Apologetics · Bible Reviews · Theology

Not a Study Bible, Rather an NIV Reference Bible.

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On the front of the dust jacket of this Bible, the testimonial from Tim Keller is featured, “There are many Study Bibles, but none better.”  This is very misleading.  I have no idea why this quote is featured.  I would hope that there is some good reason why Zondervan did this.  Unfortunately, I can think of one and none has been provided.  This is most definitely not a Study Bible.  It is simply a Reference Bible with Book introductions, Concordance, and Maps.  In no twist of the imagination could this be considered a Study Bible.  If you are looking for a Study Bible, this is NOT one.

My guess, in my opinion, is that Zondervan knows the NIV has taken a serious hit, and as a result has a black eye.  It no longer has the credibility it once enjoyed.  It is not as popular as it once was.  Back in 2011 Zondervan released this gender inclusive mess of a dynamic equivalent in an attempt to sneak it by everyone.  They had the TNIV, and simply dropped the, “T” and changed a few more things to further comply with the translation agenda.  The Southern Baptist Convention caught on to what was happening and officially disavowed the translation.  Here is their resolution,

“WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople have trusted and used the 1984 New International Version (NIV) translation to the great benefit of the Kingdom; and

WHEREAS, Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House are publishing an updated version of the New International Version (NIV) which incorporates gender neutral methods of translation; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed our commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-16) and, in 1997, urged every Bible publisher and translation group to resist “gender-neutral” translation of Scripture; and

WHEREAS, This translation alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language; and

WHEREAS, Although it is possible for Bible scholars to disagree about translation methods or which English words best translate the original languages, the 2011 NIV has gone beyond acceptable translation standards; and

WHEREAS, Seventy-five percent of the inaccurate gender language found in the TNIV is retained in the 2011 NIV; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has passed a similar resolution concerning the TNIV in 2002; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2011 express profound disappointment with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House for this inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors to make their congregations aware of the translation errors found in the 2011 NIV; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we respectfully request that LifeWay not make this inaccurate translation available for sale in their bookstores; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community.”

Shortly after the Lutheran Missouri Synod did the same.  Here is the most important part of their statement as I see it,

“We find the NIV’s Committee on Bible Translation decision to substitute plural nouns and pronouns for masculine singular nouns and pronouns to be a serious theological weakness and a misguided attempt to make the truth of God’s Word more easily understood. The use of inclusive language in NIV 2011 creates the potential for minimizing the particularity of biblical revelation and, more seriously, at times undermines the saving revelation of Christ as the promised Savior of humankind. Pastors and congregations of the LCMS should be aware of this serious weakness. In our judgment this makes it inappropriate for NIV 2011 to be used as a lectionary Bible or as a Bible to be generally recommended to the laity of our church. This is not a judgment on the entirety of NIV 2011 as a translation—a task that would require a much more extensive study of NIV 2011—but an opinion as to a specific editorial decision which has serious theological implications”  You can read the entire statement here.

Here is a link to an excellent paper in the Westminster Theological Journal.   The article was written by Dr. Vern Poythress of Westminster Theological Seminary.  Dr. Poythress was also part of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version.  By prominently featuring Timothy Keller’s testimonial on the front of this Bible edition Zondervan is trying to do some damage control.  As most of you know Tim Keller also was faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary.  He and Poythress share much in the field of theology.  By getting his stamp of approval on this Bible I believe they were hoping to bring some of us back.  Admittedly, the only reason I requested this Bible for review, over the other ones offered is that his name was on the front.  I was curious if something had changed for the better.  I was disappointed.  Not only was this the same NIV, with all of the gender inclusive language, but it was NOT a Study Bible.

As far as the physical attributes of this Bible go, it is a pretty average to above average publication.  It is blue hard back.  It has a dust jacket.  It is printed in China.  It has two mediocre silver ribbon book markers.  It is a sewn, case bound book binding.  It is printed on good quality paper that is pretty opaque.  The type is clear and uniform.  It is 9 point font.  There is limited ghosting.  It is a double column, paragraph format, with references, concordance, and 14 color maps.  It is nothing special, nothing distinctive, just a good quality hardback.  If only they would revert back to the 1984 NIV and leave these other agendas behind.


ISBN-13: 9780310437956

Bible Reviews

Review of the Holman, New King James Version, (NKJV) Large Print, Personal Size, Reference Bible, in Brown Genuine Cowhide, Indexed, Red Letter Edition.

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Not too many Bibles from large publishers like Holman surprise me. This one is the exception.  I am accustomed to receiving Bibles from big publishers that are for lack of a better term, “disposable.”  Many of them seem to make Bibles that you can use for a couple of years and then have to throw it away when it begins to fall apart.  This Bible truly surprised me.  It came in the mail packed in a white plastic bag-elope.  I was immediately expecting some substandard, mass produced, mail abused, Bible.  I opened the bag and didn’t notice any damage to the box…  bonus!  I was glad that the corners weren’t mashed.  I opened the box (keep the box for storage) and was presented with black construction paper.

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I seriously hoped that wasn’t the cover.  Upon closer inspection I determined that the black construction paper was there to protect the supple and soft genuine cowhide cover.  It smelled like a new leather jacket and the texture was very pleasant.

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One of the most important parts of a Bible is the binding.  Naturally I checked that next.  I was pleased to see that it had a sewn binding.  This makes a Bible last longer and lay flat when you want to read it.

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Have you ever had to struggle against an intrusive and rude cover made of bonded leather, always trying to close on you?  Have you ever had a fake leather cover get stained, scuffed, or torn?  Well I have, and that is why I love genuine leather and goatskin covers with sewn bindings so much.  This Bible’s chocolate brown colored leather cover is lined with a vinyl sheet matching the cover’s color.  The lining is glued down.  This is pretty typical.  I was hoping to see it lined with a higher quality material sewn to the cover, but for the price of this Bible and the features it has I can’t complain.

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This Bible can be purchased for about $48.00 on a couple of different web sites. Christianbook.com has it here and Amazon.com here.  I was a bit surprised to see that this Bible was made in China.

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I was surprised because they seemed to have put it together pretty well.  There is a slight problem with the binding at the bottom, but that could be one of the drawbacks of having it banged around during shipping from China to the States.  It didn’t look like a manufacturing problem as much as shipping damage.  The pages are gilded and indexed.

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The indexes caught my eye as they are rectangular with rounded shoulders.  The usual ones are crescent shaped.  The New Testament ones were red and the Old Testament ones were black.  The spine is gilded with the, NKJV in a circle at the top, and, “Holy Bible” in the middle, with Holman’s logo at the bottom.  The spine has decorative hubs.

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When you open this Bible up you first have the normal presentation and records pages as well as the publishers information.  Then there is some info on the NKJV translation and a page with the plan of salvation.  I was expecting cheaper paper that was more translucent, smaller font, and more ghosting. (text from the page behind showing through)  I was very pleasantly surprised again.  The paper was pretty opaque for a less expensive Bible.  Well, even for some more expensive Bibles it was pretty opaque.

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The font looks to be twelve point and is clear and legible.  The Bible is a double column, paragraph format with some foot notes and references at the bottom of the page.  This was a smart move.  Doing it this way enabled them to print some large font while keeping the size down.  This was going to become my daily reader until my dear wife picked it up.  I think to quote her she said, “Oooh this is so soft and nice…  Can I have it?”  What can you do? This Bible has one ribbon marker matching the color of the cover.

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It opens nicely and is very easy to read.  I love the accuracy of the NKJV.  This Bible has some colored maps at the end.  I highly recommend this Bible for those looking for a daily reader without a bunch of distractions.  It is comfortable to hold and easy on the eyes with the opaque paper and large font.  All of this with the low price makes it an excellent value and asset.

Dimensions: 8.13 X 5.38 X 1.13 (inches)
ISBN: 1433613190
ISBN-13: 9781433613197

I received this Bible free of charge for the purpose of writing a review and am not obligated to write a positive review.

Bible Reviews

Review of the Lockman Foundation, NASB, Topical, Reference Bible, Hardcover, Red Letter Edition.

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This edition is just the right size to carry around. The hardcover reduces the cost and also improves the durability in my opinion compared to some synthetic covers. The hardcover also helps if you want to sit in a chair and read instead of at a table. The hardcover keeps the pages from flopping around while you are reading.

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The sewn binding ensures that this Bible opens beyond flat when held and lays flat on a table or desk right out of the box. You won’t be fighting against the cover of this Bible while reading it, matter of fact, it helps you.

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The nine point font makes this easy on the eyes. It is clearly printed against a white paper giving you good contrast. This edition does have the words of Christ in Red. The red might not be as bright as some other publishers use, but this seems less intrusive to my eyes. The binding is sewn as I mentioned earlier. Between the binding and the spine being rounded this Bible opens up very well.

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I wouldn’t let the fact that this Bible was made in China stop you from buying it.

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It is a little jewel. 255 pages of topics at the front of this Bible in alphabetical order make it easy to look up most of the things a person might want to look up.

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After the 255 pages of topics you have a full Old and New Testament Bible.

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It is in double column format with center column references. The text is in paragraph format. After the Bible we have 210 pages of dictionary/concordance/thesaurus and after that, Genealogy of Jesus, God’s Promises, Miracles of Jesus, Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, Parables of Jesus, Titles of Jesus, Introductions to the books of the Bible, a year Bible reading plan, and maps at the end. The maps are printed on a glossy paper like the presentation, and records pages at the beginning of the Bible.

Contains over 20,000 topics and sub-topics cross referenced to over 50,000 verses. Topics were researched and prepared by Biblical scholars, and include contemporary topics relevant to today’s issues.
Also includes a 4,200 entry dictionary—concordance—thesaurus and over 95,000 center-column cross-references to enrich your reading. ISBN-13: 9781581351477

Disclaimer, I received this Bible free from the publisher for review purposes. I am in no way obliged to write a positive review.