I received the Foundation NASB Side-Column Reference Bible as a review copy some months ago. This edition is the newest edition of the Side-Column Reference Bible and it is different in its dimensions than the previous edition. I also own the previous edition which is wider and therefore has wider margins. The review copy which I received is genuine leather and it is of a very high quality. Foundation always produces some of the finest genuine leather editions of the Bible on the market. If you were to attempt to find a Bible with a genuine cowhide cover like this edition features, you would have to purchase a Bible and then have it rebound by another company to be able to enjoy such a high quality cover.
The smaller dimensions make the Bible more easy to handle. It is lighter and easier to hold than its predecessor. This also has caused the margins to not be as wide. There is still a little more room in the margins than normal Bibles feature, but it is not the same as before. I do not mind this reality because the Bible itself is a single-column format, which makes it possible for a person to fit more notes in the margin as a result of there being less verses on a single page than would be found in a double-column format. The paper itself is not as white as the paper in the preceding versions and not as thick. Some of the best features of the Foundation Bibles are the smyth-sewn bindings, the quality of leather found in the genuine leather editions, and the high quality opaque paper. In this edition, the leather is still high quality, the smyth-sewn binding is still there, but the paper is not as nice. It is not necessarily the color of the paper that matters, it is that there is ghosting. You can clearly see the words bleeding through from the other pages. This is unfortunate because of the high quality of the paper in the past editions. Maybe it is possible that I have been spoiled by the features of the past editions of Foundation Bibles and was a little disappointed by finding “above average” paper in this edition of the Side-Column Reference Bible.
There are some new features that are of note. In the back, there are summaries of each of the books of the Bible, i.e. book introductions. There is also a genealogy of Christ, a series of Bible promises, and a yearly Bible reading plan. These are helpful features for a person in reading, understanding, and applying biblical truth to his life. I would say that these are welcome resources.
The features that remain the same, which set apart the Foundation NASB, are the excellent cross-reference system, the single-column format, and black-letter N.T. The cross-references are extensive and actually related to one another. In many reference Bibles, one wonders what the connection was between the verse and its cross-references. The NASB references actually make sense and are useful for inductive Bible study. The single-column format is very beneficial for reading and comprehension. There is little distraction from page clutter. The reader is left to focus on the text at hand, rather than the next chapter. The single-column allows one to read normally, as he would a book. The black-letter features is also a plus in my mind. I think that it is wise to have black-letter editions for the purpose of encouraging the reader to study and interpret all Scripture as authoritative and inspired, rather than viewing the red letters as more authoritative and inspired. Admittedly, one may read a red-letter edition and not elevate its importance, nor have difficulty in comprehension. Yet, it is an unnecessary feature and proves to be a distraction for some and at times misleading.
One thing that I do wish (besides to revert back to the high quality paper) is that this edition was in paragraph format. The truth is that as in most verse-format NASB Bibles, the paragraphs are marked off by bold numbering or lettering. The visual break of verse-formatting is a distraction when the verse breaks in the middle of a sentence. I know that this is a preference, but I do think that it is helpful to have paragraph-formatting for the purpose of interpretation. When the flow of the text is in paragraphs, it aids the reader in keeping with the flow of the text and argument. The breaks of verse-formatting can at times cause the mind of the reader not to read and interpret smoothly. Verse-formatting makes it difficult to read smoothly, in my opinion. I do see the point of preachers, who say that they want a verse-format Bible so they can find the verses easily when in the pulpit. It is true that one only needs to look at the left side of the page to find the verse numbers, but I would rather take a second or two more to find my place on the page for the benefit of smoother reading and interpretation.
Overall, I think that this is one of the highest quality Bibles on the market. The leather is beautiful to view and hold. The paper is still above average in quality and above average in opaqueness. If someone is in the market for a high quality NASB reference Bible I would recommend this one.