Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald B. Allen, and H. Wayne House, eds. The NKJV Study Bible, Personal Size, 2nd edition, Full Color edition (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), xxxii + 2360 Pps., $29.99.
Earl D. Radmacher (Dallas Theological Seminary, Th.M., Th.D.) was President of Western Seminary from 1965-1990. Radmacher passed away in December 2014. Ronald B. Allen (Th.M., Th.D, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.D., Rocky Mountain Bible College and Seminary) is the Old Testament editor for both The NKJV Study Bible and The Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary. H. Wayne House (Th.M., Western Seminary; Th.D., Concordia Seminary; J.D., Regent University School of Law) is the New Testament editor for The NKJV Study Bible
The NKJV Study Bible, using the outstanding NKJV translation for study purposes, with the text in paragraph form, includes also subheadings and parallel passage references. The complete NKJV translators’ notes are available as footnotes in the center column. In addition to the references under the text’s subheadings, an extensive set of cross-references is included in the center column. These notes are greatly expanded from the first edition and include various translation notes. Cross-references that are enclosed in square brackets refer to similar passages in concept. The center column notes and references are indicated by raised letters and numbers within the text. Many cross-references include stars that designate either messianic prophecies, or their fulfillment.
The annotations herein constitute the main feature of the text. Indeed, there are over 15,000 of them, providing a scholarly yet accessible exposition of the biblical text. They offer explanations, insights from theology, and suggestions for other places to direct one’s study. The notes use direct, natural language, and avoid cumbersome phraseology, with the intent to expand clarity of the biblical writ. Included also are introductions to each of the Bible’s 66 books. They offer helpful background information, including authorship and other circumstances concerning the book’s composition. Detailed outlines are also included in the book introductions, which list key features and show the structure of the book as a whole. Timelines are also included in the book introductions which show the estimated dates of key occurrences within the book. Over 100 long articles provide more coverage of key doctrinal topics than is possible in a singular annotation. A contents list in the front section delineates page numbers for all of the articles, so that they may be easily found. Included within the text also are over 150 notes focusing on various features of the Bible times and culture; similarly, a contents list in the front section delineates page numbers for all of these articles.
The editors realize that sometimes the best way to present information to contemporary readers is in the form of a chart or diagram. Therefore, they include more than 80 of them distributed throughout the Bible. More than 350 word studies provide access to important terms from the biblical languages, which are coordinated with their Strong’s numbers. These key Hebrew and Greek words are relayed to the reader with regard to their context within the biblical canon. 69 in-text, full-color maps provide geographical understanding pertinent to the passages that mention them. Moreover, general maps are included which maximize one’s familiarity with the locations of the places named within Scripture.
A general methodology for biblical study is provided via a how-to article located in the front section of the text. There is a topical chart of Jesus’ teachings and illustrations that supplies references for easy location in the Gospels. Further, there is an easy to use chart that quotes Old Testament prophecies that are fulfilled by the New Testament. The parables of Jesus are similarly compiled into a chart, which provides easy access to their biblical references in all four Gospels. The miracles of Jesus are compiled into a chart similarly, again referenced to all four Gospels. Prayers of the Bible are organized alphabetically into a chart by name of the person or group praying, the focus of the prayer, and the location of the prayer in the Bible. There is a subject index to the various annotations and features that details the contents and of the features that supplement the biblical text. Following the subject index is a full concordance that is quite thorough, constituting 195 pages. It records all of the words, phrases, and proper names used in the NKJV text.
In sum, this Thomas Nelson produced NKJV Study Bible is the system to reach for when studying God’s Word, in my humble opinion. I recommend it heartily to all comers, but especially for those who teach, preach, and live by the Word of God.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary