This Bible, the NIV Essentials Study Bible is jam packed! It has over 1700 pages, Reading Plans, Subject Index, a place for Notes and there are 15 colorful maps in the back! I've never had a Bible like this before where parts of other Bibles are put into 1 Bible. It's incredible and I know that a lot of work went into compiling all of this together. I really love the photographs, charts, highlights, maps and lens. They updated the NIV version from the 1984 one, there was another update in 1996 and the lastest update was in 2011. This latest one refers to men and women equally. They moved away from using the third person masculine singular pronouns like 'he/him/his'. I do like that it includes 'women' in there now where as up until recently, it didn't have this. With human effort, there are going to be flaws and they try their best translating and give God the glory. Truly an incredible Bible and it would make a great investment in your life! It would also make a great gift for for a loved one who dearly treasures His Word!
I love collecting Bibles. Not so they can sit on my shelf, but to have a useful tool in studying God's Word. Study Bibles are my particular favorite.
Zondervan has released the NIV Essentials Study Bible which actually compiles bits from previous Bibles they've published; the NIV Study Bible, Archeological Bible, Student Bible to name a couple. In the past, I have used all three of these so I was interested to see how they would compile them into one Bible that wasn't approximately the size of a suitcase.
Why does the book exist?
I ask the same questions of this Bible that I ask of the NIV Fast Facts Bible: Given the proliferation of Bibles available what's the justification for printing yet another Bible, especially one that compiles previously published Bibles? Since it compiles previously published Bibles does it end up being basically the "demo" version of those Bibles?
The purpose of the Essentials Bible is to use the elements from those previous publications as "lenses" that bring you closer and closer to the text. It doesn't have every element from every version, so in that sense it is a stripped down demo. However, there's still a lot here and it works as an introductory study Bible that can keep you digging for quite awhile.
The Essentials Bible uses the NIV 2011 text. While I'm not qualified to speak to the accuracy of translations I can tell you that the NIV 2011 has been highly criticized. Entire denominations (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Southern Baptist Convention) that have used the NIV for years have turned away from the NIV 2011 in favor of the ESV 2011.
Book introductions / Study notes / Maps
These are the basics for a study Bible. The notes are not as exhaustive in this edition as they are in the NIV Study Bible, or the ESV Study Bible. That can be a challenge because its frustrating to look up a verse and then go to check the notes only to find there's no note on that verse. It'll happen more in this edition.
This was my favorite part of the student Bible. Sometimes the characters of the Bible can feel two dimensional. The profiles help show that they were, in fact, real people.
This is the archeology lens; pun intended I presume. These really do help even though they are sparse. Seeing the Bible tied in with the culture and history of the time really helps put it in perspective.
There's quite a few of these where they answer some of those common questions and even some of the not so common. Remember, these answers while based on scripture are still commentary and not scripture. They are meant to help you study, not end the study.
Insights / Guided Tour
These are short "life application" style pieces meant to illuminate the text. Each one ends with a life question.
Reflect & Respond
R&R's are short devotionals broken into four parts; read, think, live, and next level.
Overall, there's a lot to like about the NIV Essentials Study Bible and it's priced competitively at $50. It's just that NIV 2011 translation that is problematic. My suggestion is, if you get this Bible, get a text only copy of the ESV, or have an ESV on your digital device and keep it handy while you study. It's always good use multiple translations when you study anyway, no matter the translation. The added value pieces really do add value.
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The NIV Essentials Study Bible is a great resource when you are involved in Bible study.
There seems to be more emphasis in this book on the tools to help with your study than the actual scripture. The words of the Bible are there but there is also a lot of information to help with your study of the Bible.
I received this book to review in an electronic format. This is a great form when you are unable to travel with your Bible. But I prefer a hard copy for my daily study needs.
I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for my unbiased review
I purchased the ebook version and I was very disappointed. The ereader is very hard to navigate and not user friendly. I purchased the paper version of this bible for a friend and was impressed with all the notes and details. I will be trying to return this item and see about going back to using paper.