Cheryl Gress Editor-in-Chief

3 minutes reading time (571 words)

NIV First-Century Study Bible

Book Info:

NIV First-Century Study Bible
Notes by: Kent Dobson
Published by: Zondervan
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Price: $36 hard cover or $7.99 on kindle
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Zondervan Publishing for sending us a copy of this Bible to review! 

It's been a while since I've carried around a physical Bible.  I've gone digital and have used the ESV bible on both my phone and tablet.  Even my 3DS has a digital Bile on it!   Finding the verses digitally is easy and usually faster than people flipping pages getting to a particular verse.    

What my electronic versions are lacking is commentary, maps, timelines, and Greek translations and explanations.  The NIV First-Century Study Bible has all that plus lots of pretty colorful pictures of ancient art and artifacts dug up by archaeologists.

At the beginning of each book there is commentary about the book's title (Hebrew text and definition), author, date it was written, historical setting, structure,  and purpose in the Bible. The verses are explained on the bottom of the page. Even tricky books like the beginning of Ezekiel is explained in a manner that makes sense.   Scattered throughout  the text are word studies that explain and show the Greek origins of many words.  One of my favorite examples was the cubit which is a source of measurement often referenced in the Bible.  


Strong Points: Excellent commentary and cross references
Weak Points: Big Bible with 1850 pages, New NIV Translation
Moral Warnings: Descriptive violent acts 

Many of my paper bound Bibles have maps thrown in the back for reference.  I like how the NIV First-Century Study Bible has maps everywhere!  It shows Abram's travels, Jacob's journeys, Solomon's divided kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar's campaigns, places mentioned in Isaiah, Alexander's Empire, and Jesus' pit stops in Judea and Samaria.  The verses really come alive as you can literally see where they took place and how much distance was covered by these men.   

I love the timeline in 1 Kings that shows the scripture and reigning periods of Israel's kings.   The cross reference of Old and New Testament versus in Isaiah 53 is extremely helpful.   There is also a time of Jesus' life that covers and indexes his various events with the scripture references behind them.    

There is a lot to like about this Bible.  The only problem I have with it is the translation used. There has been some controversy regarding the most recent NIV translation and this First-Century Study Bible does use the gender neutral verses.    So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...”  The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .  

If you don't mind the latest NIV translation, this is a solid Bible to consider adding to your library.  The price for the hard cover is under $40 while the Kindle version is less than $10.  My ten year old daughter took a liking to this Bible so I guess it's hers now since I'm done reviewing it.  I'm sure she'll learn a lot from it and will benefit from the easy to read translation.


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