NLT Study Bible Review

The NLT Study Bible has been updated for 2017. Updates mostly focus on interior design, improvements to the indexes, and of course the updated NLT translation itself. Unlike the current trend of full-color editions this one continues the traditional study Bible style with mostly text and the occasional line-drawn map.

Tyndale provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own. 

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Construction and Materials

This edition is cloth over board. It comes in a nice slip case. The words NLT Study Bible are pressed into the front and the spine of the cloth. The textblock is glued. The paper is around 30 gsm and is some of my favorite paper in a study Bible. It has an ivory color and is smooth to the touch. It’s highly opaque. More opacity would help readability but it’s still very good.

Typography

The text is presented in double column paragraph format with references in the inner margin and notes at the bottom of the page in three columns. Short articles are placed between the text and the notes. Poetry uses a poetic setting. The header and notes are separated from the text by dotted lines.

The font is 9-point and is sharp. Both the black and red letter are decently dark and highly readable. The references in the inner margin ensure that the text is never lost in the bend.

There are two types of section headings. One is a bold heading that follows the outline in the book introduction. They’re labeled like an outline. The other are normal NTL headings and are in italics. Section headings include parallel passages – particularly in the Gospels.

It has around 40 characters per line with 7-8 words per line (at least for most lines). The text has good spacing and is highly readable.

Book Introductions

Introductions take 3-4 pages and include a lot of info. They include sections as well as books and have the standard information about the setting, a summary, author, composition, text, meaning, outline, etc., but also add a timeline in the margin, include quotes from commentaries, provide maps, and a list for further reading. They provide lots of good information to help you understand the setting and purpose of the book. They’re great for study.

References

There are quite a few cross references for study. The references are placed in the inner margin and are keyed to the text with letters. Parallel passages use //. That’s a great visual that helps you see parallel passages at a glance. Here are a few examples to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – Ps 89:11, 102:25; Is 42:5, 48:13; John 1:1-2; Gen. 1:27; Exod 16:4; Gen 9:11
  • Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – Deut 4:35,39; *Matt 22:37; *Mark 12:29-30; Luke 10:27; 1 Cor. 8:4,6
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Deut 10:17; Neh 9:32; Is. 7:14, 26:3, 12; Matt. 28:18; I Cor. 15:25; Isa 59:8
  • Matthew 17:20 – Matt 21:21; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6; I Cor 13:2
  • Mark 11:20-25 – //Matt 21:20-22
  • Mark 12:29-30 – *Deut 6:4-5; *Josh 22:5; Luke 10:27
  • John 1:1 – Gen 1:1; Col 1:15; John 1:14
  • Acts 2:38 – Mark 16:16; Acts 3:19, 8:12, 22:16
  • 1 John 1:1 – John 1:1, 4, 14; I John 4:14; Rev 1:2

Study Material

Study material includes 300 articles, 25,000 notes, 220 charts, 200 Greek and Hebrew word studies, 90 profiles, and 85 introductions.

The articles are placed between the text and commentary. They take a few paragraphs and provide lots of references. They do have theology but they don’t always take a side on certain points. For example, the article on Creation talks about the significance of Creation and how it effects our worldview rather than the ‘how’ of Creation. It doesn’t mention topics such as days.

Of course the commentary does handle some of the topics that are not covered in the articles. Of course commentary won’t cover everything as that’s not possible in a study Bible, but it does cover a lot of verses. Many of them include word studies. It seems to be straightforward on the commentary and word studies by focusing more on facts rather than theology. For example, the definition of Elohim explains about be a plural word but using a singular verb, showing that God is one in number. They’re not trying read something into the definition that’s not there. There isn’t much that I would take issues with.

Charts are usually small but they provide a good visual of the information. My favorite is the drawing of Noah’s Ark, which uses the smallest dimensions but looks more like a barge than a cartoon.

The profiles give you the important information about a person and includes lots of Scripture references where possible. If the person wrote a book of the Bible it gives a short description of their writings.

Reference Helps

In the back is a section of reference helps that adds several indexes of the study material and several tools to help you do your own study. They include:

Table of Ancient Weights, Measures, and Coins

This is a one-page chart that covers weights, lengths, capacities, and coins. It includes the biblical name and American and metric equivalents.

Hebrew and Greek Word Studies

This 12 page dictionary provides 200 Hebrew and Greek word studies. It includes the English spelling, Strong’s numbers, definition, and list of verses that include the word.

Features Index

 

This 16 page index lists topics and then provides the Scripture references for the features such as profiles, diagrams, illustrations, maps, charts, themes, timelines, introductions, etc., where the topic is discussed.

Notes Index

This is a 55 page index that provides a topic and list of references where that topic is discussed in the notes.

Dictionary & Concordance

The combination dictionary and concordance is 85 pages with three columns per page. All entries have short definition followed by the list of references. A few entries make suggestions of other entries to check. Some words that are found in the KJV are referenced under the old English word or phrase so you can still find if more familiar with KJV. This helps me a lot. I typically stick with KJV when looking up words because I’m so used to it. This lets me use those KJV words.

  • Christ (n) – 95
  • Christian, Christians (n)  – 3
  • Faith (n) – 106
  • Faithful (adj) – 43
  • Faithfulness (n) – 15
  • God, Gods (n) – 89
  • God-Breathed (KJV) – 1
  • Godliness (n) – 4
  • Godly (adj) – 11
  • Godly (n) – 15
  • Praise, Praises (n) – 18
  • Praise, Praised, Praises, Praising (v) – 44
  • Pray, Prayed, Praying, Prays (v) – 42
  • Prayer, Prayers (n) – 20

Maps

It has 16 pages of maps with 18 maps in total. They’re printed in full color on thick glossy paper. They include Topography, elevations, cities, rainfall, mountains, distance, routes, Scripture references, battles, water, historical information, kingdoms, dates, and more. These are some of the most interesting and detailed maps that I’ve seen. It doesn’t include an index

Maps include:

  1. Topography of Palestine
  2. World of the Patriarchs
  3. Exodus from Egypt
  4. Twelve Tribes of Israel
  5. Conquest of Canaan
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Deportations and Returns under Assyria and Babylon
  8. Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  9. Greek Empire
  10. Palestine Between Old and New Testaments
  11. Old Testament Jerusalem
  12. New Testament Jerusalem
  13. Roman Division of Palestine
  14. Ministry of Jesus
  15. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  16. Paul’s Journey to Rome
  17. Roman Empire and the Spread of Christianity
  18. Israel and the Middle East Today

Conclusion

The latest edition of the NLT Study Bible is an excellent improvement over the original. Most of the improvements focus on interior design and the indexes. Of course this edition includes the updated NLT translation. Since they had to bring out an updated edition because of the translation updates I’m glad they took this opportunity to tweak the study Bible’s design as well. The print and paper are excellent. The tools don’t seem to carry a heavy theological bias. It does include commentary but it also has a lot of factual information. This is an excellent study Bible for any NLT fan.

_________________________

Buy from (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________

Photography by hannah C brown

Tyndale provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review. My opinions are my own. 

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there’s also that author thing.

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