Book Review: “NIV Student Bible” by Zondervan with Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford (Kindle) (2002)

I generally try not to review Bibles, because I naturally think there is something inherently wrong with the whole idea of it. But since I am certainly not reviewing anything about God’s holy Word (or, needless to say, the translations thereof), but I am instead only reviewing the marketing aspect of book, then I suppose my review could prove helpful to at least some people looking to purchase a brand new Bible for their own personal study.

The NIV Student Bible that picked up for my Kindle was greatly disappointing, I am sad to say. Being new to my Kindle and the whole e-reader venue, my reasons may be immature and naive, but I will relate them anyway for the sake of sharing my opinion on the issue. I have found the Kindle NIV Student Bible thoroughly difficult to navigate with any speed or ease, because the file is linear (you might recognize the 0% – 100% bar on the bottom) and is only navigable by moving page-to-page or by performing word searches, by going to a location, or by setting and using bookmarks. Page-to-page is certainly a terrible option for when I need any passage past Genesis 1,  which leaves me with only one of the three remaining options.

  • If I were to perform a word search, this may prove useful if I have already memorized key words in verses or if I have the words available in some other way. But this word-search does not work if I desire to look up a passage (for example, if I need Isaiah 30, I may finally get to the book of Isaiah after a great deal of searching, but would then need to scroll through 30 chapters of pages just to get to where I am going).
  • If I were to go to a location, I would first have to memorize the locations of book openings, or least make educated guesses as to where the books might begin. This also takes more time than I have when sitting in church or when in need of a particular passage in a hurry.
  • If I were to use bookmarks, I would have to set at minimum sixty-six bookmarks, one for each of the books of the Bible, and would thus have to scroll through each of them simply to get to Hebrews or Revelation. Once again, this is theoretically doable, but simply not a good use of my time.

Besides these obvious navigation faults, in my book, the Kindle version is also terribly difficult to navigate because of all the study notes strewn throughout the meat of the biblical text. The notes themselves are educational and worthwhile, but simply too cumbersome to use on my Kindle.

All in all, I do not like this particular Kindle Bible. I believe that I would be much happier with a Kindle Bible that offers simplified navigation and one that lacks anything but God’s Word along with the added titles and references. But even then, I do not think I would be terribly happy. After all, I love my paper Bibles with margins for personalizing with notes and underlining and everything else I habitually write inside. I love God’s Word, and I think I have discovered that nothing can outdo His Word in the traditional, tactile, delicate paper that we all remember from the olden days (ca. 2007 and before).

©2011 E.T.

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4 Responses to Book Review: “NIV Student Bible” by Zondervan with Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford (Kindle) (2002)

  1. Chris Bloom says:

    I’m also a fan of old-school paper Bibles, but have found that the ESV Study Bible on Kindle works very well for me. The active table of contents and search functions make it easy to find what I’m looking for, and the notes are linked to — but separate from — the actual text of Scripture. It’s only $10, too. The downside is that it’ll make your Kindle weigh about 11lbs. 😉

  2. eBookman says:

    The current ebook standards are so limited. The Kindle reader doesn’t allow cool books with tons of content like the Student Bible to really shine.

  3. I have since purchased the ultra-simplified ESV translation on Kindle, and I’m pretty sure I am a fan. And what’s even better: It’s free!

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