REVIEW: NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible

by ggeurs

This is a review of the Ancient-Modern Bible published by Thomas Nelson.

The concept of the Ancient-Modern Bible is a unique one. Take the text of the New King James Version and print it on a page with really wide margins. Instead of printing study notes in the margins however, provide soundbites of commentary related to the passages from individuals who over the past two millenia have influenced Christian thought. In its essence, this is the basic idea of the Ancient-Modern Bible.

General editor Jeremy Buoma and the team that compiled all of the readings did an extensive and thorough job. Everyone from Origen to N.T. Wright and (almost) all of those in between are included as commentators in the margins of this Bible. Also, scattered throughout the pages of this Bible are one-page biographers of the “contributors” to the commentaries of the Bible. These short histories are a quick, useful way to get an introduction to many of the key thinkers of the Church. The back of the Bible includes a series of articles on different doctrinal themes that have been cornerstones of the church. After that is a section on some of the creeds, an Advent/Lent reading calendar, and a section of printed color pages on some of the significant pieces of Church art. This Bible does contain an extensive amount of information and material to give the reader a broad, though not deep range of Christian history.

As much as I enjoy the content of this Bible -I am using the Advent reading calendar this year- I feel like it tries to be way more than it needs to be. It is as if the editing team tried to stretch this Bible so thin with so much stuff that it ends up not being as impactful as it could be. I appreciate the passages from people of the Church in the margins. I feel the biographies are helpful. After that, however, I feel like a lot of the supplementary material throughout this Bible is unnecessary. Unless one really wants to look at the Church art, that part could have been left out. Also, as fascinating as the essays are, I am not sure whether they needed to be included either. Further, a lot is crammed into each page, but I wonder if part of that is accomplished by the fact that font can seem a little on the small side.

In the end, the Ancient-Modern Bible is okay. I got the most out of the fact that it is in a readable translation with a broad range of writers incorporated in the margin commentaries. The rest of the stuff, you can take it or leave it.

I received my copy of this Bible for free through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for reviewing it. I was not obligated to write a positive review; the opinions expressed are mine.