I must admit, I own several Bibles. In fact, I have such a strong opinion on Bible translations… it may be one of the things I am most frequently asked my opinion on in our church small groups. While my collection has covered the gamut of translations (I see each one as valuable to my study), until recently I only had one Study Bible (it’s an HCSB).
A few weeks ago, I finally got my hands on a new Study Bible; the NIV LifeConnect Study Bible from Zondervan. I am thoroughly impressed. Physically, it is a large Bible. I won’t be carrying this one with me to services on the weekend. However, it is great for a desk reference when I am studying or working on a project. And, a great resource for when I am studying or preparing work and choosing to disconnect from technology. It is packed full of helpful information and even places to jot notes, if you are a note taker like I am.
Each page has a slim column for taking quick notes, and journaling pages where you can make quick notes about how the scripture spoke to your or how you responded to it. I am a huge fan of this format. In many ways, it is like making your own personal table of contents or index to retrace your thoughts or recall information you previously read. These pages are located at the end of each most books of the Bible, however the longer books will have them peppered throughout. It’s like they know me!
At the beginning of each book of the Bible, there is a brief introduction that covers foundational information for deeper study. The who, what, where, when, why, and how questions are answered right off the cuff. This allows the reader to enter the book with a clearer perspective of what they are reading. Cultural information of importance is shared, there is a timeline to reference, themes you should be watching out for, and even some “Did You Know” points that can assist with interpretation within context. Thorough footnotes walk through the scriptures with you, the SOAP method to study (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is located throughout the Bible, and if you’re not familiar with the method … DON’T WORRY. Clear instructions are given.
The author of the Study Bible, Wayne Cordeiro, has also included quotes from his other works… when applicable to the scripture selection. There are also colorful maps and concordance reference to further assist your study. Included is a Bible Reading Plan, if you are interested in a concrete plan for study.
The pages are crisp and easy to read, and begging for a highlighter or colored pencils to adorn the pages. While there are some sections of study notes from the author, I like that Cordeiro didn’t take all of the burden off the reader. You have a responsibility here too, he simply guides us through the study process. You’ll be a better student of the Word, for certain.
In addition to the concordance in the back, you’ll find colorful maps and even weight and measure conversions. These tools help translate our modern understanding of geography and measurements to an ancient time, clarifying context and allotting for familiarity.
My only complaint, for a Study Bible, is that I wish the maps were incorporated into the study sections verses tucked away in the back. When reading I’d prefer to only have to flip a few pages versus cover to cover. Otherwise, it’s a great bible for a serious student… but a new believer too.
Grow deeper in your spiritual life with the NIV LifeConnect Study Bible. Dr. Wayne Cordeiro includes articles bringing the truths of the Scriptures to your life today, as well as Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer (SOAP) articles that offer an interactive framework to apply the Word of God to your life. Free digital resources included.