Tag Archives: Zondervan

Review: Hebrew I (Zondervan Online Lectures)

(See bottom of my review for the Discount Code)

As I’ve mentioned before, I took Elementary Hebrew at SBTS this fall semester. Before I started the course, I knew two things about my teacher, Peter J. Gentry. First, he was brilliant at Hebrew. Second, he was tough. This was a graduate course, and he treats it as such. Zondervan had just begun to have online courses (35 now), so I spent the rest of my summer going through these videos.

The Zondervan Academic Online Course for Hebrew I is taught by Miles Van Pelt. Van Pelt teaches at Reformed theological Seminary, has contributed to the new A Biblical Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, but is most known for his Basics of Biblical Hebrew works.

The course is self-paced, but it must be completed within 12 months. It is 16 units long with each unit following a four-part structure: Overview, Study, Review, and Assess, and ends with a midterm. Hebrew II is also made up of 16 units and ends with the final.

Class Lectures

  1. Alphabet and Vowels
  2. Syllables and Pronunciation
  3. Nouns
  4. Definite Article and Conjunction Waw
  5. Prepositions
  6. Adjectives
  7. Pronouns
  8. Pronominal Suffixes
  9. Construct Chain
  10. Numbers
  11. Introduction to Verbs
  12. Qal Perfect – Strong
  13. Qal Perfect – Weak
  14. Qal Imperfect – Strong
  15. Qal Imperfect – Weak
  16. Waw Consecutive

In these videos, Van Pelt take you through morphology and helps answer the question: “How does this language work?” Rather than rote memorization, he shows how the grammar works. Why do certain vowels change when a word becomes plural? Which vowel does a consonant take? Why? Beginning Hebrew with this understanding makes Hebrew much more possible.

After taking a physical class (50 minutes, 4x a week) with a physical teacher directly in front of me, one value with these videos is that you can replay them as many times as you want. I usually understood what was going on in my class, but there was one particular class (#16) that boggled my mind. After coming home and watching one of the lectures, I saw the subject from a different angle, and it all made sense. 

The red shows you what is new in the lesson.

Time: 30-40 minutes.

The lectures are front-loaded with information so that when you begin learning Verbs you know all of the morphological rules for many of the changes you will see. Working on the nouns will make the verbs easier (as they can look very similar). As you progress, the tiny rules really begin to add up when you start translating sentences and the Bible. Some rules seem too small to deserve any room in your memory, but let me assure you—they are not insignificant. Those initial rules are the most important. If you don’t memorize them in the beginning, when you do realize you were mistaken, you’re going to be in deep (and you’ll have to learn all of those rules anyway). 

I say this because, with Hebrew being my first biblical language, and being the first language I learned where morphological rules were taught to me, I thought, “Big deal? This can’t be too difficult to remember.” Even though I did take the time to learn the rules, I am still constantly having to refresh my memory over these minute details. They are crucial, and Van Pelt is excellent at explaining the rules of Hebrew morphology and grammar.


The vocabulary program used was developed by Cerego. It shows you the vocabulary word, lets you hear the pronunciation, and it tracks which words you are strong in and which ones you are weak in. I found the system to be pretty fun, actually. Each unit ends with a quiz. There is a keyboard system to know how to type each consonant and vowel, but it has a steep learning curve and is pretty clunky if you don’t know all of the hot keys. 


Those who will do this will either need to be self-learners or motivated enough to become self-learners. These could be pastors, students, or anybody who wants to learn/re-learn biblical Hebrew. You could use this for yourself, as a group study, or a class at church. Professors could use it and integrate it into their classrooms alongside their courses or as a new online program. As classes are slowly going the way of online learning, schools can implement these courses too. 


  • Pros:
    • Replayable.
    • 9+ hours of video.
    • Words and forms are written out and explained.
    • Often a fuller explanation given than what is found in the book. 
    • Van Pelt is clear in his teaching, and by teaching morphology, the later grammar and forms make better sense.
    • The course is a fraction of the cost of an actual seminary course.
  • Cons:
    • As far as I can tell, you can’t ask questions.
    • Sometimes I think they focus more on small matters that may not matter much.
    • More expensive than if you were to buy only the Grammar and Workbook (and other helpful material). 
    • You have access to the course for only one year.

Van Pelt writes out what changes occur in forms of words (e.g., from nouns to adjectives) and why they occur.

The best way to learn any language is to have a teacher right in front of you who can answer every question you might have, but those who aren’t able to go to seminary have to rely on books to learn Hebrew, and you can’t ask books questions. This is a good midway. Van Pelt writes out rules and words in front of you and helps you see why changes happen. I’ve seen Van Pelt clearly explain an few unclear sections from his book—something I would have remained perplexed on my own. Most of the grammar that you would find in the Grammar book is found here, but you will need the Workbook so that you can practice, practice, practice. The Workbook has helped me immensely in my own class this semester.


This course discount code will get you 15% of of the course price: SPENCER

  • See my review of Zondervan’s Greek I online course. 

Disclosure: I received these lectures free from Zondervan. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.


Leave a comment

Filed under Review

Review: NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible


It’s been said that the Bible was written over a period of 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). And it was Augustine who said, “The Bible is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.” The Bible presents clearly the Gospel message for all to be saved (even children can understand it’s message), yet there are also those details that make the Bible equally difficult to understand. Those details may come in the form of oblique sacrifices in Leviticus, funky kings and countries in 1-2 Kings, or weird beasts and historically detailed prophecies in the book of Daniel.

The Bible doesn’t come with a “How-to-Read” manual. Abraham was born more than 4,000 years ago, and the New Testament was completed just less than 2,000 years ago. We shouldn’t expect to be able to understand everything on our own. You might recall that at the end of last year I reviewed the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. At a whopping 2,912 pages, it is focused on the Bible’s storyline.

Now Zondervan has come out with another quality study Bible, the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (CBSB). Authored by John Walton (OT) and Craig Keener (NT), this study Bible’s one purpose is

to increase your understanding of the cultural nuances behind the text of God’s Word so that your study experience, and your knowledge of the realties behind the ideas in the text, is enriched and expanded (v).

Both Walton and Keener are masters in the cultures of the Old and New Testaments. There are 74 charts and 64 maps throughout the CBSB to help bridge the gulf that lies between the world of the Bible and the world of the modern reader. I’ve been asked to review the notes and layout of one book, so I chose Daniel (I’ve posted links to reviews of other Biblical books in the CBSB under the Lagniappe section).



The Introduction to Daniel spans a short two pages covering the historical and literary setting of Daniel. The date debate on Daniel is not solved here, and it is only briefly touched upon. Walton points out that Daniel is not named as the author, and he is uncertain of the date of writing given that “many narrative traditions were preserved orally, perhaps even for centuries before being committed to writing,” though “there is not reason to question the authenticity of the accounts in the book” (1414).

The first excursus touches on stories of courtiers (e.g., Daniel, Esther, and Joseph). These stories, played out in different ways, encourage their readers to reman faithful to God in foreign lands.

Notes & Excurses

I have long wondered why, in Daniel 4, after Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in and told him that he was the felled tree, Nebuchadnezzar proceeds to walk out on his roof twelve months later and proclaims, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” Did he forget what Daniel said one year prior?

In Daniel 1.1, Walton notes how Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 43 years. Babylon, which had “suffered destruction” by Assyria, was “literally rebuilt” by Nebuchadnezzar. “In fact, most of the city of Babylon that has been uncovered by modern excavators was from Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Thus, the Chaldean kingdom was primarily his creation, and it crumbled only a generation after his death” (1415). Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt the great Babylon, but he forgot who he was before Yahweh, the great true and sovereign King.

Neo-Babylonian Empire

Walton notes in Daniel 4.4 that the phrase “I, Nebuchadnezzar” and what follows after parallels different Akkadian literature which “tells of a king’s act of pride (failing to heed the gods’ instructions given through omens) that leads to disaster and repentance. It was published for the benefit of others.” The end of Nebuchadnezzar’s tale (Dan. 4.34-37) both reminds and warns others that Yahweh reigns supreme. However, even with this warning, King Belshazzar didn’t listen (Dan. 5.18-23) and because of that, he paid a price. Despite having a huge party in belief that the gods would save them from the oncoming Persians, they didn’t. 

Daniel 2.1, Nebuchadnezzar summoned his astrologers and miscellaneous men quickly because dreams with bad omens needed rituals to be performed to prevent the calamity. The quicker these rituals were performed, the better.

Nebby's Statue

What is meant by “seventy ‘sevens’” in Daniel 9.24? After looking at the significance of a seven year (Sabbatical) cycle in Leviticus 25.3-4, Walton notes that “special attention is paid to the first Jubilee cycle (v. 25, “seven ‘sevens’”) and to the final sabbatical cycle (v. 27)” and suggests that these numbers carry a symbolic significance. Support can be seen in “several verbal and thematic links between Daniel’s prayer and Lev 26:27 – 45 . . . and the apparent understanding of Jeremiah’s 70 years in terms of sabbatical cycles in 2Ch 36:20 – 21.”

Walton notes the symbolic use of weeks and Jubilee cycles in intertestamental Jewish literature (e.g., 1 Enoch 91; 93; the Testament of Levi 16 – 18; and the Book of Jubilees). “There are also examples of the symbolic use of seven and multiples of seven (including time periods) in Babylonian and Ugaritic literature. These symbolic schemas are intended not as strict chronologies but as a way of expressing the significance of history” (1443). 





Reviews of Bible Books in the CBSB

Buy it on Amazon or Zondervan!

Disclosure: I received this book free from Zondervan. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.


Filed under Review

Review: Locating Atonement


Random. Recapitulation. Satisfaction. Penal Substitution. Moral Influence. Christus Victor. What encompasses the meaning of “atonement”? Did only Christ’s death bring atonement? Does Christ’s incarnation, perfect life, death, resurrection, and ascension contribute to his atoning work? To whom does the atonement extend? Do we have to choose just one theory or are we allowed to mix and match?

Locating Atonement, edited by Oliver Crisp and Fred Sanders, are a collection of essays from the third annual Los Angeles Theology Conference. Rather than discussing which atonement theory (or theories) work the best, the speakers at the LATC were asked to address the relationship between the atonement and other biblical doctrines. How does the atonement work within the web of biblical doctrine in Christian theology? If placed beside the doctrine of the Trinity, or creation, or human suffering, or the image of God, what would the atonement add to understanding of these doctrines? 

“No doubt theologians should focus on giving a proper account of particular doctrines, their shape, their dogmatic function, and so forth. But theologians should also pay attention to the relationship between different doctrines in the wider scheme of Christian theology” (14)

The Atonement and . . .

Chapter 1 (External works of the Trinity) – Adonis Vidu sets the atonement within the oneness of the Trinity – there are no works that the Father does that the Son and the Holy Spirit are not involved.

[T]he whole Trinity is active in the death of Jesus, not just the Father punishing the Son. The whole Trinity is present to us in a new way in the human nature of the Son, taking upon itself, in this new human nature, our penal death (42).

Chapter 2 (Creation) – Here Matthew Levering critiques Nicholas Wolterstorf’s critique of satisfaction theories on the atonement and his belief that Jesus rejected the OT reciprocity principle. After this Levering draws upon Aquinas and offers an account of reciprocal justice as grounded in the created order.

Chapter 3 (Image of God) – Ben Myers argues that the church fathers had a consistent and rational explanation for the atonement, one that was rich in christology and the human condition.

Chapter 4 (Wisdom) – This was by fay my favorite chapter as Strobel and Levenson show that “the atonement is the doctrinal elaboration of the movement and action of God incarnate for us through death into resurrection; it is doctrinal reflection on who God is and how he is for us in the descent and exaltation of Christ” (89). He shows how God’s wisdom, which is foolishness to the world, defeats death in the grotesque death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Chapter 5 (Covenant) – Jeremy Treat views the atonement through covenant. Sinners are reconciled to God through the death of Christ, the one who fulfulled the covenant obligations and who took on himself the covenant curses, and we are now brought together as family.

Chapter 6 (Incarnation) – R. Lucas Stamps argues for the necessity of Jesus’ two wills (a.k.a. “Dyothelitism”) for the atoning work as God-Man as it better explains Christ’s “divine intention and human obedience” (138).

Chapter 7 (Punishment and Retribution) – Hill and Jedwab focus on the viability of penal substitution, that the B was punished by A in place of C. B = the Son; A = the Father; C = sinners. If the previous sentence is any indication, this essay is quite analytical.

Chapter 8 (Divine Wrath) – In their essay, Yang and Davis respond to objections against divine wrath and then present their own understanding of divine wrath along with some reasons why we as Christians should see God as possessing this attribute.

Chapter 9 (Shame) – Shame is separate from guilt. “Shame is ‘I am bad.’ Guilt is ‘I did something bad.’” Christ took on our humanness. He began his human life in shame. He associated with the shameful. He died the ultimate shameful death. Mark McConnell shows that Jesus took on our shameful stats as sinners before God so that we could have Christ’s life, strength, and obedience.

Chapter 10 (Human Suffering) – Bruce McCormack relates the atonement to human suffering saying that, at best, human suffering is an analogy to Christ’s sufferings.

Chapter 11 (Eucharist) – Eleanor Stump writes about the atonement in relation to the Eucharist where one reenacts their original surrender to God, though it is more like the renewal of a marriage vow. It strengthens a Christians perseverance to finish to the end. Of all of the essays, I think this one had the least to do with its intended topic.

Chapter 12 (Ascension of Christ) – Michael Horton shows how the ascension is a crucial aspect of Christ’s atonement. It was after the ascension that Pentecost happened where the Holy Spirit came and filled the believers. Christians are united to Christ by the Spirit, the one “who brings the powers of the age to come into this present age” (235).


This book will likely be over your head unless you are in seminary, or you have graduated seminary, or you are well-versed in atonement theology. If you are, then this book is right up your alley. But if you are like me and you haven’t read much theology on the atonement, this book will be more difficult for you. But I can’t give this book the boot simply because of my lack of experience on the theology of atonement (and philosophy, and patristic theories, etc).

For those who have a rich interest in atonement theology, there is so much detail and nuance to be understood, to be grasped, worked and wrestled with. I’ll warn you that this is dense, it’s not always easy to read, and having a different author for each essay varies the quality, but if you have a good handle on atonement theology, you will enjoy this book.


Buy it on Amazon or from Zondervan!

Disclosure: I received this book free from Zondervan. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.


Filed under Review

Review: A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works

a guide

Just how many commentaries are there on the market today?

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 8.55.19 PM

Taken from Best Commentaries, this list consists of 234 different commentary series (with the exception of a few, i.e., NSBT). Disregarding the fact that some biblical books come packed together in certain commentaries, 234 different series multiplied by the 66 books of the Bible comes out to a whopping 15,444 commentaries. Unless you’re Richie Rich and you have discovered the fountain of youth, you’re not giong to be reading 15,444 commentaries within the span of your life. And why would you want to? Some are very dated, others just aren’t good. So how are you supposed to be able to choose which commentary is the right one?

John F. Evans provides us with his 10th edition of A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works. His first edition came out in 1989, and 27 years later scholars, teachers, pastors, laymen alike are served by this new 10th edition.

What’s in this edition?


Evans starts by giving the reader “Two Warnings for Orientation” and about how commentaries are not to be used as a crutch. No matter how many commentaries you do read, nor how many you want to read, they do not replace your own personal Bible study efforts. All commentators have their own background of ideas and beliefs (conservative, liberal, and all in between). None of them will be 100% right, even if you combined them all. You ought to know how to study the Bible for yourself. You may end up in a situation where you can’t bring any commentaries with you.

Then he gives a few pages for:

  • Book Format
  • Standards for Evaluating Commentaries
  • Background Reading
  • Other Bible Reference Works
  • Old Commentaries & Foreign Language Works
  • Notes on Computer Technology

He spends 25 pages explaining the different commentary series, and a few new ones have cropped up since the 9th edition (e.g.,  ABCS, BMT, ZECNT, ZECOT, etc).

Next, Evans, book-by-book, lists his top five or six commentaries and gives a brief explanation of each one. After his highlights, he gives a successive list on other commentaries helping to sift between the good, the bad, and the ugly, with the good usually being in bold. It’s amazing the vast amounts of detail he gives overall. Where someone finds this kind of time for a quality reference book like this is (still) beyond me.

Evans doesn’t simply give information. He often informs the reader if a commentary is more help to the student, the pastor, or the scholar (or any mix of them). He notes if a commentary is so large and dense that the average pastor may find little value for weekly his preparation, but a student or scholar will find the book of great value. This is necessary because no commentary is the same, and it is a letdown when a pastor buys a commentary only to find out that it has been written with only the pure scholar in mind. Evans has a symbol key to show how critical a commentary is.

Aside from the biblical books, Evans provides information on books covering 10 different topics:

  • Pentateuchal Studies
  • Reading Narrative & the Former Prophets
  • Poetry & Wisdom Literature
  • Prophets & Prophetic Literature
  • Apocalyptic Literature
  • The Twelve Minor Prophets
  • Jesus & Gospels Research
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • The Parables of Jesus
  • Pauline Studies

At the end of the book he gives his top picks for pastors on a budget (Bargains for a Bare-Bones Library). Next he gives his Ideal Basic Library for the Pastor. If a pastor could only buy two commentaries, on each book of the Bible, which ones would be the best to choose from?

Then he lists OT, NT, and whole Bible reference tools. Lastly he presents his if-money-were-no-object Ultimate Reference Library.

The Spoiled Milk

This is a superb up-to-date reference book. My only complaint is when Evans talks more about the commentator than about the commentary itself. For example, on Barnabas Lindars’ Judges 1-5 commentary, Evans says,

This Catholic scholar long taught at Manchester and was an accomplished OT and NT exegete. Sadly, he died before he could complete this work, and the publisher released it outside the ICC series. (a 19th century interpreter, Bachmann, also only got to ch. 5.) Here you’ll find approximately 300pp. of exceedingly careful and comprehensive textual analysis which will be valued by serious researchers for decades to come. (115)

But considering that Evans fills 371 pages worth of material on commentaries and topical/canonical guides, we really can’t expect a full review of each commentary. And often when Evans does speak about the commentator, the reader should be able to see the commentator’s perspective and know if they would find the commentary useful or not.


If you are a pastor or a student who is of the kind which uses commentaries, this book will save you time and money. Although since you’ll know which commentaries are the ‘good’ ones, you may end up spending more money buying them all (or spending a lot of time on Amazon praying for deals). Regardless, this would be a worthy addition to your library. The 10th editions is 80 pages longer than the 9th edition.

There are also two single Testament commentaries out now. One is authored by Tremper Longman (Old Testament Commentary Survey), the other by D. A. Carson (New Testament Commentary Survey). Both are great scholars, but I have found that Evans gives more detail in this whole Bible guide and is of a much higher quality and standard. If I’m not careful, a book like this may just make my blog obsolete! 


  • Author: John F. Evans
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 10th edition (May 3, 2016)

An additional website that is very helpful in finding good commentaries: Best Commentaries

Buy it on Amazon or from Zondervan!

Disclosure: I received this book free from Zondervan. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.


Filed under Review

50th Anniversary of the NIV Bible

50th Anniversary Celebration of the NIV Commissioning Continues with "Made to Share" Quarterly Theme (PRNewsFoto/Zondervan)

Yesterday I talked about the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible edited by D.A. Carson, T.D. Alexander, Richard Hess, Doug Moo, and Andy Naselli. This NIVZST comes out just 50 years after the “initial cross-denominational gathering of evangelical scholars who met outside Chicago in 1965 and agreed to start work on what is now known as the New International Version” (read about the anniversary here). It’s easy to think of Bible translators as sitting in their ivory tower, drinking their frappe lattes, and talking about which way a verse sounds better. It’s as if they say, “We pray over it and say amen, but at the end of the day we just flip a coin.”

That sounds quite terrible, actually. Thankfully with the NIV that is not the case. I can tell you just from my small exposure to learning Norwegian, translating the bible is actually much more difficult than that. Try reading every word, sentence, and paragraph Genesis, Acts, or Isaiah over, and over, and over again. You’re parsing the Greek, the Hebrew, or the Aramaic to know what is being said. You then not only have to bring it over into the English language, but into the proper, most widely used colloquial terms. What good is it to translate God’s word into English is the average person on the street can’t understand it? One thing we shouldn’t forget is that the translators of the NIV are also teachers, scholars, authors, pastors, husbands, and wives, etc. They have lives beyond sitting around a table for endless hours trying to choose the perfect word. Yet they take their job seriously so that you can understand the Bible that sits in front of you. 

Making a Translation

Bill Mounce, an expert in Greek who posts about biblical Greek in a series called Mondays with Mounce, said, ”You have to make the translation reflect the actual nature of the author. Paul has a really good command of Greek, and the beauty of that needs to come through in our translation.” And Karen Jobes, commentator on Esther and 1 Peter and the first woman to join the Committee of Bible Translation (CBT), agrees that “We don’t want it to be our voice. We really do want it to be accurate and clear, and that involves facing hard issues.”

The people who work on translating Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts into a coherent and understandable English translation are evangelical Christians who want to spread God’s word in the most understandable way possible. They know that not every Christian will learn Greek and Hebrew, nor will every Christian spend the required hours to dig through the smorgasbord of manuscripts to find the best reading.

As the translators of the King James Version, 1611, said, “But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue?” The NIV Made to Read link reminds us, “Modern people should be able to learn about God’s power, love and redemption from a Bible in up-to-date language.” 

Language Efforts

Language is not static. Life and culture change, as do tastes, likes and dislikes. Metaphors come into being, and words exhale their last breath.

For us English speakers who don’t read Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, we don’t understand the great effort it takes to translate these languages into English. (I’ve quickly learned this fact when it comes to learning Norwegian). Doug Moo, a Pauline and New Testament expert, spent years studying and talking to other experts on the best way to translate the Greek word sarx, which is translated as “flesh.”

In this link Karen Jobes talks about translating Ps 23. Most Christians have Psalm 23 memorized, and the NIV translators didn’t want to make any unnecessary changes. But Psalm 23.4 doesn’t actually refer to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It refers to darkness. “Jobes believes the translators have helped to make the verse more precise than ever before.

‘We may feel we’re in the valley of darkness in lots of different ways other than with impending death,’ Jobes said…. ‘Accuracy and clarity have to trump tradition,’ CBT member Karen Jobes said. ‘Sometimes we ‘ruin’ our own favorite verses for the sake of accuracy and clarity.’

The translators seek to make the NIV relevant, not to people-please, but so more people can pick up the Bible and understand what it is saying.

Gender-Inclusive Language

The Made For You link lets you read about the issues on the use of masculine nouns and pronouns no longer being universally accepted as referring to both men and women. The CBT “commissioned a study by Collins Dictionaries to study the Collins Bank of English, a database of more than 4.4 billion words taken from recordings and publications throughout the English-speaking world.”

“With that data,” said Doug Moo, “we were then able as translators to say, ‘Despite our own personal preferences, this is the English that most people are speaking, and that’s what we need to use in our translation.’”

This data made it impossible to accuse the CBT of bias.

Why can’t the CBT leave the NIV text alone?”

But the answer was obvious: because the text is only as accurate as it is understood. “If we were to use in those contexts, ‘He who takes up his cross, follow me,’” said CBT chair Doug Moo, “it would communicate to a contemporary English audience a masculine sense that the original text did not have in mind at all.”

The translation needed to reflect the English that people were actually speaking. The goal was not to be trendy. The goal was good translation.


Here you can read endorsements from Christian leaders like Philip Yancey,

Pastors like Max Lucado and Rick Warren, 

Biblical Scholars like Darrell Bock, D. A. Carson, Jason DeRouchie, George Guthrie, and more.

The NIV Bible has been around for 50 years, and I hope it will be around for at least another 50. The scholars put in both the time and the effort to make this the best translation it can be for the English-speaking world, and they will never stop seeking to continually refine it as long as it means more people can understand God’s Word.

NIV Timeline



NIV Products Page

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

  • Hardcover: 2912 pages
  • Contributors: 60+
  • Articles: 25+
  • Maps: 90+
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Har/Psc edition (August 25, 2015)


Buy it on AmazonZondervan, or from Logos!

Leave a comment

Filed under Resources

NIV Zondervan Study Bible


Growing up I was a NKJV kid. Not that I read it that often, but all of the Bible I ever owned, used in school, and brought to church were NKJV. In Bible college I moved to a single column ESV with a good amount of space for notes. I didn’t even have a study Bible until I married Mari. Though I regret not having a study Bible sooner, I honestly doubt I would have used it (there was a long period of time where I didn’t read if I didn’t have to, and even if I did!)

However, in case you haven’t heard, Zondervan has produced the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible. It’s similar to the ESV Bible in that there are plenty of maps, pictures, and helpful introductions. Unlike the ESV Study Bible which is geared toward Systematic Theology (what the entire Bible says about a particular topic), the Zondervan NIV Study Bible (NIVZST) is geared toward Biblical Theology. This means that the editors and contributors seek to understand each book on it’s own and how it adds to the canon of Scripture (not to say that the ESVSB didn’t, but this has a different spin).

How did the knowledge of God progress from Genesis to Revelation? What is the storyline of the Bible? Questions we might ask about Moses and his writings would be, “What did Moses know about God and his purposes?” or “What didn’t Moses know because it hadn’t been revealed yet?” Ezra knew more about God’s purposes than David who knew more than Moses who knew more than Adam. It’s a story in progress, and the NIVZST helps its readers know what that story is and how it develops.

Managing editor Andy Naselli said this Study Bible “repeatedly makes organic, salvation-historical connections, especially regarding how the Old and New Testaments integrate.”


Thanks to Andra Kee for the picture!

“Charts, maps and photographs also invite readers to visualize the world of the Bible. At the end of the study Bible, 28 articles on everything from creation to justice to worship provide a comprehensive examination of theology from a conservative viewpoint.”

9780310438335_int_06a_rom_2thess_NIV_ZSB_cs6_FIRST PROOFS.indd


9780310438335_int_06a_rom_2thess_NIV_ZSB_cs6_FIRST PROOFS.indd


You can find the full list of contributors here, but I’ll provide the biblically alphabetical list.

Old Testament

  • T.D. Alexander — Genesis
  • Richard S. Hess — Genesis
  • Paul R. Williamson — Exodus
  • Richard E. Averbeck — Leviticus
  • Jay A. Sklar — Numbers
  • Stephen G. Dempster — Deuteronomy
  • Richard S. Hess — Joshua
  • K. Lawson Younger, Jr. — Judges
  • Robert L. Hubbard — Ruth
  • John D. Currid — 1-2 Samuel
  • Robert L. Hubbard — 1 Kings
  • Todd Bolen — 2 Kings
  • Frederick J. Mabie — 1-2 Chronicles
  • Robert S. Fyall — Ezra, Nehemiah
  • Karen H. Jobes — Esther
  • C. Hassell Bullock — Job
  • David M., Jr. Howard — Psalms
  • Michael K. Snearly — Psalms
  • Christopher B. Ansberry — Proverbs
  • Bruce K. Waltke — Proverbs
  • Craig C. Bartholomew — Ecclesiastes
  • Richard S. Hess — Song of Songs
  • John N. Oswalt — Isaiah
  • Iain M. Duguid — Jeremiah
  • David J. Reimer — Lamentations
  • Donna Lee Petter — Ezekiel
  • Tremper Longman III — Daniel
  • Douglas K. Stuart — Hosea
  • David W. Baker — Joel
  • M. Daniel Caroll R. — Amos
  • David W. Baker — Obadiah
  • T.D. Alexander — Jonah
  • Bruce K. Waltke — Micah
  • V. Philips Long — Nahum
  • Elmer A. Martens — Habakkuk
  • Jason S. DeRouchie — Zephaniah
  • Anthony R. Petterson — Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah
  • Andrew E. Hill — Malachi

New Testament

  • Craig L. Blomberg — Matthew
  • Rikk E. Watts — Mark
  • David W. Pao — Luke
  • D.A. Carson — John
  • Andrew David Naselli — John
  • Mark L. Strauss — Acts
  • Douglas J. Moo — Romans
  • Eckhard J. Schnabel — 1 Corinthians
  • Murray J. Harris — 2 Corinthians
  • Stephen Westerholm — Galatians
  • Te-Li Lau — Ephesians
  • Simon J. Gathercole — Philippians
  • David E. Garland — Colossians
  • Jeffrey A.D.  Weima — 1-2 Thessalonians
  • Robert W. Yarbrough — 1-2 Timothy, Titus
  • David E. Garland — Philemon
  • Buist M. Fanning — Hebrews
  • Douglas J. Moo — James
  • Karen H. Jobes — 1 Peter
  • Douglas J. Moo — 2 Peter
  • Andrew David Naselli — 2 Peter
  • Colin G. Kruse — 1-2 John
  • Douglas J. Moo — Jude
  • Andrew David Naselli — Jude
  • Brian J. Tabb — Revelation


  • D.A. Carson — A Biblical-Theological Overview of the Bible
    •  — The Bible and Theology
    •  — Sonship
  • T.D. Alexander — The City of God
    •  — The Kingdom of God
    •  — Law
    •  — Temple
  • Douglas J. Moo — The Consummation
  • Paul R. Williamson — Covenant
  • Henri Blocher — Creation
  • Philip S. Johnston — Death and Resurrection
  • Thomas R. Wood — Exile and Exodus
  • James M. Hamilton Jr. — The Glory of God
  • Greg D. Gilbert — The Gospel
  • Andrew David Naselli — Holiness
  • Brian S. Rosner — Justice
  • Graham A. Cole — Love and Grace
  • Andreas J. Köstenberger — Mission
  • Dana M. Harris — Priest
  • Moisés Silva — People of God
  • Sam Storms — Prophets and Prophecy
  • Jay A. Sklar — Sacrifice
  • Timothy Keller — Shalom
    •  —The Story of the Bible: How the Good News About Jesus Is Central
  • Kevin DeYoung — Sin
  • Daniel J. Estes —Wisdom
  • Christopher W. Morgan — Wrath
  • David G. Peterson — Worship


There are a few sections to this share-able page.

    • 8 almost-tweetable summaries of a few of the articles in the NIVZSB.
    • 12 pictures of different tables with content such as “Major Old Testament Offerings and Sacrifices,” “Major Covenants in the Old Testament,” “Contrasts of Levitical Priesthood and Jesus’ Priesthood in Hebrews,” and more.
    • 8 videos about the NIVZSB, including the scholar team behind the NIVZSB, interviews, and more.


This is not “just another study Bible.” The list of scholars here are top notch. They not only put in the effort to know the Scriptures, but they love the church and want all to grow in the knowledge of God and in his revelation through Christ. This would make for a good Christmas present, but also a good study companion. This is a book I wish I would have had in high school. And college. And Bible college. And now.


  • Hardcover: 2912 pages
  • Contributors: 60+
  • Articles: 25+
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Har/Psc edition (August 25, 2015)


Buy it on AmazonZondervan, or from Logos!


Filed under Resources