Thomas Nelson publishers recently released their new NKJV Word Study Bible. I was presented with an early copy in exchange for this review.
First, the positives: The binding is good, the cover is attractive, and it’s scripture. Unfortunately, that about sums it up.
My first thought, as I flipped through the pages, was “who is this Bible marketed to?” It’s hanging onto an outdated translation, the word studies are about an inch deep and real insight into how the language was used in particular and formative ways is scarce at best. On the back informational panel of the dust cover, there’s a cross-marketing ad for a Vine’s Expository Dictionary. And that leaves me wondering – who is supposed to benefit from this? I would think that someone who is interested in the original languages would be looking for something far more insightful, and that someone who isn’t interested in the original languages wouldn’t be picking up a “Word Study Bible.”
On top of that is the aggravating layout, which constantly sends you to a different passage to find the description of the word that you’re already looking at. If I’m looking for insight (a word I use lightly here) to the word “darkness,” found in Genesis 1:2, I’m pointed to 1 Samuel 2:9, where the word is finally described. By the way – the context for darkness is entirely different in Genesis 1:2 and 1 Samuel 2:9, even if the Hebrew word is the same. In short, the layout and word descriptions are a mess.
If you’re looking for a new Bible and have an interest in the original languages, my advice is to buy a good study Bible, and take a class in Greek or Hebrew. An introductory class will prepare you to examine the language far better than this Bible will.