It is the Bible, So Take Notes: a Bible review

I am not a fan of Study Bibles. This is because I have participated in far too many Bible studies where a thoughtful engaging question is answered with, “The notes say. . . .”  This shortcut to engaging the text often keeps people from actually engaging my text. What I have learned as a leader is most significant insights people come to are their own (if you can get them to read it for themselves). So I was pretty pleased with the NASB Note-Taker’s Bible. Here is a Bible with no book introductions, or marginal notes. There is the bundled NASB concordance at the back of the Bible, and lists of verses (Bible promises, Bible perspectives, Jesus’ miracles Jesus’ parables), but the text itself is unadorned.

In the place of marginal notes, the NASB Note-Taker’s Bible includes one very special feature: margins. A full 1.3″ of blank space on the outer edge of each page, and about 1.67″ along the base. This makes the text look beautiful and gives ample room for personal notes on each page of the Bible. It is basically the space which would be used up by study notes and information boxes, only you get to write and draw your own!

I  really like the NASB. It is one of the translations I’ve read from cover-to-cover so it is special to me, because I think of passages in its cadence.  I grew up in a church where it was referenced often for its literal rendering and faithfulness to the original languages. I used to tell people “It’s closest to the original Greek and Hebrew,” but I knew neither language and was only parroting what other people were saying. If I have drifted from the NASB to translations which subscribe to more of a dynamic-equivalence (thought-for-thought rather than word-for-word) and translations more sensitive to gender inclusion, my appreciation for the NASB is not diminished. It is still a go-to-text for me when I am studying or translating a passage. Because of this, ‘room on the page for notes’ is important to me.

There is one design flaw from a ‘note-taker’s perspective.’ The text is set with the traditional ‘double column’ for greater readability. All well and good until you wish to make notes on the inside column. I think for note-takers. the full words across the the page would have been more helpful.

All and all a useful Bible for personal study. I give this Bible four stars: ★★★★☆

Thank you to Zondervan for providing me a copy of this Bible in exchange for my honest review.

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