The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway

Many thanks to Harper Collins Christian Publishing for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

When my husband and I were dating, I bought him a New King James Version study Bible. That was my first experience using this version. I really liked it.

I grew up with the King James Version and that is what our church uses 100% of the time. So, I’m still used to hearing and reading the KJV.

But, as my kids were growing up, I wanted to read to them directly from the Bible and I chose the New King James Version. They liked it. They did not have any trouble understanding it and they actually would ask me to keep on reading!

I am thankful for the opportunity to review the Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson.

I really like it and I think you will see how helpful it will be for you.

I’m going to take you on a deep dive into this Bible, so get your scuba gear on, cause here we go.

The Encountering God Study Bible came in a really nice open sided decorated box. (Pictured to the right.)

You could easily use the box to protect the Bible as you carry it around, or just remove and get rid of the box. Either way will work.

The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway
The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway

This is a beautiful Bible. I’ve never had a soft leather covered Bible before, and this is a treat to hold. It’s really soft.

Being soft leather, the cover is easily bendable but strong enough not to tear like a soft cover book would be.

The icon on the front and the lettering and icon on the cover’s spine is finished in a bright gold.

In my opinion this is a heavy Bible weighing in at almost 3 pounds. It’s 9.7 inches long x 6.8 inches wide and almost 2 inches deep.

You get plenty of study information and help within the 1,888 pages. (I didn’t count them, but I trust the publisher’s information.)

Talking about study information and Bible help, I would be wrong if I didn’t tell you that these special features are from the Blackaby family. Let’s get introduced and learn a little bit about their views and opinions on God’s Word.

About Blackaby Ministries International

The Blackaby’s website is Home – Current – Blackaby Ministries International.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Blackaby were missionaries in Canada for many years. They had five children who all grew up to love God and each of them are serving God in full-time ministries.

I could not find a founding date on their website but I did see that Richard Blackaby has been president since 2006. So, Blackaby Ministries International has been founded for at least that long.

Their goals are to help people experience God, help people return to God, help churches, businesses and people to do God’s agenda, and to help people with Bible study.

  • All 66 books in the Bible are inspired by God
  • God is eternal, holy, true and exists in three ways through God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy-Spirit
  • Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, sent to earth by God so that He could give His perfect life for us as our substitute and payment for our sins.
  • Jesus died, was buried and rose again three days later.
  • Jesus was seen by many witnesses after His resurrection.
  • He ascended into Heaven and is with God now, waiting for God’s command to come back and call Believers home to be with Him.
  • God created the world and it was a perfect environment, but man chose to sin causing our need for forgiveness.
  • We are saved and forgiven from our sin by faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  • Anyone can be saved and be His perfect chosen people. It is up to each person to decide their eternal destiny.
  • Once you place your faith in Jesus, you cannot lose your salvation.
  • Baptism takes place after you are saved to show others that you are saved and to represent yourself with God.
  • Baptism is by immersion, picturing Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
  • The Lord’s Supper is a time of remembrance of Jesus’ death for us. It does not save you, but is for Believers to partake of.
  • Click the link to see the Blackaby’s entire, detailed Statement of Faith

Now that we know a little bit about the Blackaby’s beliefs, we can understand the basis for their interpretations and opinions.

Before we go further though, I do want to make sure that you know, God’s Word is inspired, but the comments are not. Any study Bible that you use, whoever wrote the interpretations on the passages of Scripture are doing so by their own intelligence. They may be right or wrong.

It is up to us to compare Scripture with Scripture and to read and consider human interpretation for what it is… human.

Based on their Statement of Faith, I feel like the Blackaby’s have an excellent interpretation of the founding doctrines of our faith.

Features in the Encountering God Study Bible

The foreword, written by Henry Blackaby, is just one of the introductory pages found at the beginning of this Bible.

Mr. Blackaby shares his story here, his heart, and his desire to help others encounter God.

His story and his style of writing is very enjoyable and interesting to read.

These pages teach us about the differences between the King James Version and the New King James Version.

I found this very helpful to read since I am predominantly a KJV user.

The NKJV translators’ goals are to keep God’s Word accurate and readable by carefully integrating present day vocabulary, punctuation and grammar.

For instance, the word Behold has been replaced with Indeed, Look, See, or Surely, depending on the passage.

There are also changes with certain people’s names. For example, in the Old Testament you find Isaiah and Elijah, but in the New Testament each of their names are spelled as Esaias and Elias. They refer to the same Old Testament people.

So for ease of understanding, you will find that Esaias and Elias has been replaced in the New Testament with their Old Testament spellings. Now it’s easier to identify them as the people from the Old Testament.

Different pronouns are used than in the KJV. You won’t find thee, thou, ye, thy, or thine in the text, instead you’ll read you, your, or yours.

When the text refers to God, you, your, or yours will be capitalized. Sometimes it’s been hard to identify which subject a pronoun refers to, but with the correct capitalization, this is incredibly helpful.

Some verb endings have been removed. You won’t see -eth or -est in the text. I never really thought about it before but I can imagine it would be extremely difficult to choose between Love, Loveth, or Lovest.

Subject headings are added to identify a new topic or a transition. This is also extremely helpful.

The Blackaby’s suggest four steps as you prepare and read God’s Word
1. Hear God speak through His Word
2. Encounter God in His Word
a. “Resist the temptation to focus on what others have said about the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you study God’s Word for yourself.”
3. Understand what God is saying
a. Consider original meanings of words
b. Consider the type or style of literature this book of the Bible is
c. Understand the context of the passage
d. Understand the cultural times when this passage was written
4. Apply God’s Word to your life

The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway

Each book of the Bible has its own Introduction. Here you will find an Introduction summary, the Significance of the book for us, the Structure of the book, and the different ways God is manifested in the book.

Within the book introduction you will also be able to learn about the timeline of events, dates, author, etc. that pertain to the book.

The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway

After each book’s introduction, the text layout is the same.

Each chapter number is easy to read and is nice and bold. There is also a chapter heading.

Subject headings through the text help to identify changes in topic or transition.

Each new verse begins a new line and is easily identifiable.

Quotes are used for when people are speaking. Jesus’ words are in a red font in the New Testament.

Interspersed within the chapters are special feature blocks which I’ll summarize below.

There is a center reference column to look up additional Scripture references.

The Blackaby’s comments are located at the bottom of each Bible text page.

The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway

There is at least one Word Study block in each chapter of this Bible.

Each word that is highlighted contains reference information to describe some spiritual information. The Hebrew or Greek word with pronunciation marks are also included.

The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway

The Character Study blocks will grab your attention featuring 85 people in the Bible, from Abigail to Zerubbabel.

Each Character Study reveals how God worked in a person’s life to use him/her for His glory. They are very interesting.

At first, I didn’t care for the Historical Encounter blocks. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice to read and learn about these people in history, but I just couldn’t see the point of them being within the pages of Scripture.

After doing more research, I have come to the conclusion that these Historical Encounters actually contain a wealth of information.

A little summary is given about the person’s life and then the real gold is how certain verses in the Bible affected the person and what he/she did about it.

There are sixty-two of these gems interspersed throughout the Bible passages.

The Encounter Note blocks are strategically placed throughout the Bible near the appropriate verses. Each Encounter Note block guides you to understanding how God may encounter you in His word.

For example, Proverbs 21:3 says, “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

The Encounter Note is titled, Acting Righteously, and it says, “We expect God to do what is right and just. He expects no less from us. We may be pleased with the sacrifices we present to God, but if we offer them up with sin-stained hands, our shameful behavior renders them unacceptable.”

They’re like little devotionals! Very nice.

Black and white maps are located in the Bible, directly within the passages of Scripture. I really like this feature, but I wish there were more of them. It is so convenient to just glance close by and take a look at where events are taking place.

There a 7 full-color maps in the back of the Bible. They are bright, colorful and glossy.

The Encountering God Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. Bible features reviewed by Homeschooling Highway

The Encountering a Creative God and the Explaining the Faith blocks add even more topics to think about.

The information in these blocks point us to our Creator as well as teach us about defending our doctrines of beliefs.

There are many of these articles scattered throughout the Bible.

There is a vertical timeline at the back of the Bible. I love timelines and even though this timeline was ok, I think it could be more detailed.

I would love to see a detailed timeline in each book. Not only highlighting the events and places in people’s lives but also by showing where chronologically that book fits into the big picture of things.

There’s a real nice “Read Through the Bible in a Year Plan” at the back of the Bible. It’s very easy to read and would be easy to follow.

The index will help you find each of the special feature blocks listed above. I know this will be really helpful when you want to refresh your memory on something, and you can’t remember where to find it at.

The concordance looks good too. There are plenty of words available to look up and find where they are in the Scriptures.

My Summary and Recommendation for the Encountering God Study Bible NKJV

I like this Bible. I like the feel of it and the way it looks inside and out.

I like the page layouts and the way that the Bible passages are broken up to aid in reading, but also to highlight the special features.

I like the topics of each special feature block including the Biblical people, historical people, word studies, encountering notes, and the articles pointing us to God and doctrines of our faith.

The special features help us to connect with God and apply what He says to us in our lives.

I would highly recommend the Encountering God Study Bible to any high school level student or adult.

This Bible would also be a real treasure in any church library.

Where do I Buy the Encountering God Study Bible?

If you would like to purchase your own copy of the Encountering God Study Bible, this link will take you to the Encountering God Study Bible on Amazon and this link will take you to the Encountering God Study Bible at the Thomas Nelson site.

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