Today I want to share with you an incredible resource that will not only enhance your study of God’s Holy Word, but also increase retention and understanding of difficult passages, doctrines, and give you tools to utilize in teaching others the basics of the Christian faith. The NIV Faithlife Study Bible combines the practical tools, graphics, academic notes, and book summaries that the Faithlife Study Bible app contains in a hard copy of the beloved NIV translation that’s used by millions of Christians world-wide. This is a resource that, whether you are a pastor, Bible teacher, lay-leader, a new believer, old believer, or just desiring to understand the Bible for the first time, you’ll want on your desk and bookshelf.
Using Different Translations in Your Study of Scripture
If you’re anything like me though then you’ll wonder “Why do I need another Bible?” or “Why do I need a different translation from the one I do own?” Before I was in seminary and truly serving in ministry, I thought that one Bible was enough for me and that since they all pretty much offered the same things, as far as notes and references, and translated the Hebrew and Greek texts into English the same way I was happy with my one translation. As I’ve grown though in my faith and grown to understand the different nuances in various translations I’ve come to love and appreciate consulting multiple translations before I preach or teach. I do this because each translation whether it be the NIV, ESV, NASB, or even the KJV gives a different perspective of the verse or passage due to the language in which they use. This helps me as a preacher because it opens me up to how others translate a passage and gives me insights as to how my own church may be reading a passage and applying it to their lives. This is why I believe owning more than one translation, especially a translation that offers study notes and graphics like the NIV Faithlife Study Bible does, is an invaluable resource for people of all stripes and walks of life because it helps the reader develop a deeper understanding of the biblical text and encourages spiritual growth and an enhanced understanding of the Scriptures.
How I’ve Used the NIV Faithlife Study Bible in Ministry
Recently I taught through the Table of Nations found in Genesis 10:1-32 and really had no idea as to how I was going to go about explaining how the different nations splintered off from Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I knew in theory how I would teach this, but I wanted a good visual aid to make it easier for teenagers to grasp how vast Noah’s family lineage is and how God separated the people up after the Flood.
I was using Google, my own seminaries online resource library, and even utilizing an old pictorial Bible dictionary, but I could find nothing that suited my needs. That’s when I picked up my copy of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible and on a whim flipped it open to the infographic table of contents and scanned to see if there was something I could use. Sure enough, there was an easy to understand infographic, three pages of notes that explained the way the nations were formed and where they lived and what they did and also set up the next passage about the Tower of Babel perfectly.
My students not only came away with understanding the content of the passage and how it fits into the grand narrative of Scripture but also came away with the knowledge of “Who’s Who” in Scripture and where they came from. They started connecting the dots of who the enemies of Israel were and where they came from and from who’s line they descended from and then also started a massive project of attempting to discern for themselves which nation their own families came from and how they were connected to Noah and his sons. I’ve never seen such initiative, and it was all because they had a tangible example of how the Word of God applied to them, along with how the Scriptures are not just a collection of ancient writings, but how they are a living testimony to the faithfulness of God and His plan for all of humanity.
As a visual learner, this particular study Bible’s graphics and notes have given me a clearer understanding of many of the genealogies listed. Also, it has helped me understand the groups of families listed in Numbers, and better trace the many Messianic prophecies about Christ from the Old Testament in the context in which they were delivered. Hands down I encourage you to pick up this resource from Zondervan and apply it to your ministry, your own personal growth in Christ, and utilize the tools included that will enhance your understanding of God’s Word.
James Forbis is a graduate of The University of Arkansas, a former Jr. High and High School football coach, and American history teacher. He is completing his M.DIV at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Great Commission Studies and Expository Preaching. He’s a self-proclaimed sweet tea connoisseur and Tex-Mex addict. Most Saturday’s you can find him cheering on his Arkansas Razorbacks, hiking or fishing, or reading up on his favorite subject, the Revolutionary War, or spending time with his wife.