As a blogger for Thomas Nelson publishers, I had the opportunity to review The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible NKJV (New King James Version). This bible's theme is based on the notable Christian author, Max Lucado's works. Specifically, as far as translation, the NKJV is an update of the traditional KJV, but without the antique phrases such as "thy, thou or art". It is accurate and trustworthy in contrast to being a paraphrase such as the New Living Bible or the Message. As far as a choice of translation for this themed bible the NKJV is trusted and reliable, but I believe it would be even better to have this as a series with more translation choices available. The two tone graphics, and the font size make this bible easily readable. The articles within the biblical text are clearly seperated so as to be distinct from the actual bible text. They are very applicable to everyday ciircumstances- bringing the bible to life! Lesson sidebars are dispersed throughout as well as notable quotes from Max Lucado's other works. Each bible book has an introduction with key themes highlighted.
For those unfamiliar with bibles in general some background would be useful. As far as bible translations, there is a spectrum of the ease of reading of a particular translation ranging from beginner/ easy reading levels such as the message and more complex/ literal such as the King James version, and revised standard version. For example, the popular NIV- New International Version, is somewhere in the middle with regard to ease of reading level and undertsanding. The NKJV - New King James Version, in particular, is a bit more literal and is written in somewhat of a higher reading level. Nevertheless, this NKJV is an easy to understand version as well. For those new to the bible entirely, The Message and Living bible as well as NIV versions are easy to read and understand, and are very good options for those who seek to understand the meaning of the bible.
Difficult to read versions such as the Old King James - though very well written, do a disservice to the modern or new bible reader. The antique language is difficult for many in this day to understand on their own and makes it prohibitive for many to understand the truths of the bible. Having known many readers of the KJV, who do not even understand the meaning of what they read- indicates that this is not the best translation for those who really seek to know God's word. What is the point of a bible after all if you can not even undertsand it? For those new to the bible or for those who have a difficult to read translation such as the King James Version, who wish to read the bible and actually understand it, I would suggest one of the bible versions with more modern/ contemporary language. While the NKJV is relatively easy to read, it may present a challange to the literacy level of many modern adults.
Overall, this bible, merits a good rating as it is a good trust worthy translation with many additional informational helps. Even if you are not a Max Lucado fan or have never heard of him or his books, you are sure to appreciate this bible. The additional articles suppliment the bible text and do not detract from it. I recieved a copy of this bible for the purpose of review. The only thing that would make it better is if it were available in other modern translations as well.