Thinking Out Loud

July 11, 2015

Where the New NIV Zondervan Study Bible Fits In

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

Opinions here are those of the author; this is not a sponsored post.

While the title may confuse some, you have to assume the publishers already sorted out that potential confusion and went ahead with the name anyway. The NIV Zondervan Study Bible is releasing later this summer, and is certain to get mixed up with the classic NIV Study Bible which has been with us for several decades. The latter isn’t going anywhere.

At a major online Christian retail site, we read:

The NIV Study Bible will remain in print. With over 10 million copies sold over 30 years, this bestselling study Bible will continue to help readers come to a deeper understanding of God’s Word.

And then it offers this chart which outlines the differences:

NIV Study Bibles compared

Looking closely at the author list above, methinks that that Zondervan is going after the same market as purchased the popular ESV Study Bible. Clearly, to some extent, the Reformed community is in view. However, by virtue of its weight, the ESV product attracted a broader audience containing features not heretofore seen in study Bibles. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but the ESV Study did contain elements worth emulating.

Zondervan is quick to point out that this new project was not adapted from the present study edition, but was “built from the ground up.” We know that like the ESV Study, it contains supplementary articles and that well known Biblical scholars were responsible for particular books, but for many of the finer details, we’re going to have to wait until the August 25th release date to see all its 2,912 pages.

Of course, if Zondervan wants to send me a review copy, they know how to reach me!

Bonus: For those of you who’ve read this far, here’s a look at some of the extras in this Bible below which is a clue to where the advance peek treasure is buried:

NIV Zondervan Study Bible ArticlesClick the image above, and then click the “preview” tab to see the full table of contents and many of the introductory articles.

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November 19, 2012

New Bible for an Online Generation

Quick, hands up everyone who knows what an infographic is?

In an age of decreasing literacy,  bullet point communications and 140-character tweets, a new generation of readers has emerged who want cut-to-the-chase study notes which entice through the use of diagrams and color. If you read blogs to any degree, you’ve encountered the world of infographics.  (We ran some most recently here and here.)

But an infographic Bible?

Well, not exactly. The text in the NIV Quickview Bible is left entirely intact, and set in a very clear sans-serif typeface that Zondervan has, I believe, heretofore only used on its Textbook Edition.  I’m always somewhat cynical about the marketing of some of these new variations on Bibles, but this one drew me in very quickly.

Who is it for? The publishers are careful not to restrict potential here. Definitely students, teens, tweens, twenty-somethings. But really anyone, especially those tech-savvy people who are familiar with this format. The same people who enjoy the Rose Publications pamphlets which distill information to essential facts. It’s definitely not an application, study or devotional Bible; just a text edition with some added features that I believe will pique the interest of people looking superficially at the text and cause them to want to dig a little deeper.

NIV Quickview is currently available only in hardcover, and it would make a great edition to purchase in classroom sets for the church, or for homeschooling, or as a gift for a student away at at college. Click the image below to learn more in a one-minute video.

June 21, 2012

A Bible for Today in the Spirit of the ’70s

My instructions that Sunday morning were clear. Look for a man with a long beard, he has a case of the new Bible everyone’s talking about. It turned out there was also another guy in what was Canada’s only megachurch running copies through an underground economy.

The Bible was Reach Out. It was a New Testament using a new translation, The Living Bible. I’d seen Living Letters and Living Epistles on my parents’ bookshelf, but this was a youth edition with over a hundred pictures and graphics. A Bible that was cool. Who would have thought? (I later received a copy of Get Smart, an equally youth-targeted version of Proverbs; more on that here.)

My Reach Out was well read. At a Christian music festival in Pennsylvania, I obtained a couple of bumper stickers and used them to keep the book intact. Here was a Bible that talked like I talked, and looked like other books I would read. And I did read, discovering that when the text is flowing and easy to follow, one of Paul’s epistles only takes five minutes; a gospel might be read in 20 minutes. The book that had intimidated me for years was suddenly accessible.

Later, a full edition with both Old and New Testaments was released as The Way; and now, in 2012, The Way returns in the same spirit, with sidebar stories and black and white pictures. Spearheaded by Mark Oestreicher, the goal of this particular labor of love was to capture the spirit of the original but with new Bible book introductions, new sidebar stories, and of course, substituting the NLT for the Living Bible.

(I should say at this point that the publisher, Tyndale, has kept the original Living Bible in print. They even added a second anniversary edition last year, effectively doubling the number of formats available.)

In a world where Bible publishers have gone overboard adding color pages, The Way is very counter-cultural in black and white. I wasn’t sure how one approaches reviewing a Bible, so I jumped into Leviticus. (Rob Bell would be proud.) I enjoyed the intro, which is empathetic to non-Bible-readers.

The list of contributors to this is not exactly a Who’s Who of Christian writers, though you might recognize a few names like Luke MacDonald, Matt Maher, Austin Gutwein, Charlie Peacock and Dan Kimball. For the most part, these are younger writers. (Christian blogosphere types will also recognize UK photographer Jonny Baker.)

There are many features in this single column NLT including smart phone QR codes [sample]; but probably its greatest distinctive is a selection of “laments” that runs throughout set in white on black.

“These are the questions we’re all afraid to ask God, and the complaints we might hesitate to voice to him. The truth is, God desires our honest doubts, questions and complaints. After all, the writers of the Bible regularly lament, crying out to God and questioning him about injustices, pains and problems.

The paper is thin and sometimes the print is small, because there’s a lot packed into the nearly 1600 pages; but overall, I think this is probably the best of all the NLT editions to give to someone under 30, even if they have not yet crossed the line of faith. I was given a paperback; it’s also available in hardcover and imitation leather.

Watch the promotional video

Dave Wainscott remembers the original The Way cover

A copy of The Way was provided to Thinking Out Loud by Graf-Martin, a Canadian company representing key U.S. Christian publishers for promotion and publicity.

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