Bible Review | NKJV Wide Margin Reference

Wide margin Bibles are becoming more and more popular these days. With the rising popularity of Bible journaling, Bible publishers always come up with fresh new ideas to fill the need. Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Single-Column Wide Margin Reference is an excellent addition to the list. Released late last year, this red letter edition Bible boasts over 72,000 cross-references and generous margins.

The NKJV Single-Column Wide Margin Reference is currently available in leathersoft, genuine leather, and cloth-over-board cover. The black genuine leather cover has a shiny appearance and grainy texture. The character of the leather can be likened to the buffalo leather cover of the ESV Study Bible from Crossway. It is perimeter-stitched with paste-down vinyl liner. This Bible measures 6.5 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches and weighs 3 pounds. The text block is smyth-sewn with gilded edges, and it has two extra-long double-sided ribbon markers in red and black.

I like that Thomas Nelson is gradually making raised spine hubs a norm in their Bibles and not just a Premier Collection feature. Almost all of the non-premium Thomas Nelson Bibles that I have reviewed over the recent months have raised spine hubs, and I commend them for that. Raised hubs not only improve the appearance of the Bible but also make the spine firmer. This Bible has five raised hubs ornamented with gold stamps and they are gorgeous!

Upon the release of this Bible, many Bible enthusiasts complained about its non-line-matched text. Line-matching should be a norm by now, they commented. But for me, it is not really an issue in this Bible since it has a highly opaque paper. The paper is white and seems to be around 36 gsm, and it does not glare under direct light. The ghosting is very minimal and tolerable, and not really distracting at all. But indeed, it would have been even better if this were line-matched.

This Bible has a clean and minimalistic layout and this is what I love most about it. I just love Bibles with spacious margins and a neat layout, and that is exactly what you will see here. The text is presented in a single-column layout with references in the inner margin. It also has translation footnotes, and of course, the generous 1.5” outer margin. The 8.5-point Comfort Print typeface is sharp and consistent throughout and it follows a red and black color scheme. All the highlights including book titles, chapter numbers, and section headings are in red. And as aforementioned, the words of Christ are printed in red. It is brighter than the shade on section headings and chapter numbers—it is pretty fair and readable as well.

Final thoughts

I love the NKJV Single-Column Wide Margin Reference! The single-column text and spacious layout give readers an excellent Bible reading experience. While the generous outer margin can be filled out with writings, I don’t find it ideal for extensive notes. I think it is best for sermon outlines and annotations. The cross-references are also praiseworthy. It is my first time to see references in the inner margins and I find it brilliant! Overall, this Bible is just perfect for reading and studying. I hope Thomas Nelson publish it in the future in the Premier Collection with an even better paper and line-matched text.


Disclosure: A review copy of the NKJV Single-Column Wide Margin Reference (ISBN 9780785248705) was provided for review by Thomas Nelson, from whom you may purchase a copy.

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