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The NIV Zondervan Study Bible: An Interview with Dr. D.A. Carson

Dr. D.A. CarsonThe New International Version of the Bible, the world’s most read and most trusted modern-English Bible translation, is now complemented by extensive study notes and resources designed and edited by general editor and The Gospel Coalition co-founder, D.A. Carson. The new NIV Zondervan Study Bible (website) presents the best of evangelical biblical scholarship, appealing to a broad spectrum of Bible readers. Five years in the making and built from the ground up to reflect the most current 21st century scholarship, Dr. Carson—along with a team of over 60 contributors—crafted all-new study notes, book and section introductions, a library of articles, and other study tools that specifically focus on biblical theology—or the progressive unfolding of theological concepts through the Bible.

[See our blogpost: Accolades for the New NIV Zondervan Study Bible.]

Click to browse the many available editions of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible in the Bible Gateway StoreAn added bonus when you purchase the NIV Zondervan Study Bible print edition: you’ll get a code to gain free digital access (a $19.99 value) to its comprehensive study notes, maps, charts, articles and more from your computer or mobile device through Bible Gateway and Olive Tree.

Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. D.A. Carson about the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible (Zondervan, 2015).

What’s a Study Bible and why is it important for a person to have one?

Dr. Carson: “Study Bible” is the expression used for Bibles that include significant explanatory notes, usually at the bottom of the page, sometimes in the margins. Often a Study Bible will also include some brief articles, photographs of geographical and archaeological sites, fairly extensive maps, and charts that summarize a lot of information. Ordinary Bibles often include cross-references and brief concordances; Study Bibles include much more, all bound up in one fat volume, so that readers can find a lot of useful explanation on each page without having to hunt through Bible dictionaries and commentaries and the like.

What characterizes the NIV Zondervan Study Bible?

Dr. Carson: Most good evangelical Study Bibles have more in common than people sometimes realize. All of them are committed to explaining the Bible to lay readers. The NIVZSB is based on the NIV, has drawn together an extraordinary range of excellent evangelical scholars, and is deeply committed to biblical theology.

Explain what biblical theology is, and how and why the NIVZSB emphasizes it.

Dr. Carson: “Biblical theology” refers to something more precise than theology that is faithful to the Bible. It might be helpful to draw a contrast: at the risk of oversimplification, systematic theology tends to organize theology topically and with an eye cast on its contemporary relevance, while biblical theology tends to organize the same biblical material so that it is easier to see the distinctive contribution of each biblical book and human author, and to trace the trajectories of themes across the Bible so we see how the books of the Bible hold together.

Systematic theology will ask questions like “What are the attributes of God? What is sin? What does the cross achieve?” Biblical theology tends to ask questions such as “What is the theology of the prophecy of Isaiah? What do we learn from John’s Gospel? How does the theme of the temple work itself out across the entire Bible?” Both approaches are legitimate; both are important. They are mutually complementary.

We choose to emphasize biblical theology, partly because there are fine Study Bibles already available that lean into systematic theology, and partly because biblical theology is particularly strong at helping readers see how the Bible hangs together in its own categories: that is, God in his infinite wisdom chose to give us his Word in the 66 canonical books, with all of their variations in theme, emphasis, vocabulary, literary form, and distinctive contributions across time. In addition to keeping such themes and distinctions before us as the contributors of this Study Bible wrote their notes, the editors agreed to write 28 brief essays at the end of this Study Bible to bring together some of the biblical-theological themes that can be traced through Scripture.

Sample book introduction page layout. Click to browse the many available editions of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

Why is it of special interest that you, a co-founder of The Gospel Coalition, agreed to be the general editor of the NIVZSB?

Dr. Carson: All of us on the Council of The Gospel Coalition are passionate about increasing the knowledge that men and women have of the Word of God, and this is one way of doing it. Study Bibles tend to circulate widely, so they play a disproportionate role in helping Christians and others understand holy Scripture. Further, many of our members have long used one or two other Study Bibles, and it is important that Christians not be tied too tightly to only one option, however good it may be.

There are so many English translations of the Bible now available. Explain the advantages of the NIV translation for the average reader.

Dr. Carson: In my view, the NIV is the most readable of the faithful contemporary translations of the Bible. Further, statistically it far outsells its nearest competitors, which means its reach and influence are potentially greater. And in my experience, for the countless millions of people for whom English is the second or third language, the NIV seems to be the version of choice. So that means a Study Bible based on the NIV will share a similar reach.

The NIVZSB is a weighty tome, chock-full of ancillary reference material to the Bible text. It must have been complex to organize, create, and assemble all the content that was produced by the many scholars. Help us understand that whole process from beginning to end.

Dr. Carson: It would be easy to write a short book on the subject! Zondervan asked me to serve as general editor for the project. I chose the three associate editors and the one assistant editor (with Zondervan’s approval), and worked with Zondervan on the contracts. The executive editorial team—the four I had chosen and I—chose all the writers (just over 60), decided on the biblical-theological topics at the end of the Bible, stipulated the length of each contribution, and so forth.

The writers were assigned deadlines, of course, and when their work came in, it was commented upon by all five editors. I put those comments in a form that took each contribution back to the writer for revisions and corrections, which again came to us—at least two of the editors, sometimes more. Along the line, suggestions were being made as to charts, maps, photographs, and the like. All of this material went through the hands of copyeditors at Zondervan—very careful and competent people. The writers saw all of their work one more time. The Zondervan folk worked hard to make sure dates and other details were consistent.

The whole work then went through another senior review committee, and its more important suggestions came back to me, and, sometimes alone and sometimes in conversation with others, I adjudicated them. Of course, pages must be made up, paper chosen, printing overseen, different bindings chosen—but those sorts of challenges are handled within Zondervan.

It’s worth mentioning that all of the editorial work was done digitally: the editing, the controls, flow-charts, letters, etc., were all done without a scrap of paper anywhere. But you are right: a project of this size is pretty complex. I am hugely thankful to God for the executive team that worked very hard and cheerfully, with complementary spheres of expertise. All of us sense what an incalculable privilege it is to spend so much time working on the Bible, thinking God’s thoughts after him, and trying to produce a Study Bible that will prove a blessing for the people of God for generations.

Is there an outstanding event in the course of producing this study Bible, or a particular feature or passage discussion among scholars, that you could relate that might be humorous or poignant or merely interesting?

Dr. Carson: Not so much one event, as certain patterns that became quite funny. One of our editors consistently frowned on clauses written in the passive voice, and consequently re-wrote many sentences in the active voice. Another editor frequently felt that the first editor had gone much too far, and pretty soon there was a steady banter between them, neatly preserved in the Comments section of each digital page. (All of the editors shared all their work on GoogleDocs, so we could all see what the others were saying.) Some of the comments on the comments became laugh-out-loud humorous. Of course, resolving differences was my job—but the good humor made the task less onerous.

The Bible is already considered by many people to be a daunting book to read. What do you say to people who may be so intimidated by simply the sheer size of the NIVZSB that they don’t even open it?

Dr. Carson: If people are daunted by the sheer size and weight of this Study Bible, there’s not much we can do about it—except invite them to actually try it. The reason for the size and weight is all those explanatory notes, brief essays, introductions, maps, charts, and the like. Editorially, we pitched the level at the reading capacity of an intelligent 14- or 15-year old. In other words, our hope and prayer is that the “bulk” of this Study Bible is precisely what will help many readers find it a little easier to understand the Bible, not more difficult. And in any case we still want people to seek the illuminating help of the Spirit of God, not only to understand but to respond appropriately—with repentance, faith, trust, obedience, and God-centered gratitude.

What’s the reaction among your scholarly peers and pastors to the NIVZSB?

Dr. Carson: It’s still early days, but so far it has been gratifyingly positive. We’re thankful to God for the encouragement.

What do you hope will be the lasting achievement of this Study Bible?

Dr. Carson: We hope and pray that it will be the most widely circulated and most widely read Study Bible in the history of the church, for the glory of God and the good of his blood-bought people.

Bio: D.A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He’s the author or coauthor of over 50 books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning book The Gagging of God and An Introduction to the New Testament. He’s general editor of Telling the Truth and Worship by the Book. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.

“…a magnificent achievement. The illustrations are stunning and the maps are expertly done. Most important, the content in both the articles and the commentary is superb. Every Bible reader and person in ministry should turn to it often for help.”
Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Click to browse the many available editions of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

“Don Carson and the whole team deserve our congratulations. The notes and articles of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible are helpful, thorough, and readable, and the maps and artwork are beautiful. I am particularly grateful for the writers’ emphasis on Biblical Theology and the unity of the Bible.”
Paul R. House, Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University

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[Download the free Bible Gateway App, on which is available the NIV and many other Bible versions.]

Bible News Roundup – Week of January 10, 2016

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
Bible Gateway Weekly Brief
Newsletter signup

Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
BibleGatewayStore.com

Church of England Attendance Plunges to Record Low
The Telegraph

Global Persecution of Christians “More Extreme Than Ever”
Premier
Christian Headlines: One Christian Killed Every Hour for Faith
International Day(s) of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Christians Flee Growing Persecution in Africa and Middle East
The Guardian
Open Doors UK: World Watch List 2016

A Comforting Word in the Hotel Nightstand
The Wall Street Journal

Author and Speaker J.I. Packer is Going Blind
Christianity Today
See books by J.I. Packer in the Bible Gateway Store

Unearthing the World of Jesus
Smithsonian Magazine
Biblical Context for the Top 10 Biblical Archaeological Discoveries of 2015

Bibles from the Barn: Tennessee Ministry Sends Gospel Across the Globe
Shelbyville Times-Gazette

A Bible Translation by First Nations for First Nations
Christian Reformed Church
See multiple Bible translations on Bible Gateway

Intertwining Technology with Bible Translation
OneNewsNow
See list of Bible Translation Organizations

Museum of the Bible to Open in Pelh?imov, Czech Republic
Radio Prague
A Collection of Bible Museums & Exhibits

Ratio Christi to Unveil Historic Bible Scroll at Purdue Annual Symposium
Ratio Christi

140-Year-Old Historic East Tennessee Family Bible Follows Long Path Home
Knoxville News Sentinel

Family’s 18th Century Bible Traced to North Carolina Public Library
The News & Observer

Is the Bible’s Description of Heaven Real? What Near Death Experiences Tell Us
FOX News
Imagine Heaven: An Interview with John Burke

A Catholic’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year
Aleteia
CNN: A Catholic Reads the Bible

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

The Bible Project: An Interview with Tim Mackie and Jon Collins

Tim MackieWhat if you were able to approach the grand narrative of the Bible by viewing brief, entry-level video summaries of each book of the Bible? Would you feel less intimidated and more able to comprehend the Bible’s complexities?

Bible Gateway interviewed Tim Mackie (@timmackie) and Jon Collins (@jonpdx) about The Bible Project (@JoinBibleProj).

Jon CollinsDescribe The Bible Project and the reason you started it.

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: We make animated videos that walk through the structure of every book of the Bible and we make videos that explain biblical themes that weave through the entire narrative of Scripture. We believe the Bible is one unified story that leads to Jesus and as wisdom for the modern world. We put all the videos for free on YouTube.

How is it funded?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: We’re funded by a few private families who helped with some initial money, but largely we’ve been crowdfunded through our website where people who’ve watched our videos donate to fund a new video; usually $10 or $15. When we raise enough money to make a video, we make the video! We also now have 1500 monthly supporters who are dedicated to seeing the entire project finished.
Click to visit The Bible Project website

What has been the response of viewers? How are they using the videos?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: We’ve been surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response from people of all sorts of Christian traditions. We do our best to make sure this project isn’t just promoting one theological tribe but is helpful for everyone who believes in the authority of Scripture in their lives. These videos have been viewed over 2 million times on our YouTube channel in almost every sovereign territory in the world. They’re downloaded and used in churches all over the world. We constantly get emails with stories of families watching them together, churches using them as curriculum, and educators using them in their classes.

Are your videos accessed more by mobile devices or on desktop?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: Good question! I had to look it up. In the last 30 days we’ve had 285,000 views on YouTube and it breaks down like this:

  • 130,000 Desktop (42%)
  • 106,000 Mobile (37%)
  • 33,000 Tablet (12%)
  • 12,000 TV (4.3%)
  • 4,000 Game Console (1.5%)

In your “About” video, you say you limit videos to five minutes? Why that time length? And have you been able to accomplish that goal?

Jon Collins: I used to think that a video over three minutes long on the Internet was too long. But the truth is, as long as you can hold someone’s attention it’s the perfect length. As soon as someone gets bored and wants to turn it off, it’s probably too long.

Tim Mackie: We budget for five minutes (it costs about $6000 a minute for us to produce our fully animated videos). And we find that in five to seven minutes we can tackle one theme or book pretty well.

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: We’ve stayed within this ballpark except for our Read Scripture series which we try to hit around the 8-9 minute mark. We’re okay with these being longer because they’re more like lectures and we expect the viewer to be ready to buckle in.

How do you plan to approach the deuterocanonical books of the Catholic Bible?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: We’ve discussed doing them, but haven’t put a game plan together. At the moment, simply tackling the Jewish Bible (the Protestant Old Testament), and the New Testament is a big enough task.

Is there a particular English Bible version you use in your videos? If so, why have you chosen that?

Jon Collins: We don’t use any particular version. Tim reads from the original languages and so we often use his translations and just check them against the main English versions to make sure we’re within a good tradition or not.

Explain a few of the major biblical themes and how you go about visualizing them.

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: Some themes are more abstract. For example one theme is the theme of Heaven and Earth. If you search for the phrase heaven and earth in the Bible, it appears constantly. We wanted to show how interrelated these “spaces” are and how that idea gets developed over the course of the biblical narrative. The Bible begins with heaven and earth united; then they’re forced apart (but not completely), and the story of the Bible is how God is re-unifying his creation with his presence. We visualized this with a simple diagram of two overlapping circles.

Other theme videos trace the progression of key ideas that are easier to visualize. For example, the theme of the Messiah begins with a prophecy of a son of Eve crushing the serpent’s head while getting bit by the serpent. We follow the hope for the Messiah through other Old Testament prophesies in the prophetic books and then show how they’re realized in Jesus.

Describe the steps you take to create a video about a Bible book? How do you begin and then what happens?

Jon Collins: The first thing that happens is Tim will spend time studying; mostly refreshing and pulling notes together. Then Tim and I will spend anywhere from 2 hours to a couple of days going over his notes. I ask a lot of questions and try to absorb everything. These conversations ended up being so fun, we started recording them and putting them together on our podcast.

After that, I go away and write a first draft. My goal is to boil down all the content into a five-minute script. I streamline as much as possible and keep only what’s pertinent to the theme. I think about how best to introduce the idea to someone who has never heard it before. Then Tim and I will revise that draft as many times as it takes.

During the revisions we’ll also make notes on key visuals that will aid the script. Some of these visuals will give information to the viewer that allows us to make the script shorter.

When we’ve read through a draft that feels good, we high-five and then schedule a meeting with our design team to walk them through it. Then the design team creates storyboards to accompany the script. Reviewing the storyboards almost always initiates a rewrite as we find problems we couldn’t have found without visuals.

Once storyboards are locked in, we create all the illustrations needed, and then hand those drawings over to animators to make them come alive.

The final stage is sound design (adding “sound effects”) and making a transcription for people who want to translate the script and provide subtitles on YouTube.

What comes first: the script or the visuals?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: Usually, the script comes first and then the storyboards. But often we develop visual ideas as we’re writing, and creating the storyboards inevitably initiates a rewrite of the script, so it’s a symbiotic relationship.

Do you describe your video artwork as animation or stop-motion or kinetic typography or something else?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: The Torah Series and the Theme videos we refer to as “animated” or sometimes “fully animated” to distinguish from our Read Scripture series which we refer to as “simple sketch” or “whiteboard drawings.”

Anytime you include a Bible reference on your website, can we get you to link it to its location on BibleGateway.com?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: We’ve been linking to BibleGateway.com for our reading plan. We have 5000 people reading through the Bible with us this year and those signed up to get our newsletter will get updates on the plans with links to our videos and links to the Scripture reading. If people want to sign up and read through the Bible with us they can do it here.

Why do you have a passion for this project?

Jon Collins: I grew up with the Bible and was told from an early age that it had all the answers I need for this life and the next. I gave my life to Jesus and went on to study the Bible at college where I met Tim. After graduating I went on to learn animation and film production and built a career in explaining products and services for companies. I always wanted to reunite my desire to understand the Bible with my skill to explain things. I find a lot of joy vocationally when I’m able to explore and explain something I believe is meaningful and important.

Tim Mackie: I didn’t know the Bible very well from my childhood; just some of the basic stories. I became a Christian when I was 20, and became instantly fascinated with the Bible, its languages, and its history. I majored in biblical studies in college, then went to Seminary; then I completed a PhD in Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies. It was the most wonderful journey, and I fell in love with the entire story of the Bible and how it illuminated Jesus for me. My career so far has been in teaching the Bible in church and academic settings, and my friendship with Jon has opened up a whole mode of teaching through this video medium. I believe the biblical story has immense power to transform people and communities, and it’s an absolute joy to be a part of the Bible Project.

What do you hope to accomplish?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: We want to make all the videos that cover all the books of the Bible and its main theological themes. This is a huge undertaking, but it looks like it’s going to happen! More than that, we hope these videos help people who’ve given their lives to Jesus and his Kingdom to better understand Scripture and be able to better align their story with God’s story. The story of the Bible is compelling and powerful and when it grabs you it does remarkable things. We also hope that people who have a curiosity about the Bible will watch the videos and be introduced to the gospel.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and/or the Bible Gateway App?

Jon Collins: We love Bible Gateway. I use it all the time to link to verses or to look things up.

Tim Mackie: I’ve used Bible Gateway for many years. It’s my default online Bible. Thank you guys for all your hard work to make it a free, available resource!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Tim Mackie and Jon Collins: Just that it’s an honor to be on your website. The best way to watch our videos are on our YouTube channel.

Bio: Tim Mackie is a writer and creative director for The Bible Project. He has his PhD in Semitic Languages and Biblical Studies. He’s a pastor at Door of Hope Church, Portland, Oregon, and adjunct professor at Western Seminary.

Jon Collins writes and creative directs for The Bible Project. He is a communication entrepreneur who has co-founded Sincerely Truman and Epipheo.

Understanding the Flow of Meaning of a Biblical Book

howtostudythebible

This is the ninth lesson in Mel Lawrenz’ new “How to Study the Bible” series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.


When I know I have to travel to a city and drive from one destination to the next, what I usually do is study a map of the whole. I note the natural boundaries of the city, whether they are ocean, desert, open land, or other cities. Then I observe the major highways that traverse or loop the city—the main ways people get from one part to another. Then I take a closer look at the places I am going to go, and just let that image get imprinted on my mind.

I know this sounds old-fashioned in a day when GPS in our cars or on our smart phones can give us turn-by-turn directions. But I have learned the hard way that if I do not have any general idea of where I am going, I might drive to an entirely mistaken location, or route myself through a risky part of town.

FreewayMap-1024x809

One can study the Bible by looking at an entire biblical book, but there are intermediate steps before we get to verse-by-verse understanding. We have to understand the flow of meaning of the biblical book we are studying. I say “flow” because most biblical books progress from one idea to the next along a trajectory of real meaning. A book may tell a story (narrative), or offer oracles (prophecy), or develop teaching (epistles), and we get the meaning when we understand the logical flow of the author. Like driving a car, we go from one road to the next; we do not skip from one location to another. We understand where we are by knowing where we just were, and the next set of turns ahead of us. (There are some biblical books that do not have a chapter-by-chapter logical progression, like the book of Psalms, which is a collection of songs and poems.)

What we actually do at this level of Bible study is outline. This can be one of the most fruitful personal exercises we do. Forget the outline you can find in your study Bible or commentary or dictionary. Just read the book through for yourself. Then read it again, noting the large logical sections. This is like studying the map for yourself, rather than letting the GPS give you turn-by-turn directions. It is what the authors of most of the books of the Bible intended for their original audiences. The epistles that were addressed to churches for instance, were read out loud in the congregations, from beginning to end in all probability. The original audiences heard the whole, and could comprehend the major points of meaning. After you come up with your own outline, you can compare that with the outline of scholars in the tools.

Let’s use Genesis as an example. Reading the book all the way through one one day, even if not in one sitting, gives us a perspective of the whole map. Because it is mostly narrative, we can see its stories broken down into 1) the early stories of the world (primeval history) from Creation through the Flood; 2) the story of Abraham; 3) the story of Jacob; and 4) the story of Joseph. As we read we look for markers of meaning, which may be statements that describe the whole or connect the parts. What God says to Abraham about making his descendants into a great nation, and that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed, is a bird’s-eye view of the whole. Often the beginning of a book and the end provide clues of overall meaning. The Creation account is not just about things being created, but a people. Genesis 50 concludes with Abraham’s descendants starting to multiply, although displaced to the land of Egypt, another great theme of the Bible about being God’s people in a foreign place.

The epistle of 1 Corinthians in the New Testament has its own unique flow of meaning. After Paul gives the customary greeting, affirming the divine calling of the church and asserting his own apostolic authority, he confronts the Corinthian church about their scandalous divisions and the ways these problems happen (chapters 1-4). Then he asserts the moral standards Christians ought to follow (chapters 5-6), after which we see an important connecting statement: “now for the matters you wrote about” (7:1). This is our structural clue that helps us understand Paul moving from one topic to the next (marriage, worship, etc.), replying to questions the church leaders raised to him.

So here is what we need to be looking for as we try to understand the flow of meaning of a biblical book:

A. Repetition – themes mentioned frequently may reveal the intent of the author.

B. Connections – biblical books frequently have obvious connecting statements that show us the logic of the flow.

C. Major statements – we may not see these until we’ve real the biblical book several times, but statements that summarize overall meaning are like landmarks along the highway.

D. Parallels – cycles of repetition may signal that the meaning is to be found in the ideas repeated (like the sets of seven in the book of Revelation, for instance).

It is deeply satisfying to read and re-read and study a particular book and to gain a real familiarity with the locations of meaning in the text. It is like getting to know a new city, not just by memorizing a map, but by using the map to actually drive the streets and highways, note the landmarks and boundaries, and know where you are the next time you visit.


Mel Lawrenz trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a Ph.D. in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, the latest, How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

Annual Bible-Related Events

Here’s a list of yearly events that have a relation to the Bible:

[Browse the Bible section of the Bible Gateway Store]

Bible News Roundup – Week of January 3, 2016

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
Bible Gateway Weekly Brief
Newsletter signup

Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
BibleGatewayStore.com

The 5 Most Popular Bible Verses in 2015
Deseret News
The Top Ten Bible Verses of 2015 And More: Bible Gateway’s Year in Review

Which States Search for the Bible the Most?
Facts & Trends
Bible Gateway Blogpost: What Does it Mean to be “Bible-minded”?

Report: American Congregations 2015—Thriving & Surviving
Faith Communities Today
RNS: Tiny Churches, Big Hopes—Why Some Thrive Despite the Odds

Tennessee Couple Finds Bible in the Ashes of Burned Down Home
WVLT
Read John 3 on Bible Gateway

Author and Bible Scholar M. Robert Mulholland Jr., 79, Died Dec. 20
Rush to Press
See books by M. Robert Mulholland Jr., in the Bible Gateway Store

Women Prophets in the Bible: Remembering the Oft Forgotten
Huffington Post Religion
Read the Old Testament on Bible Gateway

Northland Church Goes on a Bible Reading Marathon
Northland News Center

New Hope Community Church, Traverse City, MI Hosts 48-Hour Public Scripture Reading Jan. 10-12
New Hope Community Church

Kentucky Public Bible Reading Concludes
The Ledger Independent

The Crusader Bible: A Medieval Gem Reveals Its Own History
Rush to Press
Blogpost: A Collection of Bible Museums & Exhibits

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

Resolved to Read the Bible in 2016? There’s Still Time to Sign Up for Reading Plans and Devotionals

The New Year is here! If you’re still thinking about a New Year’s resolution to read the Bible more or to discover a new devotional, there’s still time to visit our New Year’s Bible reading resources page and sign up for one. That list of devotionals includes the brand new Living His Word devotional, which is perfect for Bible beginners—it’s a good one to pick if you’re not sure which reading plan or devotional will be best for you. (Here are more details about that devotional, if you’re curious.)

And of course, our Bible reading plans and devotionals will be available all year long, so if you don’t sign up now but decide to do so later in the year, you can find all of these resources and more at our Reading Plan page and our Devotionals and Newsletters page.

Whether you use one of Bible Gateway’s resources or something different, we hope that 2016 is a year in which you grow closer to the Bible and to the Savior it proclaims. Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a blessed New Year!

Memorizing Bible Verses: Not Just For Sunday School

We’ve talked a lot about resolving to read more of the Bible in 2016. But have you considered memorizing parts of the Bible?

Bible verse memorization isn’t discussed much in adult Christian environments, I suspect because most of us mentally associate it with children’s Sunday School. Bible verse memorization is a powerful way to help children connect to Scripture, but it can be just as useful for Bible readers of any age. And if you’re burning out in your Bible reading, or feel that the way you’re currently reading the Bible has hit a plateau, adding memorization to the mix can bring an interesting new angle to your engagement of Scripture.

So why not give Scripture memorization a try in the New Year? Here are two resources to help you get started:

  • Scripture Memorization explanation and tips: What’s the value of memorizing Scripture? How will it bring you closer to Christ? This essay explains the usefulness of memorizing Bible verses, and concludes with some tips and strategies for doing so.
  • Top Ten Bible Memorization Tips from Bible Gateway readers: A few years ago, we asked Bible Gateway readers to share their best tips and strategies for memorizing Bible verses. We were flooded with great responses—so we picked out the ten best memorization strategies and listed them here.

Survey: What Are Your Bible Reading Resolutions for 2016?

Are you making any Bible reading resolutions for the New Year? Share in the survey below to share your Bible reading plans for 2016.

What new Bible reading resolution are you making for 2016? (Check all that apply.)

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If you want to read the Bible more in 2016 but aren’t sure where to start, our New Year’s Bible reading resources can help.

Did You Find a New Phone or Tablet Under the Christmas Tree? Get the Free Bible Gateway App

mobileappDid you get a shiny new phone, tablet, or other mobile device this Christmas? Did you know that Bible Gateway has a free mobile app that brings our Bible library (including audio Bibles), reading plans, and more onto your handheld device? It’s available for iPad, iPhone, Android phones, and Kindle Fire; you can read more or download it here.

The Bible Gateway app lets you:

  • Listen to audio Bibles
  • Take personal notes and highlight your favorite Bible passages
  • Share verses with friends
  • Follow a Bible reading plan, with daily reminders to keep you on track

So if you or a family member found a new mobile device under the Christmas tree and are excitedly exploring all the cool stuff if can do, download the free Bible Gateway app and bring the Bible with you wherever you go!