Review: The NIV Study Bible

My big confession: I have never been a fan of study Bibles.

I have always wanted Bibles with significant margins so I can put in my own notes. With the coming of digital Bibles and resources, I have utilized the marking tools and notetaking tools of Logos to build my own system. When I study the Bible, I want to study the Bible and I have always felt the notes in any study Bible are so limiting because we may only read them and not dive deeper.

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NIV Faithlife Study Bible — Review

I had the good fortune of being sent the NIV Faithlife Study Bible for review purposes. I am thankful to Zondervan and their marketing team for making this available.

Over the years I have shied away from study Bibles. They are big and bulky and even then they are too limiting in the ability to truly study the Word. I’ve taught students and my church for years on ways to get away from study Bibles. Does that take people away from study Bibles and into the Word so they study it for themselves? Nope.  Read more

The value of a digital Bible

It was simple. I was going over to the library of the college where I teach to do some study. My physical Bible was with me as well as my notes on the passage I was working on. Within three minutes of getting into the library I found the huge advantage of what I had built in a small way in my digital Bible. I use Olive Tree Reader and over the years have added some very basic tools.

Without my reader, I had to use three huge volumes spread out. While that feels very scholarly, it was a waste of time. I do admit it helped with my non-existent strength training program, so I’ll be sore tomorrow. Other than that, it wasted time. I could have had some basic words in my text ready to go and then pulled out more targeted volumes that would have aided me in a great way.

I still love my physical Bible. I still love taking notes on a simple legal pad. But the crossover to digital is much more helpful than even I imagined.

A new Bible publishing venture

It’s not about a new translation… thank God!

It’s about a new venture to try and appeal to the DESIGN of the Bible. How it looks and reads compared to other novels and books we put in our hands. It’s also about an appeal to excellence in publishing once again.

It’s a Kickstarter phenom right now, having blown past his original funding goal by four times with three weeks to go.

The Kickstarter video is HERE.

The website for the project is HERE.

The beginning of a two part interview with the premier Bible design blog on the web is HERE.

Four elegant volumes designed for enjoyable reading
The four volume set Bibliotheca will produce.

Paper or… digital?

A recent BibleGateway poll found that people still like taking a physical Bible to church. Overwhelmingly.

I haven’t found that percentage to be SO high in our church. There are a good number of people using their phones or tablets now. But we still have a majority using physical Bibles.

While I am getting more adapted to putting notes into a digital format Bible, I still love holding a physical Bible when I teach and preach.

What has been your experience?

God’s Best

I was glancing through one of my Bibles on my desk, and this handwritten note stood out: “Do we want God’s best or not?”

This is THE question of the day for me. And I was given a bit of a test in it. I’m fairly sure I passed… but the initial feelings aren’t always “victorious.”

However, the deepest part of my longs for God’s best. This is what I insist on in my life. Even through painful decisions.


Book Review: “The Voice” New Testament

“The Voice” is a New Testament translation coming from Thomas Nelson.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This is a new translation that will eventually include the Old Testament. The translation work combines the work of scholars and artists. This translation has as its stated goal to be a work for ” a church in great transition.” What is different about this translation is they combine translation scholarship with the work of authors, musicians, and other artists to make a translation that is incredibly flowing and easy to read. They actually call it a “literary project.” The goal is to get people back into the Word of God.

The format is interesting. They will put in blocks of writing that help explain the text. It has a flow that makes it much more readable than a commentary, and it does a good job setting the context for the reader. They are also faithful to translation work, in that if they added phrases within the text that are not in the original languages, they italicized them so readers will know this is something just to help explain the text a little better.

It is also written like a movie script. Dialogue is set off by marking the person speaking at the beginning of the verse. It doesn’t really detract from the reading.

I am a translation junkie, but with our recent translation “wars” over the TNIV, ESV, etc., I was leery of looking at another translation. I was especially leery when I noticed some of the names (not translators) attached to the project. What theological damage they could have done to the text seems minimal at this point. I may discover it on another reading. The translators used are solid, in my opinion. For my own ministry, if I had this translation, it would be useful to give to people who had never read the Bible, or had a hard time getting into the story. This translation is helpful.

New Book for Review Just Arrived

It’s actually a new translation called “The Voice” from Thomas Nelson. They sent me a complimentary copy for review. I admit, seeing one of the contributors (not one of the translators) had me skeptical. But I took it to my son’s swim meet tonight and read through some passages. I am pleasantly surprised! I look forward to a deeper look into this fresh translation. Review forthcoming.