Monday, September 16, 2013

NIV Integrated Study Bible - A New Chronological Approach For Exploring Scripture

Let me start out by cutting to the chase, this is a phenomenal bible. Even if you already own 20+ different bibles (like I do), chances are this bible will be like none other you’ve owned or read.

Every year I enjoy reading the bible cover-to-cover, and this year I wanted to try a new approach, reading the bible in chronological order. I began using a plan that told me what to read and when. The plan I was using wasn’t bad but I had to continuously flip pages from one book to the next within each days reading. Then one day I found out about the release of this bible, I couldn’t get it into my hands fast enough. When it finally arrived, it totally exceeded my expectations.

Why am I so happy with it, and how did it exceed expectations?

For starters I did not have a bible that was actually written in chronological order, I had plans within my bibles that told me where to flip to next if I wanted to read chronologically, but I haven’t owned a bible written in this fashion before. For example: Genesis is the first book, but Job (not Exodus) follows Genesis; Psalms that were written by Moses are inserted in their proper places within the Pentateuch, and of course all chapters are labeled so the reader is never confused about what they are reading and from what part of the bible.

Simple convenience may not be enough for someone to be convinced they need this bible if all they wanted to do is to read in chronological order, but that’s not all there is to it. Although this bible does a fabulous job in its order and layout it goes even one step further by inserting parallel verses which are related. It’s hard to convey this feature without giving examples. The first example is what you might expect: the parallel listing of the Gospel stories. Another completely random example is Genesis 25 and 1 Chronicles 1:32-33; in the Genesis passage it lists the decedents of Keturah and parallel to it is 1 Chron 1:32:33 which also lists Keturah’s decedents. This is a fabulous way to compare the verses in the bible and seeing the cohesion between the books and authors. These parallels are all throughout the bible.

One other feature I really love is the sectional chronology charts. These charts tell you the date of events in the bible, what worldly events correspond to the biblical, and what kingdoms existed when. Finally, there is a timeline on every page that always reminds the reader where they are in history.

I absolutely love this bible and all the features within it. I can’t think of a thing I’d do differently if I were the author. I want to thank Zondervan for providing me with this incredible bible for my honest review, and I very highly recommend everyone to try “a new approach for exploring scripture” using this bible.

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