The NIV Study Bible

Zondervan Corporation 1985
A book review by Danny Yee © 1994
I can't judge the quality of the NIV translation, since the only other I am at all familiar with is the King James, my Greek is rusty and my Hebrew rudimentary. (And I certainly wouldn't want to enter into any debate about whether the translators were divinely inspired or not.) The commentary is another matter; whatever its doctrinal merits, I feel it lacks anthropological, archaeological, historical, and literary inspiration. So the traditional dates and authorship are accepted for all the New Testament books with only a passing mention that these have been rather seriously disputed, while the commentary on the Old Testament makes no mention whatsoever of possible Persian or Egyptian influences on Hebraic religion. Even from a religious point of view the commentary seems likely to annoy some Christians, often doing more to tell the reader what the "right" interpretation of the text is than to provide them with the information necessary to come to their own conclusions. So (to take a controversial example) in the note to Romans 1:27 we find "Homosexual practice is sinful in God's eyes" — now either this is clear from the text or it isn't, and the paraphrase doesn't give the reader information about anything except the editors' opinions. (A cross reference to 1 Corinthians 6:9 might have been more useful.)

The NIV Study Bible does come with lots of pretty maps and timelines, which may be of use to the reader unfamiliar with the history and geography of the Eastern Mediterranean, and I presume the nitty-gritty of cross references and explanations of Hebrew meanings are accurate enough, but, unless it is required by your doctrinal position, I recommend giving the NIV Study Bible a big miss; I'm going to finish reading the Old Testament using a New Revised Standard Version and the Fontana Literary Guide to the Bible.

July 1994

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%T The NIV Study Bible
%I Zondervan Corporation
%D 1985
%O hardcover, concordance, maps, index
%G ISBN 0310907683
%P 1950pp