College students are busy, with class, homework, living on their own, a social life, and (often) work vying for their time. Amidst this busyness, its relatively easy to neglect the more important things in life, like reading your Bible. To help address this problem, Zondervan has released the New International Version College Devotional Bible.
The College Devotional Bible is intended to encourage Bible reading among college students by emphasizing regular devotions and a series of reading plans that help keep students in the scriptures. Included in this Bible are 222 devotionals, which include a scripture reading, a short devotional story (historic, pastoral, or narrative), and reflection questions. These are generally good devotional moments, geared toward busy students and the questions they may come across while at college. While it would have been helpful to have an index of all these devotions, having them tucked within the contexts of the scriptures serves as a good encouragement to read this Bible along with the devotional content.
The hardback construction of this the NIV College Devotional Bible is solid and appropriate for students, who (lets be honest) are not often known for their delicate care of books. The text is easy-to-read and is a dark shade of blue that gives the eyes a nice break from the black of many textbooks. The devotional readings are easy to spot, accord well with the passages of scripture they appear alongside, and are brief enough to hold the attention of those easily distracted. In addition to the devotions themselves, the Subject Index and Reading Plans listed in the back of this Bible are additionally useful tools.
My biggest concern with this Bible is the lack of contextualizing information. The Bible is immediately applicable to our lives today, yes. But it is also an ancient book that was written in a different time and place, full of attitudes and insights that contemporary 21st century American college students are largely unaware of. While there are standard New International Version textual notes at the bottom of the text, there are literally no additional introductions or study helps. Apart from a two page Quick Start Guide and a three page Preface, the NIV College Devotional Bible is all devotions and all Bible. In some ways, thats a good thing. But its not the best idea of the audience this Bible is marketed towards, namely, students in college settings where their values and beliefs will be challenged on a regular basis.
Overall, this is a Bible designed and marketed for college students, intended to help them read through the Bible on a regular basis and apply it to their lives. For this, the NIV College Devotional Bible is to be commended. But any recommendation of this particular Bible comes with a caveat that those who use it should not be afraid to consult other Bibles and resources in order to better understand the contents within. The major emphasis of this Bible is to Take up and read, take up and read. And in the hope that more college students do, the NIV College Devotional Bible comes recommended.
I received this book from Zondervan and Book Look in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
For the most part, this is a straight forward Bible, with not a lot of bells and whistles. There are no book headings, and there are not always notes on every page. What this Bible does have is over 200 devotionals (one almost every 5 pages), particularly geared for 17-24 year olds who struggle to find their own voice, giving feet to their own faith, in a way that's Biblically grounded.
I had expected this Bible to be a little different than it is. I had expected a Bible with devotions that relate to 'students, school and perhaps being out on your own.' So I think Zondervan would have done better to gear it a little more toward the college life, than just 'regular devotions' that one can study (otherwise why call it the college Bible?).
In additional to the devotionals, there are a few reading plans such as "read your Bible through in a year" and "30 days with Jesus" and "20 not so famous stories.' Of course this Bible has other standards you'd expect, such as an index, concordance, etc. But again, I wish this Bible were a little bit more "collegiate" in design with more study notes, a concordance and relevant devotionals.
I guess the good news is, you don't have to be a college student to read this Bible. Anyone who is "college aged" could pick this up and find something useful. I would recommend this for anyone who is college aged and perhaps looking for a first time Bible to help them navigate early questions and life issues.
Thank you to Zondervan for this advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I love the fact that the Bible remains the best-selling book of all time.
I've also not been shy to state my disdain regarding how publishers treat the Bible as another product in the way they try to churn out a myriad of offerings for different "types" of Bibles to bolster their profits. There's the "recovery" Bible, men's study Bible, women's study Bible, teen study Bible, new believer Bible, and so on, all offered in different colors, covers, and designs. But when I saw that Zondervan had published the "College Bible: Devotional Version" (NIV version), I was curious and hopeful.
I was hopeful because I think it's those college years, when young adults take their first significant step away from home and not only into greater independence, but usually into an environment very hostile to their faith, that is one of the most impacting years of life. I was hopeful that, if a publisher really did want to publish a Bible version focused on meeting the needs of a particular audience, that this would be a great Bible college students could find great value in.
I was disappointed.
At least, regarding the emphasis on the college student.
The good thing is, this is a Bible, and if college students make that central to their lives, then they will have what they need to guide them through this time in their lives.
But as far as being a good resource beyond being a Bible, this new Bible misses the mark. Here is what Zondervan promotes as being the key features in this Bible:
222 school-year devotions with daily insights on, and applications to, relevant topics.
Devotions use a unique storytelling approach to connect God's Word with your real-life questions, struggles, and decisions as a student.
A practical reading plan that helps you stay connected to God during the nine months of school each year.
Quick-start guide shows how to get the most out of reading the Bible.
Subject index for looking up topics of interest.
Complete text of the clear, accessible NIV Bible.
None of these features are unique, you'll find them in just about any study Bible on the market today. So, for this new Bible to have any additional relevance to college students, the devotions would need to be of high quality and really offer some significant value to college students in their new life experience.
That's where this Bible fails.
The devotions are very short, and of mediocre content; there is nothing about them particularly impactful to a young adult away from home for the first time. Given this fact, there's nothing that makes this Bible the preferred Bible version for a college student. In fact, other study Bibles have more resources than this Bible offers, and might be of greater value to a college student as far as study Bibles go.
I actually liked the concept of equipping college students with a great study Bible that could really provide them with study resources that speak to this time in their lives, but this Bible just didn't rise to the challenge.
As long as college students are willing to make the Bible, itself, their primary book of study as they move forward into their future, they'll have what they most need.
I received this book free from HarperCollins Christian Publishing as part of their BookLook 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
I was excited to get the chance to review the NIV College Devotional Bible. I'm leaving for college this month and taking this with me!
Its features include:
222 school-year devotions with daily insights on and applications to relevant topics
Devotions use a unique storytelling approach to connect God's Word with your real-life questions, struggles, and decisions as a student
Subject index for looking up topics of interest
In the back, there are different reading plans including: One Year Through The Bible, 60-Day Overview Of The Bible, 30 Days For Beginning Your Walk With Christ, 30 Days With Jesus, 20 Not-So-Famous Bible Stories, 30 Days With Paul, 30 Days Of Promises, 30 Days Of Leadership, 30 Days Of Knowing God, and 30 Stories Of Great Faith.
I personally miss the 1984 NIV version because I memorized lots of verses from it and the new version doesn't sound the same. But I still plan to take this College Bible with me because of its interesting devotionals that I can read throughout the school year.
Obviously, I'm not reviewing the Bible itself, I'm simply reviewing the version/extra features. I give the NIV College Devotional Bible four stars.
~I received a copy of this Bible for free through Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.
For features, the text within the Bible is New International Version. The layout of the bible is crisp and clear with footnotes italicized at the bottom of the page. At the end of the book there are helpful pages such as:
â€¢ Weights and Measurements
â€¢ Subject Index
â€¢ Read Through the Bible in One Year Reading Plan
â€¢ 60 Days Overview of the Bible
â€¢ 30 Days for Beginning Your Walk with Christ
â€¢ 30 Days with Jesus
â€¢ 30 Days in the Psalms
â€¢ 30 Days in Proverbs
â€¢ 20 Not-So-Famous Bible Stories
â€¢ 30 Days With Paul
â€¢ 30 Days of Promises
â€¢ 30 Days of Leadership
â€¢ 30 Days of Prayer
â€¢ 30 Days of Knowing God
â€¢ 30 Stories of Great Faith
That's nearly 14 months worth of Bible Study - lasting several years of schooling.
As well, throughout the Bible are appropriately placed devotionals intended to fill the school year (seven days a week for nine months). These are full page additions, containing a scripture section, contextual information, a true story relating to the biblical concept and three questions to help the student probe a little deeper in their understanding. They are not dated and direct you to the next devo by page number. (I like this, then there isn't a constant reminder of failure if a student doesn't do a devotionals every day!)
I thoroughly enjoyed the stories attached to each devotional and am certain others will to. My favorite part is the "Get Started" page or "Quick Start Guide" as they call it. It is cozy and informal, aptly aimed at its target audience. The casual chatter is on one hand odd to find on the first page of the Bible, yet refreshing to see the message never changes but the delivery can!
Overall the NIV College Devotional Bible gets a huge thumbs-up from me.
The only downside I found, which is personal preference, is the appearance of the Bible is plain. My copy is a hardcover navy blue with rust colored trim and accents. It is simple, crisp and classy, yet if I was to use it a gift for a college student I would like to have a little more visual appeal.
Thanks to Zondervan and Booksneeze for a free copy to review. These thoughts are my opinion and I am not required to review it positively.