Book Review: NIV Study Bible, Fully Revised Edition

I’ve never done a book review on Not About Me. It’s not really what we’re about on this blog. But when an offer came through BibleGateway Blogger Grid (of which I am a member) to receive a free copy of the NIV Study Bible, Fully Revised Edition, I jumped at the chance! The NIV Study Bible has been my go-to resource for at least ten years, for the readability of the translation and the scholarly integrity of the notes. (For more on how to choose the right Bible translation for yourself, read my post, The Alphabet Soup of Bible Translations.)

As I took my beautiful new Bible (with its unmarked dust jacket and crisp page edges) out of the box, the first thing I noticed was its heft. The hardback version weighs over four pounds and is 2.25 inches thick. I will not be slipping this into my carry-on luggage! In fact, I won’t even carry it to church with me. (Yes, I still take a print Bible to church with me. I have my reasons.)

The second thing I noticed was the colors. The maps and illustrations are richly textured, vibrant, and easy to read. Each section of the Bible is also delineated by a color. For example, the header material and chapter numbers on every page of The Letters and Revelation is blue, and there’s a blue band at the top of the introductory pages for each book in this section. (The older version has the same bands on the introductory pages, but not in the header or chapter numbers on each page.) The revised edition also includes the name of the section on each page. Pair this detail with a book like Fee & Stuart’s How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth, and you’ll vastly improve your understanding of the text. When the Bible lays open, you can look across the page edges and see each section.

One of the touted improvements for the new edition is the “Comfort Print typeface.” At first, I didn’t like the thicker verticals on this font, but after my brain adjusted, I do find it easier to read than the previous version. It “feels” much bigger than 9-point, and I don’t need the strongest area of my progressive lenses to see it at a regular distance.

While aesthetics and physical presence are important, the most significant difference in the Revised Edition is the notes. They are fuller, with cultural aspects better explained and some of the language updated. For example, the note for Mark 2:15 now explains why Jewish tax collectors were hated by most Jews. There are also additional articles to explain difficult passages and additional or enlarged photos to depict typical situations. For the curious Bible reader, these aspects are a delight!

My biggest criticism of this new edition is a result of its physical improvements. The fuller color in the images and the thickness of the typeface have caused increased bleed-through on the almost-translucent pages. Particularly when there’s a photo or colored separation line on one side of the paper, it muddies the otherwise easy-to-read text on the other side. I understand, of course, that no one wants their Bible to weigh six or eight pounds, but I wish there was some way to have more opaqueness in the paper pages.

A study Bible is the single most valuable and accessible tool for today’s student of God’s Word. Every serious student of the Bible needs to select the translation and approach to study that fits their needs, but I highly recommend The NIV Study Bible, Fully Revised Edition.

Find information about the update here.

You can purchase this Bible here or any of the usual places.

Zondervan’s NIV Study Bible, Fully Revised Edition is beautiful and even more helpful than the original. While I won’t carry it around, I expect to use it for a long time. #BibleStudy #BibleGatewayPartner

Just to be clear, I received this Bible for free as a member of BibleGateway Blogger Grid and in exchange for my honest review.

I’d always like to hear from you! What’s your favorite translation/version and why? Have you seen this new NIV Study Bible? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments below.

A Little Time Away

Most of you, like me, wear many hats. Over the past year, the time I have available to wear my “writer” hat has dwindled. I LOVE researching and writing Bible studies and reflection pieces for Not About Me, but I haven’t kept up with some other writing projects God has put on my heart. So I’m taking five weeks off to focus on other writing projects.

In the meantime, there are over 300 posts here on Not About Me. Use the search tool or look through the categories to find more about anything on your mind.

I’ll “see” you back here the weekend of October 16th, and hopefully I’ll have some good news and/or some special things to reveal!

Nameless–no, Unnamed–Series Conclusion

We can only define them by their malady (or friend’s malady) and location: The Deaf Man in Decapolis, 4 Friends on the Roof. Or sometimes by their profession or nationality: Centurion in Capernaum, Syro-Phonecian Woman in Tyre. The one thing we never know is their names.

I mislabeled this blog series when I started. These people aren’t nameless. They had given names and family relationship names like mother, husband, or cousin. They were people, just like me and you. In fact, Jesus may have called many of them by their names. But we don’t know those names. So they’re not “nameless.” They are “unnamed” or “anonymous.” Maybe I’ll go back and correct all the posts at some point.

Continue reading

The Preposition of Presence

It’s the small words that get me: the sight words we learned in first grade. Sure, I can talk about predestination, sanctification, eschatology, and all the rest, but the simple words are the ones that often bring me to my knees or cause my hands to raise in praise.

Recently, one word keeps rising to the surface, like blueberries in milk. The word is with. I’m calling it “the preposition of presence.” From Genesis to Revelation, the Story of God is about presence: His presence with His people and our presence with Him.

Continue reading

Nameless: Sabbath Healings

If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!  –Matthew 12:11-12

The Gospels record seven times Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath. In every situation, we don’t know the person’s name! (One was Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, so we know a bit more about her, but still no name.) We can only define these people by their malady and their location. I’ve listed all seven passages at the bottom, but let’s take a few minutes to look with more detail at three of these people.

Continue reading

Do the Work Well

Paul was near the end of his third journey, and he wanted to arrive in Jerusalem before Pentecost. He knew a stopover in Ephesus would delay him for days, but he also knew, without a doubt, this trip was his last time to pass that way. So Paul asked the Ephesian church leaders to meet him in Miletus, about 35 miles south of Ephesus (Acts 20:16-17 and note), where he could encourage them once more.

Acts 20:17-22.

When the Ephesian elders arrived in Miletus, Paul sat them down for a talk. I wouldn’t really call it a conversation, more of a speech or lecture, but in a few sentences, he summarized his approach to ministry. It’s a pattern that still applies today.

Continue reading

Until He’s Learned Somethin’ (c.1946)

The screen door slammed behind him, a quick echo to the cocking of her rifle. She took her time crossing the few feet to the door and opening it with her left hand, rifle ready in her right. She saw him skid around the back corner of the barn, shirt-tale flapping in the breeze.

Her name was Avera. It sounded like “average,” but “average” would never describe her. She and Henry married almost two years earlier, but with his deployment they had only lived together for the last six months, since the war was over. He still had a lot to learn about her.

Continue reading

Nameless: Deaf Man in Decapolis

After a fairly serious confrontation with the Pharisees (Matthew 15:1-20), Jesus “withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon” (Matthew 15:21), where he met an interesting woman (See Nameless: A Woman in Tyre). We don’t know how long he stayed there, but sometime later, He took a circuitous route back to the Sea of Galilee, wandering into the Decapolis (a loose collection of ten cities that stretched all the way up to Damascus). People recognized him there, too. What happened next is easy to miss when you’re reading through the Gospels.

Mark 7:31-37.

Continue reading

The Kids: John Mark and Timothy

Two boys, really, chosen to accompany the most famous man (next to Jesus) in Christian history. Did their mothers see who Paul was going to be? Did these young men sense the significance of their service…or did they view it as a big adventure?

It makes sense for a group of men to invite an assistant/intern/gopher on a long trip. He could have carried things, stepped out for coffee or sandwiches, even gone ahead for lodgings if necessary. Paul had plenty of people to meet, sermons to prepare, and letters to write. An assistant for the mundane tasks was a perfect addition to their small band.

Continue reading

Prioritizing the Person of Peace

Paul took off on his second gospel-sharing journey probably more than a year after the first journey ended. This time Silas went with him. Apparently, the two grew close while Paul was at the Jerusalem Council. In addition, Silas had returned to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas to encourage the church there (Acts 15:22, 32), giving these new partners more time to get acquainted. (For more on the Jerusalem Council, see Antioch, part 2.)

Paul and Silas headed north out of Antioch. They probably stopped in Paul’s hometown of Tarsus. Then, they travelled through Derbe and the three cities where Paul had been persecuted on the first trip: Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch. In Lystra, they picked up Timothy.

Continue reading