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Personal Size NIV Life Application Study Bible

Today I’m looking at the 3rd Edition Personal Size NIV Life Application Study Bible. Produced by Tyndale and Zondervan this is a smaller, easier to carry version of the NIV 3rd Edition LASB I reviewed last year.

ISBN: 9781496440136      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 dark brown LeatherLike imitation leather version. To me, this is more two different textures of leather rather than 2 different colors. The main portion of the front cover is very smooth like an ironed leather while the imitation leather that wraps around to the spine and makes the back cover has a small grain pattern pressed into it. It has gold gilt edges, gold stamping, and one attached brown ribbon marker. The binding is Smyth-sewn binding. This Bible measures 8 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ x 2″ and weighs 2 lbs, 7 ounces.

We are guessing that the paper is in the low to mid 30s gsm. It is a nice soft white. It seems just slightly whiter than the full-size edition I own. Both have paper that falls in my favorite color range; no noticeable tint (yellow, blue, or red) but dulled down just enough from a bright white to be easier on my eyes.

The Personal Size NIV Life Application Study Bible is also available in a berry leatherlike cover, hardcover, or softcover. Both colors of leatherlike Bible can be purchased with thumb indexing.

Layout and Typography

This Bible is in a single-column paragraph format. It is a black letter edition and the ink is a consistent darkness. Poetry is set in stanzas, lists look like lists, and quotes are offset to be easy to identify.

The font is around 7 point, and 7 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.

It has a blank outer margin that is 1/2″ wide. The inner margin is about 1″ wide and contains the cross-references.  The header has the page number and a reference verse in the outside corner. Translation notes are in a noticeably 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

There are a wide variety of study tools and notes in this Bible.

Introduction to the NIV Life Application Study Bible Third Edition

The front of the Bible has a  10-page introduction to the Life Application Study Bible. It includes articles about what makes this study Bible unique, what application is, and explanations of all the types of notes included. I like it when the authors of the notes in a study Bible explain their purpose and mindset.

The large timeline that spans several pages and mixes Biblical events with other world events to help give the reader historical context is one of my favorite features.

Book Introductions

Vital Statistics are the starting point for the book introductions in this Bible. They include the author, setting, original audience and setting, and a few other basic facts about the book. There is also a written overview, a Blueprint ( or outline), and a list with short explanations of the major themes of the book. Most introductions include a timeline running along the bottom of the 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.


If you’ve read a 1st or 2nd edition LASB you have a good idea what to expect from the notes in this Bible.  You might be surprised to learn how much they have been updated though. A lot of topics that are more common or less taboo have been added and many have updated language to make them less dated and more inclusive.

The over 10,000 study notes are definitely the key feature of this Bible. The focus on explanations and suggestions for applying the Bible make this Bible much different from the Bible that focus on interpretation. I found most of them useful and informative.

I like that there is a clear visual distinction between the notes and the Biblical text. Not only a red line to divide them but a change in font style and formating (2 columns instead of 1). This distinction will help people remember that notes are useful but not as infallible as the Word of God.


Over 500 charts, lists, and black and white maps are included with the notes. These are easy to spot with their pale red backgrounds and berry borders. Sometimes these more visual presentations make things easier to process.

I like that these charts include a 4-page harmony of Kings and Chronicles and well as a 4-page harmony of the Gospels.


Profiles are easy to find by looking for the face icon at the top left of the colored note section. There are 150 of them spread throughout this Bible. My favorite features are that they include both the strengths and weaknesses of each person as well as a brief summary of the key lesson we can learn from them. It’s nice to have this included alongside the summary of the person, key facts or vital statistics, and main verses to learn more.


It has a side-column cross-reference system in the 1 1/4 ” inner margin. I like that they start 3/8″ out from the edge so they don’t get lost in the gutter.

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


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

Sample entries include:

This concordance is great and has a lot of entries for topics about Christian living. It seems s bit skimpy on a few other important words though. For example there are only 8 references for Christ (when it appears over 400 times in this translation) and no references for the word GOD, in reference to the true God.



There is a 106-page two-column Master index to helps you find information on a wide variety of topics. This index includes all the information in the LASB; the notes, charts, maps, and profiles. This makes the Life Application Study Bible so much easier to use when you know the subject you want but not where to look or what tool might be best.

For when you want to focus on a particular type of study help three additional indexes are included; one for 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

Another key feature is the 15 page Christian Worker’s Resource near the back. It includes information about

There is a lot of useful information here, especially for those who want to help others with their Christian walk.

Most study Bibles end up with at least a slight doctrinal slant and the first two of these sections are where it is most obvious in this Bible. That wouldn’t stop me from using it but I would probably end up adding a couple of sheets of paper with notes and references for what I would add or say differently.

The Mining the treasures section seems great for finding the verses you need to answer questions or as starting points for designing Bible studies.

I love the last two sections. Both applying God’s Word personally and being able to speak well to others about the Bible are very important skills. It’s nice to have a little help with these included and it’s even better everything in these two sections is applicable to any Bible.


14 full-color maps on glossy paper are included in the back

These maps are:

Even though there are a lot of little maps spread throughout the text these larger maps placed all together can be useful.

Other features

This Bible has standard features like a Presentation Page, Family Tree Page, and a Table of Biblical weights and measures. It also includes a translators Preface for the NIV translation as well as a contributors list for the LASB notes. The included reading plan, complete with check-off boxes, is my general favorite style of one reading a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

Comparision to NIV Life Application Study Bible, Standard Size

There are some noticeable differences in covers and minor differences in paper (probably due only to lot) between the two. The only real difference between the standard and the personal size NIV Life Application Study Bibles however is size. The personal size is 1 1/4″ shorter, 1 1/4″ narrower, and weighs a little over a pound less. This makes the personal size easier to use in limited space and easier to carry. It also, unfortunately, makes it harder to read without good close-in vision.

The pagination between the two is identical; Luke 8 starts at the top of page 1741 in both as an example.

Groups who want to use the same Bible to make it easy to send each other to the same verse or note but need or want different sizes of text or Bibles will find this very helpful. So will anyone who uses a Bible enough to become used to where things are who likes lighter Bible for carrying but larger Bibles while studying at home.

Final Thoughts on the Personal Size NIV Life Application Study Bible

This is a nice smaller size study Bible. The more extras a Bible has the harder it is to keep it a manageable size but Tyndale has done a good job of finding a size that is more compact while still leaving the features large enough for many people to read. Applying God’s Word to our life and not just reading it is a great goal and tools that help us do that are needed. Anyone who has more issues with seeing small text than a Bible being too heavy should opt for the larger size. If you or someone you are choosing a Bible for is struggling with how the Bible applies in today’s world or working with new coverts and prefer smaller Bibles the personal size NIV Life Application Study Bible should definitely be one you consider.


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.

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