The NIV Zondervan Study Bible, the hardcover of which looks like the picture, is a replacement product for the NIV Study Bible that I had in college. At the moment, it’s available in hardcover. For those who aren’t interested in reading it as a Bible, it therefore works well to break your toes when you drop it. This thing is heavy—nearly 3000 pages.
Without dwelling on the New International Version as a translation (I’m not a big fan of the 2011 revision of the NIV), let us take the features under consideration first. On the surface, an obvious helpful feature is full-color printing throughout the Study Bible. This not only allows pictures throughout, which is a great, but allows something else nice. The “study note” section is shaded in light tan while the Biblical text is on white paper.
The inspired text is therefore clearly separated from the ideas of the note writers. I like that. A lot. The note authors—a smorgasbord of evangelical scholars from the US and the UK—generally hold to a high view of Scripture. They come from a range of the evangelical world, from Baptists to Presbyterians and a few more.
I will not claim to have evaluated every note throughout the text, but I have yet to find one that is problematic. Passages that have major theological disputes about them (like Hebrews 6) follow the normal Study Bible pattern of providing most of the main views. That’s not a bad thing.
Further, each book is given a full introduction, addressing authorship, date, etc., the basics that are typically covered in an “Intro” type class. Overall, the information helps one study the Scriptures better.
If you are in the market for a study Bible, this one would make a good purchase. I’d prefer the notes and content coupled with the New American Standard, but the notes are worth it as a reference Bible. And, it is too bulky for taking it everywhere—I’d go for it on the shelf.
The purchase of the hardcover does gain free digital access through the Olive Tree Bible App. I’m still getting used to the app, so I won’t comment on how well it works. It’s better than nothing, but there’s always a learning curve with such things.
I did receive a free Bible for my review.\
Edited: Zondervan's website states that the older NIV Study Bible remains in print, so this isn't quite a replacement in their catalog.