Monday, December 17, 2018

NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible - A Review

(see my earlier review at

Welcome to (one of) the best modern Study Bible available in 2018. A number of features make it stand out. The first obvious indication of its value is its size. Containing 2500+ pages of Biblical text, notes, essays, concordance, and maps — this thing is HUGE. But more important than this is the range of authorship (something I missed in my earlier review). Authors come from a range of institutions — Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (my alma mater), Wheaton College, Asbury Seminary, Baylor University, Westminster Theological Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, etc. The authors include men who mentored me, men whom I have read, and some that are new to me. There seems to be a missing diversity in gender and, perhaps, ethnicity (more difficult to verify). Though the book has a somewhat Baptist/Reformed flavor, the editor has drawn from a wide variety of sources.

The notes are extensive, occupying nearly 20% of most pages — and given that the notes use a slightly smaller font than the Biblical text itself, they truly contribute to 25% or more of the text. Along with the notes, helpful full-color charts and maps are scattered throughout the book to help the reader grasp the broader structure of the text. There are also nearly 30 essays addressing topics which typically cross the normal divisions of scripture such as testaments, books, authors, etc. Some of these essay discuss topics such as

* The Story of the Bible: How the Good News About Jesus is Central by Timothy Keller
The Bible and Theology by D. A. Carson
* A Biblical-Theological Overview by D. A. Carson
Death and Resurrection by Philip S. Johnston
The Consummation by Douglas J. Moo

An extensive concordance is also included along with a 14 map atlas (note: maps, as mentioned earlier, are also embedded in the notes as well).

Weaknesses are few. Though there is a wide theological diversity demonstrated among the contributors, the lack of gender diversity is too obvious. The font of the notes sometimes seems too small. Thankfully the text of this Study Bible is available in a number of digital versions including Kindle and LOGOS. Finally, be aware that this book was published as recently as 2015 under a different title, NIV Zondervan Study Bible. I have this book in both hard copy, as a Kindle book, and as a LOGOS e-book. A brief survey suggests there is no difference between the earlier version of the book and the current one.
As I wrote earlier, while reviewing the previous edition: I have a few favorite Study Bibles - the NIV Zondervan Study Bible will/has become another of those favorites. I will be consulting it often — I suspect others will as well. The same can be said for the newer NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible.
This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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