The NKJV MacArthur large-print was the first study Bible I bought on my own. (The NRSV NOAB I bought on the recommendation of my pastor.) I wasn’t familiar with the NKJV text at all, and I was surprised a couple years later when I was teaching my adult Bible study class to discover the textual differences between the Textus Receptus of the NKJV and the texts used in most other Bibles. I had a student (a college professor no less) who demanded to know why my Bible had these extra words and verses that his didn’t! Well, that was an eye-opener, all right!
That difference never bothered me too much, because the differences I saw were very minor as far as I was concerned. More importantly, the NKJV text itself didn’t bother me too much, because I had John MacArthur’s notes to help me keep on understanding it all. Now I stay away from the Textus Receptus for the most part; I think the other textual tradition is better.
The large-print MacArthur (hardcover) is a prodigious Bible, some 7″ wide, 10″ tall, and almost 2″ thick. If I held it on my lap, my legs would fall asleep! So it turned out to be pretty much a table-top only Bible. But what a great Bible to read! The type was large and clear, and beautiful! The MacArthurs seem to have a little extra flair to their typesetting, like outline chapter numbers, that seem to give the impression of quality.
I got the large-print NKJV in the year 2000, and over several years I pretty much wore out the hardcover. I don’t use it too much any more, and I can’t really justify the cost of having it rebound, so I took some clear, wide tape and bound the edges and reinforced the spine, repairing at least one major tear in the spine. It should last me quite a few years yet, especially since I don’t use it much.
A couple years ago when they came out with the NASB MacArthur Study Bible they were giving away the hardcover version to anyone who wrote and asked. So I did. It’s a beautiful hardcover, but like most, it’s quite basic with a glued binding and no marker ribbons. I think it’s made of a better material than the NKJV large-print was, and it should last longer.
The NASB is a more normal font size, and so it’s not as easy to see, but more than that the ink appears to have been applied more lightly, so even though I can read that size font, its lightness causes some eyestrain that normally wouldn’t be there if the ink was applied more boldly.
If I could choose, I’d take the NASB with a much darker type. If I decide to get one, it will be in spite of the light ink, so that will count against it. It’s available in genuine leather, bonded leather, and also in a new soft artificial leather, although I believe MacArthur’s website, Grace to You, only has the genuine leather version available. The others are available through other outlets.