Most helpful positive review
228 of 230 people found the following review helpful
Probably the best Study Bible around, in my opinion!
on December 18, 2000
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 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 is.
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 the Life Application 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).
The clear, informative and objectively stated notes in this NIV Study Bible earned it 5 stars in my book!! I would, however, have appreciated lengthier personality profiles. But no study Bible has everything!
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. I hope this is helpful! Please check out my other reviews of Bibles and other Christians books and contemporary Christian music!