Several years ago I bought a New International Version (NIV) of the Bible for my son, Matthew. I’ve always enjoyed this translation, as I like its modern style and accuracy. He has used his NIV for Sunday school, church, the Awana program and in many other ways. It’s become quite worn, with pages falling out and the cover detaching from the whole volume itself. Time for a new Bible!
When I was given the chance to review the new NIV Boys Bible from Zondervan, I thought this would be a great opportunity for Matthew. I’m pleased to report that this version has been a great fit for him. As an almost 12 year-old boy, he’s been really taking it in and using it as much as his old faithful copy. He particularly likes the special features of the Bible, which I’ve observed him reading on his own. In addition to the NIV text, here are the extras that Matthew has been enjoying:
- What’s the Big Deal? – These sections take up about a third of a page and help the reader gain greater understanding of topics, people and places that are mentioned in verses nearby. Publisher Zondervan writes, “While everything in the Bible is important, certain people, places and things stand out. Find out who’s who, what’s what, and how they connect to God. You’ll discover the adventures and challenges of mankind.”
- Makin’ It Real – These informative sections also take up about a third of a page. Matthew said he likes these because they help him apply the Bible to “real life”, as he put it. I was impressed that at his age, he would understand the importance of this! Zondervan makes this comment about these applications: “Think the Bible is too ancient to make sense today? You’ll be surprised. Get the scoop on what boys like you can learn from the Bible—no matter what century you live in.”
- Check It Out – These are very short blurbs placed on the page, with the following publisher description: “Boost your smarts with fascinating facts and trivia. Read about the cool and interesting stuff in the life and times of the Old and New Testaments.” For example, the “Check It Out” comment on Isaiah 37:36 says, “God only needs to send one angel to end a battle. One angel wiped out 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. Several armies of men would never be a match for a team of angels.”
- Words to Live By – Notable verses from scripture are highlighted in a separate colored box, giving the reader suggestions for a memory verse.
- Grossology – And possibly my son’s favorite feature comes in the grossology moments. Most boys like all things gross, and these short two or three sentence bits give them a chance to see that not everything in scripture was neat, clean and tidy. As a mom I’m not interested in reading these portions myself, and I’m glad they’re not on every page, but they do bring to light some of the gritty, uncomfortable things that were very much a part of life during scriptural times.
In the back of the Bible there are a few more features. I’m not sure if Matthew has utilized these yet, but knowing his inquisitive mind, I’m sure he’ll check them out:
- Through the Bible in a Year Reading Chart
- Promises from the Bible – suggested topical verses for your every need
- Perspectives from the Bible – topical index
- Journaling Pages
If you’re the parent of a middle-grade boy who is looking for a Bible for your child, the Zondervan Boys NIV Bible may be a good fit. The NIV translation has proven to be a relatable and respectful version, and the bonus features which are sprinkled throughout this text are helpful and interesting. In today’s postmodern society, it’s so important to keep our children grounded in God’s word so that they can know God’s Truth and navigate through the minefields of adolescence. This Bible is a great option for young men, giving them tools and knowledge that they will use for a lifetime and beyond.
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For a sample section of the NIV Boys Bible, click here.
Review copy provided by: