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NIV First-Century Study Bible

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Book Info:

NIV First-Century Study Bible
Notes by: Kent Dobson
Published by: Zondervan
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Price: $36 hard cover or $7.99 on kindle
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Zondervan Publishing for sending us a copy of this Bible to review! 

It's been a while since I've carried around a physical Bible.  I've gone digital and have used the ESV bible on both my phone and tablet.  Even my 3DS has a digital Bile on it!   Finding the verses digitally is easy and usually faster than people flipping pages getting to a particular verse.    

What my electronic versions are lacking is commentary, maps, timelines, and Greek translations and explanations.  The NIV First-Century Study Bible has all that plus lots of pretty colorful pictures of ancient art and artifacts dug up by archaeologists.

At the beginning of each book there is commentary about the book's title (Hebrew text and definition), author, date it was written, historical setting, structure,  and purpose in the Bible. The verses are explained on the bottom of the page. Even tricky books like the beginning of Ezekiel is explained in a manner that makes sense.   Scattered throughout  the text are word studies that explain and show the Greek origins of many words.  One of my favorite examples was the cubit which is a source of measurement often referenced in the Bible.  

Highlights:

Strong Points: Excellent commentary and cross references
Weak Points: Big Bible with 1850 pages, New NIV Translation
Moral Warnings: Descriptive violent acts 

Many of my paper bound Bibles have maps thrown in the back for reference.  I like how the NIV First-Century Study Bible has maps everywhere!  It shows Abram's travels, Jacob's journeys, Solomon's divided kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar's campaigns, places mentioned in Isaiah, Alexander's Empire, and Jesus' pit stops in Judea and Samaria.  The verses really come alive as you can literally see where they took place and how much distance was covered by these men.   

I love the timeline in 1 Kings that shows the scripture and reigning periods of Israel's kings.   The cross reference of Old and New Testament versus in Isaiah 53 is extremely helpful.   There is also a time of Jesus' life that covers and indexes his various events with the scripture references behind them.    

There is a lot to like about this Bible.  The only problem I have with it is the translation used. There has been some controversy regarding the most recent NIV translation and this First-Century Study Bible does use the gender neutral verses.    So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...”  The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .  

If you don't mind the latest NIV translation, this is a solid Bible to consider adding to your library.  The price for the hard cover is under $40 while the Kindle version is less than $10.  My ten year old daughter took a liking to this Bible so I guess it's hers now since I'm done reviewing it.  I'm sure she'll learn a lot from it and will benefit from the easy to read translation.

 

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NIV Live - A Bible Experience

Thank you NIV 2011 Bible Properties LLC for sending us a review sample!

NIV Live - A Bible Experience is a cinematic performance of the Bible that brings Genesis through Revelation to life.  It's more than someone reading the text here; the Bible is being acted out and even sung in some cases.  This rendition features Oscar winning actors, background music and sound effects to make it an immersive experience.   My kids, who normally ask to play music instead of talk radio while driving, did not mind listening to the book of Acts.  They enjoyed hearing the story of Paul being shipwrecked while trying to seek an audience with Caesar.  There was the sound of ocean waves, seagulls in the air,  the ship's crew in the background along with the narrator and Paul, Felix, and Agrippa being voiced by different voice actors.    The audio quality is really good and has 3D theatrical sound. It includes deep bass that you can hear through a subwoofer.

The gospels are all extremely well done and the voices for the apostles, God, Jesus, Roman soldiers, and Pharisees are all top notch.   I enjoyed listening to Isaiah, Proverbs, and Psalms as well.  Some of the Old Testament sections like Jesus' lineage and the temple specifications are still a little yawn worthy, but are well voice acted regardless.  :)  

There are three ways to enjoy this audio Bible experience.  For $19.99 you can gain access to the app on a single (Apple, Android, or Amazon) device.  This includes both text and audio versions.  You can create custom playlists and synchronize them.  The app is really easy to use and sounded great on my Samsung Galaxy S4.  

For $49.99 you can have up to six devices using the mobile app.  You'll also have access to the online web Bible and mp3 downloads.  Make sure you download and backup the mp3's right away since you only gain access to them for thirty days after registration.  

The ultimate package is $124.99 and includes everything from the $49.99 tier and adds seventy-nine CD's and a bonus DVD.  The CD's and DVD are enclosed in a high quality carrying case.  The DVD shows behind the scenes footage and has some trailers and samples.  The CD's are not in chronological order, but are labeled clearly and numbered accordingly.

There has been some controversy regarding the most recent NIV translation and this audio Bible does use the gender neutral verses.    So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...”  The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .  

If you don't like the scriptural changes, there are other audio bibles out there.  Faith Comes by Hearing offers multiple translations for free.  If these kind of changes don't bother you, then I recommend checking out the NIV Live - A Bible Experience.  Their prices are comparable to other Audio Bibles available  and the six device limit is pretty generous.  Just make sure you download and back up the mp3's since the access is limited to only thirty days.  If you want to check out an audio sample, go here.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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