Book Review: NIV Essentials Study Bible

Saturday, August 02, 2014

The NIV Essentials Study Bible is a giant conglomeration of some of the best study Bible tools that Zondervan has offered. I'm one who likes to dig deep into individual scriptures, as well as look at the meaning and context of entire books. Reading the historical backgrounds and getting extra tidbits of archaeological information helps bring the inspired Word to life. Though the NIV is no longer my preferred translation of the Bible, it is (in my opinion) the easiest to comprehend. I usually have my Kindle with me when I go to church, and I love having all of the study tools at the tips of my finger when I want to look up something quickly. The NIV Essentials Study Bible combines the best parts of six different Bibles and study materials. They are:

Book Introductions: A quick overview of each book of the Bible including key concepts, verses, teachings, terms, etc.

Unpack: Traditional bottom-of-the-page study notes that give verse by verse explanations of text.

Dig Deep, Look Close: Articles and photos adapted from the Archaeological Study Bible

Q&A: Gives answers to some of the most common and perplexing questions about the Bible.

People in Focus: Examine Scripture through the stories of the most important people of the Bible.

Insight: Helpful articles that include background information.

Guided Tour: Gives a birds-eye view of the entire Bible. 

Highlights: Abbreviated notes that point out interesting facts, discuss difficult texts and highlight things that are often overlooked. 

Reflect & Respond: Kind of like a short devotional reading. 

You could easily get lost in the sea of information that is included in this Bible. The content is (for the most part) concise and solid teaching. However, there are two issues I have. The first is the e-version of this Bible is not very intuitive. Perhaps the navigation is different on each reading device, but I found the Kindle version to be a bit difficult to get used to. (I had to read the instructions at the beginning to figure it out!) My other complaint is the "contemporary" NIV translation... this is not exclusive to this particular Bible, but I strongly dislike the addition of "women" where the historical text did not add that, and using pronouns such as "they/their/them" as opposed to "he/him/his." This may seem minor to some but it is a strong deviation from the original, inspired text. But of course, that is just personal preference. Overall, this is an excellent Bible resource with in-depth study materials. 

***Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”***

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