There was a time when I said that the New English Bible I owned was the most beautiful bible I'd ever laid my eyes upon. I was correct - at the time. Now the New English Bible is on my bookshelf and this bible is never out of my hands. I love the King James Bible, it's evident from my statement of faith. I still hold to the King James being the word of God in absolute perfect form. The NCPB is that and more. It's the King James formatted like a modern bible, without the evilness of verse removal and doctrinal bias. Now, don't get me wrong it has it's issues - and we will deal with a couple later - but I must say, as this is something I've wanted for a very long time, I'm blown away by it.
Firstly, this bible costs around £80 brand new, I paid £55 thanks to a small scrape on the gold edging, I'm lucky, it's minor and it would have happened anyway in my clumsy hands. The reason it costs so much is evident when you have it in your hands, firstly there's the formatting of the text:
One block paragraph, reminiscent of the hardcover NEB, with a font similar to the ESV study bible. Its right justified, allowing the margins to be used for editorial notes (both from the 1611 translators and Norton himself), this also aids in reading, the version I own has the apocrypha and it thickens it up a little, were it to be left justified it would make reading more cumbersome, and do I really need the notes so well exposed? No, the justification chosen by Cambridge is perfect, and it really justifies the extra dough.
Secondly we have the leather, Calfskin, it works, its soft, supple, and bends wonderfully. The text itself is a delight to behold. It's so well formatted that it actually makes reading the bible wonderful. Being the King James it allowed you to experience the word of God in all it's elegance and beauty whilst not having it broken by versification. Oh did I point out that this isn't going to be the best reference bible for you? No cross references (except what was in the 1611) and the verse numbers are microscopic, there's also no concordance - this is a reading bible - this is a 21st century Tyndale New Testament in resource terms. This is THE BIBLE and nothing else, and I'm fine with that.
There's quotation marks, this is a limitation, I first thought that quotation marks were a wonderful idea, and they are - where it's obvious who is speaking. But you take the epistle of James, or one of Paul's, and quotation marks are doctrinally worrying. Someone may think that James' talk about faith and works is all about works being necessary for salvation, whereas another may think that James is quoting a big paragraph of what someone else said and he is mocking them.
But, quotation marks aside, lets talk about the actual font. It's smaller than the original, but still massively readable. In fact the size of this bible shows just how easy a single column bible is if you put your mind to it. This is slightly larger than the ESV PSR, and a third thicker - that's all. It's light, and yet the font is perfectly readable - much more readable than the PSR, and all it sacrificed was a concordance and cross references - both of which you can get in a KJV concordance.
This is the beauty of the whole thing, it has 300 years of additional material, its modern looking, it has all the wonder of the past, and all the pluses of the present day. Its not some hybrid either, with the modern grammatical stuff added - it completely and utterly fits in today's world. Now, should you abandon your KJV for it? No, this is for someone who doesn't enjoy traditional KJV formatting and wants something new but old at the same time. I love single column, and this is by far the greatest single column KJV out today. The Thomas Nelson is disgusting, it's a hack job, and the font is unforgivable. Norton, for all his faults, has done an absolutely beautiful job here. I honestly cannot imagine myself ever needing a new bible, this is one of those bibles you will keep and treasure forever. Norton has scoured the 1611 KJV, updated the grammar, unified the thees and the thou's etc, so they're consistent, he's updated the names and unified them between the testaments, (so no more greekisms at the end of names) - he has been conservative in this. For instance if Joshua is referred to as Jesus - Jesus has remained where it's ambiguous - such as in Hebrews).
Norton is a clever man, and I have to give him kudos..he's made me a happy man. I own both the hardcover and the calfskin editions, and I am so glad I upgraded - it's changed things a lot. If you're considering purchasing the NCPB, I implore you to save for the leather version, it's so much better, lighter, and attractive.
Forget the NKJV, forget the MEV, get the NCPB!