Book Review, product review

Context Changes Everything

NIV Cultural Background Study Bible Context

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible


Context Changes Everything

The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, aptly subtitled “Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture” is an epic work of literary, anthropological, archaeological, and geographical significance in one volume.

This reviewer was very favorably impressed by the detail of the work put into the commentaries which covered every conceivable issue for the student building a foundation of knowledge to the scholar, needing a “one stop” reference work without having to go to several others for cross-referencing. All the scholarly work had already been done.

Covering not only the backgrounds of the Scriptures themselves, but comparing them to similar theologies of the times from whence they came, Dr. John Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Dr. Craig Keener, Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Seminary have crafted nearly 2,300 pages of commentary and text which are unlike anything I have seen.

Some of the features of this Bible are:

  • The full text of the NIV
  • Targeted book introductions explain the context in which each book of the Bible was written
  • Insightful and informative verse-by-verse study notes reveal new dimensions of insight to even the most familiar passages
  • Key Old Testament (Hebrew) and New Testament terms are explained and expanded upon in two helpful reference features
  • Over 300 in-depth articles on key contextual topics
  • 375 full-color photos, illustrations, and images from around the world
  • Dozens of charts, maps, and diagrams in vivid color
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Additional study Bible tools: cross references, a concordance, indexes and other helps

Numerous charts, graphs, maps, linguistic comparisons, photographs, and dictionary meanings for the times they were written lend meanings and depth to the Scriptures that this writer has not reviewed in previous volumes of this nature.

Cultural subjects such as creation theories besides those held up by Scripture, theories about death, resurrection, law and justice, crime and punishment are all covered and compared beautifully here.

Every story in the Bible is given a new dimension that makes it current and relevant to today’s reader, which makes it of inestimable value in this time of uncertainty. Context is revealed and also made useful for the modern reader. Nuances are explained and idiosyncrasies that would have been lost during the time the Scriptures were still being written, are explained to us now.

No other Bible produced, to this reviewer’s knowledge, will provide the reader with the readily available knowledge to see into the minds of the principal witnesses, and players in the most important stories in history than this one.

At $49.99 retail, the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible from Zondervan is more than worth the price one would pay for the several reference books that are built into this individual work and is highly recommended.

Check out Context Changes Everything for free downloads, a 7-day devotional, and get a sneak peak into the new NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible.  

This Bible is available in a Deluxe Edition, Kindle, Bonded Leather, and Imitation Leather to fit your needs and desires.  



I’m a product review blogger and I received this product in exchange for an honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.  


2 thoughts on “Context Changes Everything”

  1. Looks like a wonderful resource. Context, type of literature, customs and intent of the writer are so important when studying scripture. Thanks for a great review, Scott!


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