The Story Behind the NIV Faithlife Study Bible

“That’s interesting.”

I was sitting in church and following the sermon with a study Bible in the Logos Bible Software mobile app. The note on the passage was interesting, but I wanted to know more. “I wish I could click right here get even more information,” I thought. “I wish there was a plus sign at the end of this note and I could press it and it would expand.”

In that moment of curiosity the Faithlife Study Bible was born. I took my curiosity to a team of writers, editors, and technologists, and they recruited an even larger team of scholars and artists. Together they built the world’s first designed-for-digital study Bible.

Designing a study Bible to be delivered as a mobile app freed the team to think big. Without page count and printing constraints they were able to create notes on more of the text. There was room to explore multiple interpretations of difficult passages. Hundreds of sidebar articles were commissioned from respected pastors and scholars, and original video footage from Israel supplemented photographs and illustrations.

And on many of the notes there was a plus sign in a circle. If you clicked it, the ‘Level One’ note expanded to reveal a ‘Level Two’ note, often with a curated list of hyperlinks to other ebooks that went even deeper.

After we released the Faithlife Study Bible app in 2012 we started to get feedback from readers. I remember the first time we heard that we’d left out an important alternate interpretation of a passage; the editors agreed, and within days were able to revise the notes for the next digital release, which was delivered automatically to the mobile app.

In the following years the FSB was continually revised. Hundreds of articles were added, notes were expanded and improved, and the text was refined by the hundreds of thousands who used it and the feedback they provided.

From the start there were requests for a printed edition of the Faithlife Study Bible, but we weren’t sure how to translate such a large, dynamic, digital resource to print. How would we present Level Two notes? Would the digital graphics work well on paper? Would it be too heavy to carry to church?

Our friends at Zondervan helped us answer all these questions and more. Level One and Level Two notes were merged together; tables, charts, and infographics were beautifully formatted for print, and all of the content was carefully curated into a study Bible you can comfortably carry to church.

And the NIV Faithlife Study Bible addresses the need that inspired its creation: it helps you learn more about the Bible by providing a wealth of information right where you need it. The explanations, and even sometimes the multiple, differing interpretations, are presented below the passages that prompt your curiosity, with more helps nearby.

Partial as I am to digital Bible study tools, there is still something wonderful about a printed study Bible. The beautiful formatting draws you into the text. Graphics, charts and tables expose structure and patterns and prompt exploration. Explanatory articles unpack themes and offer big picture perspective. Everything is right there and neatly organized.

There is no limit to what we can learn from God’s Word if we continue to read and study it. The NIV Faithlife Study Bible feeds your curiosity with both insights and questions, encouraging you to continue that rewarding exploration.

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