Book Reviews

Book Review: NLT Illustrated Study Bible

I’ll be honest, I usually don’t jump at the chance to review Bibles when offered. However, something jumped out at me with this one. I’m a visual person, so perhaps, the word “Illustrated” intrigued me. I love great study Bibles, so perhaps, it was the curiosity of what in depth study info. this Bible contained. Either way, I did jump at the email Tyndale sent requesting an honest review from me.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this review, honestly. It’s different. It’s not like I’m going to read the contents in its entirety and report back to you with a summary. So, I’ve taken my time with this one. Not for the purpose of reading it cover to cover as with other reviews but to read portions of my devotional, flip to reference in a sermon I’m listening to and get a general feel for the functionality of this Bible.

And let me just say.. I’m in love! This Bible knocked my socks off! I wasn’t sure what to expect with the word “Illustrated” but let me just say… WOW! The photos and graphics that organize information for better understanding are not only beautiful but they are so helpful for a visual learner like myself!

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This is a list of festivals Israel celebrated, listing their significance, when they occurred and scripture references about them

As I counted to turn page after page, I alternated between gasping oohs or being transfixed on the beauty and wealth of information, simultaneously.

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This is a visual graphic of the Psalms with each color representing a state of emotion/mind or outlook from the writer

Not only is the introduction to each book visually stunning but contains a wealth of information beyond normal study Bibles. Within the introduction is contained the setting of the book’s events, a summary of the book, meaning and message, an outline, a map, and a section called “Behind the Text” which delves into possible dates of the book, authorship and a list for further reading on that particular book of the Bible. Many books also contain additional information that is pertinent to the book itself.

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For example, 1 Kings introduction contains a beautiful two page simultaneous timeline of the Assyrian Empire, Kingdom of Israel, Kingdom of Judah, Persian Empire, and Babylon. It is so helpful to see the rest of world history represented on Biblical timelines to help give context and not feel as though the Bible existed in a vacuum. In this same book’s intro, there is an interesting article on “The Chronology of Israel’s Monarchy” which is very helpful in understanding the Regnal-year dating, the Ancient Calendar year, the Accession year dating and co-regencies. Only two pages into the book and the reader is hit with a beautiful purple profile page on Solomon.

Throughout this Bible, we see profile pages of big players in God’s story and minor players, which I love the balance. There are also profiles on countries/governments such as Assyria and their role and impact on ancient Biblical times. Fascinating stuff that further helps put the OT into perspective to one who did not live during that timeframe.

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This is a profile of Stephen. Others are sprinkled throughout the NLT Illustrated Study Bible.

Throughout the entire Bible, you’ll come across a timeline at the bottom of pages here and there. It’s not distracting or competing with the text but very insightful in putting into chronological context the part of the Bible you are studying at the time.

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I really wasn’t sure how I’d respond to this Bible, after all, it’s not my favorite version and I just wasn’t sure what to expect. I will say it again, though, I’m in love! I give this Bible 5 stars! Both of my teens put study Bibles on their wish lists; one had a specific one in mind and the other just wanted a study Bible. After spending time with this one, I immediately researched if they made it in a softcover (I reviewed the hardcover version) and ordered it for Christmas! I also put the soft cover version on my Christmas wish list as I would definitely love to have the resourcefulness of this study Bible with me to carry around to church and Bible studies.

The only thing that I can see as a negative is that I have not located a true leather version of this Bible. This could speak more to my internet search skills rather than the Bible itself but if Tyndale hasn’t already come out with a leather version, I hope they do!

If you’re looking for a new study Bible, I’d highly recommend this version! It is impressive!! Check out their site for more info! http://openmyeyes.com/bible/#edition

*I received a copy of this study Bible for free in return for an honest review of my impressions, likes and dis-likes of this product.

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