BOOK REVIEW: A new, yet unremarkable study Bible …

Christians cheer with every report that comes out announcing that the Bible remains the best-selling book ever.

That is a good thing!

But the plethora of Bibles being sold don’t all come with altruistic motives; many are just a slight variation to add yet another revenue stream in the selling of Bibles. Now, there is yet another new study Bible published by Thomas Nelson that is unremarkable among those already published.

“The Modern Life Study Bible” immediately doesn’t live up to its name in the choice of this new study Bible being published in the New King James Version (NKJV). The NKJV is an improvement over the King James Version, but if you really wanted to be “modern,” choosing a reliable but modern English language version would have made much more sense. Nothing else particularly makes this study Bible more “modern life” than other study Bibles; the Bible itself is relevant to modern life, and this new study Bible doesn’t do anything above and beyond other Bibles to make it preferred reading for our age.

Other than the title, there is very little in this new study Bible that would give any credence to its title of “modern life,” except perhaps the inclusion of 66 biographies on the lives of believers from different places and times. One potential weakness of any study Bible is the temptation for the reader to put more focus on the extra-biblical material provided rather than the scripture itself; given that, I find the inclusion of these biographies to this Bible to be out-of-place and overreaching.

If it is study notes that attract you to a study Bible, then you may appreciate how “The Modern Life Study Bible” is drowning in them. The extra-biblical material in this study Bible includes book introductions, focus articles, insight articles, person and place profiles, the 66 life studies mentioned previously, and more than 220 colorful maps. These materials also include a slant, as described in this study Bible as follows:

The Modern Life Study Bible examines how to apply God’s Word to everyday life, with an emphasis on community and social justice …”

I don’t know about you, but I’m personally not comfortable with a publisher planting their own emphases in a Bible. I’d rather let God share His own emphases by what He reveals to us directly from His written Word.

“The Modern Life Study Bible” might be a good title for marketing a new study Bible in 2014, but it fails to deliver much about it’s name, and is unremarkable among other study Bibles currently being sold. In that case, there’s no compelling reason to switch to or add this new edition of study Bibles.


I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of
their book review bloggers program. I was not
required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed
are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal
Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use
of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”