WARNING: This is not a positive review!
My opinions of new Study Bibles is well documented on this blog. That rant is going to continue here. But before the bashing begins, let me point out what is positive with this publication. First, the NIV has really grown on me in recent years. Especially for my son is reading now, he is able to read and understand it better than most. The CSB comes in at a close second, but he seems to prefer the NIV. There is also a great index and concordance of people an places that the study notes discuss. Also, the cover is neat and fun for kids……that is about it.
Now for the complaints. As I have discussed with other study bibles, this Bible is poorly designed. It is terribly hard to use and read. Take a look that at the book of Titus. It covers 4 pages and has a good selection of the various kinds of notes that the Bible offers. It has a book introduction called “The Evidence”, then an explanation about places mentioned in the text called “The Scene”, information about people called “The Witnesses”, a multiple choice review question called “Check the Facts,” and book recap called “Case Closed.” On the whole, I like the concept that they are teaching here. All the parts add up to the whole and it is important to know those details in order to rightly understand the book as a singular letter. But the execution is off and the set-up is terribly confusing.
Imagine being an 8-year-old reader trying to navigate these pages. For starters, the bleed-through is quite noticeable making the light blue font even harder to read. If you can read the text, it is hard to know what text is actually the inspired Word of God. The columns are so inconsistently arranged, I struggle as an adult to keep track of where I am on the page and where my eyes are to go next. This is further complicated by the bombardment of pictures to catch the eyes of kids. It is easy to see how a kid could simply jump from note to note to note without actually reading the inspired text that is crammed in between. I think this is counterproductive to the goal of the Bible, which is to get kids into the Scriptures.
All of this is aside from the actual content of the notes, which others have noted can be a little lacking depending on your particular strain of Evangelicalism. That aside, I cannot recommend this Bible and would encourage you to check our the CSB Kid’s Bible that I reviewed here.
Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.