Early this month, Thomas Nelson launched the much-anticipated Maclaren Series, the rebrand of their Preaching Bible line. It features Large Print Reference Bibles in KJV and NKJV, and available in Leathersoft, genuine leather, and goatskin leather cover. The series gets its name from the Victorian-era expository preacher Alexander Maclaren, a Scottish Baptist lay-preacher from England. To make it clear and straight, the Maclaren Series Bibles do not include any study notes or material from Alexander Maclaren. The name is more like a tribute to his legacy of preaching, Bible study, and devotion.
Thomas Nelson sent me a copy of the NKJV Bible in goatskin leather cover and it is incredible! They never fail to amaze me with the quality of their Bibles. It comes in a beautifully-designed and sturdy clamshell box.
This Bible measures 6.75 x 10 x 1.5 inches and weighs 2 pounds, 9 ounces. Its goatskin leather cover is absolutely impeccable. It is thick yet flexible and supple. Its pebbly grain is very pronounced especially when bent, but the texture is really smooth. It is perimeter-stitched, and its spine has five beautiful raised hubs. The liner is edge-lined leather and has a nice gold gilt line. All of these are hallmarks of a Thomas Nelson premium Bible.
The text block is also incredible and it has a beautiful concave shape. It is smyth-sewn and lays really flat. It has a black head and tail bands, and three ribbon markers in black, red, and sky blue. Its edges are gorgeous with the red-under-gold art-gilt. The pages are highly opaque in 36 gsm premium European Bible paper, the same one used in Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Premier Collection Bibles.
The NKJV Maclaren Large Print Reference Bible showcases the beauty of the text in a traditional verse-by-verse, double column format. The same layout is what I like most about the NASB Preacher’s Bible. The texts are very seamless to read, and the verses are easy to follow. The scripture text is line-matched for enhanced readability, and is set in a 10.5-point Comfort Print font — a downsize from the 11.5-point text in the original Preaching Bible. The texts are black, bold, and readable. It blends really well with the high-contrast white paper used in this Bible. The two-color setting is also noteworthy. Like the KJV Lion by Humble Lamb, this Bible departs from the usual red-black text color scheme, and uses blue and black. It is neat and very calming to read.
I like the overall layout of this Bible. The cross-references and translation notes look clean and organized in a single-column format below the double-column scripture text. Though printed in a smaller font, they are easy to locate and read as they are as bold as the scripture text.
This Bible could have been much better if only Thomas Nelson had added just a little bit more margin, especially in the gutter. Though it is sufficient enough, there are some angles and sections where more margins could have made the reading experience better.
Some extras in this Bible includes a presentation page, some maps printed on glossy paper, and eight lined pages for notes. This Bible does not have a concordance which is not a big deal at all. It retails for $189.99, but available at cheaper prices on various online Christian bookstores and outlets.
The NKJV Maclaren Large Print Reference Bible is another solid release from Thomas Nelson. The readability and quality are praiseworthy. Though there’s not much of a re-work done from the already available and previously released Thomas Nelson Preaching Bible, the name rebrand makes this Bible more inclusive – not only for preachers and Bible teachers, but also for all who loves reading and studying the word of God. This Bible is an excellent choice!
Disclosure: A review copy of the NKJV Maclaren Large Print Reference Bible (ISBN: 9780785242833) was provided for review by Thomas Nelson, from whom you may purchase a copy.