Is the NIV Student Bible a good study Bible for youth?

May 14, 2023

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Is the NIV Student Bible a good study Bible for teens?

I recieved a free copy of this Bible as member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid and as a Bible Gateway Partner in exchange for an honest review. #BibleGatewayPartner

The NIV Student Bible is a study Bible designed for students. It includes notes and commentary from Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford. There are a variety of resources included in the NIV Student Bible to help students in their biblical studies. The title of the Bible acknowledges that it is for students, but what students is it for? Is it a good Bible for youth, for college students, or any age of Bible student? That is what I wanted to focus on while reviewing this particular Bible.

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Why was the NIV Student Bible made?

The NIV Student Bible was put together to help believers who struggle to read the Bible every day. The aim is “to produce an edition that ordinary people could – and would – read on a regular, sustained basis.” There was a lot of research done to find out why people don’t read the Bible every day, and then resources were implemented within the pages of the NIV Student Bible to help answer those questions and steer Bible readers to the Bible more often.

The reasons for not reading the Bible every day were lumped into 3 categories, and each of the 3 categories were then tackled by the developers of this Bible.

  1. “I get discouraged”
  2. “I can’t understand it”
  3. “I can’t find it”
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How does the NIV Student Bible encourage people to read the Bible regularly?


To tackle the discouragement factor, there are 3 levels of reading plans built into the NIV Student Bible that basically take the Bible reader through the Bible in different levels. The first level is a beginner level in two-week increments to help you get your feet wet, get a bit more familiar, and get you into more than just the more comfortable and familiar passages like Psalms and the gospels. The second takes you through the “best-known” books of the Bible over 6 months. The third level walks you through the entire Bible over three years.

These reading plans are to help with the different stages people go through with getting into reading the Bible. As a new Bible reader, I remember how lost I was and really didn’t know where to start. Even now, many years into reading and studying the Bible it can be easy to feel a bit burned out if I do the same thing for too long. These reading plans are a wonderful way to help people, no matter where you are at in you’re Bible reading journey.

I wanted to explain my favorite thing about each of the reading plans, which the NIV Student Bible calls “Tracks”.

  • Track 1: My favorite thing about the first reading plan is that it is 2 week reading plans to guide through different themes. There are plans for learning the basics of different major pieces, like the Old Testament, the Gospels, and Paul’s letters. There are also 2 week reading plans on things like men and women of the Bible, Holy Spirit, Prayer, and becoming a Christian.
  • Track 2: This reading plan is appropriately named the “guided tour” of the Bible. It is not a plan to read the entire Bible, but to read through the major themes and events in order to tackle the “underlying story of the Bible.” All of the Bible is important, but this helps you eat the elephant one bite at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed branch out into each part and book a little bit.
  • Track 3: My favorite part here is that it feels like so much less pressure to read 1 chapter a day and still make it through the entire Bible, every single word. This plan spreads the Bible out a chapter a day over 3 years to help you read the whole Bible and actually understand what you read, versus the Bible-in-a-year plan (which I have done twice now) that leaves you questioning “did I read [blank] book? I must have, because I read the whole thing…” Sometimes I know I read a book, but cannot remember what it was about. This 1 chapter a day whole-Bible reading plan is a major winner if you want to read the whole thing, but take your time to understand what you are reading and not just read it to say you read it.
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How does the NIV Student Bible help people who struggle to understand the Bible?

There can be a lot of reasons people struggle to understand the Bible. When we have a hard time understanding, it can surely make it harder to want to keep reading it. This is another area the NIV Student Bible tackles! It gives insight throughout to help navigate. From things like grasping the times and culture of the story, to knowing why we should be learning let alone reading about things we find in scripture, there are notes and articles to guide us.

Some of the guides offered include:

  • Book introductions
  • Insightful articles
  • Guided Tour articles that accompany the second reading plan style
  • “100 people you should know” articles
  • Commentary highlights

I love that these articles ask some guided questions to help me think deeper about what a passage is teaching me. It broadens my scope a bit and helps me think beyond my personal view to better understand what God is revealing in His Word. These articles make scripture relatable, but not in a way that feels too self-applicable. The different types of articles and commentary is balanced – it isn’t just short little blips, but it isn’t massive either. The NIV Student Bible truly offers a great mix for beginners learning how to read the Bible and make it a habit.

How does the NIV Student Bible help me find what I am looking for?

The third most common reason that people fail to make Bible reading a daily habit is that it can be a real challenge to find what you want to find. There is a list of people to learn about, places to know, key events throughout scripture, some timetables, and an entire subject index. All of these have passage references to help you read more with ease.

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The subject guide is the main feature to help readers find what we’re looking for. It is a whole list of topics that scripture covers and passages of where to read about that theme. Want to learn more about ambition? There is a topic guide for that! Want to read what God teaches about the Sabbath? It has that, too! Struggling with temptation and need some encouragement? There is a section for that as well.

Additionally, there is a whole overview section before the Preface that gives a simple 1-2 sentence summary of what every book of the Bible is about. This is awesome because it is another way to help you find what you are looking for in the Bible. Sometimes you need to have a surface-level understanding of a book of the Bible to know what one to jump to. I know when I first started reading the Bible, God led me to Philippians and 1 Peter because that was what I needed. Those are definitely not the books I hear most Christians recommend to new believers and new Bible readers, but what was right for me when I started my journey may not be the right place for you to start. Having a basic understanding of what each book is about, and where to locate passages on a certain topic can help new believers and Bible readers at any place in their journey to jump into the passages they need right now.

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Is the NIV Student Bible a good study Bible for teens?

The NIV Student Bible is a great study Bible for Bible students of all ages and experience levels. As someone who works with youth, I will be recommending this Bible frequently to the kids I work with. I also recommend the NIV Student Bible to adults who are either new to reading the Bible, or need to spice up their Bible reading habits. So yes, the NIV Student Bible is a good study Bible for teens, as well as adults!

Who is the NIV Student Bible actually for?

The NIV Student Bible is for any Bible student. Literally any. I have been studying the Bible for several years now, and do a lot of it, but this is a valuable addition to my Bible library and will get well used. It is also a fantastic Bible for people who get stressed out and discouraged about how difficult a routine in reading the Bible can be. No matter if you are looking for something specific, or just looking for a complimentary Bible study resource, I recommend the NIV Student Bible to help take your Bible study to a deeper level and make Bible reading a daily habit you enjoy.

Where can you get your own NIV Student Bible?

You can get the NIV Student Bible at many places online! Check out these shops below and grab your own, or even one for a friend or family member you want to encourage. This would make an amazing gift for sure! You could be accountability partners and study together for an even deeper Bible reading experience.

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If you have not accepted the grace of God and chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to pray to God now and invite Him in, accept Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins, and repent of your sins. Submit it all to God, lay it at His feet, seek the forgiveness of God, welcome Him into your life, and believe that Jesus died and rose again to save you from your sins.

If you would like to learn more about salvation, you can find a couple of studies that may help here:

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I received a complimentary copy of this in exchange for an honest review as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. All reviews are my honest opinions based on my experience with the product. #BibleGatewayPartner A Study of Lamentations with the NET Timeless Truth...

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