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The NIV Women’s Study Bible Review

Thomas Nelson has an NIV Women’s Study Bible that is very similar to their previously released NKJV Women’s Study Bible. It is subtitled “Receiving God’s Truth for Balance, Hope, and Transformation and includes contributions from over 80 women (of various ethnic, denominational, and occupational backgrounds). It was edited by Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Kelley.

This bible was printed in China. ISBN: 978-0785212379

Thomas Nelson Publishers 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)


Barnes & Noble


and many local Bible bookstores


Construction & Materials

This Bible has a sewn binding. The edition I have is the hardcover that is teal and flower patterned. It measures 9.5′”x 6.5″ x 2″ and weighs 3 1/2 pounds. It comes with a dust jacket but the actual front cover is identical except it doesn’t have the yellow “full color” banner.

The paper is not as thin as I would have expected in a study Bible (we’re guessing mid 30s GSM). It is soft white and decently opaque.  I had no problem with glare or turning pages while using it.

This Bible is also available in blue/blue & pink floral cloth over board, blue/brown imitation leather, and ebook editions.

Typography & Layout

The text is in double-column paragraph format.  Poetry is set in stanzas, lists look like lists, and quotes are indented. The header has the page numbers in the middle and index verses in the outer corners.

10.5 point is the approximate font size. The words of Christ are in red and so are the page numbers and section headings.

Color is used a lot in this Bible: to differentiate things, aid in navigation, and just to make it beautiful. The print darkness of every color of ink is consistent throughout.

Book Introductions

This Bible has nice sized book introductions. They include the author, the date written, main themes, and a complete outline of each book. The background section is my favorite part of the book introductions. They include the setting, purpose, and original audience of the book as well as special literary characteristics where applicable.


The notes are the core of this study Bible and there are a wide variety of note types. These notes are identical to those found in the updated version of NKJV Women’s Study Bible except for the colors used to highlight them. They are always placed next to the same passage of scripture but since this is a different translation that frequently means different page numbers.

The large quantity of notes makes an index to them an invaluable tool.

This 24-page index makes the study of specific topics very easy, especially since it’s keyed (with capital letters in parenthesis) so you know what kind of note you’ll find when you get there. This index gives just the reference number the note can be found next to (I think primarily so they could use the same index for every translation.) I don’t usually find this to be a problem but including page numbers would have made this easier for new Christians to navigate.

The types of notes are:


(N) They look like typical footnotes set in a smaller font at the bottom of the page and with a pale gray background setting them apart from the Biblical text. These notes identify people and places, comment on certain verses, and attempt to explain difficult passages. The verse they reference is printed in red at the beginning of the annotation and no symbol is included within the Biblical text to indicate it has a note. The subscripts are saved for translation notes that are included at the bottom of the standard text area.


(C) Set apart by navy headers these notes are comparison charts, useful lists with details, and genealogical charts to help you remember who’s related and how.


(M) In-text maps to help you understand the geographical situations of the scriptures. They generally cover smaller areas than the end of the Bible maps but include extra details some of which focus on biblical women.


(P) There are over 100 brief biographies or “portraits” of women mentioned in the Bible. The portraits all have a flowered border with a lot of pink and a navy title banner so they stand out from the text.

Each biography includes references to relevant characteristics and topics at the end for further study.

Topical Notes

(T) These all have a  flowered header with a light background, a burgundy title banner, and a pale tan background which marks them as different from both the text and the portraits.

With over 300 Topical Notes specifically written for women today you should be able to find a short article about most topics where you have questions. They cover a huge range of topics including our Christian walk (worship, prayer), stages of life (motherhood, empty nest), personal issues (fatigue, depression) and even political issues (homosexuality, date rape).

Having both notes that are relevant to any child of God as well as ones designed specifically for women help make this a well-rounded study Bible


Besides the text itself, the Concordance is one of the main places the NIV Women’s Study Bible differs from the NKJV version of this Bible. It has a larger concordance (86 pages) with more references for a lot of the words (most notably the word “God” in the following list). It is still in a three column format and is large enough to be helpful most of the time. Here are some sample entries with their number of references to help you compare to other Bibles:

  • Christ – 69
  • Christian – 1
  • Christ’s – 3
  • Faith – 65
  • Faithful – 31
  • Faithfully – 3
  • Faithfulness – 15
  • Faithless – 3
  • God –  309
  • God-breathed – 1
  • Godliness – 4
  • Godly – 3
  • God’s – 28
  • Gods – 2
  • Praise – 32
  • Praised – 5
  • Praises – 4
  • Praising – 2
  • Pray – 17
  • Prayed – 3
  • Prayer – 13
  • Prayers – 4
  • Praying – 4

Other Features

A Ketubah Marriage Contract (both an explanation and a place to fill out your own), two pages to record special family memories, and a My Spiritual Mothers page have been added to the family history and presentation page commonly found in the front of Bibles. These are all on slightly thicker, glossy paper.

There are four longer articles in the front of the Bible. The topics of these (God cares for women, a balanced life, women and archaeology, women and children) show more how the Bible as a whole (instead of individual passages) is important to our lives.

There are quotes from godly women, both past and present, here and there within the text. While not my favorite feature of this Bible they do add to the variety and beauty of the pages and give you additional things to think about.

There are 7 full-color maps in the back of the Bible. These are mostly large area maps that give you a larger context than the in-text maps.

Also included are a list of contributors, an introduction to the Women’s Study Bible, and a preface about the NIV translation.  Acknowledgments in the back give you all the sources for the archaeological information and inspirational quotes.

Final Thoughts on the NIV Women’s Study Bible

All of God’s Word is relevant and true for everyone. But it often interesting and informative to look at it with a specific topic or interest in mind. This Bible emphasizes the role women played in Bible times and well as how the Bible applies to women’s lives today without leaving out its universal message.

The NIV Women’s Study Bible is a good study Bible. It is beautiful to look at, well laid out and easy to navigate. As with all study Bibles, please remember that the notes are of secondary importance to God’s Word and may contain doctrinal biases.


Thomas Nelson Publishers provided this Bible free for 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)


Barnes & Noble


and many local Bible bookstores


Photos by Lucinda Brown

About The Author

Lucinda Brown

Homemaker, Pastor's Wife, and former homeschooler (my kids graduated). I love to read (especially God's Word) but am a reluctant writer. Besides reading I enjoy cooking, gardening, and a large variety of crafts. I don't consider myself an expert at any craft and am always finding new crafts and art mediums I want to try.

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