The NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition: A Review

NIV Life Application study Bible, third edition

As part of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I occasionally get emails offering an opportunity to review a new product. I’m not much of a salesperson, so I don’t often request copies. However…when I got the email that a new edition of the NIV Life Application Study Bible was coming out, I jumped at the chance to get a FREE copy!!

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that Scripture is my jam. I love spending time in God’s Word. It’s where I feel most connected to God, and I am passionate about sharing his Word with others. Reading the Bible for me is like having a conversation with a close friend…I feel like God and I truly talk as I read and contemplate his Story. And, study Bibles are an integral part of that experience. I received my first study Bible as a teen, the NIV Teen Study Bible. Over the years, I’ve collected several different study Bibles. Each one has facilitated a deeper understanding of God’s Word in my life. The new NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition, is no different.

Again, I need to point out that I received this Bible for free as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. (#BibleGatewayPartner) 

The purpose of the NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition, is to help readers “go deeper into god’s Word, helping [them] discover the timeless truth being communicated, see its relevance for [their] lives, and make personal applications” (LASB, pg. A19). To that end, the following features are included in the Bible:

  • Notes that provide both cultural context and real-life contemporary application of the Scripture
  • Book introductions that provide historical timelines, relevant maps, megathemes, blueprints for reading, and an outline
  • Outlines with three levels of headings carefully differentiated for easy reading and recall
  • Personality profiles of key figures throughout both the Old and New Testaments
  • Charts and diagrams to help readers visualize concepts and relationships
  • Cross references to assist readers in seeing connections between different texts
  • Maps, including black and white thumbnail maps within the text and color maps at the back of the book to aid in reference
  • Textual notes and section headings that include the each section’s guiding theme made applicable to contemporary life
  • Complete master index of all notes, charts, maps, and personality profiles, as well as resources for preparing group Bible studies
  • Comprehensive dictionary and concordance for easy Biblical reference and study

One of the best things about the NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition, is its relevancy in contemporary society. The themes and notes presented in each section deal with issues specific to contemporary life. Take a look at this image from Psalm 62:

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Note that the beginning of the Psalm includes a contemporary theme, as well as a historical reference. The reader knows from the very beginning the historical impetus of the Psalm, as well as how the Psalm applies to their contemporary life.

This image showcases the life application notes at the bottom of each page:

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The first note gives an expansive application of the Psalm’s theme. It states:

David continually praised God through both good and difficult times of his life. Do you find something to praise God for each day? As you do, you will find your heart elevated from daily distractions and concerns to lasting confidence (LASB, pg. 913).

Other notes follow and include both historical information and contemporary life application.

You should also note the ability to easily take notes as you read the NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition. I’m a note taker, and can appreciate the margin width to make notes about the text and the application. While Psalms lend themselves to note-taking because of their poetic structure, the full-bodied narratives are also arranged in a way that makes it conducive to write in the margins.

Here is the full double-page view of the text:

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The following images showcase the articles within the text, as well as the expansive concordance and dictionary. One of the hallmarks of a good study Bible for me is a comprehensive index and concordance so I can easily find Scripture by topic, as well as cross-reference passages. The NIV LASB3 has both!

NIV Life Application study Bible, third edition-6

My only real criticism with the NIV LASB3 is the lack of diversity in the authorship committee. In reviewing the makeup of theological consultants, it seems that most  are men who have teach at prestigious evangelical/conservative seminaries. While I don’t doubt the educational authenticity of their work, it would be nice to see representatives from other backgrounds, including more diversity in gender and theological tradition. Much of the life application notes veer toward the more conservative branches of Christian theology and ideology. While I did not personally agree with all of the interpretations in the Scriptures I read, the opinions and perspectives expressed opened up my thinking and led me into deeper conversations with God and better contemplations of his Word.

Overall, I would recommend the NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition. The lay-flat feature is wonderful, especially if you sit and write in your Bible, as I often do.


Blessings and Peace,