The New NIV Zondervan Study Bible

August 17, 2015 — 4 Comments


I’m a big ESV guy. Or at least that’s been the case since the mid-2000’s. My first actual Bible was probably NIV. My first real study Bible was MacArthur Study Bible in NKJV that my mom got me during my first year of college. The next study Bible was a Reformation Study Bible in ESV, although during my time in seminary it didn’t figure prominently into my reading. My most recent study Bible has been a leather ESV, but that was until Zondervan sent along their newest offering.

The NIV Zondervan Study Bible is kind of a big deal. It’s been in the works for quite a while and none other than D. A. Carson is the general editor. As a rule of thumb, if he edits something, either a book, or a series of books, it is probably worth checking out. Up until recently I hadn’t been very high on the NIV, but I’ve come around. Since being sent this earlier this month, I’ve been using it for daily devotions. So far, I’ve enjoyed switching first back to print instead of Logos on my iPad, and second to reading the NIV instead of ESV. Right now I’m in 1 Samuel, Psalms, Jeremiah, and Romans, so I’m getting a good feel for the different feel of the NIV.

On the website for the study Bible, you can find out about the contributors, as well as an overview of what makes this study Bible distinctive. In many respects, it is very similar to the ESV Study Bible. It has fairly extensive articles introducing each section of Scripture as well as each book. It also has numerous articles in the back matter. The key difference is that these articles in the NIV Zondervan Study Bible are covering the main biblical-theological themes in Scripture. The goal is to give readers some basic tools in order to be better equipped to read the story of Scripture. While the ESV seemed to be going for comprehensive resourcing in its articles, the focus here is biblical theology, both in the articles and study notes.

Because of that, it is a nice compliment to an ESV Study Bible. You’ll get a different focus in the study notes, but you’ll also be reading a different translation (and it is actually a translation, not a paraphrase as some suggest). While you may not need a multiplicity of study Bibles, having two or three really solid ones is a good idea. If you only have an ESV, this is the next one you need to get. I round out my trio with a new Reformation Study Bible, but I’ll talk more about that later.

So far, I’ve been very pleased with this study Bible and would recommend you check it out, whether you’re an NIV fan or are looking to understand biblical theology better. If you’re looking to do both then this study Bible was basically made just for you. I may have more to say later, but for now, you might want to jump on pre-order deals with Amazon, or you could wait and see if somewhere like Westminster runs a release special in the next few weeks.


Posts Twitter Facebook

I’m an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let’s connect!

4 responses to The New NIV Zondervan Study Bible

  1. I also have a copy of this Bible, and have been very impressed with it so far. The content of the notes is quite thorough, and the full color maps and illustrations are nice. The articles in the back (the ones I’ve read, at least) are very helpful and are a fantastic introduction to biblical theology. The only thing I don’t love so far is the font used in the NIV text. It’s really too small and too…slight (if that’s the right word) for my taste. I would have preferred a larger, more pronounced font. Still, in just the few days I’ve spent with it so far, this has already become my favorite study Bible. Thanks for the review!

    • It is a pretty small font, and it is especially awkward (I think) in the poetic sections because there ends up being a plethora of blank space on the page. I haven’t tried teaching from it, but I imagine it might be a bit difficult to glance down to pulpit and read very well because of the font size. At the same time, you might be able to say the same of the ESV Study Bible.

  2. Hi Nate!

    Thanks for the post!

    It’s funny; I’ve been reading the NIV for my devotions lately, too. Ever since TGC. At TGC, I noticed both Carson and Keller were reading from the NIV, and of course, the NIV Study Bible had a big push at the conference as well.

    I’ve really enjoyed being back in the NIV. I grew up with it, but switched to the ESV in college when it first came out. I was taking Greek at the time, and I found the ESV followed the Greek as closely as the NASB, but without the clunkiness. But now, as I have been refamiliarizing myself with the NIV, I am reminded of its eloquence. The ESV can still be a little wooden at times and even convoluted at others.

    Anyway, I will have to pick up the NIV Study Bible. Sounds like it will make a good companion to my ESV Study Bible.


    • I’m kind of in the same boat, I wanted a closer word for word and so gravitated toward the ESV, but now am coming to appreciate the style of the NIV.

Want To Add Your Thoughts?