I was recently asked by someone who had read some of my reviews which study Bible I recommended. Such a hard question, since there are many excellent ones available! My answer to him compared the NIV Life Application Bible and the NIV Study Bible. Here are my thoughts on these two, plus comments on the Quest Study Bible as well.
The Quest Study Bible doesn't go as deep. I think it's perfect for someone who is just beginning to study the Bible and has lots of questions like those that are answered in the Quest Study Bible. However, that's not to say that I already know all the answers to those questions! ;-o It just doesn't go much deeper than those questions.
I have in front of me the NIV Study Bible and the Life Application Bible NIV. They are both excellent - either one would go deeper into the Word than the Quest Study Bible.
The obvious differences to me are as follows:
Text The Life Application Bible (LAB) has the text straight across the page - the NIV Study Bible has the two-column layout. I think I prefer the two-columns. It is easier to get through some of those Old Testament books such as 1/2 Chronicles! ;-o However, this is very much a matter of personal preference.
Notes The notes, while excellent in both Bibles, are different in tone. The NIV Study Bible notes are very objective and purely informational. One of the downsides to the LAB, for me anyway, is that sometimes the notes in the LAB get rather preachy and sometimes go far afield of the text. I'm not saying asking personal applications is a bad thing, but if you're doing a lot of reading in that Bible, it might get to be a bit much. The tone of the notes is is the reason I gave this Bible 4 stars instead of 5! A note might ask "Do you believe that God can help you? Do you really want his help?" (note for Matt 9:27-30)
Other helps In the back of the LAB, there is an "Index to Notes" which includes the maps, charts, personality profiles, and the notes. It really isn't a concordance, but it is helpful.
The NIV Study Bible has an Index to Maps separately, an Index to Subjects, and a Concordance. The Concordance isn't exhaustive, of course, but it is much better than the one in the LAB.
The LAB wins the contest in the "Personality Profiles" category. They have quite a detailed description of all the key people you'll meet in the Bible - they often cover about 2/3 of a page!! In the NIV Study Bible, these personality notes are relegated to just a few lines in the Notes section! The LAB definitely is the winner in this category.
Both Bibles contain a Harmony of the Gospels, something I find really helpful. The LAB, however, numbers each event in the Gospels, and before the section in the text, it gives this number and then gives the passages in the other gospels that tell the same story. I found the number to be really helpful. The NIV Study Bible doesn't have such numbers.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea! Those are the main differences, I think!! Both Bibles are excellent. I haven't found any others that are better. I also have the NIV Living Insights Study Bible that has Chuck Swindolls notes, but the notes aren't as complete. Also, the "Word in Life Study Bible" is chockfull of different kinds of sidebars and articles and is just wonderful as well. I had purchased the Large-Print Edition of the NIV Study Bible because of some temporary vision problems. The Large-Print Edition of the NIV Study Bible doesn't have HUGE print - just a bit bigger than most Bibles. I still use that Bible a LOT and it's just comfortable reading. It is a bit bigger and heavier than my LAB, but not by a lot. I really like the larger type. You can get REALLY large print, but that's not what this.
I hope this is helpful! Please check out my other reviews of Bibles and other Christians books and contemporary Christian music!
on December 20, 1999
I probably viewed plain English bibles in the same light a wine connoisseur would view wine-coolers at your local quick-stop. I found however, that the translations in this bible were not flipant and seemed to be carefully chosen. I greatly appreciate that passages are marked and noted in areas where the authors found slight divergences in one of the ancient Greek or Hebrew texts.
This bible is rich with maps so it is easy to see where the stories are located, how far journeys last and things like that. There are also summaries of the main characters and their roles in the stories -- a biblical "Cliff's notes" of sorts. Be careful though, as you might expect, your interpretation of a character's purpose in the story may be a bit different from that of the authors.
This is a great bible. Its ease of use has allowed me to increase my bible reading, without sacrificing accuracy or relevance to the original text. I can read more at one sitting without getting worn down pondering the meaning of Old English text.
One note of warning, however, an accurate, modern English translation of the 23rd Psalm (Ie. The Lord is my shepard, I shall not want. etc.,) falls absolutely flat. He doesn't "lay me down by still waters." He only "leads me by peaceful streams." Where the poet who wrote the King James bible would say "He restoreth my soul" this bible says He only "renews my strength." Yet, the care which is evident in other parts of the translation -- at least to a layman like me -- leads me to believe this is the more accurate translation, even if it is less poetic.
Enjoy this bible. It has become my friend.
on November 2, 2002
There are so many good things about Tyndale's "Life Application Study Bible" (LASB) that I'm not sure where to start. The negatives are short and quick: (1) it contains too much typology, interpreting far too many events in the OT as announcing Christ, e.g., the burning bush was not Christ, but God himself; (2) it tends to get a little preachy in places; and (3) after a careful reading I found sixteen misspellings and intertext reference errors (which I submitted for correction in the next edition to the publisher).
But that's nothing compared with what you get: a set of concise book, event, and character outlines that are unmatched in current Bible publishing. The point of the LASB is to relate the Bible to our lives today, and not the way we lived 400 or even 2000 years ago; in other words, LASB's goal is to make the Bible directly relevant to its reader. It certainly succeeds.
Perhaps its least noticed but best feature is its one-column text format, giving the reader full verses. The poetry of the Psalms and within the prophetic books is retained and in metered format to distinguish it from prose and didactic sections. Loaded with footnotes explaining not only the what, where, who, but the why. The editors tell you WHO James is, and who his brother is, and give you hints to distinguish him from other Jameses. Each book is set up with an introduction, along with a "blueprint" model that gives the major themes of the book; a separate "megathemes" (meta is the proper word) section lays out the thematic significance of the book with explanation; and finally a "vital statistics" section that gives a quickview of the book's setting, key people, purpose, etc. The maps in the back are quite good, too.
So there's no reason you won't want this Bible, even as a supplement to more scholarly bibles like the New Revised Standard Version Oxford Annotated Edition. I highly recommend it.
on October 8, 2010
I ordered this Bible for my husband because I've enjoyed my own Life Application Study Bible so much. I got mine about 8 or 9 years ago and only got a hardcover edition at that time. I wanted him to have a Bible that would stand the test of time and that he would enjoy using. I firmly believe that you get what you pay for in most cases and in this case, the comparison between real leather and the other imitation leather Bibles that are on the market is really no comparison at all. This Bible is a pleasure to hold and it will stand the test of time.
on December 3, 1999
After looking at several study bibles I have chosen the Life Application Study bible in the NIV for my use as it is easiest for me to read and study. My wife and I have also bought several copies for friends and family. We buy the red letter edition in the leather cover so they will know it was important enough for them that we bought the best we could find. We have given this version of the Word so that not only will my friends and family have the Word of God but some of the explanations and descriptions of the events and times to go along with the text.
These explanations have made for better understanding of the times and events for me, and I believe it will for anyone. This study bible is good for the new believer and those searching. The more anyone knows and understands the Word, the better your life in the Word.
on August 5, 2008
I've been to many Christian bookstores, purchased (and returned) a few bibles online, talked to friends, scoured publishers websites, read many reviews (including the Christian Research Institute and How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions), and have finally concluded and found THE best-of-the best study Bibles currently available and THIS is it.
The NIV is the most read and most trusted Bible translation today. The Life Application Study adds helpful introductions to each book, timelines, statistics, overviews, megathemes, verse-by-verse notes, explanatory notes, maps, charts, diagrams, profiles of Bible people, and background on the time between the two testaments. This Bible uses the NIV cross reference system and includes an index and dictionary/concordance. This Bible's text is in an easy-to-read single column format while the verse-by-verse notes are in a smaller, different text in two columns at the bottom of each page. Additional explanatory notes and profiles are set apart nicely as well. The words of Jesus Christ are in red letter.
Although the description does not say so, this specific item has BOTH the higher grade genuine leather cover AND the indexed thumb tabs with the abbreviations of the books to make them easier to find. It is burgundy with golden-gilded page edges and a burgundy ribbon marker. The ISBN is 0310934028 and the Amazon discount price on a retail price of $89.99 cannot be beat (I got mine at $57 but I have noticed that the price point does change up and down). When your Bible comes, *IF* it does *NOT* have the thumb tabs, please check the ISBN and then exchange it for the right product (it appears that there may be occasional fulfillment challenges with Amazon on this product).
If there were one book I would hope everyone could own, this would definitely be it!
O Lord, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105)
on November 1, 2001
I was in the market for a Bible that helped to shine light and understanding on God's word. Some (the Old testament) is hard to understand. But the writers of this Bible have put so much helpful information on every page. It helps me to meditate on the Scriptures, and to apply them to my daily life. This Bible brings to life the authors, the times in which they were written, and how they can benefit us today. It is truly "life's application bible".
on October 11, 2009
I own the regular sized version of this same Bible, and we ordered the smaller one for my husband who wanted one he could carry around with him whenever he wanted. The regular sized one we have is hardcover, and kinda heavy, so this one is perfect for portability.
The cover is great! I was worried about the fact it's not real leather, worried it would be poor quality and not hold up well or feel right, but actually I like it better than leather. It's very nice looking, but also feels so great in your hands, and seems to get even softer and more supple with use. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the cover. The colors of the tu-tone are great, one a light shade caramel, the other a darker one.
I like this size a lot, and although much much smaller than the full size one, this personal Bible is still not extra tiny. It's certainly not large, for sure, but just a shade smaller than medium I'd say. It feels very comfortable to hold in your hands though, which is great, so it's certainly not too big in that sense. I was just a little surprised at the depth, it's still a good 2 inches thick, perhaps just over that. But there wasn't much they could do with all the stuff that's in here! All the charts, maps, notes, indexes etc. take up room! And it still is not cumbersome in my opinion.
The notes, index and things are super handy, and it's a nice way to further understand verses that you may feel need more explanation. Although, surprisingly, and off the top of my head I don't think it's just with this size, sometimes you'll come across a major verse or section that you're sure will have some further explanation down below, and it doesn't. So that's the only thing occasionally lacking. Also, once in a while the notes may seem a bit on the common sense side, but the notes that are useful more than make up for the few that seem so-so. Like, some notes are more thorough than others I guess, while some seem to only scratch the surface. But, some may like the reassuring common sense approach too. It is cool that the life application part really does in fact give examples most the time on how to apply each particular verse to real life.
But I will say that it's paid for itself already as far as I'm concerned, for the times it HAS answered my additional questions after reading a particular scripture, and other times it's given me a hands-on kind of understanding that is inspirational. It's great!
My favorite part about these Bibles is the character descriptions it gives. In each book, each major character gets their own section of explanation, with bullet points identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and the lessons their lives can teach to us. LOVE those parts!!!!! Amazing how "human" the characters of the Bible really are, and these sections make it easy to look at them and relate. The characters are normal humans who just like all of us, ebb and flow in God's grace, as well as sin, confusion and doubt at times. Makes ya feel a little better!
I also love the index, where you can look up a keyword and all the verses that have to do with that word or issue are listed. This is done extremely thoroughly, and really seems to do a great job at listing every verse that's related.
The only other thing I'd note here is that the words of Jesus are not in red. After years of only having the kind of Bible that does have them in red, I thought I'd be totally disappointed. But, funny enough the Holy Spirit must have taken care of that because I don't even notice it at all. When I'm reading, I'm just reading, and although the red lettering might be a little more nostalgic, it doesn't take away anything as you're going along. The full sized hardcover version of this Bible I have does have the red lettering.
And, as for the print - it is smaller to save space, but it actually is not too small. I was very worried, my husband has batman eyesight, and I have what I would consider "normal." But, I actually find myself reading this personal sized one way more often than our hardcover one of the same version, even though the hardcover has the normal sized print. The print in the personal sized is not for anyone who has eye issues and no reading glasses, but if you have normal eyesight like me or good reading glasses you should be fine. It is not microscopic.
Overall a HUGE asset to our home and life, makes it easier to just pick up the Bible and start reading quickly whenever you want to, without feeling like you're lugging out something big and heavy. This has to be one of the best Bibles out there. My only dream for something more, would be one just like this that could miraculously have room to include a side-by-side comparison of all the major translations! :)
on June 18, 2004
WOW! What can I say @ the L.A.B. Bible that has not already been said by others? I am a Baptist Church Sr. Pastor, and I now preach/teach 4 sermons per week. I have many great Bibles in my peresonal Bible collection (old ones, new ones, several languages, big ones, small ones, etc) BUT my L.A.B. is one of the four main Study Bibles I love, prefer, & use in my personal Bible study time. (Along with: (1) The NIV Study Bible, (2) The Ryrie Study Bible, and (4) The Open Bible Study Bible).
~ So, if you are looking for a great study Bible with tons of study aids, helps, charts, notes, verse commentary, informative intro material to all 66 Bible books, etc., the L.A.B. is one of the best I have ever used in over 23 years of being a church staff member -- most of these years as a Sr. Pastor preaching 3 or 4 sermons each week.
The Commentary notes about the verses (printed at the bottom of the pages) are among the best I have ever read and used in a study Bible. The study notes truly are thorough, inspiring, benefical, theologically conservative, and helpful.
~You cannot go wrong with the L.A.B. ... you will not regret buying one and using it to study God's Holy Word.
*My only complaint is that a large section (about 200 pages) literally just fell out in one chunk as the binding came lose gave out! This happened after I had the L.A.B. for only 1-1/2 years or so. I plan on taking it back to the store where I bought it to see if they will repair it. I trust that they will.
But, as far as the content is concerned -- you will love the L.A.B.!!
on January 19, 2000
I plan to purchase a copy for myself-I'm always reading my wife's copy! I found this version to be of great value for the wealth of resource information it provides, as well as the easier-to-read language (vs. KJV which I use in church services for it's accuracy). With the KJV, I've used footnotes and scriptural cross references to gain understanding but the Life Application Bible provides so much information throughout each chapter I'm reading. My study is much more efficient!