As I’ve said before, I love wide margin Bibles. In my opinion, the best “study Bible” a person can have is the one they study for themselves and to which they add their own notes. That’s the real value of a good wide margin Bible, over the course of your own personal study you build your own personal “study Bible.” The way that I have mainly used wide margin Bibles is as “sermon outline books.” While I do add marginal notes, I mainly use the margin space for outlining expository sermons.
The Holman NKJV Notetaking Bible has an excellent page layout for adding either sermon outlines, class notes or just your personal observations from the text. The text is in a single column format on the inside of the page with a 1.75-inch note ruled margin. The text is a little on the small side at an 8 point font but it’s not too small for comfortable reading. The paper is thick enough with a nice off white cream color and good opacity that will hold up to note taking.
One of my favorite layout features of this wide margin Bible is that each book begins on the right facing page. When the preceding book ends on the right page, rather than beginning the next book on the left page, there is a full line ruled note page to the left of the next book. This would be a great place to write book introductions and/or book overview sermons, like on the “7”s in John.
I don’t know how much thickness it would have added if a blank page were provided for every book, regardless of where the preceding book ended, but I would have liked to have seen that kind of consistency. Even though there are several books that don’t have this kind of blank page, there are more that have it than don’t.
The New Testament divider page is also line ruled, instead of just being left blank like in most Bibles.
With all this added space for notes, in addition to the wide margin running along the text throughout, there is an abundance of space to make this into a very rich personal study Bible or a sermon outline book with many years worth of lessons from every book of the Bible.
If it weren’t for the binding this would be a perfect wide margin Bible at a great price (only $30 from CBD). The binding is a bit of a shortcoming, though. It is a bonded leather hardback that is pretty “cheapy” feeling. The bonded leather overlay feels nice but it will, no doubt, begin to wear through pretty quickly, I think. And the book board of the cover is thin and flexible. It almost feels like a stiff soft cover that needs broken in to make it more pliable. But, if you tried to do that, you would ruin it because it is supposed to be a hardback. It is a sewn binding, though, so it could be a good candidate for a custom rebind. With the text layout, it would be worth it, in my opinion, to buy it for $30 and then spend $60 or so to have a custom leather cover put on it.
Even with the poor cover, for $30 this is a great wide margin Bible. I don’t know how much of an issue the cover would even be if it were used the way I would be using it. That is, I wouldn’t be carrying it around as an everyday Bible. It would stay on my desk until I was ready to add my lesson notes to it. The only carrying around it would get would be from my desk to the pulpit. Or, if guest speaking somewhere else, from my bag to the pulpit. I wouldn’t see it needing to hold up to a lot of wear and tear anyway. So, maybe the cover isn’t really that big of an issue.
It is a red-letter New King James Version, which is great. The NKJV is a great, reliable, translation very well suited to in-depth textual study. There is a good one-year reading plan in the back, along with a concordance and Bible maps.
Overall, I really like this Bible. There are a few things that would have made me like it more. 1) Consistency of placing a line ruled page to the left of each book’s beginning page. But, this may have made it uncomfortably thick. I don’t know. 2) A couple lined pages before the Old Testament, like those before the New Testament. 3) A better cover, which surely would have affected the price. Other than these three things, I could easily see this being my sermon outline and lesson book for preaching and teaching.
If you’re looking for a wide margin Bible, this would certainly be a good option at a great price. This would be a good Bible for anyone that preaches or teaches regularly or just wants to create their own personal “study Bible.” Just keep in mind that if you plan to use it in any way that put a lot of wear and tear on it, you’ll probably be needing a rebind in a few years.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”