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.