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I received Zondervan’s updated 2023 NIV Student Bible with notes by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford as a free gift as a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member. I was tasked to give an honest review of this Bible. This beautiful 1,600-page Bible comes in hardcover with a jacket cover, a teal leather soft cover, and a brown leather soft cover—to meet personal tastes.
When I offered to review the book, I thought it might be a Bible like many others, with a few notes and illustrations slapped haphazardly in the Bible. However, I was pleasantly surprised as I perused this excellent Bible.
I first noticed the number of devotionals and applications that were well-written, easy to understand, and relatable to both students ages 14-18 AND ADULTS. For a serious Bible student, the extra resources treated teenagers as adults, with topics that dwell on higher-level Bible stories and explanations.
As I like to learn some of the more profound thoughts of the Bible, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the doctrinal and study notes included throughout the Bible.
I am a certified librarian, so I look for location ease in non-fiction books I read and recommend. This Bible did not disappoint. It included various sections, which are listed below.
- An introduction to each book of the Bible,
- 100 people you should know,
- A glossary of people and places,
- Well-known Biblical events,
- An outline of the Testaments,
- A lineup of rulers,
- Notable Psalms,
- Life Questions, and
- An excellent subject guide.
What also impressed me was the inclusion of three different reading plans. This saves so much time for those looking for a quick resource in finding a plan to follow, thus, allowing more people to get right into reading the Bible without having to research multiple places and plans to find one.
There were also two different listings of the Books of the Bible, one alphabetical and one in the traditional order based on the Old and New Testament locations. The first listing is so much easier for someone just starting to read the Bible to locate the books of the Bible. No more do they have to scroll through both the Old Testament and New Testament in a mixed order to find Books of the Bible and page numbers.
The grand finale at the back of the Bible included eight maps starting with the Old Testament Patriarchs through Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. These two significant events are the Exodus and Conquest of Canaan, the Land of the Twelve Tribes, the Kingdom of David and Solomon, Jesus’ Ministry, and Paul’s Missionary Journeys.
One of my pet peeves in reading anything is looking up the definition when I don’t understand a term. While Bible dictionaries are great resources, I love how this NIV Student Bible defines many words along the way, i.e., plumb line, Golden rule.
Entire pages are dedicated to topics such as “Like an Angry Letter from Home” or “Who were the Gnostics?” These types of extras give such a valuable understanding of the Word of God.
The disadvantages of this Bible were two-fold. First, Jesus’ words were not noted in red letters. While it may not bother some, it is one of the essentials I always look for when purchasing a new Bible. Second is that this Bible is titled the NIV Student Bible. I believe this Bible should be classified as a Bible for all age groups. The title NIV Student Bible makes one think it is only for teenagers. However, because of all the extras included, this Bible could be used and valued by all age groups.
Excellence is my word for this Bible. I highly recommend it.
This Bible can be purchased at
- FaithGateway Store — https://bit.ly/3ZOM2DM
- Amazon — https://amzn.to/3lhifos
Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²) is an international network of independent bloggers who meaningfully blog—and who are serious—about matters relating to the Bible. Follow the members on Twitter using the BG² List.