NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Notes

“Even though the Bible was written for us, it wasn’t written to us.
When we take our Western, modern culture and impose it on the text, we’re putting in meaning that wasn’t there, and we’re missing the meaning that the text has.”
—Dr. John H. Walton

“Sometimes people get frustrated with the Bible because the difficult figures of speech and the images and the customs they read about seem foreign to them. But when we explain those, then we open up the text of the Bible in a fresh, new way to understand what the text of the Bible is really addressing.
Ultimately, everything in the Bible was written in particular times and cultures.
So even though everything in it is for all time, not everything in it is for all circumstances.
The better we understand the circumstances a passage originally addressed, the more confidently we can reapply its message to appropriate circumstances today.”
—Dr. Craig S. Keener

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible by Craig S. Keener; John H. Walton, published by Zondervan in 2016


You’ve heard many Bible stories hundreds of times, but how many behind-the-scenes details are you missing? Sometimes a little context is all you need to discover the rich meaning behind the stories of Scripture.

That’s what the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible promises to provide. This study Bible has been purpose-built to do one thing: to increase your understanding of the cultural nuances behind the text of God’s Word so that your study experience, and your knowledge of the realities behind the ideas in the text, is enriched and expanded.

The book version of the study Bible contains the full text of the New International Version of the Bible along with a library of study features designed to help you more completely grasp what the text is saying.
These notes introduce and explain a wide variety of information on the Biblical text, every page being packed with expert insight into the customs, culture, and literature of Bible times.

These fascinating explanations will serve to clarify your study of the Scriptures. Providing deeper insights for individuals who are ready to devote themselves to serious study of the text, this work shall reinforce your confidence and bring difficult passages of Scripture into sharp focus.

Discover new dimensions of insight to even the most familiar Bible passages as you take a behind-the-scenes tour into the ancient world.

The Bible was originally written to an ancient people removed from us by thousands of years and thousands of miles. The Scriptures include subtle culturally-based nuances, undertones, and references to ancient events, literature and customs that were intuitively understood by those who first heard the Scriptures read. For us to hear the Scriptures as they did, we need a window into their world.

The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, with notes from Dr. John H. Walton (professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College) in the Old Testament and Dr. Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University; professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary) in the New Testament, brings to life the ancient world of Scripture for modern readers.


Key Features

  • Describes cultural nuances behind the text of God’s Word
  • Features relevant cultural and political information in each book introduction
  • Includes dozens of helpful charts and maps
  • Explains the text with over 10,000 study notes


  • Author Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Authors
  • Abbreviations
  • Preface
  • Hebrew to English Translation Chart
  • Ancient Texts Relating to the Old Testament
  • Old Testament Chronology
  • Major Background Issues from the Ancient Near East
  • The Torah: God Establishes His Covenant
  • Narrative Literature: God Working through Events and Outcomes
  • Wisdom and Hymnic Literature: God’s Wisdom and Kingship
  • Oracles of the Prophets: God’s Plan Announced through the Prophets
  • The Time Between the Testaments
  • Key New Testament Terms
  • New Testament Chronology
  • The Gospels and Acts: Accounts of Jesus and the Early Church
  • The Letters and Revelation: Messages for the Growing Global Church
  • Table of Weights and Measures

You can find it in the Logos edition, having this volume enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps.

Or you might prefer to use the Accordance Bible module which contains all the Introductions, Maps, Indexes, and Notes of the printed version, but not the Bible text.  The Bible Study Notes of this module can be linked to run in parallel with any Accordance Bible translation.

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Notes
• Editors: John H. Walton, Craig S. Keener
• Publisher: Zondervan (2016)

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