09 July 2014

Book Review: The NIV Journey Bible

I've been reviewing quite a few Bibles recently and they have held various appeal. Though the text itself is invariable, the accompanying notes for each Bible show considerable differences in quality and usefulness. The NIV Journey Bible: Revealing God and How You Fit Into His Plan (2014, Zondervan) may be the best of the bunch so far. It is evident that the editors were seeking a specific market with this offering.

The Bible itself is no goatskin Cambridge Pitt Minion (if you are unfamiliar with Bibles, search for it. It is a thing of beauty); it is a rugged, trade paperback with no fancy coloring and a simple sketch on the front. Everything about its construction suggests utility rather than beauty, which is part of its appeal. Weighing it at about 2 pounds and 1700 pages, its maybe a little larger than I would have expected for the entry market, but not so much that it detracts from the overall product.

In terms of what's inside, I really like this book. It makes use of the always popular NIV translation, a perennial favorite and one that is easily grasped, yet the editors attempted to remain faithful to the text.  The real selling point for me, however, was the notes. Unlike most new Bibles, all of the boring, academic stuff was moved to the back of the Bible, which was a wise move. In fact, right on page one, there is a single page letter from the editors that is deeply inviting to readers. From that point forward, everything in the Bible is geared toward the person who is hoping to learn more about God. In the introduction is a section on "how to seek God" that includes basic questions (e.g., What limitations are you putting on what God can ask from you?) and then seeks to answer them. Practical helps abound.

Several different guides are offered for the person who wants an exposure to the Bible. In addition to including all 66 books, they offer a 4 page "summary of the Bible--in its own words", which was quite unique and beneficial. This was followed by a short section on "Who is Jesus?" that answers basic apologetic questions in plain language. What I really appreciated was the "Five Alive" reading plan, which gives a sweeping overview of the Bible by having the reader cover Genesis, Deuteronomy, John, Acts, and Romans in 30 days.  I will actually recommend this plan now to those new to the word.

Throughout each book, there are interspersed notes, testimonies, answers to common questions and how we can know ourselves.  Each of these contributes to the overall sense of this being a useful Bible for the one who is new to the faith or wondering what Christianity is about.

I would happily recommend this Bible to anyone who wants to get to know Jesus better. Everything about this Bible seems to be wisely designed with that singular purpose in mind.  At a list price of about 23 bucks, I would like to see it about half that, but I guess we can't have it all. 

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No comments: