NLT Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition Review
The 3rd Edition of the popular NLT Life Application Study Bible is now available in 3 sizes. The variety of sizes will make this Bible easier for some people to use or carry just like updating to the 3rd Edition made some of the study notes more up to date and accessible.
ISBNs Standard Size – 9781496439208 Personal Size – 9781496440099 Large Print – 9781496439352
The standard size was printed in South Korea. Both of the others were printed in China
Tyndale 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 review was originally posted on 09/30/2019 and updated on 10/19/2020 to include the personal and large print editions.
These Bibles are available at (includes some affiliate links)
and many local Bible bookstores
Table of Contents
Construction and Materials
All three sizes of this Bible come in a teal blue LeatherLike cover. (I love the color teal but it is not the easiest color to get an accurate picture of.) They have gold gilt edges, gold stamping, and one attached teal ribbon marker.
It feels like the same paper in all of them. We are guessing it to be 30 gsm (or maybe a little higher). They have Smyth-sewn bindings and vinyl-coated dark blue endpapers.
The standard size measures 9 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ x 2″ and weighs about 3 lbs, 8 ounces. This size comes in multiple colors of LeatherLike, as well as hardback, and genuine leather. All covers are available with or without thumb indexing.
The smaller personal size measures 8 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ x 2″ and weighs about 2 lbs, 6 ounces. It currently has the fewest cover options. The two colors of Leatherlike (teal or brown) have a thumb index option but the hardcover is only available without indexing. It is the only size that has a softcover edition (no thumb indexing).
They chose to go thicker only when making a large print edition instead of scaling up the entire Bible. It measures 9 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ and weighs about 4 lbs, 7 ounces. Its cover choices are very similar to the standard size: numerous colors of Leatherlike, two colors of genuine leather, and hardcover all with or without thumb 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 has a guide chapter number and the page number in the outer corner of the header. Cross-references are in the inner margin and the outer margin is narrower and empty. 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. There are 2 shades of green ink used in various ways to separate the notes from the standard text and to highlight which kind of note it is. All colors of ink used in these Bibles are very consistent.
The main text of the standard size is an 8.5 point font. Six lines of text fit in the height of a penny. The inner margin measures 1 1/4″ while the outer margin is 3/4″ wide. All standard size LASBs are black-letter.
Personal size LASBs have a main font size of just over 7 point. Seven lines of text fit in the height of a penny. The inner margins are 1″ wide and the outer ones are 1/2″ wide. Like the standard size all Personal size LASBs are black-letter.
The main text of the Large Print is a touch smaller than an 11 point font. Almost five lines of text fit in the height of a penny. The inner margins are 1 1/4″ wide and the outer margins are 1/2″ wide. The large print version of the LASB is a red-letter edition.
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.
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. In the standard size, 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.
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
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.
Between the Sizes
Three sizes means you can choose portability, easy readibility, or a balance between the two.
Standard vs Personal Size
There is no difference between the standard and personal sizes except the size and cover options.
The personal size is a scaled down version of the standard. Smaller text, smaller margins, and over a pound lighter.
The pagination is identical between the two (same words in the same place on the same numbered page).
Standard Size vs Large Print
Externally, weight and thickness are the only real differences between the standard and large print editions.
Internally, there are a lot of differences. They have reset the text completely for the large print edition, using several hundred more pages instead of making the pages larger.
All study notes are, of course, on the same page as the Biblical text they reference. Maps and charts don’t always come out in the exact same place but are never more than a few verses away from where they would be in the other two sizes. I really like that all the notes and references are noticeably larger as well as the text.
One huge difference is that the large print editions are all red-letter, while all of the other two sizes are black-letter only.
Large Print vs Personal Size
I actually doubt many of you will be deciding between these two but wanted to include 1 picture to show you the difference in text size.
Third Edition vs. Second 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. Having it available in multiple sizes and covers makes it easier to find just the right Bible for each person. This Bible especially makes a good choice for anyone struggling with how the Bible applies in today’s world or those working with new coverts.
These Bibles are available at (includes some affiliate links)
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.