Tyndale NLT Illustrated Study Bible Review – Rating: 9.6

Tyndale's NLT Illustrated Study Bible

Tyndale’s NLT Illustrated Study Bible

Originally, I saw an advertisement about this Bible somewhere online. I wish I recalled where I saw it.  I was intrigued by the name… I mean, you know how I am with full-color Bibles after all.  Then, it happened…. I got an email from Tyndale asking if I would be willing to do a review on this Bible.  I actually was at work at my corporate office when I got the email.  It was probably a funny sight to those around me with how excited I got.  I immediately told one of my coworkers (who is a fellow believer) about it.  He did a search for this Bible on Amazon and looked at the “look inside” feature and said he was impressed with what he saw.  Needless to say, I was impressed as well.  I think my coworker (who happens to be a subscriber to my blog) was seriously considering ordering a copy for his wife.  Well, after that initial email came in, it only took me a few minutes to reply and let them know that I would be very happy to do a review on this Bible.  Check out the video Tyndale did for this Bible: openmyeyes.com/bible

AWARD WINNER!!!!!!

Evangelical Christian Publishers Association - ECPA 2016 Best Bible Award Tyndale NLT Illustrated Study Bible

Winner of the ECPA 2016 Best Bible Award

This particular Study Bible just recently won the 2016 Best Bible Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).

The Christian Book Award® program recognizes the highest quality in Christian books and Bibles and is among the oldest and most prestigious awards program in the religious publishing industry. Finalists are selected in seven categories: Bibles, Fiction, Children, Inspiration, Bible Reference, Non-Fiction and New Author.

The industry gathered on May 3 in Nashville to celebrate the year’s best in Christian publishing, announcing the Christian Book Award® winners and featuring radio host and author Chris Fabry.

QUICK SUMMARY:

**See all sections below for full detailed review**

Wow – simply, wow!  If you have read any of my other reviews, I really prefer a full-color Study Bible.  With this one, Tyndale has set the bar very high for other publishers to try and hit.  The layout and design of features within this Bible are done VERY well.  We live in a society that is very visually oriented and this Bible (by design) caters to that fact.  It very effectively pulls the reader in and has wonderful study tools and features that help you understand the Word of God.  It only comes in the New Living Translation – I wish they had some others such as KJV or others in addition… maybe in the future Tyndale will do that.  I was so pleased to do a review on this Bible that Tyndale sent to me (for my honest review) and quite honestly, it will probably become one of my main go-to Study Bibles that I use.  Even though this is a hardcover version, I still rate it very high.  I will probably get a LeatherLike version sometime very soon to use as my main Study Bible.  If you are looking for a very good Study Bible and you like the NLT version, this absolutely beautiful one from Tyndale will NOT disappoint you in any way.  I would HIGHLY recommend this one.  In fact, I know of other people that saw my copy and actually ordered copies for themselves .  Just… gorgeous!  There are some features that were in the Chronological NLT Life Application Study Bible that I wish were carried over into this one, but that is a VERY minor point in my mind.

DESCRIPTION OF THIS BIBLE:

Type of Bible:  Study Bible
Bible Version Reviewed: NLT (New Living Translation) Second Edition
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: September 17, 2015
ISBN-13 of Bible Reviewed: 978-1-4964-0200-4 (Hardcover – see below for other options in addition to hardcover that this review is based on)
Price UPDATE:  At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get the hardcover version of the NLT Illustrated Study Bible from was from Amazon, however, now it is from Christianbook.com.  They have it for $31.49 – suggested retail from the publisher is $49.99. See below for a breakout and links to the different prices from some major re-sellers. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.

If you would like to purchase this Bible, please support my page and purchase by clicking any of the links to Christianbook.com on this page like the one below:

402003: NLT Illustrated Study Bible, hardcover NLT Illustrated Study Bible, hardcover
By Tyndale House

The Illustrated Study Bible brings Scripture’s message to life giving you an entirely new visual study experience. Hundreds of information-rich windows to the Bible world instantly communicate foundational truths and complex information in an understandable, compelling way for today’s visual generation.

The who, what, where, when, and why of the Bible come alive with stunning photos, illustrations, infographics, and full color maps integrated seamlessly with background material, study notes, and theme articles. The Illustrated Study Bible empowers you to draw closer to God by opening your eyes to Scripture’s living, powerful message.

Features

  • Hundreds of image-rich windows into the Bible's world including over 1000 photos alongside maps, illustrations, and infographics
  • In-depth commentary of Theme Notes, Profiles, Study Notes, cross references, Greek and Hebrew word studies, section and book introductions, timelines, Dictionary, Concordance
  • 9-point text size
  • 9.75" x 6.75"

 

Physical Characteristics:

  • Hardcover with dustcover
  • NOT Smyth sewn – has a glue back (at least on the hardcover version)
  • No ribbon markers
  • Words of Christ are not in red
  • Cross References
  • 2,618 pages
  • Type size is approximately 9 point for Scripture (smaller for study notes – probably 6 or 7 point for those)
  • Dimensions: 6 15/16″ wide (outside spine to cover edge – cover hangs past pages by about 1/4″) x 9 1/2” high (top edge of cover to bottom edge of cover – cover hangs over top and bottom of pages by 3/16”) x 2 5/16” thick (including cover thickness)
  • Approximate weight: 3.75 lbs
  • Comes in a nicely printed (heavy card stock) slip case:
NLT Illustrated Study Bible - comes with a nice full color slip cover.

NLT Illustrated Study Bible – comes with a nice full color slip cover.

SPECIAL CONTENT OF THIS BIBLE:

Pre-Scripture Text Pages

  • 1 page of a Presentation Page (pretty basic – Presented To, From, Date and On the Occasion Of lines)
  • 1 page of Contents
  • 1 page of Introduction to the Illustrated Study Bible (gives some background as to the reasons the Illustrated Study Bible was created)
  • 3 pages of How to Study the Bible (gives a great overview of the unique things about this Study Bible and how to use them when you are doing your studies)
  • 1 page of A Note to Readers (this is a Publishers’ note from 2007 regarding the New Living Translation version)
  • 5 pages of Introduction to the New Living Translation (from the Publishers, giving the background of how the NLT came about and their translation goals and methodology)
  • 2 pages of the NLT Bible Translation Team
  • 10 pages of Timeline of Biblical History (gives a wonderfully beautiful full-color timeline showing when books were written and also showing different Biblical events as well as world events to help put the timeline into a perspective that a majority of readers may find very helpful)

 

Scripture Text Pages

  • Biblical Sections and Colored Themes
    • This Study Bible is canonical (normal sequence of books in a Protestant Bible), but nicely has color coded sections so you know what area of books you are in.  The color schemes and layout done in this Bible are very nicely done.  Each section has a specific color that appears in the Section and Book Introductions and continues in the Theme Notes, Section Indicator bar at the bottom of each page and the headings and chapter numbers within the section text.  The really nice thing is that in this Section Indicator bar at the bottom of the page, the “location marker” gradually moves like a progress bar to show you how far into the section you are.  This really is a beautiful design.
    • The Pentateuch – Covers the first five books of the Bible.
      • Color scheme for this section is a darker teal tone
      • 6 pages of introduction to The Pentateuch which includes a brief introduction, the Setting, a Summary, an Outline of the Pentateuch, Interpretation of the Pentateuch, Meaning and Message of the Pentateuch and a detailed section on Authorship of the Pentateuch.
      • Also it has a quick reference to 8 of the very beautiful and wonderfully designed charts, graphics and maps used in the Pentateuch including Creation, Noah, Abraham, Promised Land, the Plagues, Israel’s Annual Calendar, the Tabernacle and Israel in the Wilderness.
Showing the dark teal theme for the Pentateuch section on page 11

Showing the dark teal theme for the Pentateuch section on page 11

Showing more of the Pentateuch section on pages 12-13

Showing more of the Pentateuch section on pages 12-13

Showing the dark teal theme for the Pentateuch section on page 148

Showing the dark teal theme for the Pentateuch section on page 148

    •  Israel’s History – Covers the books from Joshua to Esther.
      • Color scheme for this section is a brownish tone
      • 6 pages of introduction to Israel’s History which includes a brief introduction, the Setting, a Summary, Interpretation of Israel’s History, Meaning and Message of Israel’s History and Behind the Text.
      • Also it has a quick reference to 8 of the very beautiful and wonderfully designed charts, graphics and maps used in Israel’s History including Oppression, the Philistines, Ruth, Hostile Authority, Babylon, Temple Worship, the Rebuilding of Jerusalem and Esther.
    • Poetry & Wisdom – Covers the books from Job to Song of Songs
      • Color scheme for this section is a green tone
      • 4 pages of introduction to Poetry and Wisdom which includes a brief introduction, the Setting, Interpretation of Poetry and Wisdom, Meaning and Message and Behind the Text.
      • Also it has a quick reference to 8 of the very beautiful and wonderfully designed charts, graphics and maps used in Poetry and Wisdom including The Righteous Suffer, Kinds of Psalms, the Shepherd, Plants in Israel, Animals in Israel, Musical Instruments in Israel, Themes in Proverbs and Beauty in Nature.
    • Prophets of Israel – Covers the books from Isaiah to Malachi.
      • Color scheme for this section is a purple tone
      • 6 pages of introduction to Prophets of Israel which includes a brief introduction, Who Prophets were and their Characteristics, Interpretation of the Prophets of Israel, the Message of the Prophets, the Prophetic Era, and the Ultimate Prophet.
      • Also it has a quick reference to 8 of the very beautiful and wonderfully designed charts, graphics and maps used in Prophets of Israel including Judah’s Crimes, the Coming Kin, the New Covenant, the Promise of New Life, Daniel, Four World Empires, the Greeks and the Day of the Lord.
    • Gospels and Acts – Covers the books from Matthew to Acts.
      • Color scheme for this section is a maroon tone
      • 10 pages of introduction to the Gospels and Acts which includes a brief introduction, the Setting, Summary of the Gospels and Acts, a Comparison of the Four Gospels, Interpreting the Gospels and Acts, Meaning and Message, Behind the Text and the Chronology of Jesus’ Life
      • Also it has a quick reference to 8 of the very beautiful and wonderfully designed charts, graphics and maps used in the Birth of Christ, the Ministry of Jesus, “I Am” Sayings, the Parables of Jesus, Jesus’ Final Night, the Cross and Passover, the Holy Spirit’s Presence and Journeys of Paul & Barnabas.
    • Letters of Paul  – Covers the books from Romans to Philemon
      • Color scheme for this section is a blue tone
      • 4 pages of introduction to the Letters of Paul which includes a brief introduction, the Setting, Meaning and Message, Interpreting Paul and Behind the Text.,
      • Also it has a quick reference to 8 of the very beautiful and wonderfully designed charts, graphics and maps used in Rome, Jews and Gentiles, Corinth, Ephesus, The Church, Philippi, Timothy and Slavery
    • Other Letters – Covers the books from Hebrews to Revelation.
      • Color scheme for this section is a teal color
      • 4 pages of introduction to the Other Letters which includes a brief introduction, the Setting, Interpretation, Meaning and Message and Behind the Text.,
      • Also it has a quick reference to 4 of the very beautiful and wonderfully designed charts, graphics and maps used in the Superiority of the Son, Faith, Christian Suffering and “I Am Coming Soon”.
  •  11 pages of Old Testament Introduction –
    • This Old Testament Introduction starts off with a very nice introduction explaining some of the political background covered in the Old Testament.  Then it goes into the history of the Old Testament.  Also, there is a wonderful section called “The Canon of the Old Testament” that compares the differences in the sequence of the Old Testament books between the Hebrew Bible (Tanak) and the English Old Testament.  Then there is an excellent, albeit brief, section covering the principals of Interpreting the Old Testament.  Similar to other sections within the Study Bible, there is a portion that covers the Meaning and Message of the Old Testament.  Finally, there is a 2 1/2 page section on Old Testament Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern (Biblical times) Texts and Artifacts.
      Opening page of the Old Testament Introduction section  on page 1

      Opening page of the Old Testament Introduction section  on page 1

      Next pages of the Old Testament Introduction section on pages 2-3

      Next pages of the Old Testament Introduction section on pages 2-3

      Showing some more of the Old Testament Introduction section on pages 6-7

  • 6 pages of the Intertestamental Period –
    • A wonderful section that you don’t always see in many Study Bibles.  It covers that time between Malachi and Matthew giving some historical and cultural background to this time period.  It covers Greek, Egyptian and Syrian ruling, Jewish Literature, Antiochus IV, a terrific section on the Maccabees which is normally covered in the Apocrypha book of 1 Maccabees which is not considered inspired by God to be included in the canon of the Bible by Protestant churches, but rather, more of a history book
First part of the Intertestamental Period section on pages 1648-1649

First part of the Intertestamental Period section on pages 1648-1649

More examples of the Intertestamental Period section on pages 1652-1653

More examples of the Intertestamental Period section on pages 1652-1653

  • 9 pages of New Testament Introduction –
    • Starting off with Setting and Background that helps set the stage for the New Testament, this is a very nicely done section.  Similar to the Old Testament Introduction, it includes the New Testament History which gives a synopsis of walking through the New Testament at a very high level.  Then they have a section for the Canon of the New Testament.  If you are not familiar with the term “Canon” (which is not the weapon that shoots steel balls – that’s cannon with 3 “n”s), it simply means “measuring rod” which in the Biblical perspective means that these books in the canon are used to identify the set of standard doctrines for the church.  This section then goes into a brief portion that explains the high level principals of Interpreting the New Testament, then continuing on to the Meaning and Message of the New Testament.  I really like how this Study Bible calls specifically to look at the Old and New Testaments together to point toward Jesus being our Sacrificial Lamb – the Old Testament foretelling of His coming and what he would go through and the New Testament being the fulfillment of the Old Testament foretelling.
Beginning of the New Testament Introduction section - pages 1654-1655

Beginning of the New Testament Introduction section – pages 1654-1655

A few pages into the New Testament Introduction section - pages 1660-1661

A few pages into the New Testament Introduction section – pages 1660-1661

  • Introductions for each book of the Bible –
    • Book Introduction Header – There is beautiful photography with the book name and rough dates overlaid on the photo.
Example of a Book Introduction section Header - Gospel of Matthew on page 1673

Example of a Book Introduction section Header – Gospel of Matthew on page 1673

    • Introduction Text – This portion gives a very brief summary of some of the key points to the book.
Example of a Book Introduction section Introduction Text to Matthew on page 1673

Example of a Book Introduction section Introduction Text to Matthew on page 1673

    • Biblical Section Graph – At a quick glance, this provides you with which of the 7 Biblical sections the book belongs to
"Section Location" example in the Book Introduction Section on page 1673

“Section Location” example in the Book Introduction Section on page 1673

    • Setting – This gives the setting, whether political, historical, cultural or geographical of the particular book.  This really helps set the stage for the particular book you are reading.
Setting portion of the Book Introduction section on page 1673

Setting portion of the Book Introduction section on page 1673

    • Summary –  This is a high-level view of the book which is a very good quick overview.
Summary portion of the Book Introduction section on page 1673

Summary portion of the Book Introduction section on page 1673

    • Outline – Typical outline, but at a slightly higher, less detailed level.  It does give a good flow of the book though
Outline portion within the Book Introduction section on page 1675

Outline portion within the Book Introduction section on page 1675

    • Timelines – Some book introductions include excellently designed timelines which help the reader to put into perspective the events of the book in relation to other books and world history
Example Timeline portion of the Book Introduction section on page 1675

Example Timeline portion of the Book Introduction section on page 1675

    • Maps – Some book introductions include maps that are very nicely designed.  The overlay text is easy to read and many maps give some descriptions around the maps as well as Scriptural references to the items on the maps.  Very nicely done!
Very nice maps are used in the Book Introduction sections. Example on page 1674

Very nice maps are used in the Book Introduction sections.  Example on page 1674

    • Meaning and Message – All of the books that I looked through have this section in the book introduction.  It is written very well and basically gives what the emphasis of the book is as well as providing some background that will help the reader to have greater understanding of the contents of the particular book and how it relates to our faith.
Example of the Book Introduction's Meaning and Message section on page 1674

Example of the Book Introduction’s Meaning and Message section on page 1674

    • Behind the Text – includes Authorship of the book, and some include different information about the Composition, what Manuscripts are used, details about Dates that the book was either written or covers, Genres of some of the books, Historical Situations and Further Readings among other topics.
"Behind the Text" section within the Book Introduction on page 1676

“Behind the Text” section within the Book Introduction on page 1676

  • Cross References
    • These are the typical cross references that most Bibles have, but these are not all-inclusive of course.  The placement of the Cross References are in the inner margins of the pages
Example of the Cross References found on pages 2176-2177

Example of the Cross References found on pages 2176-2177

  • Image
    • This Study Bible really does have some of the most beautiful images and photography that I have seen in the many Study Bibles that I have seen.  I honestly thought that Tyndale’s  NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible would be hard to beat, but I have to honestly say that I think Tyndale really was able to pull it off!  They really hit this one out of the park with how beautiful it looks.
Example of the beautiful Images on page 1696

Example of the beautiful Images on page 1696

  • Illustrations and Visuals (Charts and Diagrams)
    • To say that this Study Bible has a good number of visuals in it would be such an understatement.  In fact, there are 17 pages in the back called “Features Index” that lists out the different visuals which include Themes, Timelines, Photos, Charts, Profiles, Maps, Illustrations and more.  It really is a very visually rich Study Bible.
Example Illustration of a First-Century Jewish Home on page 1759

Example Illustration of a First-Century Jewish Home on page 1759

A Map example found on page 2185

A Map example found on page 2185

Another beautiful Map example showing Paul's Journeys on pages 2004-2005

Another beautiful Map example showing Paul’s Journeys on pages 2004-2005

Showing an example Timeline found on page 2081

Showing an example Timeline found on page 2081

They have gorgeous timelines, just like the Biblical History Timeline on pages A18-A19

They have gorgeous timelines, just like the Biblical History Timeline on pages A18-A19

Gorgeous Infographics like the example on pages 1264-1265 for "The Coming King"

Gorgeous Infographics like the example on pages 1264-1265 for “The Coming King”

  • Theme Notes
    • There are a large number of Theme Notes throughout this Study Bible and cover some wonderful topics relating to our faith and the character of God.
Example Theme Notes on page 1902

Example Theme Notes on page 1902

  • Profiles
    • There are a lot great insights to many Biblical people including accomplishments, mistakes, strengths, weaknesses and key lessons from their lives.  This is done VERY nicely!  I love this feature!
Example Profile for Paul found on pages 1986-1987

Example Profile for Paul found on pages 1986-1987

  • Maps and Timelines
    • There are a large number of maps throughout this Study Bible.  They appear in a variety of locations such as Book Introductions, Theme Notes, Profiles and many, many Study Notes.  Similar to the Maps, there are quite a large number of Timelines throughout this Bible in the same variety of locations.
Map of Saul's Death on page 558

Map of Saul’s Death on page 558

Example of detailed Timeline on pages 616-617

Example of detailed Timeline on pages 616-617

  • Study Notes
    • There are a large number of study notes that help to give an understanding of Scripture for the reader, historical background, cultural background, context and much more.  The study notes do seem to be pretty solid from the examples that I have looked at.  By no means have I looked at them all though.
Example Study Notes on page 2310

Example Study Notes on page 2310

  • Parallel Passages
    • Some bibles will indicate via cross references when there is a parallel passage of some kind.  However, the publisher did this a little different.  I do have to admit, that I really liked the way that Tyndale did it in the NLT Chronological Life Application Bible.  However, they did a nice job using text only with the NLT Illustrated Study Bible.  The parallel passages are called out directly following the colored headings in the text.  For example, the section Matthew 3:13-17 regarding the baptism of Jesus, the parallel information shows where  this  event is covered within all four gospels.
Example Parallel Passage Indicators on page 1683

Example Parallel Passage Indicators on page 1683

  • Harmony of the Gospels
    • This is the fairly typical Harmony of the Gospels chart but is in color making it fairly easy to use.  The only suggestion I have is that I would have rather seen the publisher use the concept that they did in the NLT Chronological Life Application Bible as that style and design really was much more of a visual approach to the Harmony of the Gospels.  With that said, the way they did this Study Bible is fine, albeit fairly typical of most Study Bibles on the market today.
Example of the Harmony of the Gospels on pages 1956-1957

Example of the Harmony of the Gospels on pages 1956-1957

    • NLT Textual Notes
      • This is relating to the NLT version and includes the following items to certain scriptures:
        • Alternate translations
        • Meaning of Hebrew and Greek terms
        • Variances in reading in the ancient Biblical manuscripts
NLT Textual Notes example on page 1687

NLT Textual Notes example on page 1687

  • Sectional Headings
    • The outline headings that are added to the text are based on the outline that is in the book introduction.  Then below these outlines, the different sections within that main outline point have a bold (and section theme colored) font.  For example, here is the outline contained in the Book Introduction of Mark and a shot showing the 2nd point in the outline which covers “Who Is This Jesus (1:14-5:43).  You can see that there are sub sections called out in the smaller bold font in the section’s theme color such as “Introduction to Jesus’ Ministry”.  Then there are 3rd level subsections such as “A Summary of Jesus’ Message” and “The First Disciples” and “Jesus’ Healing Miracles”.
Sectional Headings example showing 3 levels on page 1756

Sectional Headings example showing 3 levels on page 1756

 

Post-Scripture Text Pages

  • 6 pages of After the Apostles
    • This section goes over the history of the church from after the apostles starting around 60 AD through around 451 AD.  It reviews that canonization of the Bible over the years and has a wonderful timeline that compares the Church against Rome in the timeline.
After the Apostles section example on pages 2378-2379

After the Apostles section example on pages 2378-2379

  • 1 page of Ancient Weights, Measures and Coins
    • Fairly typical chart covering Biblical Weights, Lengths, Capacities and Coins.
  • 12 pages of Hebrew and Greek Word Studies
    • This section does a nice job of explaining how to use this tool.  It covers around 200 Hebrew and Greek word studies.  It includes the Strong’s numbers, a definition, often what part of speech it is and then also many Scripture references where this word is used.
Hebrew and Greek Word Studies example on page 2391

Hebrew and Greek Word Studies example on page 2391

  • 17 pages of Features Index
    • This is a wonderful section that covers all of the different types of amazing features contained within this Study Bible.  It covers, Themes, Profiles, Charts, Illustrations, Maps, etc.  Also, on the outside margins of these pages is a graphic “bubble” highlights of some of these features.  Very nicely designed.
Features Index example on page 2403

Features Index example on page 2403

  • 56 pages of Notes Index
    • I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this and realized what it was.  It is actually an alphabetical list of many of the different Study Notes in this Study Bible and where the Scripture references are to find the particular topic.  I’m not sure I have seen this in many Study Bibles before, but I really appreciate the effort to add this valuable tool as a resource.  Very nicely done, Tyndale!
Study Notes Index example on page 2417

Study Notes Index example on page 2417

  • 85 pages of Dictionary / Concordance
    • Honestly, this is probably one of the largest Dictionary/Concordances in a Study Bible that I have seen.  Often, Study Bibles have 30 to 50 pages for a dictionary/concordance.  This one is laid out very cleanly and easy to use.  Very useful if you don’t want to carry a full concordance or dictionary around with you.  With that said, when doing my studies at home, I will more often than not turn to a fuller Bible Dictionary or Concordance.  However, this is very handy to have for some quick work.
Dictionary / Concordance example on page 2473

Dictionary / Concordance example on page 2473

  • 9 pages of Image Credits
    • Ok, does this give you any idea on how visual this Bible is?  Often the Image Credits in a full-color Study Bible might be 2 to 4 pages tops.  Not so with this one.  It truly is very visual and beautiful in my opinion.

Durability and Quality of Bible:

For a Hardcover Bible, I would say that this appears to be a fairly durable bible.  Again, please note that I have a personal preference toward leather bound books.  This bible is NOT Smyth Sewn (or section sewn), which I got confirmation from the Brand and Product Manager at the publisher (Tyndale) – here is what he said about it “In this case, no, the binding is not smyth sewn. We used a very high quality printer in Italy (the same one that did our Chronological Life Application Study Bible). Our manufacturing team tells me that the glues that they use for the adhesive binding have come a long way even in the ten years that I have been working at Tyndale. There is no doubt that adhesive binding used to be second class to smyth sewing, but today at least some of the printers that we work with tell us that today’s adhesives make those bindings better. I am not sure that I would go quite that far – for a slim Bible there is no doubt that a smyth sewn binding will lay flatter for instance. For a Bible that is as large as the ISB that isn’t an issue.

Normally, I tend to classify hardcover Bibles as more of a desk reference version vs. what I would call my “carry around with me” bible.  However… and it really is a BIG however…. With the features and beauty of this particular Study Bible, I would have a hard time saying it will stay in my “Desk Reference” list, but rather would probably be carried around with me.  I would eventually like to get a copy of the LeatherLike version to have as my carry-around Bible.

No Rounded Corners:

Much like most Hardcover Bibles, this one does not have the typical rounded corners that you see in leather or “LeatherLike” Bibles.  Personally, I prefer the rounded corner technique from an aesthetic purpose as well as a functional one.  In my opinion, the Bibles that don’t have rounded corners tend to get bent corners more easily than those that have rounded corners.   With that said, I will update this review when I get my hands on a LeatherLike version of this Study Bible.

Typeface and Print:

  • Scriptures appear to be about 9 point font, which tends to be fairly standard size and font used in many bibles.
  • The study notes are smaller in point size (maybe a 6 or possibly 7), but it is done in a very clean font (possibly Arial or Verdana, but I’m not sure).
  • Scripture text and the commentary text (and maps and charts) are very clearly separated by a solid think line separating the two areas into an upper section (scripture) and a lower section (study notes, maps, charts, etc.)
  • Words of Christ are not in red – all scripture text is done in black ink
  • There is a little bit of room to write in the outside margins to write in if you desire (just about 5/8″ outside margin).  Not much if you like writing in margins a lot, however… or write very big letters.
  • Paper used for this Bible is a nicely opaque paper so you don’t get nearly the show through that you do with other bibles that use cheaper/thinner paper.
  • Full color maps, photographs, charts, timelines, and other content are done very nicely and the print is very good quality.
  • Overall (yes, I’ve said this before multiple times in this review), this Study Bible is simply beautiful.  As I have said in other reviews, I really like full-color Bibles.  This one has now set the bar for other publishers to shoot for.  I love how it looks!

MY REACTIONS:

OK, this is the part where I get to tell you about how I like or dislike this Bible in a detailed manner.  What I typically try to do is do a quick glance over the entire book at a high level to get a feel for it.  Then I will go in depth in a shorter book such as Philippians so I am comparing the same thing from bible to bible.  That gives my reviews a certain consistency to them.

MY OVERVIEW OF ENTIRE BIBLE:

Ease of Use:

This Study Bible is actually designed so well that it is very easy to use. The colors and layout make it very easy to know exactly where you are and what you are looking at.  This is an excellent Bible to use for general reading as well some more in depth studies.

Study Tools Helpful & Informative:

  • There are really a a lot of excellent study notes to help the reader dive into an understanding of God’s Word.  The Notes Index in the back is such an excellent addition and was very refreshing to discover this feature.
  • This Study Bible is very resource rich and you can see those resources listed out earlier in this review.  Amazing and beautiful!
  • You can also download a PDF example of this Bible to see it for yourself at http://openmyeyes.com/bible/#look

Does Commentary Convey Biblical Truth:

From what I have looked at so far for the study notes, it does seem to have a pretty solid foundation.

MY EVALUATION OF SINGLE BOOK (Philippians):

Ease of Use:

No different than any other book in this Study Bible, reading and studying in Philippians and is very easy and enjoyable to do with how the publisher laid out this Bible. 

Study Tools Helpful & Informative:

The study notes are solid throughout the book of Philippians.  The Book Introduction section is one of the better ones that I have seen in a Study Bible.  Plus, there is a great full-page section on the village of Philippi helping the reader to understand the culture behind the book.

Does Commentary Convey Biblical Truth:

The commentary in Philippians seems to be pretty solid and seems to be very helpful.  Just as one example, it does a nice job regarding Phil 3:2 where it references dogs and mutilators clearly showing Paul’s flip of the term that the Jews reserved for Gentiles, however here, Paul calls the Jews dogs because of some of the things they were doing.  It also nicely cross references the notes regarding dogs from Matthew 7:27-28.

MY CHRISTIAN REVIEWER RATINGS:

Below, we have the overall ratings that I would give to this particular Bible with a 1 to 10 range.  Keep in mind that when I am doing these ratings, it is based on the physical makeup, format, extra-Biblical content and value of the Bible, not rating the Word of God itself as that would be off the chart  🙂

Quality:  9.1  – As I have stated in other reviews, I have a preference toward genuine leather – especially the higher quality leathers.  I will have to take a look at the LeatherLike version of tis Bible to see how the quality looks for that one.  Honestly, I do with that Tyndale would have also done this in a higher quality leather like cowhide or goatskin.  I would easily pay extra for that quality level.
Appearance: 9.8 As I have stated previously, this Bible is beautiful.  The printing was very nicely done, giving this Bible a great appearance.  The only reason I did not give it a 10 (which is VERY rare for me to give) was because there were a few points in the Chronological NLT Life Application Study Bible that I wished they would have carried over into the NLT Illustrated Study Bible.
Value: 9.8 This Bible is a very good value in my opinion.  For the price, you get a good quality Bible that is very easy to use and looks very good.  For the price of a hardcover version, you can’t go wrong with this Study Bible.
Innovation: 9.9  – The full-color pages are gorgeous and how they designed the features (listed earlier in this review) are some of the best that I have seen in a Study Bible so far.  Just simply amazing!
Other/Wildcard: 9.5 I have to rate wildcards which are obviously very subjective.  But, with how we live in a visually oriented society, the publishers did a wonderful job capturing what our society looks at and helps to engage people in God’s Word in a very effective manner.

Overall Rating: 9.6 out of 10

Bible Formats and Options:

Here are some of the different formats that this Bible comes in per the publisher.  You can simply Google the ISBN number to find where you can get your desired version

  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0200-4 (Hardcover- This review)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0203-5 (Hardcover Indexed)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0201-1 (LeatherLike Black/Onyx)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0202-8 (LeatherLike Black/Onyx Indexed)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0204-2 (LeatherLike Brown/Tan)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0205-9 (LeatherLike Brown/Tan Indexed)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0206-6 (LeatherLike Teal/Chocolate)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4964-0207-3 (LeatherLike Teal/Chocolate Indexed)

Company Summary:

From the publisher’s website:  Tyndale House Publishers was started back in 1962 with the publication of Living Letters printing 2,000 copies.  It was launched by Ken and Margaret Taylor and operated out of their dining room.  Since then, privately owned Tyndale has grown significantly and publishes many Bibles and Christian resources like the Life Application Study Bible and novels such as the “Left Behind” series.

@TyndaleHouse
@openmyeyes

________________________________________

Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.

– Michael

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This entry was posted in Bible, Hardcover, Illustrated, Maps, NLT, Study Bible, Study Bible Reviews, Tyndale. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Tyndale NLT Illustrated Study Bible Review – Rating: 9.6

  1. Crystal says:

    Hi! Crystal here again. Thanks so much for the breakdown regarding their contents, that was exzctly was I was looking for to help me decide between the two. I think I’m leaning towards the ISB. Thanks again for your help! I truly appreciate it!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review! I had to purchase this. Ordered the black and onyx version. Thank-you for such an in-depth review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Addisyn! I’m very glad it was helpful for you. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you like it after you get your copy. My copy is a hard cover one… I would love to get mine redone with a good leather cover 🙂

      – michael

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  3. Crystal says:

    Hi! Debating between buying the Illustrated NLT Study Bible & the Chronological Life Applications one (hardcover)… Is there a huge difference between these two? If so, how are they different and which has more visuals, colours, charts/more info/better value? (The new one seems to have more pages but it’s cheaper somehow?) Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Crystal, that’s a tough question. It really depends on what you’re looking for. The chronological is good but if you’re looking for something that is in “normal” (canonical) order, that one is not for you as it is written in the order that scholars felt the different sections were written in. I did like how they have the 4 Gospels all together like they did in the chronological Bible – that was very nice. Overall, I feel that both Bibles have very good color pictures and charts but I do have to admit that the Illustrated NLT Study Bible (ISB) has the upper edge on visuals. It is probably the most beautiful Study Bible I have seen to date. I loved how the ISB broke out the proverbs in that chart – it was phenomenal in my opinion. Let me know if that helps or if you have more specific questions that I can help with.

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      • Crystal says:

        Thanks so much for your reply! I find your reviews super helpful.
        The chronology doesn’t matter much to me. I’d like to know if both books contain the same content, visuals aside? (Ie. Same footnotes, same study notes, same features like # of character profiles etc)– or if one of them contains more info as a whole?

        I know the ISB is priced as cheaper than the CLASB, but the ISB seems to have a longer page count. Would that be due to a cheaper binding or does it contain less info?

        Many thanks 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Crystal,

          I’m very glad my reviews are helpful for you! First, just to clarify since I don’t know your experience level with Chronological Bibles, I cannot easily use my CLASB in church or general Scripture reading environment. Because when someone asks me to read a specific Scripture, I have to go look at the beginning “Canonical Table of Contents” to know what page to turn to in some instances. That’s why I stated in the review that the CLASB makes a better “Study at home” type of a Bible. Just want to make sure you understand that.

          Now, as far as content (with visuals and layout pulled out of the equation)…
          – Study Notes – The chronological one uses the standard Life Application Study Notes that you will find in any Tyndale Life Application Study Bible. The IBS uses the same Study Notes “NLT Study Bible” or at least extremely close to it. So, that really becomes a personal preference.
          – Book introductions – I feel that there is more depth in the IBS regarding the book introductions. IBS wins here.
          – Footnotes – I assume you mean NLT “translation” footnotes. If so, they are the same between the two study Bibles.
          – Character/personality profiles – This one is almost a toss-up in my mind. they both have character profiles,and each one is done slightly different. I don’t know that I could pick a favorite between the two of them content-wise, but if I had to pick, I think the IBS may possibly have a little more depth for the profiles
          – Dictionary/concordance – it seems like they are identical in content from what I can see.
          – Topical articles – both of them have articles, but the IBS seems to have a little more on the topical side where the CLASB seems to tend more toward the archaeology and timeline perspective in many cases.
          – Cross References – non-existent in the CLASB.
          – Other points – the CLASB does seem to lean a little more towards timelines, archaeology and ancient artifacts, so it wins in this aspect if you’re interested in that.

          In summary, when I grab for one, it does tend to be the IBS one as it feels like it is just a tad more in depth in some of the content… although having the Gospels all “mushed” together (as shown in “Parallel Passage” section in my review of the CLASB) is fantastic in the CLASB. If you’re more into timelines and archaeology/cultural background, then the CLASB would be better for you if you’re OK with the Chronological sequencing of Scripture.

          Now to be completely honest, I would love to take my copy of my ISB (once I save up enough money) and get it rebound by LeonardsBooks in Indiana with a very nice leather cover 🙂 http://www.leonardsbooks.com/what-we-can-do/bible-rebinding/

          So, with all that said, I’m not sure if I helped you or made it more confusing. lol Let me know if there is anything else I can try to answer for you. Thanks 🙂

          – michael

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  4. Pingback: Zondervan NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Review – Rating: 9.3 | The Christian Reviewer

  5. I am so glad I was able to help, Dena. I sincerely hope you are blessed by the NLT Illustrated Study Bible and grow closer to God through using it. Thank you for the kind words about the blog. To God be the glory!

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  6. Dena says:

    Super thanks for the review. I just bought this due to your review and amazing pictures that sealed the deal. I was looking at the NLT Study Bible, which I just got in for my sister's birthday, so I had it on hand to look at, or the NLT Life Application Study Bible. I'm dyslexic and love the visuals along with the historical approach mixing in a chronological feel. I also love the inclusion of the Intertestamental Period, which the Protestant Bibles don't usually have anything on, which I love! Thanks for your beautiful blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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