Reading Level: Leisure
*Reviews of Bibles will depart from other reviews. They will include first person. They will address the feature content as it pertains directly to my theological positions.*
Many study Bibles can be intimidating. In some cases this is because of the name on the cover and others because of the depth of the commentary. The NIV Essentials Study Bible (henceforth Essentials) is in the later case. Published by Zondervan to combine the insights of their many different study Bibles, Essentials presents itself as the “one study Bible to rule them all.” There are notes for specific verses, archeological information, introductions to books/sections, insightful “people in focus” articles and advice for practical life living (found in “Q&A” and “R&R,” reflect and respond, inlets). Each page is saturated with beneficial components that may be intimidating for a young Christian. However, the sheer amount of geographical, archeological, and timeline insights are profoundly valuable to both young and old Christians.
Theologically, Essentials provides excellent commentary on various critical passages of the Bible. Genesis 15-17 (20-23) is one of many, surprisingly, Reformed perspectives on predestination (notes on Gen 17:21; Rom 9; Eph 1). Extra topical attention is spent on the theology of Justification (1418), Sanctification (1509), and the resurrection of the dead (1454). Even on more difficult subjects, like literalism in creation (3), the future of Israel (note on Romans 11:26; 1428), the location of the dead (1510), and different interpretations of Revelation (1601, 1616-1617, 1621), Essentials provides multiple views and insights that are beneficial for all Christians. Beyond these beneficial studies, Essentials properly addresses the textual criticism of John 8:3-11, Mark 16:9-20, etc. Nothing is left uncovered in this mammoth study Bible.
In conclusion, Essentials is one of the best study Bibles my eyes and hands have come across. While the NIV translation is not suitable for significant exegetical study, it does make for easy reading. The information provided from the wealth of Zondervan’s study Bibles makes for an outstanding basis of study into the Christian faith.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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.”
Joshua Torrey is the sole proprietor of Torrey Gazette (don't tell Alaina) and the fullness of its editorial process. That means everything wrong with TG can legitimately be blamed on him.