NIV Zondervan Study Bible

nivzsbThe NIV Zondervan Study Bible releases on August 25.

D. A. Carson is the general editor; Desi Alexander, Rick Hess, and Doug Moo are the associate editors; and I served as the assistant editor. I worked on this study Bible full-time for four years and for a fifth year part-time. I managed the project and helped copyedit all of the notes and essays for content and style.


I briefly explain my role in this video (1:55 min.):

The study Bible has completely fresh content from new contributors. Its audience is as general as the target audience for the NIV itself: the English-speaking world.

As I edited this study Bible, I consulted many other study Bibles. In my view these were the four best study Bibles at the time:

  1. ESV Study Bible (which I warmly recommended in JETS in 2009)
  2. NIV Study Bible (which is remaining in print)
  3. HCSB Study Bible
  4. NLT Study Bible

Now I think that the top two study Bibles available are the ESV Study Bible and the NIV Zondervan Study Bible.

  • They share many of the same strengths that any good study Bible does: the introductions to each book of the Bible explain the broad literary context and relevant historical-cultural context, and the study notes explain individual parts in that larger context.
  • They have complementary strengths: a major strength of the ESV Study Bible is systematic theology, and a major strength of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is biblical theology. And that’s not surprising since the general editor for the ESV Study Bible is Wayne Grudem and the general editor for the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is Don Carson.

Biblical theology is a main distinctive of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. In two recent “Ask Pastor John” episodes, Tony Reinke asked Don Carson about this:

  1. What Is Biblical Theology? And Do We Need It? (Episode 644)
  2. Why We Must Understand the Temple in God’s Plan Today (Episode 645)

(Those links include both the audio and transcripts.)

There are five theological disciplines: exegesis, biblical theology, historical theology, systematic theology, and practical theology. I briefly explain them in this short video (2:50 min.):

I try to show how Harry Potter illustrates biblical theology in this 4-minute video:

The notes in the NIV Zondervan Study Bible make biblical-theological connections, and the study Bible concludes with 28 essays on biblical theology:

  1. The Story of the Bible: How the Good News About Jesus Is Central (Timothy Keller)
  2. The Bible and Theology (D. A. Carson)
  3. A Biblical-Theological Overview of the Bible (D. A. Carson)
  4. The Glory of God (James M. Hamilton Jr.)
  5. Creation (Henri Blocher)
  6. Sin (Kevin DeYoung)
  7. Covenant (Paul R. Williamson)
  8. Law (T. D. Alexander)
  9. Temple (T. D. Alexander)
  10. Priest (Dana M. Harris)
  11. Sacrifice (Jay A. Sklar)
  12. Exile and Exodus (Thomas R. Wood)
  13. The Kingdom of God (T. D. Alexander)
  14. Sonship (D. A. Carson)
  15. The City of God (T. D. Alexander)
  16. Prophets and Prophecy (Sam Storms)
  17. Death and Resurrection (Philip S. Johnston)
  18. People of God (Moisés Silva)
  19. Wisdom (Daniel J. Estes)
  20. Holiness (Andrew David Naselli)
  21. Justice (Brian S. Rosner)
  22. Wrath (Christopher W. Morgan)
  23. Love and Grace (Graham A. Cole)
  24. The Gospel (Greg D. Gilbert)
  25. Worship (David G. Peterson)
  26. Mission (Andreas J. Köstenberger)
  27. Shalom (Timothy Keller)
  28. The Consummation (Douglas J. Moo)

In addition to writing the above biblical-theological essay on holiness, I coauthored the notes for three New Testament books:

  1. John (coauthored with Don Carson)
  2. 2 Peter (coauthored with Doug Moo)
  3. Jude (coauthored with Doug Moo)

And I’m grateful that two of my colleagues at Bethlehem College & Seminary contributed God-glorifying, Jesus-exalting notes to the study Bible:

  1. Jason DeRouchie wrote the notes on Zephaniah. (Jason recently drafted a commentary on Zephaniah for Crossway’s ESV Bible Expository Commentary series and is currently finishing a more detailed commentary on Zephaniah for the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series.)
  2. Brian Tabb wrote the notes on Revelation. (Brian is currently writing a biblical theology of Revelation for Don Carson’s New Studies in Biblical Theology series.)

Here are some more videos about the study Bible:

NIV Zondervan Study Bible, General Editor, Dr. D.A. Carson (4:31 min.):

Interview with Don Carson (5:20 min.):

Meet the team of scholars behind the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible (4:23 min.):

Andy Naselli on the NIV and the Committee on Bible Translation (2:04 min.):

Related: Announcing the NIV Zondervan Study Bible

A Resource for Mentoring Seminary Students: Advice from Don Carson and John Woodbridge

LettersTomorrow begins what I hope will be many meetings with my four new seminary mentees. They are each in year three of our four-year MDiv-program at Bethlehem College & Seminary. Among other things we’re planning to work through many of the letters in this book:

D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge. Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life. Wheaton: Crossway, 1993.  

I briefly reviewed this book in 2006 after Jenni and I read it together, and I reread it earlier this month. It’s packed with wisdom. So edifying. [Read more…]

Carson on Ecumenism and John 17

farewellD. A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Exposition of John 14–17 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980), 201–4:

To some people, the term ecumenism has only good connotations. Utter the word, and they hear harps playing and angels singing; or if harps and angels are deemed too ethereal, at very least a certain fire lights up their eye. To others the same word evokes only images of evil. Ecumenism is intrinsically a doctrine of compromise which emasculates the gospel and wickedly flirts with apostasy and assorted forms of unbelief. The first group tends to cite John 17 in its favor; the second group tends either to ignore John 17 or else to include within the unity only a very small group, while defining the unity in such innocuous terms (e.g., making it entirely a positional unity with no entailment for conduct) that it becomes difficult to see how such unity could ever serve as a witness of anything to the world. What does the text say? [Read more…]

Carson on Presuppositional vs. Evidentialist Apologetics

gaggingD. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism  (Fifteenth Anniversary Edition; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 184–88:

[P]artly under the impact of postmodernism, the various “schools” of Christian apologetics have an opportunity to draw closer together than they have usually been in the past.

At the risk of oversimplification, let us restrict ourselves to presuppositionalism, rational presuppositionalism, and evidentialism. All three labels are loaded, and various proponents mean slightly different things by them. Moreover there is a tendency, especially among more popular writers, to caricature the other positions. Thus:

(1) The presuppositionalist may charge the evidentialist with superficiality. You can line up evidence to support the truth of Christianity until you have exhausted yourself by your efforts, but no amount of evidence is sufficient to compel belief. Did not Jesus himself say that even if someone came back from the dead, they would not believe? Evidentialism simply does not understand the implications of human finitude or the profound noetic effects of the Fall—and both limitations are exacerbated by postmodernism. [Read more…]