Brief Description: The New Open Bible is a somewhat unique study Bible as it does not have footnotes as most of the other ones do. It does have an interesting Topical Index to the Bible which is over 300 pages long at the beginning of the Bible. This format appears to go back to at least the 1960s in a reference Bible named The New Encyclopedic Reference Bible which has the exact same index, only entitled the Biblical Cyclopedic Index. The original was published by Zondervan but printed by Royal Publishers out of Nashville (may have been linked to Thomas Nelson). The Open Bible then came out and was published by Thomas Nelson. Over the years, improvements were made, leading to The New Open Bible, and currently The New Open Bible Study Edition is being sold.
Advantages: The New Open Bible Study Edition, referred to hereafter as the NOBSE, contains a wealth of information. It has the best book introductions and outlines of any study Bible I have seen. The Visual Bible Study Aids are a new feature that consist of full page, fairly in-depth treatments of various theological and historical issues, as well as personalities, maps, and charts. There are many other study helps, charts, a fine concordance in the back and the excellent Thomas Nelson full color maps. The lack of footnotes probably adds to the readability, as there are fewer distractions. The exception to the "no footnotes" layout is a fine set of notes linked throughout the Bible that are a specially designed "Christian's Guide to the New Life." This is a very good introduction to Christianity, particularly for a new convert who has very little knowledge of the Bible. There is a strong local church emphasis. It is written from the premillennial point of view, and the notes and outlines on Revelation are very good, though some of the other positions are briefly touched on.
Disadvantages: The main weakness is that there is so much information that many users of NOBSE probably don't even know half of what is in it. But, this problem lies more with the individual than with the NOBSE, as it is meticulously indexed. In this format, with very few footnotes, many of the passages that may need some explanation are not explained at all, which is the strength of the other study Bibles with the same page footnotes linked to the verses being discussed. Center column references would be nice, also.
Recommendation: The New Open Bible Study Edition is an excellent study Bible and a good choice for a new believer in particular.