With commentaries, concordances, devotions, and more, we have numerous resources available to study deeper into God’s Word.
But, sometimes it’s helpful to have one main resource to use while reading. If you’re looking for a tool that combines the definitions found within a typical study Bible with information found in a concordance, a Bible dictionary, and a devotional, take a look at the new NIV Essentials Study Bible (Zondervan, 2013).
A Comprehensive Bible Study Tool
This Study Bible has nine main kinds of tools (taken from 6 others popular Bibles) incorporated through its pages:
- Each book begins with a “spotlight” page that identifies key concepts, information about the book itself, key verses, key teachings, key terms (and defintions), key people, a timeline, and map of the surround area. An amazing introduction!
- The Dig Deep, Look Closer sections offer historical information on one of five aspects of the time and culture: people, history, archeology, artifacts, and reliability. These sections greatly appeal to readers ready to learn more about the historical influences behind biblical customs and events.
- The Guided Tour sections describe biblical events in more detail, highlighting that event’s overall importance in the Bible and faith. Each section then ends with a “life question” to reflect upon.
- The Insight lenses also provide more detail on a person or event and include reflective “life questions.”
- Each book also includes many of the study notes the original NIV Study Bible has at the bottom of the page. In this Bible, these study notes are considered the unpack lens.
- Various verses are highlighted in small sidebars to draw attention to a particular truth or interesting fact about a verse.
- The People in Focus sections offer more information on various people within the Bible, plus a “life question” to apply what that person learned (or didn’t learn) to your own life. (I particularly love the insights to the disciples Thomas and John on pages 1350 and 1351.)
- The Q&A sections address factual topics (“when are rest and sleep okay?”) as well as reflective questions (“does God expect me to forgive someone who keeps hurting me?”). I love the Q&A on the Christian church in John 14.
- The Reflect and Respond sections provide the devotional part of this Bible. Each R&R has a 2-3 paragraph devotion related to the Scripture you just read, a few sentences to think about, a few thoughts on how to apply what you’ve read to your life, and a “next level” question to spur you into action.
The language in this Bible reads like magazine articles, devotions, and educational resources, depending on the section, but all are in an understandable and insightful tone. The reflection questions included in many “lenses” apply to men or women, young or older.
You’ll find numerous other study tools throughout this Bible and in the back, including a timeline and map of the Passion Week, a “harmony of the gospels” chart, reading plans, a subject index, concordance, and much more.
As with any study Bible, the editors of this Bible recommend always reading the Scripture first, then diving into the additional resources, as they expand on the verses you just read.
With so many resources, this Bible may overwhelm a very new believer or “deeper study” student. However, even for those new students, this Bible will become an extremely useful tool. For any Bible reader, this comprehensive tool provides many useful insights in interesting and applicable ways.
What tools do you look for within a Study Bible?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.
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