The New International Version (NIV) is one of the most popular English translations, being the best selling translation in 2022 (source). The current version is from an update in 2011, and the previous version was 1984 and so sometimes referred to as the NIV84. Related to the NIV, is the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) which is designed for use with persons with lower English ability, however I’m unaware of any study bibles in this translation, apart from those for children. It is generally considered to be a moderating translation between word-for-word and thought-for-thought translations.
Longer written and video reviews from other trusted reviewers are linked below. This should not be taken to mean that the other reviewers give any support to the information included below. These other reviews provide additional points of view for your reference.
Please be aware that information under controversial concerns are being evaluated with respect to the theological position of the author, and should not be considered exhaustive.
Bible Speak Today Bible
Inter-Varsity Press UK
Current Editions: Hardback | Imitation Leather
Layout: Two Column Text, Single Column Introductions, and Three Column Notes
Evaluated Edition: Black Imitation Leather
Review: Lightly academic, with devotional questions after each note. Lacks visual material apart from maps at back of the bible. In my opinion, tends to bypass debates and focus on the reading of the text in front of the reader.
- Study notes in Gen 1, doesn’t mention or refer to the length of a day. It mentions Ancient Near Eastern history, but doesn’t attempt to outline the options for views of creation.
Women in Ministry
- Egalitarian – 1 Tim 2:12 introduces the discussion prioritising equality. Discusses the responsibility of the reader to determine revelation and cultural expression. 1 Cor 11:2-16 note specifies complementary roles but doesn’t explain what they are.
- Deborah is mentioned positively in comparison to male judges, and Jael are centered in the story.
- Note for Gen 3:16 specifies that man and woman were created with equal (mutuality and complementary) but with the fall this relationship is broken leading to hierarcy, which in Christ is restored with both genders controlling themselves to return to equal relationship. Not mentioned in 2:18 and a hierarchy is denied in this note.
- 1 Cor 12:10 – doesn’t outline cessation or continuation of the gifts. 1 Cor 14 seems to imply continuation
- Acts 2:4 – Jewish background included, no discussion of type of tongues, continuation is not mentioned.
- One very brief note on Rom 9, with no elaboration on election
- No mention on 1 Tim 1:19 and 1 Jn 2:19
- Notes for Revelation 20 specifies other perspectives are held but these are not explained which is a deficit of adaptation from the pre-existing single author Bible Speaks Today volume on Revelation. The perspective used here is amillenial outlined with other options in the book introduction.
- Brief book introductions with book outline
- Two column text throughout the bible
- Study notes seem to typically cover multiple verses rather than individual verses
- Unanswered questions included with study notes
- Maps at back of the Bible on normal paper
- Leviticus – Moderate number of notes. Some pages with significant notes, but two or three pages devoid of notes.
- Minor Prophets – Moderate number of notes. One or so pages with no notes, but some pages with low number of notes.
- Philemon – Good number of notes, roughly equal in page space given to bible text and study note
- Epistles from Peter and John (even 3 John) – Great number of notes
- Tabernacle – Ex 25+ – no pictures included and notes are not as long as I’d like.
- Temple -1 Kings 7 – no pictures of the temple and no note focused on the Temple, just on Solomon’s palace
- Relationship between the Sermons on the Mount (Matt 5-7:39) and the Plain (Lk 6:17-49) – no mention on relationship.
Biblical Theology Study Bible
Current Editions: Hardback | Bonded Leather | LeatherSoft
Publisher’s Distributor: Faith Gateway
Layout: Single Column Text, Single Column Introductions, and Three Column Notes
Evaluated Edition: Hardback
Review: Slightly academic, quite visual with number of images and maps. Structured book introductions of good length. Tables are found in quite a few places which is helpful.
Example of slightly academic: Article on Creation says dualism, non-symmetrical structure, but uses ex nihilio rather than out of nothing.
- Timeline only includes years after Babel but strangely there’s a large gap between Babel and Patriarchs in Gen 12 with world history included without biblical text references.
- Introduction to Genesis has a Genesis and Science section asking us to read in light of the ancient context. There’s a brief discussion on the word “day” which skews away from literal seven day creation, but it still quite even. Information is included in the note on 1:5 where the word first appears, making it available for readers of Gen 1 who haven’t read the article. Overall, the argument put forward is a logical but not chronological development across the days. There’s also brief discussion on “in its kind” where it outlines a position of not limiting development of species. It pushes back on non-literal Adam and Eve, and reminds readers that similarities of syntax with historical books suggests historical intentions by authors.
- Note on Gen 1:1-2:3 states that scientific mechanism behind creation isn’t included in the text.
- An article on creation doesn’t labour on the point, but briefly mentions again not reading modern questions into the text.
Women in Ministry
- Genesis 1, 3 notes don’t discuss hierarchy, and doesn’t discuss equality or inequality.
- Introductory note on Deborah says that she is unlikely to be a judge, but a prophetess who is “serving in rendering judgements”. This is not linked to her gender, other than a later observation that women “normally would not be a military leader in Israel”.
- 1 Cor 14:34 is said to prohibit wives from evaluating their husband’s prophecy as false, as that is seen to dishonour them. The note reminds that earlier women are praying and prohesying in the church.
- 1 Tim 2:11-12 – The note on v11 reminds readers of similar requirements on men to listen and be receptive [but doesn’t refer to Ephesians requiring men to submit], suggests potential reasons behind Paul’s recomendations here but says that they stand despite knowing the reason behind it. In v12, the note suggests that leadership should be restricted to males, but outlines that this shouldn’t be applied in society, and that women can take predominant roles, likely sing, and referring back to 1 Cor pray and prophesy.
- Acts 2 outlines that all believers receive tongues at Pentecost, not just the Twelve, and outlines that the Spirit can be poured out with and without tongues.
- For 1 Cor 12:10, the note says human languages like at Pentecost, but that 13:1 suggests angelic languages are possible.
- 1 Cor 13:8 note says ceasing is in the new creation when God’s perfect world comes
- In the note for Rom 8:29, predestination is linked with God’s foreknowledge of who would believe in him.
- 1 Tim 1:19 includes a note suggests perserverance of the Saints through referencing 1 Jn 2:19 by saying those who abandon the faith didn’t have true faith.
- Revelation’s book intro includes multiple interpretive approaches and views on the millenium.
- Rev 20 notes appear to include multiple perspectives where possible, noting what view of the millenium they’re speaking from.
- Single column text, triple column study notes
- Cross references in centre
- Book introductions – typically three pages long
- Pictures and maps can be found in book introductions
- Maps at the end of bible on standard paper and throughout the bible, a list of maps can be found at the front of the bible.
- Study notes which cover sections and that cover particular verses.
- Introductions for each testament, and each section of each testament (Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom/Lyrical Books, Prophetic Books, Gospel and Acts, Letters and Revelation.
- 68 pages of articles near the end in addition to two articles in the inter-testamental period.
- Exodus- I only checked a few pages around ch25-37 but there is a high variance between some pages having 1/10 of the page in notes, and other pages having quite a lot (1/2 the page)
- Leviticus – 5 page book introduction, variance on the number of notes between 1/10 and 1/5, but still a good number of notes, and two tables.
- Minor Prophets – length of book introduction varies between 2 [Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai] and 7 [Hosea] pages. Notes in Hosea are quite short taking up, probably roughly between 1/4-1/5 of a page. Notes in Joel varies a lot more between 1/10-1/3 of a page, so there’s quite a lot of variance there. Amos varies between 1/5-1/3 of a page. Obadiah consistently 1/3 page. Jonah has a good amount of notes, around half the length of the text. Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, have 1/4 of a page. Haggai hits around a half a page, apart from the last page. Zechariah varies more between half a page closer to the beginning and end, with closer to a quarter closer to the middle. Malachi varies around a half, generally just below a half.
- Philemon – Great number of notes, slightly more notes than text, and a picture. Single page book introduction.
- Epistles from Peter and John (even 3 John) – 1-2 Peter and 1 John have between 1/3-1/2 of the page in notes, so great coverage there. There are more notes in 3 John than in 2 John, but there’s still between roughly 1/4-1/3 of the page in notes. John’s epistles have a shared introduction. Pictures are still included either with the text or in the notes when deemed necessary.
- Tabernacle – Ex 25+ – Two diagrams, One of the internal furnishings, and one of the tabernacle as a whole
- Temple -1 Kings 7 – brief diagram, doesn’t show anything outside the temple.
- Relationship between the Sermons on the Mount (Matt 5-7:39) and the Plain (Lk 6:17-49) – The Lk 6:17-49 section note outlines the connection to Sermon on the Mount, and the traditional interpretation that there’s a plateau on a mountain allowing for these sermons to be referencing the same event. Only one Luke verse note addresses a comparison with Matthew. The Matthew section note makes a much briefer reference to Luke’s version. The first verse note in Matthew, refers to Luke to account for a plateu on a mountain in the note on 5:1-2. One note on Matthew’s beatitudes includes a mention of the parallel in Luke.
NIV Study Bible
Fully Revised Edition
Current Editions: Standard Size [Hardcover | Bonded Leather | LeatherSoft], Personal Size [Softcover | Hardcover | LeatherSoft], Large Print [Hardcover | Bonded Leather | LeatherSoft], Single Book [Genesis | Psalms | Matthew | Romans]
Layout: Two column text and study notes, single column book introduction
Evaluated Edition: Personal Size Softcover
Review: Not as academic as ESV Study Bible, but quite a good moderate study bible. Perhaps not quite at academic level, but language is clear and some technical language is introduced. The articles appear to be focused on helpful topics.
- Chronology chart doesn’t give years to events/text pre-Babel
- Article within Gen book introduction refers to connection with Enuma elish whilst discussing the cultural connection of Genesis to the Mesopotamia
- Article of “The Biblical Account of Creation” compares the clarity of God’s agency behind creation from nothing (ex nihilo is provided in brackets) with difficulties in scientific interpretation considering literary almost-poetic nature and flexibility of the word for day. Helpfully, the article ends by pointing away from a purpose being to describe mechanism of creation, towards the purpose of recognising the agent behind creation and the Image of God being the sole feature of humans in the creation account.
Women in Ministry
- 1 Cor 14:34-35 has a footnote and an article that discuss a number of different perspectives, but I think that the perspective skews egalitarian. Since it recognises women prophecy and leading in a church service, it wouldn’t be extremely complementarian.
- An article is included with 1 Tim 2:9-15 which includes a number of different interpretations and a brief sentence at the end outlining how different groups can obtain different applications of a text while still interpreting it carefully. A helpful discussion since it is commonly outlined that women in leadership is part of a slippery slope to leaving correct belief (orthodoxy)
- Gen 3:16 note says that man’s domination of his wife is part of God’s judgement which thus supposes that it was not his original intention.
- The note for Acts 2:4 doesn’t discuss speaking in tongues for the present believer, but it does provide cross-references to other verses while referring to the disagreement over whether all speaking in tongues is the same.
- The note for 1 Cor 13:8 relates the ceasing of spiritual gifts until we meet Jesus face to face, without even discussing that some take this to occur in the current age.
- Book introduction for Revelation includes four perspectives of interpretation (Preterist, Historicist, Futurist and Idealist) but it doesn’t identify a particular perspective that it will hold in notes, and it is outlined that the main truths from Revelation are available in the text without depending on a particular perspective. Millenial views are not mentioned.
- An article outlining a-, pre- and post-millenialisms is included in line with Revelation 20. An article on three views of tribulation is included partway just after Revelation 7.
- Book introductions vary in length (for example, 4 pages for Leviticus, but 8 page for Genesis)
- Seven pages of article and geneology for the intertestamental period
- Clear language – for instance Septuagint is explained in Rev 8:13 note.
- Articles are included, They are quite brief, between a paragraph and 2/3 of a page. There aren’t any significant introductions for particular sections, introductions are about a paragraph or two, in length.
- Quite a colourful bible. Sections are colour-coded which can be seen from the side. Pictures and diagrams are included in full colour.
- Centre column references
- Exodus- starts strong with a good mix of notes fluctuating between 1/4-1/2 of the page, but part way through we see some pages with just a single short note, and even one page without notes. The first half is relatively strong.
- Leviticus – Not many pages without any notes, but still slightly fewer notes than Exodus, however tables are included to help with feast days and sacrifices
- Minor Prophets – brief article prior to Hosea, most of the Minor Prophets [apart from Micah 7 and parts of Amos] are nicely consistent, just under half a page for notes, book intros vary between 2 for Joel, Obadiah and Habakkuk, and 5 for Zechariah.
- Philemon – Good amount of notes approximately equal to the amount of text, one and half page of book introduction
- Epistles from Peter and John (even 3 John) – Separate book introductions, good amount of notes, 2 Peter is quite full, but John’s epistles are still good just not as many notes as 2 Peter.
- Tabernacle – Ex 25+ – Just more than a page of beautiful colour pictures of the Tabernacle and its furnishings. Connections are made to other cultures in the area. Any description of function or symbolism is in foot notes [I checked the Ex 25:18 footnote on the Ark]
- Temple -1 Kings 7 – Good sized image of furnishings and the Temple itself, around a page and a half, but on different pages.
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