Tag Archives: study bible

NIV Essentials Bible cover (Zondervan, 2013)

A New NIV Study Bible {Book Review – NIV Essentials Study Bible}

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.  NIV Essentials Bible cover (Zondervan, 2013)
  • 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.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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NIV Teen Study Bible (Zondervan, revised 2014)

For Your Teens: NIV Teen Study Bible Review

It’s pretty rare that I post anything relating to teens on this blog yet, but my husband teaches teens, and we both are around teens in our fellowship. We also love our NIV Bibles (especially study bibles), so I grabbed the opportunity to review the newest version of the NIV Teen Study Bible (Zondervan, revised 2014).NIV Teen Study Bible (Zondervan, revised 2014)

We love using many translations in our home, but the NIV is a great translation for daily reading. This teen Bible includes many different features that impressively help the reader reflect on truths found within God’s Word.

Immediately upon opening this Bible, I found (and love) the “We Believe” introduction page. This page breaks down the phrases within “the Apostles’ Creed” and points the reader to an appropriate section in Scripture to learn more about that phrase. When the reader turns to one of those Scriptures, he/she finds a one-page devotion on those verses and truths found within.

Devotion Features

This Bible also includes a variety of other devotion-like features that help the reader figure out how biblical truths relate to today’s life.

  • Both my husband and I love the “instant access” sidebars. These boxes of text take a handful of verses and offer a 50- to 100-word devotion on how that biblical story can be applied in a teen’s life now.
  • The “To The Point” and “Panorama” sections found within each book also serve to summarize the book’s truths and highlight main points.
  • Many of the books also have a “Dear Jordan” feature formatted like an advice column letter. My husband and I were both thankful that the questions addressed are very real issues with today’s teens, and these questions didn’t hold back. (Teens desperately need honest conversations from good sources.) The answers seem to suffice and have sound advice, though I wonder if all teens will be able to relate to the straightforward tone. Tone is such a subjective aspect, and the writers likely had to balance capturing teens’ attention while still using language (without too much slang) that could still be relevant in five or more years. For this, I applaud the writers.

Study Bible Features

The only “negative” my husband offered was that this Bible wasn’t as much of a true “study Bible” as he thought it would be by carrying the “NIV [Teen] Study Bible” title, and I agree. That said, we both find numerous features that absolutely offer study aspects that teens wouldn’t find in a “regular” Bible. These features include:

  • One-page summaries at the beginning of each book with a brief background and some highlights of the book. We also love the green bars at the bottom of these pages that share world events occurring likely around the same time as the events within that book. While these times cannot be proven for certain, it’s fascinating to think of what’s happening in the other parts of the world at the same time as these biblical events.
  • Highlighted verses throughout the Bible
  • Study Q&As
  • The back of the Bible offers: weight and measures conversion charts, reading plan suggestions and checklist, a “Bible Truth Index” with topical listings, a “Teen Life Index” to look up relevant issues, and 8 full color study maps.

The “instant access” features mentioned previously also integrate some background information that would be found in true “study bible notes” along with thoughts on how that information is relevant to today’s teens.

We plan to keep this Bible around, read it ourselves to help us better serve the teens around us, and hopefully offer copies to some teens as gifts!

What Bible does your teen prefer to use? What do you (parent/caregiver or teen) want to be included in within a Bible focused on teens?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this Bible from the publisher and BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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