NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible
I would like to thank the kind folks at Zondervan for this review copy!
Several years ago, I reviewed Zondervan’s NIV Zondervan Study Bible. It was/is a good bible for those who like to have additional helps handy as they read through the text. As I noted, that bible was large—2,880 pages—as most study bibles tend to be. So, when I saw a few months ago that Zondervan was releasing another iteration of this bible, I was curious. This iteration—the NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible—is simply a rebranded version of the previous one. It wasn’t the branding that caught my attention, it was the advertised size difference between these two. The NIVBTS was marketed as being slimmer, which is true—it was trimmed down to 2,562 pages. However, this is relative to the overall size and 300 or so pages make little difference in the size of this bible. It’s still too big to lug to church services or even bible study, unless you’re sitting at a table where you can plop it down and trigger a minor earthquake, or maybe just crack the table.
My misgivings about the size aside, this remains a very useful and informative study bible (see my previous review for details). I don’t know if the content has changed significantly, though I would suspect that the notes and articles have likely been at least revised. The copyright for the notes and articles, however, is dated to 2015, so perhaps the content is unchanged.
The copy I received is bound in bonded leather, so it’s certainly more flexible than a hardcover. This also permits the behemoth to lay open, even if you’re reading the first or last pages (it lays mostly flat in these cases and will surely improve with use).
There are a couple of features that I didn’t mention in the review of the NIVZSB that are applicable here and they both concern the type. Zondervan went the extra mile and commissioned a custom font for these bibles (I’m not sure if it has been/will be used for other works or just bibles). Created by the foundry 2K Denmark, Zondervan now wields their “Comfort Print” font to ease the strain of reading small type. And I must say, the difference is noticeable. The font is a bit heavier and the various components of the letters have been designed to facilitate better legibility. You can see more about this here.
Another type-related feature is the color. While headings in the biblical text are bold and blue in color, the same scheme follows in the articles, except the color of the headings is green. No, perhaps this is not a selling point, but it does contribute to the publisher’s goal of making the text easier to read. Plus, it looks nice.
What I said about the NIVZSB applies here as well— this is a superbly designed and imminently helpful study bible. If you’re looking for a study bible, look no further—the NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible has everything you need to read the bible with a more informed perspective.