheap binding but in 2019 Nelson has sought to remedy this. I Love the 2019 comfort print and the paper and Yes I know all the latest Open Bible’s are said to be Smyth sewn – but, I have purchased the 2019 indexed leather soft and the genuine leather. My leather soft binding isn’t obviously Smyth sewn ? but the genuine leather does more clearly appear to be Smyth sewn. Anyone else notice that?

    Reply

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