Even for those who do not hold to the Bible’s sacred and divine origins, this book will not go away. It continues to provoke and challenge all who brush against its pages (Kent Dobson).


The Bible hasn’t changed a great deal since it was originally published back in the 1450’s. There have been errors in spelling corrected. Some words have been translated differently, resulting in numerous different translations of the Bible. But by and large, the Bible has stayed the same as it was when Johannes Gutenberg ran the first copy off his printing press.

It has only been in the last 50 or so years that publishers of the Bible have added more content to God’s Word. The additions are not verses, chapters or books. Rather things like a concordance, references to other verses that parallel or compliment each other have become standard Biblical material. If that wasn’t enough for Christians, publishers decided to go one step further and add more to create the penultimate bible edition: THE STUDY BIBLE.

Now notes and comments on specific Scriptures for any possible demographic are available, from men to women, teenagers to the elder, for the seeker and the spiritually devoted. Almost everything a person would want until the next study bible would come out offering a little bit more. With such an over saturated market of study bibles, one would wonder why Kent Dobson, teaching pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, would throw another one into the pile? Because the NIV First-Century Study Bible is offering something that the other study bibles don’t: a better understanding of biblical context and mindset.

As a pastor with extensive study in biblical languages and a great understanding of the rabbinic and Eastern mindset, Dobson offers the readers of the NIV First-Century Study Bible a chance to know the Scriptures the way the original audience did. He explains how the ancient world thought, spoke and wrote their stories down. Dobson gives us in the 21st century an opportunity to know how the ancient world influenced and impacted the words that collimated in the Holy Scriptures.

While this may seem unimportant to some, Dobson unearths biblical truths and realities that are vital to the Body of Christ in the 21st century, if we are willing to brush up against the sacred and divine. While some may say that this is another regular study bible in the stack of many, the NIV First-Century Study Bible stands head and shoulder above the rest, inviting us to dive deeper into relationship with God and His written Word.

The Bible was not born in a vacuum. it emerged in a specific region of the world over the course of many generations. It was written by different hands in different languages, with rich literary devices to a people on the verge of their own evolving literacy (Kent Dobson).

As in any study bible, the “big” topics are covered, but in a limited space. While I would have loved much more exhaustive comments on the various topics that Dobson covered, my desire is more for a bible commentary than a study bible with comments. For what Dobson has given the reader, it is still outstanding and over and above what most study bibles offer. To name a few of the great things that have been added to the NIV First-Century Study Bible, they have included word studies, articles about the daily life of biblical occupations and explanations about other ancient texts; how they relate and why they are significant to the Old Testament. That is only naming a few, not to mention the standard glossary, concordance and coloured maps.

While I do wish for more of this amazing content, my only other complaint is that I had to review this in a digital format. I would have loved to flip through these pages and see the word studies working in tandem with the Scriptures.

To have the Word of God challenge me, and then to read how it was originally understood and be challenged further would be, and is, a wonderful thing for a Christian. To be moved to question and rethink our understanding and approach to Scripture should be something that is embraced by all Christians, especially when that is a part of our faith’s roots. The things that Kent Dobson has included in this study bible are not weighed down by a lot of technical or theological language. What is said is easy to understand for the theologically trained and those just starting on the spiritual journey. I believe that this NIV First-Century Study Bible will be a valuable asset to the Body of Christ for years to come, for the strengthening and enriching of the Church.

I give this study bible 5 stars out of 5 stars.

So dig in, ask tough questions, and expect God to reveal Himself to you more richly and fully than you’ve ever experienced (Ed Dobson).


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


5 thoughts on “NIV First-Century Study Bible edited by Kent Dobson: Book Review

  1. Great review! You have piqued my interest in this bible. I don’t know if I have shared this with you before, but there is a great free website with an extensive library of bible commentaries, and many other resources such as Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, bible dictionaries and more. The site is Blue Letter Bible
    http://www.blueletterbible.org/ There is even a related site called Blue Letter Bible Institute where you can take online bible college courses for free. Forgive me if I have already shared this with you. I am not affiliated with BLB in any way, I am just addicted to it!


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