Friday, December 25, 2015

NIV Understand the Faith Bible from Zondervan, 2015

Merry Christmas! It's a complete coincidence that I'm posting a review of a Bible on Christmas - or is it? Who knows, maybe this is God's hand at work. Whatever the case, I hope you have a blessed holiday full of friends, family, presents, and fun. Tell me below what your favorite holiday tradition is!

The NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible provides a deep grounding in Scripture. You will appreciate the way this Bible keeps the joyful, astounding nature of the gospel always in view when addressing doctrine and the pressing questions about faith. Its content will help you understand what you believe and why while inspiring you to live for God.(1504 pages)

Yes, this is a Bible.

Like a real, honest-to-goodness Bible. The Holy book. What am I doing reviewing it? That is an excellent question, and one I'm honestly still asking myself. All I can say is that the BookLook Bloggers program, which I joined for its regular novels, also offers Bibles. And I was stressed out, because I'd just moved, and I had two credits to request whatever I wanted, and the next thing I knew a brand-new Bible was showing up on my doorstep.

It's a hardback, and it kind of look like the sort of Bible you'd find in a church pew or at youth group or something. When you take the red dust jacket off, underneath it's solid black, very traditional (and slightly boring compared to my last two Bibles, which were both pink). When I was flipping through it I found an article I wanted to save, but I couldn't because there was no ribbon. So on the whole I'm really not a huge fan of the physical aspects of the Bible - it's much too ugly and not quite functional enough for my tastes. I'm sure there are people who would like this hard binding and the black cover, though - it's just a matter of taste.

As for the internal stuff, the font is a good size, nice and big so it's very comfortable to read. I have a pocket Bible that my grandparents gave me when I got baptized that I love to pieces, but I practically need a magnifying glass to read a passage. No sight enhancements needed for this Bible! That does mean it's pretty chunky, though - about 1500 pages. Definitely not for the faint of heart, or the weak of wrists - I've had to be very careful not to accidentally pick it up with my bad hand.

The supplementary material, the "study" part of the "study Bible," is actually really awesome. In my previous Bibles I've struggled with the supplementary material because it was so distracting that it tore my attention away from reading the Bible itself (and because sometimes the neatly-packaged answers they offered to some questions were a little too convenient and touchy-feely for my tastes). With this Bible, though, the focus is mainly just on the text itself and then scattered every bunch of pages is a block of text, which falls into one of these categories: Doctrine 101, Everyday Faith, Culture Connections, Living Parables, and Up For Debate. I love that they delineate between truly essential beliefs (such as the fact that Jesus is our Redeemer), and ones that are openly debated between different denominations (such as evolution and predestination), putting issues from the latter category into boxes marked "Up For Debate."

On the whole, this is not a very attractive or portable Bible, so I'm not sure I'll really be taking it with me places. It is, however, very good as what it was made to be: a study Bible. I'm excited to start using it in my personal Bible reading, and to continue exploring the wealth of materials scattered throughout the text!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this Bible through the BookLook Bloggers program.

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