Thomas Nelson NET Bible Full Notes Edition

By providing extensive notes on the translation, the New English Translation (NET) is the most transparent Bible translation available. There have been a few editions in print, but it’s mostly been an online Bible. It’s now available by one of the largest Bible publishers in the world. The Thomas Nelson NET Bible Full Notes Edition prints the NET with all 60,000 of the translator’s notes in a way that keeps it readable and usable. It’s available in hardcover, imitation, and genuine leather. I’m reviewing the brown genuine leather, ISBN: 9780785225119, printed 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.

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This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Christianbook

Amazon

and many local Bible bookstores

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Table of Contents

  1. Video Review
  2. Cover and Binding
  3. Paper
  4. Typography
  5. Notes
  6. Back Matter
  7. Maps
  8. Conclusion

Video Review

Table of Contents

Cover and Binding

The cover is brown genuine leather. It’s about a medium shade of brown. It’s smooth with just a hint of grain and visual texture. It has perimeter stitching. Nothing is printed on the front. The spine includes the text and separation lines stamped in gold. The liner is a pasted-down dark brown vinyl. The book-block is Smyth sewn. It has no trouble staying open to any page.

It has three 3/8″ ribbons in red, gold, and blue. They’re double-sided. The head/tail bands are brown. The overall size is 9.5 x 6.5 x 2″.

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Paper

The paper is thin but opaque. I’m not sure of the gsm, but it’s at least in the lower 30’s. It’s something I’d expect to see in a study Bible. It has an off-white color and a rough texture that’s easy to grab and separate with one hand to turn. It has no glare under direct light.

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Typography

The text is presented in a single-column paragraph with poetry set to stanzas. The text is surrounded by notes on both sides until the end of the text and then a third column is added in the center. The notes are keyed to the text with letters. Old Testament quotes are in bold. The header provides the page number in the center and the book name and chapter number in the outer column.

Both the layout and the typeface were designed by 2K/Denmark. This typeface was designed specifically for Thomas Nelson’s NET Bible. The font is 8.75 for the Scripture text and 7.25 for the notes. This is a black-letter edition. The font is dark and consistent throughout. It’s line-matched to improve readability. The layout has a resemblance of the old Renaissance designs where notes where surrounding the text.

It has 10-12 words per line, which is my favorite word-count for the best balance between prose and poetry. Poetry looks clean and easy to read. The lines don’t just go as far across the page as possible. Most lines are broken in smart places in the thought and the rest of the line is indented to it’s obvious it continues the line above it.

Each book starts on a new page.

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Notes

It has over 60,000 translator’s notes. They’re placed on the page with the text and give the Bible the appearance of being a study Bible. These are the standard type of translation notes that are found in every translation but done to an extremely high level of detail. They explain why the text was translated the way it was. It provides a lot of insight into the translator’s thoughts and shows the options they had from all of the manuscripts.

It has three types of notes:

Translator notes – explains why they made the choices they did. They provide technical information and give alternative and interpretive options.

Study notes – these include some commentary on the historical or cultural backgrounds. They give information about the context and include information on theological points. They also explain obscure phrases.

Text critical notes – these show alternate readings from the various manuscripts. They include Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek.

The goal was to document every major translation decision and provide transparency on those decisions. They include citations to books or other writings to validate their choices. They cover a lot of Hebrew and Greek words. They also include information about verses that are missing from some manuscripts. For this, they take a strong stand for one of the positions with no leeway for other views. They do show which manuscripts do or do not include the verse or passage.

They include references of where something is quoted from and provide information about the wording of the quote, such as if it’s a quote from the LXX or other translation.

There is a lot of information in the notes about the translation. It does sometimes seem like commentary that’s found in a study Bible because they mention some theological views, but the main portion of notes focus on words and manuscripts. The notes are excellent for study and provide a lot of information to continue the study. I like seeing this level of notes from translators.

Table of Contents

Back Matter

There are several helps in the back. They mostly deal with the translation and provide references for further study.

NET Bible Principles of Translation – this is a 2-page article that discusses the translation philosophy of the NET. It covers the text, interpretive decisions and tools, form, and features.

Abbreviations for Biblical Books and Nonbiblical Literature – 4.5 pages that show the abbreviations used in the notes. It explains the abbreviation and gives a description of the work itself including dates, publishers, authors, etc. where possible or appropriate.

General Abbreviations – 6 pages that provide abbreviations for works used such as journals, commentary and monograph series, text-critical terms, and miscellaneous terms.

List of Cited Works – 21 pages that lists all of the works that are cited in the notes. It shows them by abbreviation and by name and short title. These are formal citations that can be used in academic works and makes it easy to find the works for your own study.

Abbreviations and Introduction to Principal Manuscript Evidence for the Greek New Testament – this covers the types of manuscripts and evidence we have for the Greek New Testament. It provides dates, books covered, characteristics, the language it was written in, etc. It includes the Greek witnesses, papyri, majuscules, minuscules, versional evidence, and patristic evidence. It provides information about what they are and shows why they’re important.

Hebrew and Greek Transliteration – these are the letters, transliteration, and pronunciation of Hebrew and Greek to help with the words and phrases that are transliterated in the notes.

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Maps

The maps are the standard 7 full-color Thomas Nelson maps printed on 8 thick glossy pages. They include the bright earth-tone colors that I like. They show topography, distance, routes, borders, possible locations of lost places, battles, elevation, cities, and locations for the events of Jesus’ ministry. It doesn’t have an index to maps, but they’re annotated well, making them easy enough to use.

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

Thomas Nelson NET Bible Full Notes Edition is an excellent presentation of the NET Bible. The notes are detailed and include more information than any other resource that I’ve seen in a single volume. The page layout is brilliant. It keeps a ton of notes on a page but still doesn’t get in the way of the text. The text is highly readable in spite the amount of surrounding text. This just shows the brilliance of 2K/Denmark’s design abilities.

The leather has a smooth grain that still feels like leather. I love the brown. The paper is opaque and easy to turn. I’ve been intrigued by the NET for quite a while. It’s good to see it available from Thomas Nelson. They’ve done a remarkable job with their first try. I highly recommend the Thomas Nelson NET Bible Full Notes Edition to anyone interested in owning a printed copy of the NET Bible.

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_________________________________________________________

This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Christianbook

Amazon

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.

7 Comments

  1. Charles Hadden

    I have ordered a copy in hardback. I am disappointed that they did not leave in the maps from the original printings of the NET bible; they were satellite based, different and very cool. I am looking forward to receiving this! Thanks for the review and still waiting for the Ancient Faith Study Bible review!!

    Reply
  2. Rowland p

    My opinion only, but the quantity of notes is absurdly excessive. Page one is 5% scripture, if that, and 95% notes, if not more. In fact, the publisher can’t even manage to get all of Genesis 1:1-2 on a single page. And what little scripture they manage to get on the page is hemmed in by so many notes as to render the scripture secondary to whatever it is that the publisher wants to blather on about. And many of the notes that I was able to see in the photos deal with issues so inconsequential that it appears to me that whoever decided to cram them in seems more concerned with displaying their academic biblical acumen that trying to explain a practical meaning of the scripture. The Bible isn’t that hard to understand. Nor is a lengthy discourse on why the writer chose a singular possessive noun all that necessary. For goodness sake, how did the likes of Augustine manage without all these notes? I’m all for a good, modern English translation of the bible. But this one is a definite “pass” for me. This isn’t a bible to me, its an academic work with more emphasis on scholastics than scripture.

    Thank you for your review. Your reviews are always useful – not only in helping me decide what I want to purchase, but also what I want to stay away from.

    Reply
    • David Austin

      I completely disagree as I love all these notes as they give me the reason the translators used the English words they did. The tc notes help me understand that there are manuscripts that are different. I do agree that when there are only 2 verses of text on the page that seems a little excessive but that doesn’t happen that often. I also like the single column rather than 2 column with notes at the bottom as in previous editions.

  3. Cory Howell

    Great review, as always, Randy! I just got my hardcover copy of this edition, and so far, I’m very pleased. I think this easily the best printing of the NET I’ve ever seen. I’ve always liked the NET, particularly for its notes, but I used to HATE that some of the earlier editions used Papyrus font for all the book titles, as well as ridiculously thin paper. And for a long time, their verse numbering system was ridiculous. Bible.org finally came out with a better edition a couple years ago, but this Thomas Nelson edition blows it away.

    Reply
    • Randy A Brown

      Thanks Cory! I’m glad Thomas Nelson decided to produce the NET. They’ve really improved their production quality.

  4. Alexander thomson

    The volume of notes dominates and obscures the Biblical text. This is a definite case for separate books : Bible text, and Notes.
    And no cross-references in a serious Bible? As it is designed as a study Bible, we would be better served by an A4 size study/desk edition, with both full textual and topical/thematic references, etc., etc. We are still being poorly served by publishers in a day when we could and should be getting much fuller and better Bibles that are meant for serious study.

    Reply
    • Alexander thomson

      That said, however, I have ordered a copy of what as it a serious work of full disclosure – a practice much to be commended! (I have ordered a hardback from the USA, as (1) it is cheaper, even with shipping costs, and (2) it will still be some time before the work is available from UK sellers!

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