Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible, Second Edition

I got this KJV study bible from Thomas Nelson back in late 2016, and I did so mainly because I saw it in a bookstore and liked how packed-full the pages were with notes, diagrams, charts and definitions of terms. There’s also a good deal of verse cross-references in the inner margin area, but I never really looked at that. I mainly just looked at word definitions and verse analysis text at the bottom of each page.

The hardcover edition which I got is far cheaper than the softcover/leather kind, and holds up well in terms of book spine condition even after months of use.

A study bible is a great way for a new Christian to have an all-in-one, quick-and-easy reference to terms, insights and topic descriptions that otherwise might be found only by referencing many books simultaneously (albeit in a more condensed form). Additionally, the authorship descriptions at the start of each book are very detailed and helpful too.

Unfortunately, after reading the entire New Testament using this (and doing so very slowly and methodically by using the definitions and explanatory text on each page), I found a few major issues with the study bible. For one thing, not all verses are covered at the bottom, and dozens of times I wanted to understand the wording/meaning more and there was nothing to look at. I could also say the same about word definitions, which many times are just absent.

The biggest issue for me is the questionable analysis text presented. Later in Revelation I believe the study notes say how such-in-such verse means that we should compensate preachers, and other verses talk about tithing — when none of these verses actually say that at all. This feels like a modern church commentary slapped on the KJV.

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The Action Bible

2016-05-02-actionbibleThis is kind of crazy to admit, but as I close in on my mid-thirties, The Action Bible is actually the FIRST time I have ever been exposed to the Bible fully, at least in a major story-by-story sense, in my entire life. In fact, I’d say it’s very sad it’s taken me this long!

What I find absolutely incredible about the Action Bible though is how it makes the stories of the Bible presentable in a fashion that can be easily understood by just about anyone, young or old, guy or girl.

The artwork is above average throughout the entire 600+ page book, with visuals that summarize large amounts of text in a more streamlined, efficient manner. The imagery also helps people comprehend the world, people and things of the time very well while the overall messages and stories are conveyed.

Now, obviously this Bible is aimed at younger people (teens) and is not a direct translation, but rather a “summarizing” of Bible content. Many important and critical messages, characters and events aren’t present at all, particularly during the New Testament — simply because either that info would be too lengthy / difficult to present visually, would slow down the pacing of this book a lot or just wouldn’t fit the overall tone (making an approachable, easy to read Bible).

I would say The Action Bible is perfect for people who want an initial, visual, understandable version of the Bible that they can wrap their head around…and then after readers complete it, they can move on a standard, true, complete translation of The Bible to get the full messages and meanings God intended. And as they read subsequent Bibles, they can use this one as a visual reference.

I love this version and was extremely grateful to be able to read it.