Monday, August 31, 2015

The NIV Zondervan Study Bible: A Review

I have more than a few Study Bibles. Looking over at my bookshelf I see the following:

  • ESV Study Bible
  • HCSB Study Bible
  • NIV Study Bible (The older one from 2008)
  • New Geneva Study Bible (which later became the Reformation Study Bible)
  • Life Application Study Bible
  • TNIV Study Bible
  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible

Moreover, in addition to these, I have electronic copies of the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible, the ESV Global Study Bible and the MacArthur Study Bible.

Even with all of these wonderful Study Bibles on my shelf I have been eagerly anticipating this new NIV Zondervan Study Bible from the time I first heard about it back in February on Andy Naselli's blog.

A fantastic and diverse team of scholars came together to produce this wonderful resource. D. A. Carson serves as general editor, Desi Alexander, Rick Hess and Doug Moo are the associate editors, and Andy Naselli is the assistant editor.

Listen as D. A. Carson gives an overview of this new Study Bible in the following video:

This study Bible is not merely an update of the old NIV Study Bible (which will stay in print), but has completely fresh content from more than 60 of the worlds finest Biblical scholars. Not only did D. A. Carson serve as general editor, he contributed the notes (co-authored by Andy Naselli) for John, and in addition to serving as associate editor, Doug Moo provided notes for Romans, James, 2 Peter and Jude (2 Peter and Jude co-authored again by Andy Naselli). Great essays have been provided by Jim Hamilton, Kevin DeYoung, Sam Storms, Moisés Silva, Tim Keller and Andreas Köstenberger (just to name a few). A full list of contributors can be found here, and here is a video giving an overview of the team of scholars behind this new study Bible:

Why another Study Bible? 

All of the study Bibles I listed above are outstanding resources. I use them each often. They each bring something unique to the table, and the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is no exception. While many study Bibles focus on Systematic Theology (The ESV Study Bible being an excellent example of a study Bible in this format), the NIV Zondervan Study Bible focuses on Biblical Theology.

Here is a brief video explaining the Biblical Theology approach:

At 2,880 pages and nearly 5 pounds this Bible is an impressive and comprehensive work. There are countless maps, charts, illustrations and photos which bring the world of the Bible into your hands. Together with the other faithful study Bibles on the market, the church is blessed with resources that provide a wealth of knowledge and insight. Also, be sure to check out this page for plenty of resources and samples.

Finally, I know some readers of my blog might not prefer the NIV translation. In fact, some people might intensely dislike the NIV. However, I think we should stop and thank God that we have so many faithful translations of the Bible in our native English language. Just like with study Bibles, each faithful translation of the Biblical text brings something unique to the table. To faithfully exegete a text, several translations should always be consulted (especially if one is not proficient in the source languages). Good Bible translations are helpful resources. It's both-and, not either-or. Along with the KJV, NASB, ESV, and HCSB, the 2011 NIV is a translation I have read from Genesis to Revelation. My only real quibble is "assume authority" in 1 Timothy 2:12, but I have heard and read Doug Moo's explanation of that translation and I respect his view (and he is an complementarian). My thinline NIV is one that regularly makes its way into my backpack. I read from many translations regularly, and I tend to rotate the Bible I carry with me to classes, often to have a different translation than what my professor might be reading from aloud.

This is a fantastic resource that will serve any believer well no matter your preferred translation. I heartily recommend this study Bible to any Christian, and I am thankful for all of the contributors who made this study Bible a reality.

Note: I was provided a copy of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible free of charge for review purposes with no expectation of a favorable review. The opinions expressed above are my own.

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