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.
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 #BibleGatewayPartnerTweet
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.