If you want to own one single bible that is good for study as well as devotional time and reflection, the NIV Essentials Study Bible is the only bible you will need. This bible has every study feature you could ever ask for in a bible- including historical, theological and life application information. This bible is full of bible helps on just about every page: maps, charts, illustrations, black and white photographs as well as the traditional study notes on the bottom of the page. This bible is great for new bible readers as well experienced readers. Nevertheless, with the new release of other full color study bibles by Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, I feel the Essentials bible in black and white is already dated or obsolete. I don't see where it fits and almost seems redundant in light of all the newly released full color study options.
As far as everyday study, the font is big enough so as not to require the reader to squint. Unlike most study bibles where the bible text is extremely tiny, I found the bible text to be readable. The contrasting blue graphics, and blue headlines in bold font, add visual appeal as well. The side bars of information and the articles break up the bible text. Underneath the dust jacket, the glossy finish black cover is fairly standard, reminiscent of a generic pew bible, which is perfectly fine for those who prefer traditional bible covers.
The only improvement that would make this bible even better is if there was full color throughout. The inside dust jacket depicts the various bible resources from which this bible compendium was created. One of the resources listed included the full color 1984 NIV translation Archeological study bible. Having had the Archeological study bible for many years, I am most impressed with the full color interior and photos of that particular bible. I feel it is a shame, that a marketing reference to this wonderful bible is included on the dust jacket, and I wonder why the publishers could not have made the Essentials Study Bible in full color as well. To me, listing each individual bible simply seems like a marketing or advertising tool in a last attempt to sell more of the older bibles in the Zondervan line. Personally with the NIV Essentials Study bible- I do not feel any bible reader would ever need to buy another study bible- unless of course it was in full color which is the one major shortfall when comparing this bible with some of the other Zondervan study bibles. In my opinion, anyone who invests their money in purchasing this high end bible, is not likely to turn around and purchase another bible right away. At some point, owning multiple study bibles is redundant.
For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and study, the NIV Essentials bible is possible among the top choices. I have been spoiled by full color bibles and would pass this one up for a full color study bible instead. As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this book.