NLT Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review

Tyndale sent us a copy of the NLT Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition for review. The official release date is October 1st, but a few places have been showing it in stock since last Friday. This is a major update to one of the best selling study Bibles.

ISBN 9781496439208    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 teal blue LeatherLike cover. (I love the color teal but it is not the easiest color to get an accurate picture of.) It has gold gilt edges, gold stamping, and one attached teal ribbon marker.


The paper is about 36 gsm (we think) and it has a Smyth-sewn binding. It measures 9 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ x 2″ and weighs 3 lbs, 7.7 ounces.

The NLT Life Application Study Bible Third Edition is also available in black genuine leather, hardcover, purple Leatherlike, Black & Onyx Leatherlike, and both a brown & tan LeatherLike and a dark brown & brown LeatherLike. All covers are available with or without indexing.

Layout and Typography

This Bible has a single column paragraph format. Poetry is set in stanzas and quotes are offset to be easy to identify. It is all black-letter with consistent ink darkness throughout. It has a guide chapter number and the page number in the outer corner of the header. Cross-references are in the 1 1/4″ inner margin. The outer margin is 3/4″ wide and is blank. Translation notes are in a single column but smaller font below the text. The life application notes are separated from the Bible text by a green line and are presented in a two-column format.

It has an 8.5 point font. 6 lines of text fit in the height of a penny.  There are 2 shades of green ink used to separate the notes from the standard text and to highlight which kind of note it is.

Study Helps

Introduction to the NLT Life Application Study Bible Third Edition

There are so many notes and in such a wide variety I would recommend any new reader of the Life Application Study Bible at least look over the 10-page introduction at the front of the Bible. It states the purpose of this particular study Bible and explains it’s various types of study helps. A large timeline that mixes Biblical events with other world events helps give historical context especially to those less familiar with the Bible.

Book Introductions

The book introductions take 1 1/2 to 3 pages and include a lot of information. All of them have a written introduction, outline, and an explanation of major themes. There is also a Vital Statistics column for each one that includes the author, original audience, purpose, setting, and many key and special features.  Many of the introductions also include a map with descriptions of key places and/or a timeline that lists the key events of the book and ties them in with other world events.


The key feature of this Bible is the study notes. Over 10,000 notes are included. They are separated from the Biblical text by a thin green line and by the double instead of single column presentation.  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 like this application focus and found many of the notes I read useful and informative.

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 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.


Profiles of about 150 of the interesting people in the Bible are included. They are set apart by the little face icon next to the name of the person it’s about. Besides a short passage about each individual they also include a list of each person’s strengths, weaknesses, lessons we can learn from them, and their contribution to God’s big story.


This Bible includes not just a well laid out Harmony of the Gospels but a graphical Harmony of the Books of Kings & Chronicles as well.

These books tell the same story with a different emphasis (much like the Gospels) and it’s nice to have this included.


This Bible has a large side-column cross-reference system to facilitate deeper study. The references are 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 – Ps 89:11; 102:25; Jn 1:1-2
  • Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – Duet 4:35, 39; Matt 22:37 Mk 12:29-30; Luke 10:27: 1 Cor 8:4, 6
  • Isaiah 9:6 – Deut 10:17; Neh 9:32; Isa 7:14; 26:3, 12: Mt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:25
  • Matthew 17:20 – Matt 21:21; Mk 11:23; Lk 17:6; 1 Cor 13:2
  • Mark 11:23 – None
  • Mark 12:29-30 – Dt 6:4-5; Josh 22:5; Luke 10:27
  • Acts 2:38 – Mark 16:16; Acts 3:19; 8:12; 22:16
  • John 1:1 – Gn 1:1; Phil 2:6; I Jn 5:20
  • 1 John 1:1 – see Jn 1:1; 4:14; I Jn 1:14


There is an 84 page 3-column concordance. While not complete it is big enough to be helpful most of the time and includes some definitions. I’ve noticed it includes fewer words than some concordances but frequently has a more complete list of Scriptures for the words it does include.

Sample entries include:

  • Christ – 95
  • Christian, Christians – 3
  • Faith – 105
  • Faithful – 43
  • Faithfulness – 15
  • God, Gods – 89
  • Godliness – 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 – 20

I like that even though they have combined several words into the same list sometime they give an indication which word is in which verse. For example, G is used to indicate God, g for god, and g-s for gods in the list for God, Gods.

Master Index

A 98 page Master index of all the notes, charts, maps, and profiles in double-column format is included. It makes things easy to find by topic, situation, or Biblical character.  There is also a 2 page (in 3 columns) list of just the charts and the same size list of just the maps. A separate list of all the abbreviations used is provided.

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 do have a slight doctrinal bias but even then they would offer a great starting point (just tuck in a note with anything you’d add or change). The third really does help you use your Life Application Bible more 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, 16 pages of full-color maps are included in the back.

These maps are:

  • Topography of Palestine
  • World of the Patriarchs
  • Exodus from Egypt
  • Twelve Tribes of Israel
  • Conquest of Ceaser
  • Kingdoms of Israel (both the United and Divided)
  • Deportations and Returns under Assyria and Babylon
  • Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  • Greek Empire
  • Palestine between Old and New Testaments
  • Old Testament Jerusalem
  • New Testament Jerusalem
  • Roman Division of Palestine
  • Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  • Roman Empire and the Spread of Christianity
  • Israel and the Middle East Today

Other features

This Bible also includes many other features that are fairly standard. There is a Presentation Page, Family Tree Page, a contributors list and an introduction to the New Living Translation in the front. It includes a 365-day reading plan with boxes for you to check off and a table of Biblical weights and measures in the back of the Bible.

Comparision to 2nd Edition

The underlying philosophy has remained the same, helping the reader to 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.

There are a lot of substantial changes as well. Most of this is adding to what readers already liked and used. There are new notes, new maps, new profiles, and new background information.

It deals with more of today’s issues than the previous editions, including some that were taboo 30 years ago like shame and abuse of power within the church. They have updated some of the language so it sounds more like the way people today speak and write (using we instead of you should, for example). Some of the example situations and illustrations have been updated to reflect things that are more common now or are unique to our time.

When the original Life Application Bible was created most readers were married. Since that isn’t true today they have added content and edited content to be more relevant to single people.

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

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

The NLT Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition is a good study Bible that helps you learn how to apply God’s Word to your life. The updates and additions to the newest edition make this Bible even better than it was before. It is a good choice 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.

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.



  1. William

    Hey Lucinda, what a great review of the Life Application Bible NLT. I just started reading the NLT because my son told me it was his favorite translation,He has the same bible you do except in paper back which started falling apart on him within a month. I am a life long KJV fan not ONLY, like some people think. I grew up on the KJV and all my study books are, you guessed it KJV. Anyway I started reading my new to me NLT which is the Large print slimline “crown of thorns” edition. L The language is very easy to read, and I can even read it out loud just as easily. The KJV, is not as easy and I find myself paraphrasing the KJV anyway when speaking.

    , I found your review to be very in depth and looks like Tyndale sent you a very good bible that should last for years. Smyth sewn is a huge factor in the longevity of any bible.

    • Lucinda Brown

      Glad you liked the review, we try to do in-depth reviews and answer questions we think people are likely to have.
      And I’m glad you are liking reading the NLT. I love the KJV for the tradition behind it and the beauty of the language but read from several different translations and can’t really pick a favorite.

  2. leslie Davenport

    What are the numbers after the chapter title for? Ex: matt 22 of the wedding dinner (192)


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