Review of The NIV Proclamation Bible from Zondervan

NIV-Proclamation-Study-Bible-Review-and-Cover-Timothy-KellerSometimes when preparing to teach or preach from a book in the Bible you need a little nudge in the right direction to get you where you need to go. Too often, the right “nudge” often seems buried in thick commentaries and can be lost among scholarly details that don’t focus on helping you understand and apply God’s Word to your hearers.

The NIV Proclamation Bible from Zondervan was made to give readers the most relevant information they need to teach and/or preach through each book of the Bible. Lee Gatiss, the editor, shares the idea behind this Bible, “If you have ever wished you could have just a few minutes with an expert at the start of your journey into a passage of the Bible, then here is a study resource that provides just that.” The all-star cast of expert scholars and expositors who contribute articles and book overviews includes Peter Adam, David Jackman, Dick Lucas, G.K. Beale, Daniel Block, David Helm, Douglas Moo, Peter O’Brien, Vaughn Roberts, William Taylor, John Woodhouse, and Chris Wright, and others.

This Bible features about sixty pages of introductory articles giving readers an overview of the Bible, its historical reliability, tips on finding each book’s “Melodic Line,” and a handful of articles on applying and preaching the text. Each biblical book has a short one page introduction providing the “Melodic Line” of each book, the book’s structure, important points to consider, and a few recommended commentaries for further study.

I found several of the articles extremely helpful including Mark Thompson answering “What is the Bible?” and Tim Ward’s “Finding the Melodic Line of a Book.” Each of the articles introducing biblical books is extremely helpful and give teachers and preachers the most relevant and practical information for studying a particular biblical book. Although I found the book introductions very helpful, but couldn’t help but want more at times. It’s hard to do a lot on one page. This Bible also includes cross-references and a concordance.

Timothy Keller’s endorsement on the cover at first intrigued me–and then made me feel deceived–and then made me glad when I understood the goal of this volume. Keller’s endorsement on the cover says, “There are many Study Bibles, but none better.” I don’t disagree that this is a great resource, but I don’t necessarily agree that it should be classified as a “Study Bible.” When I think of features included in a Study Bible, I think first of study notes and commentary that accompany the text. This Bible doesn’t have that. If that’s what you’re looking for, you will be very disappointed. But it is a great tool for study. (OK, I guess it does live up to basic the “Study Bible” label! I wonder if Zondervan would ever considering selling all of the articles and book introductions as a separate 150 page book. That would make this important work cheaper and more accessible.)

As I navigated through the NIV Proclamation Bible and studied various passages to teach, I realized this volume’s intentions: it wants you to wrestle with Scripture for yourself and not take any short-cuts when studying and preparing to minister the Word. It’s a refreshing approach because there are so many short-cuts available today that distract us from diligent study and hearing from God’s Word for ourselves. Learning God’s truth second-hand can keep us from truly meditating on it as God desires. This conviction and the expositional mentality and methodology go hand-in-hand with what we teach in our biblical exposition workshops.

While there are differing opinions about the new NIV translation–our purpose in recommending this Bible is not to evaluate the version, but to share a resource that will help preachers.

I recommend the NIV Proclamation Bible for anyone looking for a helpful resource to help them in their studies. It would be a great tool for Sunday school teachers, small group Bible study leaders, or preaching from the pulpit. I will use this Bible as I prepare to preach and lead workshops in biblical exposition in Leadership Resources’ Training National Trainers program.

This Bible will make it easier for readers to see the author’s intent and our intended response for each book of the Bible. While you may or may not agree to call it a “Study Bible,” it is nonetheless a tool that will propel many into a faithful and diligent study of the Word for themselves, and that is where the greatest value of any edition of the Bible lies.

Title: The NIV Proclamation Bible
Publisher: Zondervan
Year: 2015
Pages: 1496

Lee Gatiss on the NIV Proclamation Bible


Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Father. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.