Biblical Theology Study Bible Review

Biblical Theology Study Bible Review

 

Three years ago, Zondervan and D.A. Carson released one of the most in-depth study Bibles that is available, the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. It has now been improved upon and re-released as the NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible. The name change was made to better reflect the intended purpose of the Bible. Doubtlessly, it also helped eliminate confusion between the NIZ Zondervan Study Bible and the NIV Study Bible which is also published by Zondervan.

Note: Zondervan provided a hard cover edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Product Description from Zondervan

Discover how the details of Scripture come together to form God’s grand narrative of redemption! The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible is an excellent resource for those seeking to understand the individual parts of Scripture, and how those parts join to create a cohesive whole. Deepen your knowledge of God’s Word with insightful book introductions, sectional introductions, and 20,000 study notes written by a team of over 60 trusted theologians and Bible scholars explaining specific verses and themes.

 

Features Include:

  • 28 theologically rich articles by authors such as Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung
  • 20,000 verse-by-verse study notes
  • Hundreds of full-color photos
  • Over 90 Maps
  • Over 60 Charts
  • Book Introductions
  • Over 60 trusted contributors
  • Cross-references
  • Concordance
  • Single-column
  • Black Letter
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface
  • 5 point Bible text; 6 point study notes text

Please Note: The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible was previously published as the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. Study notes and content are the same. Updates include: the new Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface; a new three-column layout; hundreds of pages thinner and more visually appealing.

 

The Font

This is the new Comfort Print Font from Harper Collins and, generally, it is phenomenal. I must confess, though, that I find it semi-challenging. While I can read it, my eyes get tired after around 30 minutes of use.

 

The Translation: NIV

NIV is brought to us by Biblica.  Here is some information from Biblica and my thoughts will follow:

  • ACCURATEThe NIV translators are united by their conviction that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. That, along with their years of studying biblical languages, helps them to capture subtle nuances and the depth of meaning in the Bible.
  • CLEARIf the first recipients understood God’s Word when they heard it, so should you. That’s the driving force behind the NIV’s commitment to clarity. The Bible should be every bit as clear to you as it was to its original audience.
  • BEAUTIFULBible reading isn’t just a solo exercise; it’s meant to be a shared experience. That’s why the NIV translators prioritize literary beauty, resulting in a Bible translation that’s suitable for public reading and use in churches.
  • TRUSTWORTHYThe NIV is translated by an independent, self-governing team of Bible scholars. No publisher, commercial or otherwise (not even us!), can tell them how to translate God’s Word. The translators come from dozens of denominations and churches, and they can only make changes to the text if 70% of the committee agrees — safeguarding against theological bias.

 

NIV and I are nearly the same age (1978 vs 1982) and so it is no stretch to say that I grew up with the NIV and I would say that a good many of my generation have as well. To be fair, the KJV and NASB have also been with me and I love all three.

NIV is incredibly easy to understand but it is still rigorous enough for the serious student of the Word to dig in, grow, and learn. I go back and forth with various translations and the main reason I keep coming to the NIV is its familiarity. NIV is both an old friend and a trusted source of wisdom and it lives up to Biblica’s statement that the Bible speaks.

I want to make a statement as a pastor: You can trust your NIV. There are well meaning Christians who will tell you that the NIV has been “corrupted” or something of the sort; it has not. New Greek manuscripts are being discovered regularly and, unlike other languages, English has a tendency to be fluid so, sometimes, it is needful to update. It is vital that you find a translation that you can read and understand and NIV will fill that place nicely.

 

CONTENT REVIEW

Introductions

There are Section Introductions and Book Introductions. The introductions are fairly in-depth including an excellent outline.

Study Notes

In addition to a biblical-theological focus, the study notes aid the reader in gaining a better grasp of the text within its biblical, theological, grammatical, cultural, and social context. There are 20,000 plus notes available and they are laid out in a 3-column format at the bottom portion of the page. The study notes are so detailed that every single category of Christian, from the new disciple to the seminary student, to a seasoned pastor will be able to benefit from the content.

Margin Content

The margin content contains three parts. First, there is room for personal note taking, assuming you have the ability to write in a small enough font. Secondly, the cross references are located in the outside of the margins. Thirdly, there are optional alternate readings of parts of verses.

Maps, Charts, and Pictures– These things are all over the place! They have a map for Jacob’s journey in Genesis, a chart for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus, a chart showing the distance in miles between OT cities, a picture of King Tut’s golden chariot in 2 Chronicles, a map and diagram of the familial house of Herod in Matthew, an extensive chart harmonizing the Gospels, and even a chart contrasting the Levitical priesthood with Jesus’ priesthood in Hebrews. The pictures are in full color. The more you read the text of Scripture the more you will see the value and helpfulness of the extensive charts. The chats are as helpful to understanding the text as the study notes.

Articles

The articles in the Biblical Theology Study Bible focus on 28 of the most common biblical-theological themes in the Bible. Themes like the gospel, the glory of God, creation, sin, law, covenant, priest, temple, justice, worship, and mission are expounded upon and set within the context of the whole revelation of Scripture.

Overall Thoughts

The Biblical Theology Study Bible is an excellent resource that definitely has a place in your pastoral ministry. There are some font challenges for me but they are not sufficient to degrade my opinion. I do recommend it but I will not tell you how to use it since there is not a wrong way to use it.

 

 

One Reply to “Biblical Theology Study Bible Review”

  1. I liked your review as a Pastor but two disappointments in this Bible were the 26 articles at the end, many of which I found intellectual as opposed to helpful. The other disappointment was many of the notes at the bottom of the pages were not positional but rather general.

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