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Tag: Zondervan Bibles

Celebrate Recovery Study Bible

Celebrate Recovery Study Bible

 

 

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NIV Celebrate Recovery Study Bible 30th Anniversary Edition

 

 

This is a review that I have been very excited to write given that I have a connection to this Bible. 16 years ago, I entered Celebrate Recovery and, through their ministry and discipleship, gained victiory over being a functional alcoholic, all by the grace and power of Jesus and His gospel.  Note: Zondervan provided this copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review and my opinions are my own.

 

Translation

As you no doubt guessed from the title, The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible uses the New International Version, the best seling English Bible in the world.

 

More than in any other Bible that Zondervan offers, the NIV is the ideal choice for this Bible. Addicts come from a wide range of backgrounds and education levels so the easy to read and understand NIV Bible is an ideal choice for reaching a broad audience. NIV is a phenomenal choice for discipleship as most of the commentaries on the market, most of the handbooks, and most of the dictionaries are based on the NIV. There is a host of rescources available to make the life changing message of the Bible come to life.

 

Features

 

Articles explain eight recovery principles and accompanying Christ-centered twelve steps

The 12 Steps and the 8 recovery principles are a discipleship program, no more and no less. The explanatory articles guiod the reader through building a life pleasing to God and free from addiction.

 

Over 110 lessons unpack eight recovery principles in practical terms

These lessons, which I recommend taking two per week, make the discipleship process more intentional and help you to understand the process as well has how the Lord is using the steps to transform your life.

 

30 days of devotional readings

The devotionals help you to gain a foundation of discipline as you begin your new life. They take you through all of the steps in the recovery process.

 

Over 50 full-page biblical character studies are tied to stories from real-life people who have found peace and help with their own hurts, hang-ups and habits

 

Book introductions

Among other things, the Introductions provide a theme, a challenge, an encouragement, and a reflection point. The CRSB is designed to be one of the most practical study Bibles on the market so it is not inundated with a lot of historical background or commentary. It simply provides practical tools for life change. 

Side-column reference system keyed to the eight recovery principles

This particular reference set, goes through each of the recovery principles so that you are able to follos the principle throughout the Bible.

 

Cover and binding

This is  a softcover edition. It is designed primarily for affordability. Given its focus on affordability, it does have a sewn binding.

Paper

The paper is quite opaque for such an affordable Bible. There is no ghosting at all. You could easily use just about any writing instrument for your notes.

Can I use this on my own?

Can you? Yes. Should you? No. Neither recovery nor the Christian Life are designed to be solo endeavors. We are called the Household of the Faithful, the Sheep of God’s Pasture, Disciples of Christ, and, many other names all of which speak to community, We learn from each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other as part  of the recovery process. Victory is more likely when standing with others instead of standing alone.

Is it just for addicts?

Nope, it is not just for addicts and, yet, in a very real sense, there is not any other kind of person. We all suffere from an addiction to sinning and need help to unpack how the truths of Scripture can transform your life.

No matter what you struggle with, the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible offers help, hope, and healing through the transforming power of one simple message: Jesus saves sinners and will transform your life for His glory.

Final Thoughts

The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible is one of the most practically helpful Bible offered by Zondervan. The principles and steps, when paired with Scripture, truly offer the freedom that so many crave. I can tell you from personal experience that the motto of AA is very true, “It works if you work it.” This study Bible is very much a discipleship tool that should be carried not only by addicts but by Biblical Counselors, Social Workers, Pastors, Deacons and anyone else who meets messed up people in their daily lives.

Thompson Chain Reference Bible by Zondervan

Thompson Chain Reference Bible by Zondervan

 

 

Thompson Chain Photos

 

Before we even begin the review I want to share that I have a very special connection to the Thompson Chain Reference Bible and I want to disclose that it is one of my most highly recommended tools for Bible teachers. In October of  1996, I taught my fist Bible lesson from my grandfather’s Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Nearly 25 years later, it is one of two Study Bibles that I recommend, almost to the point of insistence.

 

This will be a simultaneous review of three of the four TCR currently offered by Zondervan. Zondervan Publishers sent me KJV and NASB Editions and Bible Gateway sent me the New King James Version. Note: All three Bibles were sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review (even though I am definitely going to give a positive review) simply an honest one.

Translations offered:

Currently, Zondervan publishes the Thompson in the NKJV, NASB, KJV, and ESV. The NIV will follow very shortly.

NKJV-  New King James Version is far and away my most used translation. It Is very literal, much like its predecessor though it is, oddly not as popular.

New American Standard Bible- Considered to be the most literal English Translation currently available, The NASB is the heir of the most literal English translation that has been made, The American Standard Version.

King James Version- The definitive English Bible, the standard for more than 400 years. The Thompson Chain has been continually offered in the KJV for over 100  years.

 

What makes the TCR unique?

Complete alphabetical and numerical indices listing all 8,000 topics with corresponding pilot numbers and Bible references for comprehensive topical study. It happens that this is the feature which causes me to say that the Thompson Chain Reference Bible is one of the only two Bibles you will ever need.

If a pastor were to take one topical chain per week, it would take just under 154 years to preach all 8000 topics. You would quite literally die before you ran out of things to preach, Were you to preach one topical sermon every Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday Evening Worship Service, there is 51 years worth of material.

 

Bible study aids:  biographical sketches of the most prominent people in the Bible, an archeological supplement, glossary, concordance, Bible harmonies, and outlines of each book of the Bible.

If you thought the Topical Chains were impressive, these additional helps essentially put a seminary grade library in you backpack.

I will just address one of these, the analysis of each book of the Bible. These are presented in an Expository Outline Format.  Each outline presents the minimum necessary to understand each book.

Key Verses and Key Thoughts provide basic information readers can use to develop their own study

Paper, layout and font

The font comes in at 8.5 which is a little smallish for me. The paper is crisp white but there is not a lot of glare, even in the unforgiving Arizona sunlight. The red-letter section is much better than in older editions. Unlike earlier editions, where the red letters were rather pinkish, the red letters here are a deep rich cranberry.

The text is laid out in  a quad column format. Scripture texts are in the center two columns and the reference chains are in the outer columns.

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the jacketed hardcover but the TCR is also available in a a very nice imitation leather and a bonded leather. I a told that when the Comfort Print Editions release next year, there will genuine leather options and a Premier Collection Edition,

Thompson and Key Word Bible, Perfect Together

The Thompson Chain Reference Bible pairs perfectly with the Keyword Study Bible. Most of the world’s pastors have no seminary training and so these two work together as the perfect study library for a pastor. I wish it were possible to merge the two into one physical book but that massive tome would be too much to try to carry. I have said that there are only two study bibles that you really need and these are it.

 

For Every Day Carry

The Thompson is a fairly standard size Bible. It is fairly easy to use for every day carry. In my case, it stays on my desk with my =magnifier. In most cases, though, you will not have any issues using it for daily carry.

For preaching and teaching

The TCR is not designed for pulpit use. However, it is ideally suited, more so than any other, to lesson prep. As I mentioned earlier, the Thompson chain is absolutely the perfect choice of lesson preparation.

What about the NIV Thomason Chain?

Fear not, the NIV Thompson Chain will return in the Comfort Print Edition. I believe that the new edition will be the 2011 NIV despite the fact that Kirkbride only published the NIV TCR in either the 1978 or 1984 NIV.

From what various sources tell me, the NIV will remain in paragraph format as per Biblica’s requirements. I am also told that, at the very least, the NIV will be the Premier Collection Offering for the Thompson Chain

Do I recommend it?

I sure do! For nearly 25 years, the Thompson has been on my desk and has been a primary choice for lesson preparation. Like I said, there is between 41-134 year’s worth of preaching material

 

 

NIV Deluxe Single-Column Comfort Print Reference Bible with Topical Link References

NIV Deluxe Single-Column Comfort Print Reference Bible with Topical Link References

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Zondervan has taken one of my favorite Bible formats and added a  an interesting tweak to it. The new  NIV Single Column Reference Bible, now, not only has standard references, it also includes topical link references. Before we go any further, I disclose that Zondervan sent me a copy of the Premier Collection Edition free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to give a positive review and  my opinions are my own.

 

From Zondervan:

features:

  • Complete text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV)
  • Hand-bound in a supple goatskin leather cover
  • Smyth-sewn and edge-lined construction for flexibility
  • Art-gilt page edging, with gilt line and perimeter stitching
  • Bottom-of-the-page topical links tie Scripture themes together
  • Over 100,000 cross-references and thousands of topical link connections
  • 8 Pages of full-color maps
  • Concordance
  • Single-column format
  • Elegant two-color page design on premium European Bible paper
  • Theww satin ribbon markers
  • Premium goatskin leather cover lays flat when open
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print Typeface
  • 9.5-point print size

 

Translation

We start off with the New International Version (NIV), the world’s best-selling English translation of the Bible. For those who do not remember, or are not familiar with the NIV, it is a mediating translation, meaning that it blends the best of both modes of translation, word-for-word and meaning based translations.

NIV is one of the most ideally suited translations for study of the Scriptures, offering the largest range of commentaries, Study/Reference Bibles, Dictionaries etc. It is one of the main translations that I use for study and teaching and will suit the needs of virtually any Bible student quite well.

Cover and Binding

As with all of the Premier Collection, this edition is goatskin, black in this case. As usual, it is quite delightful to the touch.

It it leather/edge-lined for enhanced flexibility, i.e. more suited to one handed use. The end papers are very thick to provide a little extra sturdiness. All in all I would say this is a very well balanced book and it feels absolutely wonderful in my hands while using it.

The signatures are sewn together to ensure that the Bible lays flat and also to ensure that it will last for a lifetime of use.

Paper, Layout & Font

The Comfort Print Font lends nicely to the readability of this edition. It is listed as 9.5 for the font size and this appears to be a true font size. It is a very readable Bible. Also, this Bible is a black letter edition.

The layout is single column paragraph format with “wide margins.” I put wide margins in quotes because the wide margins also house the references. At the bottom of each page you will find the topical links for each chapter.  (more on that in the reference section)

We have a generously opaque, 36-gsm European Bible Paper. Most writing instruments should be able to be used with no issues.

References

There are two sets of references offered. First, we have the standard NIV Cross-Reference System which has around 80,000 references. Then we have the Topical Link References.

There are around 8,000 topical link references. These remind me of the NIV Topical Reference Bible that was available when I was a child. The topical links are keyed to the Concordance to further enhance your ability to have Scripture to interpret Scripture.

Additional Helps

Concordance

Kohlenberger’s full NIV Concordance is offered. It is keyed to the set of Topical Reference Links to aid with Scripture interpreting Scripture.  There is not really much that needs saying about a concordance other than to say that it serves as a basic topical guide to the study of Scripture. I would go so far as to say that if a person studied every topical like and concordance entrt offered, here, then that person would have a stronger grasp of the Bible than around 90% of the Christ professing world.

Maps

There are 8 full color maps available to help visualize the world of the Bible

Footnotes

We are provided with an abbreviated set of Translator’s Footnotes. These are found in a small callout box at the bottom right of the page.

With Premier Collection Single Column Bibles

I have also reviewed the NASB Single Colum Reference Bible and the NRSV Single Column Reference Bible in the Premier Collection. The NIV offering is thinner and lighter than its NASB cousin and about the same size as the NRSV offering.  Of the three the NRSV is my faavorite because of certain design cues but the NIV is the most useful with the 2nd class of references.

As and Every Day Carry Bible

The  NIV Single Column Reference Bible is offered in a somewhat thin-line format. It is about one and one quarter inches thick. I have a tablet pocket in my briefcase which normally holds my carry Bible for the day and this Bible fit in that pocket quite nicely. It is very light weight and did not pose any issues with carrying

As a Teaching Bible

For most people, this format is very useful for teaching. As it happens I prefer a verse by verse format but all in all this is not bad. I did not notice and difficulties in reading the text in bright light. (The font is a touch small for me to read in soft light)

Should You Buy

You should purchase this Bible if you do any kind of Bible teaching. Pastors, Sunday School Teachers, Biblical Counselors, and small group leaders will all find this Bible very useful.  I think it would also come in quite handy for the student. We often say that the Bible speaks to life, and it does, in this case with more of a practical emphasis than others.

Final Thoughts

I love the idea. My only wish is that we had lined notes pages. Half of the margins are used up by the references so it would be nice to have a place to put notes.

This is, probably, one of the most useful NIV that I have encountered in a while. The Topical Link References are an unexpected but delightful surprise. I think this Bible is an excellent offering.

NASB Large Print Bible in Blue Buffalo Hide

NASB Large Print Bible in Blue Buffalo Hide

Fans of the NASB, myself included, there is new reason to celebrate, an additional high-quality leather binding option-buffalo hide. In this review, we are considering the blue buffalo leather option, which Zondervan sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

 

Click here for photos of this Bible

 

To begin, the edition I am reviewing is the Large Print Thin-line. It is, to the best of my knowledge, a new style for the NASB and one I rather enjoy, to be quite honest.

 

Cover and Binding

As I mentioned with regard to a similar option in the NIV, this is a very supple and flexible leather offering. This buffalo leather is on the same quality level as an ironed calfskin. Ironically enough, this Bible comes in at a lower price point than a traditional calfskin.

 

The leather lined cover is buttery soft and a delight to the touch. It is not as thick as the buffalo hide on other Bibles that I own but still feels every bit as sturdy.

 

Naturally we get a sewn binding. Zondervan left the binding a touch loose. This is to ensure ease of use one handed.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

As has been the case with its cousins in the Premier Collection, the NASB Large Print Thin-line Bible uses a crisp white paper. There is minor show through but nothing that will interfere with its use. If you are like me and enjoy marking in your Bible, I recommend colored pencil for marking in this Bible.

 

The Comfort Print Font Family really shines in this Bible. The verse by verse layout works out extremely well when paired with the 11-point font that Zondervan is offering. The red lettering is a little lighter than I had expected but it is still very well done and very easy to read.

 

In addition to being in a verse by verse format, we also have a double column setting. The double column setting makes it about 50-60% thinner than the most recognizable NASB Bible on the market, the Side Column Reference Bible.

 

The limited Translator’s Footnotes can be found at the bottom of the page.

 

For Everyday Carry

At around 1 inch thick, this is a great format for a daily use Bible. It should fit in most briefcases, backpacks, and purses without issue. I would say this Bible weighs in at 2 pounds or less so you should not experience any carry fatigue. The small, versatile format lends to a wide range of uses including personal study, one to one discipleship, or preaching.

 

As A Preaching Bible

An 11-point font is the smallest size that I would recommend for preaching and this particular Bible will do very well in the pulpit. As a text only Bible, there is nothing to distract from the text when preaching or if you are leading a responsive reading with your congregation.

 

Final Thoughts

NASB is one of the most important English Versions available and this is an excellent offering from Zondervan. Zondervan is the largest publishing partner that the NASB has and I have long wanted Zondervan to give us a broader selection of Bibles from which to choose; it is nice to see them finally doing so.

NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, Premier Collection Edition de

NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, Premier Collection Edition de

 

 

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The Academic Standard Text of the English Bible has joined the Premier Collection and I am delighted. New Revised Standard Version (hereafter NRSV) has been finding its way into my studies more frequently as I endeavor to be more well-rounded in my studies and in bringing NRSV to the Premier Collection, Zondervan has offered an edition that is equally suitable to the desk and the pulpit. (Incidentally, Zondervan sent this Bible to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own as I was not asked for a positive review, just an honest one.)

Translation Choice

With Zondervan being the primary publisher of the NRSV, it makes sense that they would bring a spectacular offering to the Premier Collection…

NRSV is what we call an essentially literal translation, like its cousins ESV and NASB. There are some notable differences in the three, but by and large NRSV is pretty literal. It does tend more toward the mediating end of the translation spectrum because it is a little more free flowing. It is more formal equivalent than either the NIV or CSB, the dominant mediating translations on the market.

I have referred to the NRSV as the Academic Standard Bible for two reasons: 1. All of the general reference Study Bibles (the standard texts in most seminaries) are offered in NRSV and two because that is how it was presented to me. The Translation Committee included Jews, Catholics, Mainline Protestants and conservative Evangelicals. The NRSV has the broadest spectrum of thought in the realm of textual criticism.

Cover and Binding

If you have never handled a Bible in the Premier Collection, you are in for a real treat. To say the leather is a tactile delight is a beautiful exercise in understatement. There are very few Bibles anywhere which are more touchable than the Premier Collection. Previously, I had thought that Harper Collins had used their best leather on the NASB Bibles in the Premier Collection-I was incorrect. The NRSV has the most incredible goatskin that I have ever touched, even beating the leather used by Cambridge University Press, the leader in the Premium Bible Market.

The grain is nicely pronounced; it lights up every nerve ending in your fingertips. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I could sit and just run my fingers over the cover for hours on end. Naturally, as with all of its cousins in the Premier Collection, this is a leather lined cover, making the cover incredibly flexible but still sturdy.

The binding is, of course, sewn, BUT, it is not sewn as tightly as in the rest of the collection. It is almost as if Zondervan had designed this Bible for a peripatetic pastor. It is perfectly balanced for one handed use. Adding to the durability of the Bible, Zondervan has provided overcast stitching on the first and final signatures. This overcasting not only reinforces the binding, it also helps with laying flat in Genesis and Revelation.

Layout

This Bible is laid out in a single column paragraph format with a couple surprises in the layout. Zondervan’s Complete Cross Reference System is placed in the outer margin and that margin, incidentally leaves 1 inch of space for annotations, symbols etc. Previous to receiving my copy, I had not been told that it was wide-margin (my preferred feature in a Bible geared toward study) and I was pleasantly surprised to find wide margins. Margin space has been my biggest complaint with the offerings for NRSV. For a Bible billed as the Academic Standard, wide-margins are essential and I am glad to see that Zondervan has finally added them.

In the footer, you will find the Translator’s Footnotes. Unlike its NASB cousin, the NRSV Single Column  Reference Bible includes the full set of Translator’s Footnotes. You may be asking why this is important and here is why, it is not always possible to go back to the Greek or Hebrew so having an insight as to why a particular choice was made is most helpful. As with all Zondervan Bibles, the Translator’s Footnotes include variant readings from the source text as well as textual variants from other original language manuscripts.

Comfort Print Font and Paper

Like the rest of the Premier Collection, this Bible is in Harper Collins’ Comfort Print Font. For reasons unknown to me, I find the NRSV’s Comfort Print the easiest to read followed by the NKJV Comfort Print Font (NKJV is published by Zondervan’s older sister, Nelson Bibles). Ironically I have not seen a comfort print from the 3rd Imprint under Harper Collins Christian Publishing, Harper Catholic Bibles though it is possible that is still in the works.

I was expecting a deep rich ebony for this black letter text and that is exactly what I got. It is no secret that I prefer a black letter text because I annotate in blue or red ink. Besides that, red letter can be a bit distracting in the pulpit, especially since it is, frequently inconsistent. 2k/Denmark plied their trade as master craftsmen and, in the NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, gave us the most readable NRSV that I have set my eyes on. Though it is not billed as large print, it most certainly is large print at approximately 10.5-point font. To my surprise I had no issues with reading the text. (I wear bifocals and anything below a 12-point is a challenge). I did not experience the expected eye fatigue, a welcome relief since sermon prep requires I spend hours with any given text every week. I am pleased to say that the text did not stress my eyes at all.

The paper is a crisp white and very opaque, 38 gsm I believe. If you did not know, a higher number on the gsm indicates a heavier paper and one which will stand up better with underlying and annotations. There will be absolutely no issues annotating in pen, colored pencil, or standard pencil. Clearly Zondervan wants you to write in this Bible and, for that matter, so do I. There is no sight more beautiful than a heavily marked up Bible. You will enjoy marking up this Bible and making it your own.

There is another delightful surprise, one that would go unnoticed by a good many people. The edge gilting is purple under gold. Traditionally, the gilting it either red under gold or blue under silver. The purple under gold is a nod to whimsy {we don’t normally think of academicians as being fun_ but it also a nod to the majesty of the Scriptures. Purple is the color of royalty and, beloved, the Bible reigns over all othre books as King so it is proper and fitting that the color of royalty should be on the most regal of all books.

Which NRSV?

There are 3 Editions of the NRSV: The Protestant Canon, The Catholic Canon, and the Orthodox Canon. Each canon has a different number of accepted books and, for this Bible, Zondervan relied on the Protestant Canon. As it happens, the Protestant Canon is not in dispute which is to say that all 3 traditions will recognize and accept those 66 books. If you are Catholic or Orthodox and reading this article, I would encourage you to not be disappointed that the Protestant Canon was chosen. In doing so, Zondervan can actually get the Bible into the hands of more people since we all know and read those 66 books.

For use as a preaching Bible

Many denominations use NRSV for their weekly liturgy and this would be a logical choice for preaching in those churches. I was surprised to find it be easy to use. There is nothing wrong with a single column; I just happen to not be used to it in the pulpit. The font size and lay out lead me to believe that this Bible is designed to be equally practical for the Expositor as well as the general reader. It is very easy to do what I did-sit in your favorite recliner with this Bible open and just read for a couple hours.

Should you buy this Bible?

Decide, first, if the NRSV will be a main translation that you will use. The Premier Collection is not inexpensive but it is worth every penny. Ergo, if NRSV is either your translation or choice or a major use translation, then yes, this is absolutely the NRSV to own.

If you are in seminary, using the NRSV is probably not even a question and I have a twofold recommendation for this particular Bible- get the edition that is not in the Premier Collection for your classwork and get the Premier Collection edition for your time in the Pulpit, your preaching Bible does not necessarily have to be your workhorse.

Final Thoughts

I must confess to a gripe- I am annoyed that there are no lined notes pages included in this or any other in the Premier Collection. The Premier Collection is the ideal choice for anyone who teaches the Bible, regardless of whether that is Sunday School, Preaching, Classroom or any other capacity and I cannot fathom a logical reason for the exclusion of notes pages.

Other than that, as I told my contacts at Zondervan, I can sum up my opinion of the NRSV Single Column Reference Bible, Premier Collection Edition, in a single sentence: Finally, an NRSV worth the money!

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

NIV Study Bible 2020 Revision

 

 

NIV Study Bible Photos (Click Me)

 

 

 

For nearly 40 years, the NIV Study Bible has been Zondervan’s flagship study resource for those using the New International Version of the Bible. In 2020, it has been revised and updated with 100 new articles and over 1,000 new study notes. Zondervan sent me a copy, in black bonded leather, free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

 

Translation:

New International Version, NIV for short, is the dominant English translation of the Bible for Anglophone Christians. The NIV is available in two types, Anglicised (published by Hodder and Stouhgton) and American Standard English edition published by Zondervan. These two families cover both sides of the English speaking world.

 

NIV is one of the two most recognizable mediating translations available. A mediating translation strives to strike a balance between Formal Equivalence (literal) and Dynamic Equivalence (thought for thought). NIV’s most similar competitor, Christian Standard Bible, leans more toward the literal side of the spectrum while NIV leans more toward the easy to read thought for thought end of the spectrum.

 

NIV as A Preaching Bible

NIV is an excellent choice for preaching. The translation rates around 6th-7th grade on the Flesch-Kincaide scale. The language is sufficiently technical and sophisticated so as to appeal to the more academically inclined disciple but it is also sufficiently easy to read so as to appeal to those disciples who have English as a second or third language. When bringing an expository sermon, NIV requires fewer restatements and definitions than other English texts.

 

NIV for Study

Some of my colleagues do not consider NIV to be good for study but I cannot agree with them. I find that NIV eliminates some steps when approaching study. Just as in preach ing, when studying a text, the NIV requires less restatement and fewer definitions. Additionally there are a host of commentaries, hand-books, study Bibles, and dictionaries based on the NIV including the powerhouse NIV Application Commentary, the New American Commentary, Holman’s Old Testament and New Testament Commentary and the premier single volume resource on understanding the Bible, Halley’s Bible Handbook.

 

Why choose a study Bible?

The choice to use a study Bible is one of practicality. Most Bible teachers are limited in the number of resources that are available for use, often having only one Bible and few, if any, study aids, which makes the acquisition of a study Bible a very helpful choice.

 

Why the NIV Study Bible?

The NIV Study Bible feature set makes it an excellent choice for a study Bible

 

Cross-References

The most important feature for Bible Study is a good cross referencing system, since the fundamental rule of hermeneutics is that the Scripture interprets the Scripture. In the NIV Study Bible, Zondervan provides around 68,000 references.

 

Translator’s Footnotes

       NIV Study Bible includes the full complement of Translator’s Notes. These include textual variants,  alternate translations, etc. I would say that the footnotes are a large portion of what makes the NIV so Easy to use.

 

Exegetical Study Notes

       Where many study Bibles contain what amounts to commentary, the NIV Study Bible has somewhere in the neughborhood of 25,000 exegetical study notes. The notes include explanations of the text, some cultural and historical background, alternate interpretations of the text , all of which is geared toward drawing out the meaning of the Scripture.

 

Introductions and Outlines

       The Introductions and Outlines in the NIV Study Bible are a little more in depth than in other study Bibles. Each introduction contains a detailed outline of the content of the book. Author, date of writing, purposes & emphases, and a timeline are all included. There is a small box containing “A Quick Look” at the book which highlights the theme, original audience, author, and approximate date of writing

 

Full color Maps and Charts

       Recognizing the needs of visual learners, Zondervan has included around 350 maps, charts, and photographs designed to make the world of the Bible come alive to your mind so you can behold the wondrous things in the Word of God.

 

Kholenberger’s Full Concordance

The complete NIV Concordance, created by John R. Kholenberger III is included. This topical study resource includes 4500-5000 entries with explanations and references.

 

       Index to Study Notes

There is a separate index to the study notes. This index is a topical breakdown of concepts addressed in the study notes, essays and articles to aid in understanding what the Bible has to say on a particular topic.

 

Expository Essays

There are over 100 expository essays included with the NIV Study Bible. These essays provide a more in-depth look at certain important concepts in our study of the Scripture.

 

Paper, Layout, Font and Binding

The paper is a crisp white which makes the red lettering very easy to see. Zondervan gives us a 9-point comfort print font. I, personally find the font a touch small BUT given the amount of content, a larger font would make this volume qite unwieldy.

 

Both the text and study notes are laid out in a double column paragraph format. The columns of Scripture Text are separated byt the center column references and the notes are separated from the Scripture by a bold black line.

 

The binding is sewn to ensure that it can stand up to the rigors of daily use.

 

How do I use the NIV Study Bible?

I am often asked if I regularly use the Bibles that I review and the answer to that is yes. I actually have a particular order in which I use resources, for a very specific reason, and the NIV Study Bible is used twice in lesson prep-it is my third and last resource. I start with the Teacher’s Study Bible and Halley’s Bible Handbook because I want to make sure that I have gotten a good handle on the minimum needed to understand the text. I turn to the NIV Study Bible, next, so that I can look for specific concepts that need a deep dive. Following this are commentaries and lexicons. Lastly I turn to my Study Bibles to compare what I have learned from the text to what other scholas have found with regard to the meaning and explanation of the text.

 

Who should buy the NIV Study Bible?

It is true that NIV Study Bible is for everyone but there is a particular group that I feel would benefit from the NIV Study Bible more so than others, Sunday School Teachers/Small Group Leaders. These wonderful saints serve Christ’s church faithfully, often without the benefit of Bible College and/or Seminary training. For them, a feature enriched study Bible is going to be very helpful.

 

Final Thoughts

I got my first NIV Study Bible in 1996 as a gift celebrating my baptism. In 1996, I began teaching Sunday School and  the NIV Study Bible informed my lessons. In 2005, I upgraded to the 10thanniversary edition. Later I upgraded to the full color edition. Currently, I use the digital version on OliveTree Bible Software. NIV Study Bible has proven a faithful and reliable companion.

 

NIV Study Bible gives you a full library of study materials. You can trust that, when you choose NIV Study Bible, you are choosing a resource that will help you to understand the Scriptures. This is a Bible worth your investment.

 

 

NIV Quest Study Bible Review

NIV Quest Study Bible Review

 

 

Additional Photos

Zondervan has quite an impressive array of Bibles available in the New International Version and one of the most interesting they offer is the Quest Study Bible, the only Question and Answer based Study Bible available. The were kind enough to send me a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.

Edition being reviewed: Black Leathersoft, Thumb- indexed. ISBN: 9780310450832

 

Click here to purchase

Translation: As mentioned the Quest Study Bible is offered in the New International Version (NIV). NIV is one of the mediating translations currently available. Mediating translations are exactly as the name implies, in the middle of the translation spectrum, not as woodenly literal as a formal equivalence translation and not as free flowing as a dynamic equivalence translation. NIV is, statistically, the best selling English translation on the planet; outside the United States, it is THE Bible for the Anglophone Nations (KJV gives it a good run for its money, here in the States.).

Cover and Binding

This is a black leathersoft edition and I have found that Zondervan is really doing well with their imitation leather Bible covers. The imitation leather is becoming more and more convincing. I would argue that a leathersoft cover is actually preferred to a leather cover since the polymer based cover is less likely to degrade with time.

We are given a sewn binding, which not only speaks to the quality of the book but also happens to be the only acceptable choice for biding the book block.

Helps

This is the most important feature in any Study Bible so I want to call out each individual section.

Thumb-indexing

A thumb-indexed edition can be very helpuf, especially for those new to the Bible. The indexing tabs in this edition are black half-moon and eact tab contains 3 books of the Bible for rapid location of your passage.

Introductions:

The introductions present and answer 6 Questions: Why read this book? Who wrote the book? When was it written? To whom was it written? Why was it written? What should I look for in this book? These questions are foundational to the understanding of any book in Scripture; they present the cultural and historical background of the book.

Instead of an outline of the book, we receive a timeline for when the book was written. Often, Christians forget that the Bible is not presented in chronological order so the timeline help us with the understanding where the books fit together.

Question and Answer Side-bar Notes

This is the feature that gives the Quest Study Bible its name. 7,000 of the most commonly asked questions about the Bible are laid out in the sidebars along with answers which make the information easily accessible. Utilizing these Q&A notes, a Bible teacher can easily anticipate many of the questions which will be encountered and have answers ready for learners of any age or any level of proficiency.

Top Questions

The 350 most asked questions are laid out beneath the Scripture text and side bar notes. These questions provide more in-depth answers than the sidebar notes. If you were to address just one question per day, you would have grasped the answers to the most commonly asked questions about the Bible and be prepared to give an answer when asked.

Charts, Timelines, Maps

Like any good Study Bible, the Quest Study Bible offers resources for visual learners. In-text maps, charts, and timelines will help visual learners to internalize the message of the Bible including the historical and cultural contexts.

Subject Index

Any good teacher will tell you that a good subject index is vital for teaching the Bible and the one provided with the Quest Study Bible is excellent. There are two obvious routes to go with this Subject Index, teaching one specific topic at a time or utilizing the Subject Index for a topical excursus while teaching each book of the Bible. In either case, the Subject Index will be a most valuable tool.

Layout, Font, & Paper

The Quest Study Bible is laid out in single column paragraph format with the Q&A  Study Notes in the side panels. Generally, I do not care for single column formats due to readability issues. However, this edition is comparatively readable due to the enhancements of the Comfort Print Font Family.

Naturally this is a black letter edition for the text of Scripture. I realize there there are those who are devotees of red letter editions which do serve a purpose but a black letter edition is a wiser choice in a Study Bible; it makes for more ease of use when annotating, especially with colored pencil.

The paper is comparatively thin but not so thin as to have much show through or bleeding when writing.

 

Who should buy the Quest Study Bible?

The ideal choice for a user of the Quest Study Bible is the New Disciple. New believers will have many questions and the Quest Study Bible is designed to anticipate those questions and to present the answers in the most user friendly format possible.

As a Discipleship tool

If you had not considered the Quest Study Bible as a discipleship aid, you definitely need to reconsider. There is, perhaps, no Study Bible more ideally suited to one on one discipleship than the Quest Study Bible.

What’s missing?

For reasons unknown to me, the Quest Study Bible, like most of Zondervan’s offerings, lacks any real place for notes. There is an edition, exclusive to Costco, which includes a very nice journal. I would love to see more notes pages, at least 3-5 pages per book, maybe following the introduction.

 

Final Thoughts

Much like my Teacher’s Study Bible, I am already intimately familiar with the content included with the Quest Study Bible. If one bears in mind the intended audience, the Quest Study Bible is well done. I would venture to say that around 1/3 of my audience may be too advanced to benefit from the Quest Study Bible but creative teachers will find good uses for this Bible.

NRSV Giant Print Thin-line Bible Review

NRSV Giant Print Thin-line Bible Review

Zondervan has finally released an edition of the NRSV that I can read with no issues, while I wait for my bifocals to arrive, and I am glad to review it for you today. If you click on this ISBN, 9780310454113, you will find an affiliate link which will enable you to purchase your own copy. For the lawyers: Zondervan provided this copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.

Photos of this Bible

 

Zondervan’s Product Description

Easy to Read. Easy to Carry.

Explore God’s Word without suffering from eyestrain, with the NRSV Thinline Bible Giant Print. Not only will the 13 point type size enable you to read Scripture with ease, but it has also been paired with Zondervan’s Comfort Print typeface, which has been heavily tested and specifically designed to present the verses of the Bible in an as easy-to-read print as possible. We invite you to experience a smooth reading experience that complements the foremost Bible translation vetted by Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, and Jewish scholars.

Features:

  • The full text of the New Revised Standard Version (66-book Protestant canon), vetted by an ecumenical pool of Christian academics and renowned for its beautiful balance of scholarship and readability
  • Only an inch thick
  • Double-column format
  • Presentation page
  • Satin ribbon marker
  • Exclusive Zondervan NRSV Comfort Print typeface
  • 13-point print size

 

Readability

This edition stands far above its colleagues. Most NRSV Bibles are fairly smallish, especially the study editions, and cause eyestrain or other fatigue when attempting to read for long periods of time. Zondervan’s Comfort Print font greatly reduces the eyestrain; for some it eliminates it entirely, as it did in my case. The font in the Giant Print Thin-line is 13-point where the Large Print Thin-line comes in at 11-point. Both have the Comfort Print font and yet the difference in readability is incredible, just remember the Giant Print Thin-line adds about 20% to the thickness of the Bible. The only other NRSV that comes close to this in readability is the Baylor Annotated Study Bible. Naturally, I recommend both.

The Layout and Paper

The Giant Print Thin-line is laid out in a double-column paragraph format with semi-bold verse numbers. As far as NRSV Bibles go, this will be one of the easier Bibles to use in preaching.

This is a text only edition of the Bible so there are no distractions in the text itself. In the bottom left or right of the page you will find the Translator’s footnotes. NRSV happens to be one of the more heavily footnoted translations, partially because of its widespread use in academic circles. The foot notes include alternate translations and textual variants.

The paper is around 28gsm and it is a crisp white. It offsets the black letters quite nicely causing the Bible to perform well in most settings. You should have no issues with carrying the Bible.

Cover and Binding

The edition I am reviewing is the black leathersoft and it is also available in burgundy. In this edition, the polymer feel is considerably more obvious than in other Zondervan editions; it isn’t so bad though. I would really like to see this in a genuine leather cover, a Bible so clearly designed for preaching should have a nice cover. I understand Zondervan’s decision, though. NRSV is not the most popular translation; Christian Bookseller’s Association puts NRSV at 7% market share which does not put in the top 10 best-selling Bible translations. Meanwhile Zondervan also publishes the two best-selling English translations on the planet, KJV and NIV so I can understand not committing many premium options into the market. For the leathersoft to be the top level offered is a smart play.

The Bible appears to have a sewn binding so it will last for quite a while. If you plan to use it for a daily carry Bible, it should hold up well.

For Preaching

The NRSV is not a main preaching translation for me. That being said, this is the only NRSV that I would actually be comfortable to recommend for preaching. The font size and readability lend to its usefulness in the pulpit.

I can easily see this edition in the classroom; it will pair very well with the Baylor Annotated Study Bible, the Harper Collins Study Bible, the Oxford Annotated Bible or the New Interpreter’s Study Bible. In point of fact, that would be my recommended use case for this Bible, in the classroom.

For Every Day Carry

At 1” thick, this is one of the easier NRSV Bibles that you will try to carry. It is very lightweight, lending to ease of use with single handed carry. I have quite a few books in my bag and this fit in quite nicely. It definitely lives up to Zondervan’s claim of being easy to carry and easy to use.

 Should you Buy?

Yes, assuming the NRSV is a translation is a translation you use regularly. The price point is very attractive and you receive a good value for the money.

Final Thoughts

This particular NRSV Bible guarantees that I will use the translation more. Whether or not it becomes a preaching Bible remains to be seen. I do love the NRSV’s handling of the Old Testament so I am quite happy to have an easy to read edition; it will make my study that much more productive and enjoyable.

I would like to see this edition available in both hardcover and genuine leather to give it more audience appeal.

NRSV Journal the Word Bible Review

NRSV Journal the Word Bible Review

 

Bible journaling, in many forms, is a habit which I encourage my parishioners to engage in. (For those that do not know, I am the pastor at Abounding Grace Baptist Church in Arizona). It is a habit essential to your growth as a Disciple, so I am pleased to bring you a review of an interesting journaling Bible option, the Journal the Word Bible in the New Revised Standard Version. (Disclosure: Zondervan provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own.)

 

Journal the Word Bible Photos

 

The NRSV Journal the Word Bible is an interesting little rectangle, almost a perfect square in its design. This is done in order to keep the Bible a manageable size and still allow for wider margins. More on that later.

 

The Translation

This particular edition is the NRSV. It is also available in KJV, NIV, and NKJV. To be honest, I do not have any clue why Zondervan’s parent, Harper Collins Christian Publishing did not add NASB, Amplified, and New American Bible and thus have a journaling option for all the English translations they publish.

Though technically a formal equivalence translation, NRSV feels more mediating to me. It seems much less rigidly technical than NASB but more rigidly technical than NIV. The OT is superbly done and it is always one of the first OT translations which I consult. I have mixed feelings about the NT but this is not the forum for that.

NRSV is the Academic Standard Text for mainline protestant Bible colleges and seminaries. It is also accepted by a broad spectrum within Christianity, such as Lutherans, Methodists, and Episcopalians. Chances are, if you have been a Christian for any length of time you will have encountered NRSV. If you have not encountered NRSV, you need to. All Christians need to be familiar with several English translations not just pastors and professors.

The Cover

This is billed as leathersoft but, in truth, it feels very much like corduroy. It has a interesting tactile sensation for an imitation leather.  A paste down liner is included, not that it would make any sense to use an imitation leather liner. It is very sturdy, not overly stiff but neither is it very loose. I find it quite comfortable for holding.

The Paper

The paper is a very soft cream color. The muted color of the paper will work well with using colored pencil. It also makes the text easier to view in brighter light settings, such as the Arizona Sun.

I would guess at around 28gsm on the paper. It is a touch less opaque than I would like. The show through is not bad enough to allow you to make out words on the other side of the paper but in some areas you can see dark shadowing from the text on the other side of the page.

The paper is sufficiently opaque for use with colored pencil and regular ball-point pen. I cannot recommend a liquid highlighter as you are almost guaranteed to have bleed through with this paper.

Layout and Font

We have a black letter edition of the standard size comfort print font, which clocks in at around 9-point and is laid out in a single column paragraph format. It is fairly easy to read for most people. I am rapidly heading toward bi-focals so long periods of use are not indicated for me.

The margins are lined and approximately 2” wide. Unlike its art journaling cousins, the Beautiful Word and Artisan Collection Bibles, there are no pre-included pictures for you; that I rather like. Your markings should be your own, not what someone else thinks should stand out from the text. A true journaling Bible requires that the user do the work of engaging the Scripture and add symbols, notes, and other pictures as the Spirit leads.

As an Everyday Use Bible

This is a very sturdy Bible, well put together and crafted with materials which should last for years of use. I carried it in a briefcase alongside my giant print NIV and the Journal the Word Bible held up just fine.

I mentioned it is an odd little rectangle. You may find it a little difficult to find an acceptable carrying case but there are people who will custom create on for you.

Recommended Tools for Annotations

Colored Pencil- For colored pencil you should receive the best results from Prismacolor Premier colored pencils (I have recently become convinced of their superiority). You would also have good results from Prang, a division of Dickson Ticonderoga. I cannot recommend Crayola as they do not show up well on Bible paper.

Ball-point Pen- For pen my two recommendations are Pilot Pen Company’s Better Retractable Brand or Jetstream by Uni-ball. Both will lay down solid color lines and be easily readable.

Should you buy?

If NRSV is your main translation, yes it is probably a good idea to own a copy. If it is not, I recommend finding a wide margin in your preferred translation. The key when answering the should I buy it question is this, will you actually use it? If you will then you, ultimately should buy it.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am pleased with the experience. The Journal the Word Bible gives you the opportunity to make the Bible truly yours. As you are growing in your faith, you have ample opportunity to track the milestones on your journey.

Large Print Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition

Large Print Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition

 

Additional Photos

 

Everything you love about the Life Application Study Bible, 3rd Edition is now available in an option for those of us with visual limitations, Large Print with a 10-point font. Tyndale sent me a copy of the genuine leather edition free of charge in an exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own.

 

The Translation

Currently, the 3rd Edition is available in New International Version (Published by Zondervan) and New Living Translation, the two most popular as well as easiest to understand English translations of the Bible available. The edition being reviewed today is the NLT.

 

NLT is a meaning based translation in English that rates at a 6th grade reading level. It is incredibly easy to understand and works very well across the ministry spectrum.

 

Cover and Binding

This edition is black genuine leather. It includes a rich pebble grain which provides much tactile delight. The cover is not overly thick but the paste down liner gives it a more sturdy feel. In a Bible this size, you definitely want a paste down liner as an edge to edge leather liner might make the Bible a little unwieldy.

 

Tyndale sewed the binding on the Life Application Study Bible, a decision I advocate vigorously. The sewn binding ensures a lifetime of use (I have seen sewn bindings which have been in use more than 100 years.).

 

Paper & Font

The Paper is thin but nicely opaque. There is a minimal amount of show through but nowhere near as bad as on some other Bibles. You will definitely have no issue using a ball-point pen or colored pencil for your markings.

 

The font has been upgraded to 10-point in the Scripture text and 8.5 in the notes. It is much more readable than the standard or personal sizes, ensuring that this edition will get much more use, by me, in lesson prep.

 

The Scripture text is still in a single column with the notes in a double column format. I would love to see Tyndale release a Bible in a verse by verse format but the font size in this edition more than compensates for the paragraph format.

 

Use Case for LASB

I was quite glad to see that one of the world’s foremost expositor’s, Dr. Steve Lawson, uses a Life Application Study Bible and for the same purpose I do, to bring the week’s lesson to a close with application ideas.

 

Of the 3 major expository questions, the one I most often struggle with is, “What do I do about it?” The Life Application Study Bible far excels at answering that question.

 

I also find the personality profiles to be most helpful. Many Christians have told me that they find the Bible difficult to relate to but the personality profiles overcome this by highlighting the main characters of Redemptive History and makes them more relatable by putting their good and bad points on display.

 

Who is this Bible for?

In general terms, Life Application Study Bible is for everyone; in a more specific sense it is for the person struggling to see how the Bible fits every-day life and to find their place in Redemptive History. It might sound a little cliché but LASB really does answer the question, “Does God have anything to say to me?”

 

For Christian Workers and Bible Teachers

There are a couple items I wish to call out which did not get much mention in my standard size LASB Review.

 

How to Follow-up with New Believers

There are 14-points outlined to help you follow up with a new disciple. Each one includes some “homework” to help the new disciple be firmly established in the faith-walk. You will also find a scripture passage that is germane to the point you are working through.

 

 

So you have been asked to speak

There is nothing scarier than your first lesson. It has been almost 24 years since my first and, sometimes, I still struggle with the same fears and uncertainties I had 24 years ago. This section provides six steps to putting together a compelling lesson for your audience.

 

Compared to the Standard Lesson Teacher’s Study Bible

The Life Application Study Bible and the Standard Lesson Teacher’s Study Bible have to be the two most helpful Bibles for teachers. (Truly there are Bibles that go more in-depth in exposition but they can easily overwhelm.)

 

The Teacher’s Study Bible and the Life Application Study Bibles are not competitors; they are complimentary to one another. The Teacher’s Study Bible excels at the first two Expository Questions, What does it say? and What does it mean? The Life Application Study Bible excels at answering the 3rd Expository Question, What do I do about it?

 

Should you buy the Life Application Study Bible?

Most assuredly. In fact, if you are a teacher, you would do very well to own both of the Bibles mentioned above. A Bible teacher should have many tools in his belt.

 

If you are not a Bible teacher, you should still own a copy of the Life Application Study Bible. It makes the Bible very easy to understand and that, after all, is the key to a life pleasing to God, knowing and understanding His word.