Monday, July 28, 2014

NIV Integrated Study Bible by John R. Kohlenberger

book cover
NIV Integrated Study Bible
by John R. Kohlenberger

ISBN-13: 9780310411031
Hardcover: 1408 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: August 22, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers.

Book Description, Modified from BookLook:
The NIV Integrated Study Bible shows the Bible unfolding in a new way as the landmark events are set in parallel. It’s more than just a chronological Bible—not only are passages of Scripture arranged in their sequential order, but so also are individual events. And multiple interpretations allow for deeper revelations. For instance, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’s telling of Jesus feeding the 5,000—presented in four columns right next to each other—take on a new life. David’s story about hiding from Saul in the wilderness is paired with the relevant psalms.

Features include:
*The entire text of the NIV translation with the order of events arranged chronologically
*General and sectional (e.g., Pentateuch, History, Prophets, Gospels) introductions on chronology and dating, including comparative charts of major systems and schemes
*Brief commentary in the form of transitions to help navigate the chronology

My Review:
NIV Integrated Study Bible is a NIV Bible (newest translation) presented chronologically with some timelines and section introductions. Different records of the same event or genealogy are shown side-by-side so that you can easily compare the accounts to get a fuller understanding. Similar events are also often put in with the same-event accounts, which can be confusing. Similar events are indicated with a gray rather than black column heading, but the difference in headings is not noticeable unless you are paying close attention.

This Bible presents some events as the same event which are, in my opinion, different events, but they did a much better job with this than I expected. (People have a tendency to assume similar sermons must actually be the same sermon, but traveling speakers frequently use similar stories and sermons since they have a "fresh" audience who hasn't heard them before. And it's not surprising that some similar events happened.)

Since it is a chronological Bible, this Bible isn't useful for "everyone turn to Luke chapter..." circumstances, but it is great for straight-through daily reading. If you need to look up the location of a specific verse, you can use an index in the back.

For those who care: In the New Testament, John is used as the "backbone" that events in the other gospels are aligned with. As in, it's the gospel that has the most verses in the order we're used to. Mark is the second "most in order" book. No dates were given for events before Abraham. I appreciated that the author acknowledged that there is debate about various dates as most Bibles (and ancient history textbooks) will give you a date like it's undisputed fact. (Ancients didn't date things the same way we do, which opens things up to debate.) This Bible used more conservative dates and mainly compared its dates with liberal ones.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to those who want a daily reading Bible that makes it easy to compare similar passages and align events chronologically.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.