Zondervan has released a new updated edition of their NIV Beautiful Word Bible. With more full-color illustrations, pull and stick Bible book tabs, and the NIV Comfort Print Text, if you liked the original you’ll like the updated version even more.

ISBN:  9780310453437    Printed in China

Zondervan provided this Bible in exchange for a review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.


This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Christian Book


Church Source

Barnes & Noble

and many local Bible bookstores


Construction and Materials

The version of the NIV Beautiful Word Bible Updated Edition I have is the gold imitation leather over board cover with pink and blue-green flowers and leaves printed on and near the spine. It has dark teal endpapers and one light aqua attached ribbon bookmark.

It weighs nearly 2 pounds and 11 ounces and measures 8 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ x 2″.

It has a sewn binding and nice soft white paper. The pages are fairly easy to turn but a touch thinner than most other journaling Bibles. We are guessing somewhere in the upper 30s gsm. I actually thought of it as pure white until I was taking pictures of it. My camera turned the pictures more cream than I was expecting and in comparison to some of the other Bibles the white does have a slight yellow cast while some of the others with white paper have a slight blue or gray cast.

It comes with peel and stick Bible tabs in dusty pastel colors you can add.

This Bible is also available in a flowered cloth over board cover, a brown and pink imitation leather over board cover with a verse from Psalms on the front, and eBook format.


This Bible features the NIV comfort print text in a 9.9 point font size. It is a red-letter edition. All inks are a consistent darkness throughout.  The red is bright enough to really stand out but not so bright that it’s wearing on your eyes. The section headings are a deep bluish-purple that is hard to tell from black at first glance.

It is laid out in a single column paragraph format. Poetry is set in stanzas, quotes are offset, and lists look like lists.

The header contains a guide verse and page number in the outside corner. The only notes are translation footnotes in smaller text at the bottom of the page. There is a 2″ lightly lined margin on the outside edge of any page that does not contain artwork.

About 6 lines of text fit in the height of a penny. I really like this Comfort Print Text and found it very easy to read.


There are over 600 full-color illustrations.

All of the artwork from the original NIV Beautiful Word Bible plus 100 more. There is additional artwork from Jay & Kristi Smith and they have added two new artists; Lindsay Letters and Paige Firnberg.

Most of the illustrations fill the margin of a single page.

But some of them are full-page illustrations

and a few of them fill two pages.

There is a lot of beautiful artwork but I like the fact that most of the illustrations focus on the words of the verse as much as (and many times more than) the pictures. I also like the wide variety of interesting and beautiful lettering styles used. While you won’t be adding anything to the finished artwork there is a lot of inspiration possible from the artwork included for your own scripture drawings.

Other Features

This Bible doesn’t have a lot of extra features (besides the illustrations) but I think they have made good choices with what they did include. It has standard tables of contents (both Biblical order and alphabetical), a table of weight and measures, and the preface to the NIV translation. The front endpaper is also a presentation page.

They also have this “Tips for Bible Journaling” page. These tips are basic but

very usefully for journaling in general and especially for a Bible with thinner paper like this one has.

There are 9 sheets (counting both sides separately) of lined blank paper in the back. This would be a great place to test any pens or art supplies before using them in the main portion of the Bible.

And there is an index listing all the artists who contributed and the pages their artwork is found on. Most other journaling bibles don’t have an artist index and I like the idea of knowing who did each piece of artwork in my Bible. I only wish they had also included the verse index common in illustrated journaling Bibles that lists all the verses artwork has already been done for.


I picked a handful of Bibles to compare it with. The names of the Bibles are links to their reviews where you can find more information about each one and more pictures.

The original NIV Beautiful Word Bible

This was the most obvious comparison to do.

There is more artwork in the updated edition but since the larger text required 210 more pages you actually have more blank margins as well.

Here are a couple of examples of new artwork. In the second picture 2 Corinthians 9:7 is new and 2 Corinthians 7:10 is in both. The other artwork shown (2 Corinthians 5:17) in the older Bible is also in the new version.

In some instances, the same artwork shows up opposite each other.

The larger and newly designed font makes a bigger difference than the added artwork in my opinion. I had to flip through page by page to make sure I was including new artwork but the difference in the font was obvious as soon as I had both Bibles open. I find the newer text much easier to read.  Plus the fact that it’s bolder would mean it would show through a wider variety of art mediums if any were to get on top of the text (accidentally or on purpose).

I think the paper is thicker (by 1 or 2 gsm) in the updated edition. The block of 1400 pages measured 1/8 of an inch thicker.

The extra pages (and possibly thicker paper) do make the Bible noticeably thicker.

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible

The NIV Beautiful Word Bible Updated Edition is between the size of the original and the coloring edition of the original. The coloring edition has the smaller text but noticeably thicker paper (40 gsm at least) that adds all the bulk.

The coloring Bible’s pages have a slight gray tint.

The ESV Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition

The ESV Illuminated Bible is the only other journaling Bible with finished illustrations I could think of. It’s illustrations are a much more traditional style and gold instead of full color.

It’s also larger having thicker paper that is very cream-colored.

The NLT Inspire Praise Bible

I choose the NLT Inspire Praise Bible for the last comparison because it also has white paper.

Its illustrations tend to be a bit more elaborate than the ones found in the Beautiful Word Bibles.

Final thoughts on the NIV Beautiful Word Bible Updated Edition

The NIV Beautiful Word Bible Updated Edition is a nice Bible. If you liked the first one but want (or need) an easier to read font this is the Bible for you. If you have wanted a Bible with artwork like some you have seen others carrying but don’t have the time or confidence in your own skills to do the artwork yourself this is probably your best choice. If you are looking for one to journal in and like the idea of starting with hundreds of already finished illustrations to inspire you it’s also a great option. But if you’re a highly creative type you might prefer an option with more room for your own artwork or at least uncolored artwork so you can make it more your own.


This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Christian Book


Church Source

Barnes & Noble

and many local Bible bookstores


Photography by Lucinda Brown