Book Review: New NIV Life Applications Study Bible, Third Edition


I walked out of the office this evening surrounded by flakes of white mushy snow. Winter has arrived! Some of my friends don’t think twice about driving in snow. Others are paralyzed by the possibility of bad roads and slippery commutes. We grew up doing donuts in parking lots so basically it’s the other drivers I worry about most. Donuts aside, I’m grateful my hubby makes sure we have sturdy studded snow tires on our vehicles. Having the right tools to navigate slippery snow gives me peace of mind.

God’s Word is our trusted navigational guide for all kinds of roads on the adventure of living. Spending time in the morning before work reading scripture and praying helps give traction to my day. I desperately need to get aligned with God every single morning! Recently I’ve been enjoying reading from the new NIV Life Applications Study Bible, Third Edition.

Disclaimer: I’m a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG2) here at, and I received a copy of the new NIV Life Application Study Bible for free as a member of BG2.

Read an interview with this Bible’s general editor, Ron Beers, over on the Bible Gateway Blog about the thought and prayer and work that went into shaping this Bible version: [ Click here ]

Features I am enjoying in the Life Applications Study Bible:

  • The editor summarizes many of the key features of this beautiful Bible. Be sure to click the link to read the interview!
  • The Bible is sturdy with a beautiful brown leathersoft cover.
  • There are more than 10,000 Life Application notes and features.
  • Each Bible book has an illuminating introduction.
  • There over 100 Life Application profiles of key Bible people.
  • The design has been refreshed with a second color for visual clarity.
  • Quick facts at the beginning of each book in this Bible offer vital statistics.
  • There is an extensive cross-reference system that I find very helpful to facilitate deeper study.
  • The Bible contains the full text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV).
  • The Bible has not just one, but two, book mark threads. When I opened it and saw this I was really glad because I like having more than one placeholder in my Bible!

I highly recommend this Bible as a resource for the journey, and I appreciate the chance to learn about the many helpful features of the NIV Life Applications Study Bible, Third Edition.

Thanks for the opportunity to review the Bible on my blog, Bible Gateway!

About Sharon: I’m a wife, mom, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor who has been NED (“no evidence of disease”) since 2013. I’m happy when I’m enjoying coffee, reading, writing, and spending time with my family. I’m really grateful for wellness support strategies and good books that support living abundantly in the “new normal”.

Book Review: New NIV Quest Study Bible


My work-from-home mother’s sunlit kitchen and dining room always held assorted books. Recipe books. Journals. Bibles. I used to hold mom’s Bible near my nose to inhale the aroma of holy words bound up in old leather. Note books were filled with my mother’s precise cursive writing capturing observations from messages at church and personal study at home. Bible commentaries fed her desire for knowledge about the Bread of Life in between kneading dough and baking loaves of delicious bread for our family of seven. I observed mom’s love for God’s Word through her careful study and application of truth in our home, in Bible studies, and as a natural outgrowth of worship in our local church. Her faithful example fueled my love for reading, writing, and learning about God.

I grew up reading the King James Version, then discovered the New International Version, and later, the New American Standard Version Bible. A small KJV leather Bible traveled with me to South America after high school. A year later the trusty Schofield Reference Bible was one of my first purchases from the Bible college bookstore. The text expanded my Bible knowledge through courses like Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, The Life of Christ, Theology I & II, and Daniel/Revelation. I was assigned a work-hour volunteer job in the college library; pure enjoyment. Fulfilling college requirements while surrounded by towering shelves of biblical literature? Yes, please.

When our girls were little I splurged and got my first hard cover NIV Study Bible. Currently (about 26 years later!) I personally enjoy the David Jeremiah NIV Study Bible.

Today, I am very glad to be able to do a book review of the new NIV Quest Study Bible.

Disclaimer: I’m a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG2) and I received a copy of the new NIV Quest Study Bible for free as a member of BG2.

The details about the new NIV Quest Study Bible can be found on the Zondervan website here.

Features I am enjoying are:

  • TONS of insightful notes throughout each page.
  • Built-in reading plans (there are three to choose from in the front of the Bible).
  • Easier to read style with “Comfort Print” text (9.9-point!).
  • Helpful notes arranged all over the place in a question and answer format.
  • I like the two-color page design. The scripture column is in white while the study text is an inviting teal.
  • 350 articles about the most asked questions in the Bible. The new NIV Quest Study Bible proactively provides insightful context that readers will find helpful.
  • The new NIV Quest Study Bible I received to review was the hard cover version. It’s very sturdy, the paper used to print the pages is more durable to the feel (it doesn’t wrinkle easily like some of my other Bibles with very fine paper), and the price point for the hard cover version is very reasonable – it is $39.99 on the Zondervan website. You can find the leather version for a very reasonable price over on Amazon, here. There is also a leather version that is indexed.
  • I think this study Bible would have been a welcome addition in mom’s kitchen many years ago. It’s an ideal tool for people just beginning to study God’s Word, and contains depth that individuals further along on the faith journey will appreciate.

Other thoughts:

  • The new Bible copy (“new” being the emphasis in this statement) doesn’t have that winsome nose-pressed-to-text-wonderful-leather-smell I loved back in mom’s kitchen, but we won’t dwell on that drawback. It’s new. And it’s a beautiful wealth of scriptural knowledge.
  • The Index to Subject has stumped me a bit. I decided to look up the word “Time” for a word study project related to another writing assignment. The first scripture/s listed in reference to “Time”, are: Exodus 1:6-8; 32:1. None of these verses includes the word “time”. They deal with periods of time (“generations”; “was so long in coming down from the mountain”; but the actual word “time” is not in the verses. This is confusing to me since in a study of a particular word/subject I would expect the verse to include the actual word, “Time”. I would be curious to see how the Index to Subjects is defined by the publisher/s to better understand the context of the resource.
  • The page setup in columns made me claustrophobic at first glance. I’m used to focusing on the meat of the text on the top 2/3 portion of a page, with the study text below. However, after spending more time in this Bible format, I like the information in columns. It’s a nice variation. This observation about column setup is probably one of those “picking the color of the church carpet” design committee meeting discussions, if you know what I mean. This observation doesn’t change the need for the information (carpet) and really doesn’t matter if the column layout (carpet color) is not what one would pick personally. The column formatting, and pages packed with information on both sides, works just fine. It’s growing on me.

Final thoughts:

Honestly, we are so blessed with many options to read scripture, to study, and to learn more about our holy God freely in our nation, right? So, in a day and age when some cultures are denied the opportunity to learn truth and worship the true and living God, resources packed with accurate theology and trusted information are to be treasured. I highly recommend the new NIV Quest Study Bible for those seeking a trusted scripture text to further their Christian walk. Especially in sunlit kitchens where moms and dads faithfully sacrifice for family and serve God by impacting future generations for Christ.

Thanks for the opportunity to do this book review, Bible Gateway and Zondervan!

About Sharon: I’m a wife, mom, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor who has been NED (“no evidence of disease”) since 2013. I’m happy when I’m enjoying coffee, reading, writing, and spending time with my family. I’m really grateful for wellness support strategies and good books that support living abundantly in the “new normal”.

more for mom book review

Book Review: More for Mom by Kristin Funston


I enjoy reading books that flow like a comfortable conversation with a good friend over a cup of tea. Real, open, and leaving me challenged and encouraged when I leave that quiet and all-too-brief time in a place of friendship. I found “More for Mom” to be one of those conversational reads.

**I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to share with my readers (that’s you!). All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This post does contain affiliate links, through which I may make a small commission at no added expense to you. Thank you for your support!**

“More for Mom” reads like a cheerful greeting filled with upbeat wisdom for women (especially moms). Kristin weaves her message of helping moms find more out of life from a solid foundation of scripture and a Christian worldview. That is crucial for women in a culture that is very much all about “me” and “self”. Let’s face it, social media has brought us together in powerful ways; but I was thinking while reading this book that our way of living today has the same potential to isolate people, and in this case, women, from real supportive relationships. Kristin’s timely thoughts are shared from a place of “we’re in this together” vs. saying that she has arrived at the pinnacle of All-Figured-Out way ahead of me as I muddle my way along. She shares from a place of walking with women (and isn’t that what we all should try to do for one another? How many of us have true mentoring relationships to lean on and invest into?).

Early in the book I liked this excerpt:

Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that God, as our Creator, is the One who brings us happiness and joy — both external and internal. And the only way we can get to Him is through His holy Son, Jesus.

My girls are grown but I still wrestle with many of the same challenges in my walk, in my work, and in the pursuit of dreams God has placed in my heart. My happiness and joy come from my relationship with God through his son, Jesus. I appreciate the suggestions Kristin gives about managing priorities, praying over to-do lists, and offering it all to God. It’s about embracing our life right now without every detail needing to be perfect. I like that.

“Do what works best, or do what merely works. Jesus will work out the rest.”

Kristin doesn’t harp on the how-to’s and she doesn’t shy away from direct application of truth. She gives specific helps on ways to draw closer to Christ in the daily burdens of life without ridiculous expectations for perfection. I mean, let’s be real (she is). I’m an introvert at heart and love (need) quiet to recharge. Jesus took time for quiet, too, but as this author writes, Jesus treated people as inclusions, not interruptions. “Jesus reminds us this (people) is why He and we are here.” Point taken by this quiet-craver.

Women need to be reminded that “His wholeness and His holiness take the place of ours. Because of this salvation of ours, our lives are whole and complete, holy and set apart from the world we live in. This life — because of Jesus — doesn’t need more from moms. It gives more for moms.”

Wondering what living this life with Jesus means? Kristin talks about that beautifully, and in particular at the very end. More for Mom will help women discover how our wholeness and holiness both come through Jesus Christ.

PS: I’m giving away one copy of “More for Mom”! If you’d like to be in the drawing here’s what to do: 1) Like my Cancer Smarts Facebook page; 2) Like my post about this review; 3) Comment “Done!” on the FB post.


I’m a wife, mom, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor who has been NED (“no evidence of disease”) since 2013. I’m happy when I’m enjoying coffee, reading, writing, and spending time with my family. I’m really grateful for wellness support strategies and good books that support living abundantly in the “new normal”.

Hanging in.

Books, Cancer, Encouragement, General Thoughts, Spiritual Care

deer, deer in woods, three deer, doe and fawns, deer photos

A few days ago I walked in our woods looking for my deer friends. They don’t think of me as their friend so it’s clearly a one-sided struggle to find them. Leaves crunched loudly under my bare feet. A squirrel hurled acorn bombs and screeched from the branches above. I didn’t see the deer (the picture above is from another morning when for some reason they humored my attempts to capture their photo) but the walk was perfect.

A leaf twirled in front of me suspended by a cobweb. On its way to the ground it had been caught by one single string and twirled there between heaven and earth.

How long is God’s arm? Can he catch a leaf as it plummets towards earth? Can he save me, and you, from the awful challenges we sometimes face? Of course he can. But what if he doesn’t spare us from pain on this earth?

My mom gave me a book by Elisabeth Elliott titled, “Keep a Quiet Heart” (Revell, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995). Today’s reading was titled “How Long is God’s Arm?” She writes on page 55, “How do we reconcile God’s promises for protection with the fact that so many evil things happen in our lives? Can we believe God for protection?”

Can we believe Him when we’re holding on by a string?

Here is more from Elliott’s writing: “We must be careful to interpret Scripture with Scripture, and if we examine the record we find that God did not by any means always protect His people from harm. He has absolute power to keep us safe, both physically and spiritually, but His engineering of the universe made room for man’s freedom to choose – that is, freedom to will to obey or to disobey Him. This is a deep mystery. Man’s disobedience brought evil into the world, and all of us are subject to it. God does not cancel out its effects, even for His choicest servants (John the Baptist, Stephen, those nameless victims of Hebrews 11:35-57, for example). Nevertheless, we have the promises. Romans 8:35-39 is one of my most reread passages. I believe we can rest assured that we are invulnerable so long as God does not give permission for us to be hurt. If He gives that permission, He will not leave us alone. He goes with us through the valley, the deep water, the furnace. He will never, absolutely never, leave us or forsake us.”

The leaf was in a desperate and lonely spot for certain. But there was beauty in its predicament. A story to tell. There is beauty in your challenges, and mine, too. Jesus’ great love and strong arms keep us safely and securely in place.

Hang in there, friend. God is going to do something beautiful.

hanging in there by a string? sing Ephesians 5:19a-20 sing and make music, encouragement for cancer patients,