NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible




From the back cover: “The NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible brings the Bible to life in full-color illustrated splendor. Featuring over 700 illustrations, colorful photos, engaging maps and important facts located near the relevant verse — this study Bible is as eye-popping as it is informative.”

Some of my favorite features:

  • “Over 700 four-color photographs, illustrations, infographics and maps throughout” — this Bible, geared for tweens (ages 8-12), incorporates a wide variety of illustrations to help the young Bible scholar, including some of those fabulous charts and drawings from the Quickview Bible.
  • “Book introductions, including important facts and an image to orient the reader” — every book is introduced with a quick list of facts to help young people get an overall view of that particular book, such as who wrote it, what happens, and what are some of the key stories/events/chapters in that book.
  • “One-column format with sidebar study notes for ease of reading” — I really love this feature, because it not only includes notes, but still, usually, leaves some room for the young student of the Bible to write down their own notes and keep track of some of the things God is teaching them through His Word.
  • “The complete text of the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible” — yes, this is one of my favorite features. Why? Because I remember that the only “Bible” we used when I was little was a Bible storybook, not a full-text Bible. Sure, it had all the classic stories (Noah & the Flood, Jonah & the Whale, Jesus feeding the 5,000, etc.) and pretty pictures, but it didn’t have everything. When I finally “graduated” to a full-on Bible, I was given a King James Version. Nice, but difficult for my young mind to really understand. This is the complete NIV translation, with those classic stories told in context and with illustrations to help young minds discover what God’s Word is really all about.

This is a Bible that can grow with a kid: the pictures/illustrations/charts/maps can help spark interest in the Word in younger Christians, while the full-text and study notes can draw kids deeper into knowledge of God and His Word.

If you have tweens in your family, I’d highly recommend you get them an NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible. Honestly, even if it’s just for you, it’s a pretty cool Bible with some great reference information that could absolutely aid in anyone’s study of the Word. 🙂 

Many thanks to ZonderKidz and Handlebar Marketing for the copy of this Bible for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review (but I couldn’t help it, because it’s a cool Bible!). All opinions are my very own! 🙂


The Most Misused Stories in the Bible by Eric J. Bargerhuff, PhD


We all heard those great stories from the Bible when we were kids; we know all about Cain and Abel, Jonah and the whale, and the Three Wise Men. Okay, so we know the stories, but do we really know what God is trying to tell us through these stories?

Many times, we don’t actually know the full story, because Scripture is often taken out of context, intentionally or not. We also live in a completely different culture than the biblical writers did, so we may not fully comprehend the subtleties of language and cultural contexts that shaped the lessons contained in the Word. Our traditions and societal differences can skew our understanding of the Bible, if we only take the bits and pieces we know and love out of their context.

But thanks to teachers like Eric Bargerhuff, we can be shown and/or reminded of the Truth behind some of the most popular stories in God’s Word. In The Most Misused Stories in the Bible: Surprising Ways Popular Bible Stories are Misunderstood, Bargerhuff does a fantastic job of placing the stories back into their context–biblically, culturally, and historically–to help seekers of the Truth understand the Bible more deeply.

A few years ago, I got Bargerhuff’s The Most Misused Verses in the Bible and really appreciated his expository style and easy-to-read information. His latest is just as good and would be a wonderful tool for pastors, Bible study leaders, and students of the Word alike.

If you want to have a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the Word of God, I suggest you grab a copy of The Most Misused Stories in the Bible. And happy learning!

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

NIV Holy Bible for Girls: Journal Edition


Are you looking for great Bible to help get that young girl in your life more invested in the Word? The NIV Holy Bible for Girls: Journal Edition from Zondervan is an excellent choice. As the publisher has noted: “Designed with you – a thoughtful writer – in mind, this Bible lets you reflect on God’s Word and add your own thoughts, art, and color to your favorite verses. God loves you and wants to hear from you. Curl up in a cozy spot and spend some time with the Word.”

The cover is beautiful – img_9242sparkly gold medallions, butterflies, pink, blue, what more could you want? Oh yeah, there’s even one of those fabulous bungees to keep all of your notes and artwork from falling out!

This complete text of the New International Version of the Bible is done in a single-column format with lines on the outer img_9243margin of each page for note-taking, thought-jotting, whatever you desire to fill them with. And the paper is thicker than your average Bible, so your journaling is less likely to bleed through or tear the page – perfect for colored pencils, pens, crayons, or any other medium you express yourself with.

And I love the “How to Use This Bible” page (found on the reverse side of the presentation page at the front of the Bible). It gives some wonderful advice and tips to get a young girl started with a journaling Bible.

But, let me tell you, it’s not just for young girls. Girls img_9244of all ages will enjoy the style and convenience of this journaling Bible. Even though I began my fourth decade last year, I’m loving this Bible! As you can probably tell from the pictures, I’ve had a ball so far, putting washi tape on the edge of the first page of each book, making my own Bible tabs, and writing out verses from my devotional time in those lovely wide margins. This journaling Bible brings with it the promise of a deeper relationship with God as you involve your heart in illuminating its pages. It’s cheery, yet graceful, and would make a wonderful gift for any girl, young or not-so-young. 🙂

Many thanks to Zondervan and Julie at Handlebar for letting check out this beautiful Bible. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂


Journey to the Manger: Exploring the Birth of Jesus by Paula Gooder


In Journey to the Manger, scholar Paula Gooder takes the reader step-by-step through the Biblical narratives of the birth of Jesus. She scrutinizes the sections in each of the three Gospels that talk of our Lord’s coming (Matthew, Luke, and John) in as close to chronological order as possible. Gooder examines individual Hebrew and Greek words and explains how their various translations have an important impact on the birth narratives, as well as taking the recorded history of the time and the historicity of the narratives into account in her inquiry. She also adds in at the end of each section her own reflections and even some poems she composed.

This was an interesting read. I found quite a bit of intriguing information to guide a study of the birth narratives, which is what I believe this book was written for – not to be an end-all, be-all on the Gospel accounts, but an aide for pastors, Bible study groups, and individuals who want to look more deeply at the birth of Jesus.

That said, I definitely don’t think it’s for everyone. For one, it’s an academic text – not something you pick up to have a comfy read on the couch or the beach (or rather a beautiful day in the mountains, if you’re like me). It’s fairly thick with information that you really need to pay close attention to as you read. Also, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to a new Christian or a non-believer, who may be intimidated by or even turned away by the lack of decisiveness at times. Let me explain that: Gooder presents different interpretations of  and information about the various Gospel accounts, occasionally verging on discounting parts of the Bible altogether. I’ll admit, this frustrated me at times, because I was taught and truly believe that God is only constrained by your lack of belief…if you believe He can do it, He can, whether or not it fits with your particular knowledge of the world and its history.

So, I would recommend this book for study, but with the caveat that it not be your ultimate guide – let the Word of God itself be that.

Thanks to Hymns Ancient and Modern and NetGalley for the free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible



I have tried many different devotional Bibles over the years in the hopes that I could find one that I both learned from and enjoyed. The NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible seems to fit that description for me. As a sometimes-successful (but more often frustrated!) gardener, I was quickly drawn to this Bible. The tagline, “Grow your faith while growing your garden,” really interested me, and I was not disappointed.

The NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible includes 52 weeks of readings (6 per week – one for each week day and one for the weekend), which fall into one of three categories: “Garden Tour,” “Garden Work,” or “Garden Stories.” As you work through the devotions, you see how gardens and gardening permeate the Word of God and how relevant His Word is to all who love His creation. For example, week one of the “Garden Work” section is about “Choosing.” In the introduction to that week’s devotional readings, it reads, “A wonderful metaphor, the choosing aspect of garden work draws us right into the heart of our relationship with God, for he has chosen each of us.” A beautiful truth!

The devotions are well-written and encompass a lovely blend of study and meditation. I would recommend this Bible to all who enjoy spending time in God’s glorious creation, especially those of us who try to control it! Would make a great Christmas gift for the gardener in your life. 😉

I received a free copy of this Bible through the BookLook Blogger review program. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!

Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, NKJV by Sarah Young

I must begin by saying that the subtitle to this devotional Bible is completely accurate: “Enjoying Peace in His Presence.” As I read through Sarah Young’s (Gen. Ed.) devotions, interspersed throughout this NKJV translation of the Holy Scriptures, I felt myself relaxing into His Word. I’ll admit, it was a bit strange at first trying to get used to reading these messages which are written from Christ’s perspective. But, paired with the prayers (or diary entries as I thought of them – so poignant and so very relevant; like someone wrote down my thoughts while I wasn’t looking) and God’s Word, these readings made it feel like I was just sitting down and having a conversation with Him. Reading some of my favorite passages, I found His Word coming to life for me in a new way as I read the devotional messages alongside them. One of my favorite pieces of this devotional Bible is the section entitled, “When Your Heart Longs for Help” – a topical index which leads you to devotions tailored to what you are feeling/facing and Biblical passages to help strengthen you and give you His peace. The “Jesus Calling Devotional Bible” is a blessing and an excellent tool for anyone desiring a closer relationship with the Lord.