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Bible Speaks Today

Bible Speaks Today
A match made in…?
Fish and chips. Gavin and Stacey. Batman and Robin. Some pairings are so iconic that it’s hard to imagine one without the other, so well do they complement each other. Add to that list a new combo: the NIV Bible and the Bible Speaks Today series.
These two are being brought together for the first time in the NIV Bible Speaks Today study Bible, out in both clothbound and leather-bound editions, 19 March 2020. It’s an obvious match – the world’s bestselling modern English Bible translation, with trusted expositions of the text drawn from the more than million-selling BST commentary series. The Bible contains clear and helpful explanations alongside it from trusted teachers such as John Stott, Alec Moyter and Derek Kidner.
Our prayer at IVP Books is that the NIV Bible Speaks Today will be a powerful tool to help people hear God speaking today in the Bible. For readers who already know and trust the BST series, this new Bible edition puts the highlights from that rich resource at their fingertips. For readers new to the BSTs, this offers an accessible and trustworthy aid to understanding and applying the Bible.
I’ve been road-testing an advance copy myself, taking it to my church home group and the like. The text is easy to read, the notes are informative and interesting, and it’s a very manageable size and weight – much more so than some other study Bibles I’ve used. It will be great for students and small group leaders, as well as preachers and those wanting a Bible for their quiet times and personal reading.
Over 50 years young
The NIV Bible Speaks Today is also the gateway to the riches of the full Bible Speaks Today series. The series started in 1968 with John Stott’s The Message of Galatians , with a ‘threefold ideal … to expound the biblical text with accuracy, to relate it to contemporary life and to be readable.’ They aren’t commentaries in a technical sense, seeking to apply God’s word and not just explain it. But they are still a go-to resource for many preachers and Bible teachers looking to understand and apply the text to today’s world.
The full series is being reissued with revised editions, starting with the Gospels and Sermon on the Mount in April 2020. These new editions are the same trusted material with a new look and feel, lightly updated to use the NIV 2011 text and gender-inclusive language, as well as occasionally updating cultural references to be more contemporary. Our goal with these new editions isn’t to make everyone who already owns them buy the new covers (though feel free if you’re so inclined!) but to connect the BSTs to a new generation of readers.
How was the NIV Bible Speaks Today made?
In some ways I’m least qualified to talk about this! I started as the new Publishing Director in October 2019, and so this project fell into my lap, virtually complete, with just cover copy left to finalise.
The hard work was done by a committed team. Martin Manser is the Managing Editor, who gathered a team of Bible specialists, including Dr Debra K Reid (Spurgeon’s College London) as the Old Testament Editor, and Professor Andrew Clarke (formerly of the University of Aberdeen) as the New Testament Editor. The team mined the BST series’ vast wealth for the most helpful material for today’s audiences. Another key mover was my predecessor as IVP Publishing Director, Steve Mitchell, and there are many others whose efforts have contributed to the project across both IVP and SPCK.
The project also depended on the support and agreement of the team at Hodder, the UK publishers of the NIV Bible. Having worked previously at Hodder as Assistant Digital Editor, including managing the production of the NIV Audio Bible read by David Suchet, it was a pleasure to be in contact with the team there, particularly Jo Davey, Bibles Editor.
The Bible at the heart of IVP’s past, present and future
It’s exciting for me as the new boy to start at IVP with such a worthwhile and high-profile project coming to fruition. IVP has such a rich heritage with series such as the Bible Speaks Today, and is widely trusted in the evangelical church and beyond.
At the same time, a key challenge as I lead IVP is to work out how to both be a faithful steward of our backlist and legacy, and also to ensure we are meeting today’s needs and engaging today’s culture. The Bible Speaks Today – not yesterday. The Bible is central to IVP’s ethos, both in publishing books about the Bible to help people understand and apply it, and publishing books from biblical perspectives on all of life. That means taking up the baton of evangelical publishing and passing it on, staying faithful to the message, honouring the past, while building for the future. It’s easy to be pessimistic about Britain’s Christian future, but in the long view, we know that ‘at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow’.
So IVP keeps announcing the Good News that Jesus is Lord, and publishing books that look at different subjects in light of that overarching biblically-revealed reality. In March, we have Unleashed by Gavin and Anne Calver on how the Church can recapture the power of the Church in Acts. June sees Jonathan Lamb’s Essentially One unpack the unity that God loves.
Looking further ahead to 2021, Dr Jim Paul of the English L’Abri Fellowship will be exploring What on Earth is Heaven? from an accessible and thoroughly biblical viewpoint, while Andy Bannister, Director of Solas Centre for Public Christianity, tackles the hot potato of Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God? Whether it’s apologetics or evangelism, mission or discipleship, Bible study or cultural engagement, all IVP’s books aim to be rooted in the Bible and pointing to Christ.
Not just informing but transforming
In the foreword to the NIV Bible Speaks Today, Krish Kandiah likens the Bible to James Bond’s gadgets. Krish writes, ‘Apart from the sheer brilliance of the devices, you knew as a viewer that before the film was ever over 007 was going to utilise every single one of those tools in order to complete his mission’. But there’s a catch. ‘Imagine James Bond were to receive his gadgets, take them home, make leather cases for them, study the engineering behind them, create artistic impressions of them and give lectures on their construction, their provenance and their history.’ The Bible, like Bond’s kit, is designed to be used, not just studied. ‘Similarly… the point of the Scriptures is not just to inform but to transform (Jas 1:2-25)’.
I hope the NIV Bible Speaks Today will delight readers as much as it delighted me when I first got hold of a copy: the beautiful design, the quality production values, the clear and readable text with helpful notes and thoughtprovoking study questions. But above all, I hope that this Bible, along with all IVP’s books, will point readers beyond itself to hear the God who speaks today, and to be transformed by knowing Him.


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NIV Bible Speaks Today (Hard Cover)
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