Book Review : The NIV Integrated Study Bible

nivIt seems that almost daily there is a new study Bible on the market. Each one offers something special and significant that the others do not. At times, many fail to deliver on the promise of something fresh and new. The NIV Integrated Study Bible edited by John R. Kohlenberger III is one such new study Bible. Kohlenberger has made major contributions in the area biblical reference/study, editing over four dozen reference works. The cover says that the NIVISB is “a new chronological approach for exploring scripture”. Is it really? This is certainly not the first chronological Bible ever produced. What makes it different?

Our modern English Bibles are arranged by content (their substance and message) rather than chronologically (as it relates to a historical timeline). We have become accustomed to opening our Bibles and having the same format, divisions, and structure. For example, our English Bibles break the Old Testament down into the Books of Law, History, Wisdom and Poetry, and the Prophets. The NIVISB gives a different approach; offering a running text the biblical narrative. For example, in the NIVISB you will find Genesis, Job, and then Exodus. There are seven major historical sections in the NIVISB. They are:

1. Creation Through the Patriarchs

2. Exodus to Conquest

3. Conquest Through United Kingdom

4. Divided Kingdom and Exile

5. Return to the Land

6. The Life of Jesus

7. The Early Church

A unique feature to the NIVISB is the parallel passages found throughout the book. The editor, desiring to maintain continuity of the overall biblical account, inserts passages that chronicle the same story or account. For example, when you arrive at Deuteronomy 16:1-8 (The Passover), you also have Exodus 12:14-20, Leviticus 23:48, and Numbers 28:16-25 alongside in grayed-out headings that let you know they correspond to the primary passage. Another interesting and helpful feature is the timeline at the bottom of every page. This timeline allows the reader to know where the biblical narrative falls on the timeline of history.

Although I am not a fan of the NIV version, I really like the NIVISB. This study Bible will appeal to a narrow audience. If you want to know how everything “fits in”, this chronological approach is for you. The NIVISB is not a Bible that you will use during a small group study or to follow along during a Sunday morning worship service. At times integration is a little tricky. The reader has to get comfortable with, while reading one passage, seeing the same passage in the book to come on the same page. Likewise, the reader will need to get comfortable with seeing the books that they have already read from on the same page. This is not the typical study Bible with exhaustive editorial notes at the bottom. There are however helpful charts along the way. Overall the NIVISB is a great study resource for those wanting more than a casual reading.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program (with Zondervan). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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