NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible Review

NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible

The NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible is from Dr. Albert Mohler and his team at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It seeks to provide insights and guidance to both new and seasoned Bible readers. The focus is on general Bible study and topics with an emphasis on redemption. It’s available in several covers. I’m reviewing the hardcover (red letter) and goatskin (black letter) editions. Both are printed in China and the Premier Collection was made with materials from around the globe.

Zondervan provided these Bibles in exchange for an honest 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)

AmazonHardcover | Premier Collection

Christianbook – Hardcover | Premier Collection

and many local Bible bookstores


Table of Contents

  1. Video Review
  2. Cover and Binding
  3. Paper
  4. Typography
  5. Footnotes
  6. Cross References
  7. Book Introductions
  8. Commentary
  9. Concordance
  10. Maps
  11. Conclusion

Video Review

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Cover and Binding

NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible

NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible

The Grace and Truth Study Bible is available in multiple cover options. Here’s a look at the hardcover and the Premier Collection editions.


The hardcover comes with a dust jacket with the title features in gold. The hardcover is the same blue with gold text on the front and spine. The liner is paper and serves as the presentation page. The liner is a copper color that works well with the blue cover. The block is sewn and has no trouble staying open on any page. It includes a 1/4″ double-sided satin copper ribbon that’s long enough to pull to the corner. The overall size is 6.5 x 9.5 x 2″. It weighs 3 lbs, 10.6 oz.

I like the blue and copper color scheme for the cover and ribbon a lot. The hardcover edition seems to be made well. The liner looks to be reinforced. I think it would last a while, making it a good value.

Premier Collection in Blue Goatskin

The Premier Collection cover is navy goatskin. It’s slightly brighter and bluer than most blue covers I’ve seen. This might be my favorite blue. It has a pebbly grain that looks and feels elegant. It’s flexible, but I don’t find it too floppy. It includes perimeter stitching. The front has no printing, while the spine includes 5 thick raised hubs and small text printed in gold. It has a generous 5/8″ yapp (overhang).

The edge-lined liner is a bright scarlet red calfskin. It stands out. A lot. I, and the rest of the BBG crew, would have preferred a darker red, the dark blue matching one of its ribbons, or the same navy blue from the front cover. It’s really too bright for me. Everyone will notice it. The bright red can distracting around the yapp and when the Bible is opened for reading. It’s not a deal-breaker, though. It’s just not what I would choose. Several have commented on how much they like it, so I do think it will be popular.

The liner includes a gold gilt line. The edge-lined tab is slightly stiff, but it does stay open on the first page of Genesis. The first section has overcast stitching and, of course, the block is sewn. It has 3 3/8″ double-sided satin ribbons in dark blue, pewter, and bright red. The overall size is 7 x 10.5 x 2. It weighs 3 lbs, 11.3 oz.

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Both have excellent paper, but it’s slightly different between them. The level of show-through looks the same, but the print isn’t as dark as the Premier Collection edition. Neither have glare under direct light.

The hardcover uses the same paper as the other Zondervan study Bibles. This is a 32gsm paper that’s highly opaque and whiter than the paper in the Premier Collection. It’s smooth but has the right amount of roughness to make the pages easy to grab and turn.

The Premier Collection has the premium 36gsm European paper used in all Premier Collection editions. It’s thick and has a smooth texture. I find it easy to turn. It’s white and it’s highly opaque.

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The layout presented the 2011 NIV Bible text in its standard paragraph double-column setting with poetry set to stanzas, letters indented, and lists as lists. Cross-references are placed in the center column. Footnotes are placed after the last verse on the page. The header shows the page number in the outer margin and the book name with chapter and verse numbers just inside of that. Commentary is placed under the text in two columns. All highlights are in copper.

The typeface is 9-point. This is the updated Comfort Print typeface designed by 2K/Denmark. The hardcover is red-letter while the Premier Collection is black letter. The font in the Premier Collection is darker. The black and red are dark and consistent throughout. I love this shade of red for the red-letter text.

The text was printed with line-matching and has around 8-9 words per line. The verse numbers seem to be slightly bolder than the text, but they can still take an extra second or two to locate. A lot of the poetic lines have one word because of the way the double-column lines are divided.

I found the copper highlights difficult to read. This includes the section headings, header text, and the cross-reference pilot verses in the center column. They look good and are easy enough to see unless you’re reading under a light.

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Footnotes are placed under the last verse on the page. These are the standard NIV footnotes. They include insights on renderings, parallel passages, where quotes are from, explanations of words, locations, people, names, information about the original languages, manuscript variations, etc.

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Cross References

This study Bible includes an amazing number of cross-references. These are the same references found in the NIV Study Bible, which is enough for serious study and sermon prep. Here are some example references to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 – Ps 102:25; Pro 8:23; Isa 40:21; 41:4, 26; Jn 1:1-2, 21, 27; Ge 2:3, 6; Ne 9:6; Job 9:8; 37:18; Ps 96:5; 104:2; 115:15; 121:2; 136:5; Isa 40:22; 42:5; 51:13; Jer 10:12; 51:15; Ge 14:19; 2 Ki 19:15; Ne 9:6; Job 38:4; Ps 90:2; 136:6; 146:6; Isa 37:16; 40:28; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12, 18; Jer 27:5; 32:17; Ac 14:15; 17:24; Eph 3:9; Col 1:16; Heb 3:4; 11:3; Rev 4:11; 10:6
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Dt 4:35, 39; Ne 9:6; Ps 86:10; Is 44:6; Zec 14:9; Mk 12:29; Jn 10:30; 1 Cor 8:4; Eph 4:6; Jas 2:19
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Gen 1:15; Ias 53:2; Lk 2:11; Jn 3:16; Mt 28:18; Isa 22:22; Job 15:8; Isa 28:29; Dt 7:21; Ps 24:8; Isa 10:21; 11:2; 42:13; Psa 90:2; Ex 4:22; Isa 64:8; Jn 14:9-10; Isa 26:3, 12; 53:5; 66:12; Jer 33:6; Mic 5:5; Lk 2:14
  • Matthew 28:19 – Isa 49:6; Mk 16:15, 16; Lk 24:47; Ac 1:8, 14:21; 1:8; 2:38; 8:16; Ro 6:3, 4; Gal 3:27; Col 2:12
  • Mark 12:29 – x (12:30 has Dt 6:4-5)
  • John 1:1 – Isa 55:11; Rev 19:13; Jn 17:5; 1 Jn 1:2; Php 2:6
  • John 3:16 – Ro 5:8; Eph 2:4; 1 Jn 4:9, 10; Isa 9:6; Ro 8:32; Ge 22:12; Jn 1:18; ver 15; ver 36; Jn 6:29, 40; 11:25, 26
  • Acts 2:38 – ver 41; 8:12, 16, 36, 38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15, 33; 19:5; 22:16; Col 2:12; Jer 36:3; Mk 1:4; Lk 24:47; Ac 3:19Jn 20:22
  • Rom 8:30 – Eph 1:5, 11; ver 28; Rom 4:25; 9:23
  • 1 John 1:1 – Jn 1:2; Lk 24:48; Jn 1:14; 19:35; Ac 4:20; 2 Pe 1:16; 1 Jn 4:14; Jn 20:27

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Grace and Truth Study Bible Book Introductions

Book introductions are different from most study Bibles. While most provide information divided into sections and include a key verse, timeline, outline, etc., these provide some of the same information in a text-based format. They are detailed. Most take several pages and include a book overview with lots of information. They cover the main themes, theological points, characters, interesting facts, and how the book fits into the Bible as a whole. You could actually read the introductions to Bible students in a class and it would go smoothly.

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Grace and Truth Study Bible Commentary

The NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible is primarily a commentary Bible. It does have the standard Table of Weights and Measures, but it doesn’t include articles, lists, indexes, charts, maps, material between the testaments, etc. This is a traditional study Bible design. The commentary only appears at the bottom of the page, so there are no interruptions within the text.

The focus is on the theological basis of grace and truth. All commentary is founded on these words and their implications, and it’s designed to help the reader’s understanding of the biblical text. The notes are described as evangelical, Reformed, and complementarian. They’re theological-based and only include one point of view.

The commentary itself typically covers multiple passages at a time, focusing on the main themes rather than specific points. By covering full passages, every verse is included. It’s the equivalence of purchasing a single-column commentary. It doesn’t include many word studies, so you won’t find much Greek or Hebrew mentioned. It does have a little bit of information about the people, places, items, etc., but these are not covered in detail. The commentary does cover a lot of information. It’s well written and informative. Of course, like all commentary, I recommend you use it for reference and do your own study.

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This is the NIV concordance created by John R. Kohlenberger iii. It’s the same concordance used in the NIV Study Bible and is easily one of the best concordances I’ve seen in a Bible. It has 315 pages with 2 columns per page, with 4795 entries, and around 36,000 references. This includes proper names with 339 biographical entries. it also has 1312 entries that have every appearance of a certain word. These are marked with an asterisk. It shows background information and references to prominent texts and variations of words in parenthesis. This an excellent concordance for sermon prep, course work, class prep, and personal study.

  • Christ (Christ’s, Christian, Christians) – 169
  • Christ’s (Christ) – 7
  • Christian (Christ) – 2
  • Christians (Christ) – 1
  • Faith (Faithful, Faithfully, Faithfulness, Faithless) – 3 columns
  • Faithful (Faith) – 92
  • Faithfully (Faith) – 15
  • Faithfulness (Faith) – 68
  • Faithless (Faith) – 12
  • God (God’s, Godliness, Godly, Gods) – 9 columns
  • God-breathed (Breathed) – 1
  • God-Fearing (Fear) – 7
  • God-Haters (Hate) – 1
  • God’s (God) – 30
  • Godless – 2
  • Godliness (God) – 8
  • Godly (God) – 4
  • Gods (God) – 8
  • Jesus – 2 columns, 5 major topics with multiple sub-topics, with many Scripture passages and references
    • Life
    • Miracles
    • Major Teaching
    • Parables
    • Disciples
  • Praise (Praised, Praises, Praising) – 112
  • Praised (Praise) – 13
  • Praises (Praise) – 7
  • Praiseworthy (Praise) – 2
  • Praising (Praise) – 5
  • Pray (Prayed, Prayer, Prayers, Praying, Prays) – 35
  • Prayed (Pray) – 19
  • Prayer (Pray) – 32
  • Prayers (Pray) – 9
  • Praying (Pray) – 12
  • Prays (Pray) – 1

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In the back are 16 pages with 14 full-color maps Zondervan maps printed on thick semi-glossy pages. It also includes an over 3-page index to maps, which is easy to use and maps locations easy to find. I’m always glad to see a map index included. The maps include topography, elevation, distance, routes, borders, possible locations of lost places, battles, cities, cities of refuge, empires with dates, locations of events of prophets, locations for the events of Jesus’ ministry, and locations for the events of the apostles and missionaries.

Maps include:

  1. World of the Patriarchs
  2. Holy Land and Sinai
  3. Exodus and Conquest of Canaan
  4. Land of the Twelve Tribes
  5. Kingdom of David and Solomon
  6. Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
  7. Prophets in Israel and Judah
  8. Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  9. Holy Land in the Time of Jesus
  10. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus
  11. Jesus’ Ministry
  12. Apostle’s Early Travels
  13. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  14. Roman Empire

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Conclusion on the NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible

The NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible is an interesting design. It has lots of references and an excellent concordance for study. Notes include book introductions and passage-by-passage commentary from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This keeps the text distraction-free, providing tools when you want them. I like that it’s available in multiple editions. I prefer the Premier Collection just for the darker print and better paper. This is my favorite blue I’ve seen so far. The hardcover edition is much more affordable and certainly has good enough print and paper. If you’re looking for a study Bible from the Southern Baptist point of view, the NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible is a great choice.

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This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

AmazonHardcover | Premier Collection

Christianbook – Hardcover | Premier Collection

and many local Bible bookstores



Zondervan provided these Bibles in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All 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.


  1. Gary reynolds

    Commentary for Genesis 41:4 & 41:7 do not agree with the bible text.

    • kiminx

      agree with you. the study note error.

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