When I first learned of this edition of the Bible was being produced by Foundation Publications, I became very intrigued. I have used the NASB as my primary translation since my freshman year of Bible college (2000). As I came to discover, most editions of the NASB (especially at that time) were in verse format. Over time I found an Ultrathin Reference edition of the NASB produced by Foundation Publications, which was in paragraph format, had a sewn binding, and was genuine leather. After learning of the high quality of Foundation’s Bibles, I also purchased the following editions – a wide margin single column reference NASB; and a large print, ultrathin reference NASB (I also have the calfskin edition of this Bible – beautiful). I have found the editions which Foundation Publications produces to be of the highest quality and very reasonable in price.
Now, on to the review at hand. The Topical Reference Bible which I received from Lockman Foundation (produced by Foundation Publications) is the burgundy, leathertex edition (the material other publishers refer to as – duo tone, or tru tone). I have seen the publication shot on the Lockman site which promotes the Topical Reference edition and it does in deed show the details of the cover, but I have to say that the lighting of the picture does not do justice to the visual beauty of the Bible in hand. It is a very attractive, deep burgundy color. It is not washed out as the picture may lead one to believe (this is the difficulty of camera shots, at times the image does not accurately capture the quality of the item). The cover is very soft to the touch and feels great in hand. This edition is similar in size to the HCSB Hand-Size Giant Print Reference Bible and it seems slightly larger than the ESV Classic Reference Bible. It does have a ribbon marker which is a good length (not too stubby). In my personal estimation, the size of this Bible in hand is perfect. It is not too bulky or cumbersome, making possible to hold the Bible in one hand.
The text formatting inside of the Topical Reference edition is identical to the Foundation Ultrathin Reference Bible. This means that the text is in paragraph format and it is a red-letter text. I am so glad that it is in paragraph format, which makes responsible textual study easier on the mind and eyes. The size of the text is not large print, but to me it is very visible on the page. It also features center-column references, which are a strength of the NASB (95,000 references). Some will not care for this feature, but more on this later. As is true of all other Foundation Bibles which I have had the pleasure of using, this edition uses quality Bible paper. There is some bleed-through but not enough to be troublesome.
The one area where the Topical Reference edition sets itself apart from other references Bibles is what Lockman included in the front and back of this Bible. Located in the front of the Bible is a 255 page Topical Index, which alphabetically arranges various relevant topics (from abandon to Zion). As previously noted, many do not care for the cross-reference systems in most Bibles because they do not appear closely related the subject to which they are linked. I think that usually the disconnect is that the person studying is thinking topically and the references are connected grammatically (associated because of a common word). Well, this edition features the aforementioned Topical Index, which will point out the verses and sections of Scripture dealing with the desired topic/area of study. This index also contains detailed explanations of certain topics which may need such as mystery. It provides a very clear and concise explanation of the biblical usage of the word mystery. I think this is a very valuable tool for engaging in inductive Bible study, letting the text interpret the text.
Located in the back of the Bible is a 210 page Dictionary-Concordance-Thesaurus. This tool features, “main entries followed by explanatory notes or by synonyms or related words, which are intended to assist the reader in locating a verse.” It is arranged like a concordance but with more detailed information.
Following the 210 page Dictionary-Concordance-Thesaurus is: a one page genealogical chart for Jesus Christ; a two page reference featuring biblical promises and where to find them; a one page reference detailing the miracles of Christ; two pages of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ; one page listing the parables of Christ; one page of the titles of Christ and a listing the twelve apostles; a section providing introductions to each biblical book; a one year Bible reading plan; and the color maps usually found in Foundation Bibles.
This Bible is truly a quality piece of craftsmanship (quality Bible paper, sewn binding, soft leathertex cover). The size of this edition in my opinion is perfect. It is truly a hand-size, personal reference Bible in paragraph format. It is produced by Foundation Publications, which means that it will be of high quality and affordable. The 255 page Topical Reference guide at the beginning of the Bible, along with the 210 page Dictionary-Concordance-Thesaurus make this the ideal Bible for doing inductive Bible study. I would encourage anyone who is looking for a high quality Bible with all of the features I have mentioned to purchase this one.