Today I’m looking at the NIV Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition. Produced by Tyndale and Zondervan working together this is a major update to the notes in the Life Application Study Bible.

ISBN 9781496439420    Printed in China

Tyndale provided this Bible 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)

Christian Book




Tyndale House Publishers

and many local Bible bookstores



Construction and Materials

The copy we received is the brown and mahogany LeatherLike imitation leather. It has gold gilt edges, gold stamping, and one attached brown ribbon marker. It has a Smyth-sewn binding.

We are guessing that the paper is about 36 gsm. It is a soft off white that I honestly didn’t realize wasn’t quite white until I was working with these photos. This Bible measures 9 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ x 2″ and weighs 3 lbs, 7.7 ounces.

The NIV Life Application Study Bible Third Edition is also available with or without thumb indexing in this cover, a berry Leatherlike cover or hardcover. The hardcover editions are also available in red letter and there is also an eBook version available

Layout and Typography

This Bible is black-letter laid out in a single-column paragraph format. Poetry is set in stanzas and quotes are offset to be easy to identify. It has an 8.5 point font.

6 lines of text fit in the height of a penny. A dark berry red ink is used for the line to divide the text from the notes. The same dark berry red and a couple of lighter shades of it are used to highlight and separate the various notes and helps from the Biblical text. Both inks seem to maintain a consistent darkness throughout.

It has a guide reference in bold in the outer corner of the header with the page number in lighter print just inside of it. The outer margin is 3/4″ wide and is blank. The inner margin is 1 1/4″ side and contains the cross-references. Translation notes are in smaller font in the text portion of the page. The life application notes are below the berry line and are presented in a two-column format.

Study Helps

Introduction to the NIV Life Application Study Bible Third Edition

There is a 10-page introduction to the Life Application Study Bible at the front. It explains what makes this study Bible unique, what application is, and all the types of notes included. This will be helpful to everyone, especially those new to the Bible in general or just new this particular line of study Bibles. The large timeline that mixes Biblical events with other world events to give the reader historical context is one of my favorite features.

Book Introductions

The book introductions start with Vital Statistics that list the author, setting, original audience, and setting and a few other basic facts about the book. Next is a written introduction, followed by a Blueprint (outline), and a section about the major themes of the book. When it seems useful a timeline runs along the bottom of these pages.

Many books also include a map of the area the book takes place in with a brief description of key places. These book introductions are between 1 1/2 and 3 pages long.


The key feature of most study Bibles is the notes and that is definitely true with this Bible.  There are over 10,000 notes included. These notes offer explanations of the individual passages and suggestions for how to apply the Bible to our lives. While most study Bibles focus on interpretation this Bible focuses primarily on application. I found many of the notes I read useful and informative and like the application focus this Bible has.

We always recommend that readers remember to take the Biblical text over anything found within notes.  Notes do not have the same infallibility as the Word of God. Notes are useful to help you understand and to give you a direction to start your own meditations. But some of the information is just opinion and you can always prayerfully disagree with them. The notes in this Bible are easy to tell apart from the Biblical text because they are separated by a thin berry red line and are presented in double-column instead of single-column format.

The notes section also includes numerous (over 500) charts, maps, and lists that further add to your understanding of what is happening and how to apply it to your life.

These notes include not just a harmony of the gospels but a nice chart for harmonizing Kings and Chronicles as well.


150 profiles of interesting people from the Bible are included. You can find them by looking for the face icon at the top left of the colored note section. I like the list section at the end of each profile that highlights their strengths and weaknesses. It also gives you the key verses about each person as well as the most important lessons we can learn from what they did (or didn’t) do.


It has a side-column cross-reference system in the 1 1/4 ” inner margin. They are brought 1/2″ out from the edge so they don’t get lost in the gutter.

Here are a few examples of references to help you compare:

  • Genesis 1:1 –  Jn 1:1-2; Job 38:4; Ps 90:2; Isa 42:5,44:24; 45:12,18; Ac 17:24; Heb 11:3; Rev 4:11
  • Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – Mk 12:29; Mt 22:37; Dt 10:12
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Isa 53:2; Lk 2:11; Jn 3:16; Mt 28:18; Isa 28:29; Isa 10:21; 11:2; Isa 26:3,12: 59:17
  • Matthew 17:20 – Mt 21:21; Mt 13:31; Mk 11:23; Lk 17:6; 1 Cor 13:2
  • Mark 11:23 – Mt 21:21
  • Mark 12:29-30 – Dt 6:4,5
  • John 1:1 – Rev 19:13; Jn 17:5; 1Jn 1:2; Phil 2:6
  • Acts 2:38 – Ac 8:12,16,36,38; 22:16; Lk 24:47, Ac 3:19
  • 1 John 1:1 – Jn 1:2; Jn 1:14; 2Pe 1:16; Jn 20:27


There is a 79-page 3-column combination dictionary/concordance.

Sample entries include:

  • Christ – 8, the Messiah; the Son of God
  • Christian, Christians – 3, follower of Jesus the Messiah (Christ)
  • Faith – 60, reliance, loyalty, or complete trust in God or someone else
  • Faithful(ness)– 44, firm in adherence; loyal; worthy of trust; devotion
  • Godliness, Godly – 9, devotion to God; piety
  • Gods – 6, powerless pagan deity; image or idol
  • Praise(d)(s), Praising – 59, to worship, commend, or give honor to
  • Pray(ed)(ing) – 40, to communicate with God
  • Prayer(s) – 24, communication with God

I have to admit to being a little disappointed that there are only 4 references for Christ (when it appears over 400 times in this translation). I’m baffled by the fact that the word GOD, in reference to the true God,  has been left out completely.


It would be impossible to make use of all the added material without an easy way to find it all. To help you with this they have included several indexes. A 106 page Master index helps you find information on a wide variety of topics. This index includes notes, charts, maps, and profiles and is in a double-column format.

There is a separate index that includes maps only, one for just the charts, and a final one that is just the personality profiles. Each of these is laid out in a triple-column format.

Christian Workers Resources

A 15 page Christian Worker’s Resource is included in the back. The sections are

  • How to Become a Christian
  • How to Follow up with a New Believer
  • Mining the Treasures of the Life Application Study Bible
  • So You’ve Been Asked to Speak
  • Taking the Step to Application

This contains lots of useful information for those who want to help others with their Christian walk. A couple of these The first two do have a slight doctrinal bias. Even with that is a lot of useful information here. I’d advise using these as starting points for study and placing a note in the Bible with references to the Bible verses you’d use for any doctrinal point you’d add or disagree with.

The Mining the treasures section really does help if you want to use your Life Application Bible effectively while teaching others.

My favorites are the last two sections because this information is very useful but less often found in study Bibles. Also, these tips could be used with any other Bible.


Besides the numerous black and white maps within the Bible, 14 full-color maps on glossy paper are included in the back.

These maps are:

  • World of the Patriarchs
  • Holy Land and Sinai
  • Exodus and Conquest of Canaan
  • Land of the Twelve Tribes
  • Kingdom of David and Solomon
  • Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
  • Prophets in Israel and Judah
  • Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  • Holy Land in the Time of Jesus
  • Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus
  • Jesus’ Ministry
  • Apostles’ Early Travels
  • Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  • Roman Empire

Other features

This Bible hasn’t left out standard features like the Presentation Page, Family Tree Page,  and a Table of Biblical weights and measures. It also has a read the Bible through in a year, 365-day, reading plan with boxes for you to check off as you go and a translators Preface for the NIV translation as well as a contributors list for the LASB notes.

Comparision to NLT both 2nd and 3rd Editions

I don’t own an earlier edition of the NIV Life Application Study Bible but took a few pictures comparing it to my 2nd edition NLT to help you see the changes.

3rd Edition NIV Life Application Study Bible and 2nd Edition NLT LASB

Overall this is the same bible with the same main focus and underlying philosophy; to help the readers apply God’s Word to daily life. It was updated not because it was no longer relevant (it was still very useful) but to make it even better for our time, and hopefully for years to come.

Some of the updates are just superficial, adding a second color and changing the layout of some of the information. These were done primarily to make the added material easier to find and easier to use. I have to admit I like the newer two-color style better. not only is it more interesting to look at but it makes the extra material much easier to find when I want it and much easier to skip over when I’m concentrating on the Biblical text.

The substantial changes are mostly additions. New notes, new maps, new profiles, and new background information to give readers more of what they used and liked.

Notes have been added to be more inclusive of single people and to deal with issues that are either more common today or more likely to be openly discussed. They have also updated some of the language and examples to make them more timeless or at least more current. One example is more frequently using “we should” terminology instead of “you must” imperatives.

In total, about 30 to 40% of the study material is new content.

3rd Edition of the NIV Life Application Study Bible and NLT LASB

The only differences between the NIV and the NLT versions of the LASB 3rd Edition are in appearance or very translation specific. They are basically the same in size and weight. They have different cover choices but both come in colorful or more conservative colored imitation leather and hardback.

The interior color choice is one of the most obvious differences with all the berry red ink in the NIV version and the green ink in the NLT. Pagination doesn’t come out quite the same. It’s amazing how much difference a small percentage of sentences being different lengths and translators notes being in different places can make over the course of over 2000 pages. All of the Life Application material is in both, it’s just in slightly different places sometimes.

Translators’ notes and the concordance have to be different because they are solely based on the translation. They have laid out the references the same but have chosen to use standard references from the two different translations instead of making them the same. The full-color maps included in the back are also different being the standard maps from two different publishers.

Final Thoughts on the NIV Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition

The NIV Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition is a really useful update to an already nice study Bible. Applying God’s Word to our life and not just reading it is a goal all of us should strive for and we sometimes need tools to help us do that. If you have an earlier version of the LASB that you love and is still in good shape I’m not going to say you should rush out and get a new one. This is definitely a good choice though if yours is showing signs of wear, or if you could greatly benefit from some of the new topics that have been included. It would also make a good gift for anyone struggling with how the Bible applies in today’s world or those working with new coverts.


This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Christian Book




Tyndale House Publishers

and many local Bible bookstores


Photography by Lucinda Brown

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