Bible Reviews: NIV God’s Treasure, Polar Adventure, and Incredible Creatures

Three recent editions of the NIV from Zondervan target adventurous kids and fantasy lovers.

NIV God’s Treasure Holy Bible.  Zonderkidz, 2018, 1216 pages (font size unavailable; I’m guessing 9)

Recommended for: ages 7-11

The Treasure Hunt theme predominates in the book introductions, where “X Marks the Spot” tells what the book is about, “Pearls of Wisdom” cites the major Bible or themes, and “Treasure Verses” may be checked off as the reader finds them.  There are no in-text features, just text in two-column format with contrasting-color chapter numbers and section headings.  The Treasure Verses are highlighted, making them easy to locate and memorize. A Treasure Verse index and standard maps make up the appendix, and the rest of the study helps come in the form of full-color inserts carrying on the pirate/treasure theme: Days of Creation, Ten Commandments, three reading plans, Learning to Pray with the Five-finger method, a Life of Jesus (with no pictures of Jesus), Fruit of the Spirit, and more.  The leatherette-cover edition is attractive, but more expensive, so consider how long you’ll be using it before you buy. 

Note: NIV God’s Rainbow Holy Bible, presumably for girls, features the same basic design with a glittery rainbow cover and rainbow-themed inserts, but no book introductions.

Value Rating: 3.5 (Good for general study, but may be soon outgrown)

NIV Adventure Bible, Polar Exploration. Zondervan, 2018, 1472 pages (Text size: 8 point)

Recommended for: ages 8-12

The NIV Adventure Bible is Zondervan’s flagship children’s edition, with features that have become more or less standard throughout the genre.  So perhaps it’s high time they came up with a variation on the classic safari theme, and here it is: the frozen north! (Or south, if we’re looking at penguins.)  As near as I can tell, the features are very nearly, if not exactly, the same (written, as in the original Adventure Bible, by Laurence O, Richards).  In the text, these include Words to Treasure (Key verses), Did You Know? (random facts), Life in Bible Times, People in Bible Times, and Live It! applications.  One-page book introductions answer all the Who-What-When-Where-Why questions, as well as listing key stories and features.  The Appendix includes a subject index, activities list from the Live-It! features, a 25-page Dictionary/Concordance, and maps.  In addition to all this, full-color inserts add summarizing material like the 10 Commandments for Kids (a paraphrase), a Life of Jesus two-week reading plan, Children’ of the Bible, How to Pray, Famous People in the Bible, and more.  There are no picture of Jesus.

Though it has some application features, NIV Adventure (both jungle and polar) can best be classified as a “beginning study” Bible, with sturdy helps and interesting side notes.

Value Rating: 3.5

NIV Incredible Creatures and Creations Holy Bible.  Zondervan, 2018, 1088 pages (font size: 9.5)

Recommended for: ages 10-14

To quote the promotional materials,

“The Bible is full of references to fantastic creatures and beasts-the Nephilim, seraphim, the leviathan, a talking donkey, and giant fish. Did all of these beings really exist? What did they look like? What did they do?  The NIV Incredible Creatures and Creations Holy Bible uses Scripture-accurate descriptions to sort fact from fiction.” 

Clearly aimed at fantasy lovers and gamers with its foil-embossed, Tolkien-esque cover, this Bible is distinguished by 24 full-color glossy inserts, each a striking illustration of an “incredible creature” mentioned somewhere in the text.  Beginning with the “Subtle Serpent” of Genesis 3, Ezekiel’s tetramorph (four-faced creature) and dry bones, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and more get the lavish fantasy treatment—perhaps not entirely accurate, but the cool factor is high.  Each picture comes with scripture references and a brief article about its place in scripture.  That’s it for extra features—no study helps.  The appeal seems limited, but could be just right for a particular young reader (mostly of the male persuasion?).

Value Rating: 3 (a very niche market)

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