I love study Bibles. I cut my teeth on the NIV New Adventure Bible-a Study Bible for kids-in elementary school. Since then I’ve had an NASB Life Application Study Bible, which set the standard all future Study Bibles I have owned or used, and also an ESV Study Bible. All have been incredibly useful tools in personal Bible study, preparing to lead Bible studies, and doing research for teaching the Word to others.
As some of you might have picked up by now, I am a big fan of Tim Keller. So when I read a quote by him saying “There are many Study Bibles, but none better,” I needed to find out which Bible he was referring to.
Turns out that Keller’s quote was in reference to the NIV Proclamation Bible. Thanks to Zondervan I got my hands on a review copy. So is it the best study Bible ever???
In a word, no. Now, I do think that it’s a very good resource for accomplishing its stated purpose. But that purpose is a bit different than most Study Bibles. More specific thoughts after the break.
First things first: The NIV Proclamation Bible uses the updated 2011 New International Version. There’s been no small controversy about this update, but I’ll leave that discussion for you to research yourselves. The Proclamation Bible begins with a series of essays covering everything from “What is the Bible?” to the Bible’s historic reliability, applying the Old and New Testaments, how to preach and teach from texts, and a short history of Biblical Interpretation. I found these essays extremely helpful to consider for any teacher of the Bible: they lay an excellent foundation for the correct application of the Word to our own lives and the lives of those we teach.
Each book begins with a one sentence summary of the book, a structural outline, points to consider in teaching the text (and sometimes pitfalls to avoid), and a list of suggested commentaries.
Some of these are typical Study Bible sorts of notes, but I found the “Points to Consider” and suggested commentaries to be especially helpful teacher-oriented additions. The text itself, however, is a simple two-column layout with cross-references in the middle. What’s missing? Well, verse-by-verse notes are noticeably absent.
I find the layout very visually appealing and could definitely see how preaching or teaching from this text would be much easier without all the notes, maps, and other insertions taking up space on the page. However, this is a big difference from your typical Study Bible.
So what’s the verdict?
The NIV Proclamation Bible is a very good Bible for those looking for a resource to use in teaching others. The essays cover some essential groundwork, the introductions have helpful resources, and the light weight and page layouts make it an excellent Bible to take with you and read from. However, it is a specialized tool-and more specialized than most people would be interested in at that. As such, it would be a better compliment to other resources than stand-alone or even primary tool. The NIV Proclamation Bible gets 3 stars out of 5.
**Disclaimer: BookLook Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an impartial review.**