Swindoll Study Bible Review Part One: The Actual Bible

Swindoll Study Bible Review Part One: The Actual Bible

In 1996, Chuck Swindoll and Zondervan released the Living Insights Study Bible; 21 years later is it back (sort of) as part of the NLT Family in Tyndale’s Swindoll Study Bible. I say it is sort of back because it would appear that Tyndale not only updated the translation but they also updated the content. I will be reviewing the hardcover, iPhone, and iPad editions in one simultaneous review. (All 3 were provided by Tyndale House free of charge in exchange for an honest review.)

 

As is our habit, let’s begin with some particulars from the publisher:

 

The Swindoll Study Bible offers the best of Chuck Swindoll’s wit, charm, pastoral insight, and wise biblical study directly to you as you study God’s Word. Chuck’s warm, personal style comes across on every page, and his informed, practical insights get straight to the heart of the Bible’s message for the world today. Reading each part of this study Bible is like hearing Chuck speak God’s Word directly to your heart. It will both encourage readers’ faith and draw them deeper into the study of God’s Word.

In Chuck’s own words:

“This study Bible was designed with you in mind. As you read the Scriptures, imagine me sitting beside you and sharing personal stories, important insights, and hard-earned lessons that will encourage you to walk more closely with Jesus Christ. You’ll discover the whowhatwherewhenwhy, and how of the Bible. Who wrote it and whenWhat does it mean, and where did its events occur? Why should I trust it? And most importantly, how can I apply it today?

“It’s that last question more than any other that has fed my passion to publish this Bible. My primary focus in ministry has been teaching biblical insight for living—for genuine life change. After all, that’s why God communicated His Word to us—that we may become like His Son, Jesus Christ, the central figure of this Book.”

 

Product Details

Published: October 17, 2017

Binding: Hardcover

Text Size: 9.0

Trim Size: 6.5 x 9.188 in.

Pages: 1984

ISBN: 978-1-4143-8725-3

 

Now on to the review…

 

Free App:

The first thing I want to point out is the free app that is bundled with the print editions of the Swindoll Study Bible. It is provided by Tecarta Bible Apps (https://tecartabible.com) and is available to use on you qualifying iOS and Android devices.

 

The app includes the NLT Bible (SRP $7.99) and the Swindoll Study Notes (SRP $14.99) giving you $22.98 of free content. The Swindoll Study Bible App will sync any content that you already have in your Tecarta account, but if you do not have one you will need to register first. There is a promo code that is under a scratch and reveal tag on the page following the maps and there are instructions for redeeming your code. It is very important that you use the same email to redeem your code that you used to sign up for Tecarta so that the premium content that Tyndale is including syncs into your account.

 

Currently, I have the app on both my iPhone and my iPad Pro; the iPad Pro app being the one used more often. When linking this app with your Tecarta account, you will find that there is a plethora of resources that the app developer makes available to you. Some of the content that is available is at a lower cost than other soft-ware but most of it is priced similarly to OliveTree and WORDSearch Bible, which are the two that I use most frequently, though I am also a long time user of e-Sword. If you have not invested in any software for your Bible Study, Tecarta is equally as good as the ones from the major publishers but the advantage is that it is built from the ground up entirely for mobile.

 

There is a lot more to say on the app and there will be a 2nd review article focusing on that.

 

The Translation Choice

The Swindoll Study Bible is offered in the New Living Translation (NLT). where the original, the Living Insights Study Bible from 1996 was in NIV. As Chuck Swindoll and I have both discovered, the NLT is, perhaps, the easiest Bible to read and understand without becoming a complete paraphrase. I have really grown to love the NLT, in part because it so easily captures Greek and Hebrew thought, but mostly I love the NLT because that is the Bible my wife was reading when came to Christ and yielded her life to Him. I commend the NLT to you for the same reasons, if you have never understood the Bible before, you will with NLT and you may even find that this is the Bible that Christ uses to draw you unto Himself.

 

Around a month ago, I switched to NLT as a primary translation for 1-to-1 discipleship, for the content here at Exploring the Truth, for daily devotional reading and for any public speaking that I will do. I always pair my NLT with a word for word translation (NAS, ESV, or KJV) and I recommend you do the same. I feel like reading the NLT is like listening to a wise old friend explaining the Scriptures.

 

Living Insights Notes

In this edition, the Living Insights Notes have been moved to the bottom of the page and now look and function more like a traditional study Bible’s notes. Each Living Insight is designed to illuminate a specific verse of Scripture. Unlike many study Bibles, the Swindoll Study Bible does not feature a study note for each verse of Scripture; instead the notes are structured to help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

 

I absolutely love the Living Insights Notes. They are perfect for on the go teaching.

 

Book Introductions:

Each book comes with an introduction that is focused on answering the following questions: Who wrote the book? Where are we? Why is this book important? What’s the big idea? How do I apply this? You will notice that the introductions in the Swindoll Study Bible fell much more pastoral than they do academic and if you are a Bible teacher in a church or small group, these insightful articles will prove most useful to laying a foundation for your teaching.

 

Application Articles

Application Articles are adapted from Chuck’s sermons and explain important passages with his winsome style including stories, illustrations, and usually three to five specific points of application. This is my favorite feature of the Swindoll Study Bible. Oftentimes we are left to ask the question, “What do I do about what I just read?” and these application articles tackle the most common passages that face this question.

 

People Profiles

Quite simply, people profiles highlight the lives of major players in the drama of Redemptive History and points out lessons, from their lives, that we could all benefit from learning.

 

Holy Land Tour

Learn more about geographic locations where biblical events occurred. These include a photo of the modern archaeological sites, many that can be viewed today, and a modern-day map of the location. You’ll be transported to the ancient sites with background information and devotional content, similar to being on a tour of the Holy Land with Chuck and his Insight for Living team.

 

Prayer Moments

Scattered throughout the text, prayer moments are similar to the prayers that Chuck Swindoll uses to close out his weekly sermons. Each prayer focuses on asking God to help us apply the truth of a particular passage of Scripture.

 

I do not ever recommend using someone else’s prayer in place of your own. On the other hand, you can easily use the prayer moments as a guide to help you get started with your prayer during personal worship.

 

Is Anything Missing?

This is probably a niggling little complaint, but I would have liked to see references; end of verse references would do just fine here without interrupting the layout. It is very important to understand that Scripture interprets Scripture and references go a long way toward that process, especially for a new believer.

 

I also think it would be nice to see and upgraded/deluxe edition in genuine leather.

 

How to Study the Bible (Searching the Scriptures Section)

This section showcases the genius of Chuck Swindoll. So many study Bibles have a section on how to use them but I think the Swindoll Study Bible is the only one that I have ever seen that includes a section on how to study the Bible. Many people that I encounter, especially new disciples, have trouble getting started with Bible study and the How to Study the Bible and practice section will remedy this problem easily.

 

Who would benefit from the Swindoll Study Bible?

In my estimation, the Swindoll Study Bible should have broad appeal. The app will most definitely appeal to Millennials and younger who are very tech savvy and want to do their study on electronic devices. On the other hand, the physical Bible will appeal to traditionalists who desire to study in an actual book; I happen to very much enjoy both.

 

You may find yourself saying that the content seems very simplistic. I would discourage you from dismissing this Bible simply because the notes are not overly complex. The Bible tells us we need to become like a child, in our faith, to see the Kingdom of Heaven and the Swindoll Study Bible endeavors to help us get there with its simple, down to earth, practical resources.

 

Usage Experience

After around two weeks of regular use, I could see this being my every day carrying Bible. The coloration of the pages is different enough that I don’t find much in the way of eye strain. The font is a crisp black and, despite being around an 8-point size, it is very easy to read.

 

The theological content is very solid. Dr. Swindoll takes a consistently literal approach to the Scripture, which I would expect from any dispensational theologian. The major takeaway that I have from the content is a better way to say the things that I teach; I have taught at various levels for 21 years so there is not a lot of new content for me. If you are a new disciple, or are looking for a gift for a new disciple, I encourage a purchase of the Swindoll Study Bible.

 

Overall Impression

I have a number of Study Bibles but I have to say that this one has moved into a favorite spot for me. I have told my wife that, when it comes to teaching, I endeavor to be as in depth as John MacArthur but as approachable and easy to understand as Chuck Swindoll. Tyndale publishes two other Study Bibles that I enjoy, the Life Application Study Bible and the NLT Study Bible. Of the three, my recommendation is that you buy the Swindoll Study Bible, especially given the fact that I usually find some gripe with the Bibles I review and cannot in this case.

 

Stay tuned for Part II where we will look at the Swindoll Study Bible on iPad…

 

 

 

One Reply to “Swindoll Study Bible Review Part One: The Actual Bible”

  1. Great review. It would be nice if we were able to zoom in on your pictures to get a better look at the words of the Bible.

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