Zondervan’s Newest (NIV11-UBS5) Greek-English New Testament

Cover in Wrapping


Yes, I’m aware that it’s probably better to practice Greek reading with a Reader’s Bible (N.T. Wright even told me that!) than with a Greek-English diglot.

That said, Zondervan’s new NIV11-UBS5 diglot is an excellent Greek Bible to have on hand and use for both reading and research.


What It Is


  • Zondervan’s recently revised New International Version 2011 is the English text. Read more about the 2011 NIV here
  • The Greek text is the United Bible Societies’ updated 5th edition of the Greek New Testament. If you haven’t familiarized yourself yet with this edition and the changes it contains (summary: general epistles), check out this post, especially the infographic
  • The UBS5 text is accompanied by the full critical apparatus
  • Unlike other diglots I’ve seen, the Greek is always on the left page and the English on the right page
  • Both texts are in single columns


What I Like About It


Overall this edition is really nicely produced. Here are some highlights:

  • The pages are thicker than I expected–this makes for a better reading experience
  • It’s light and portable
  • The exterior of the book is classy :


Spine and Pencil


  • It lays flat! Even when you’re reading the prefatory material
  • Old Testament quotations are in bold font
  • There’s a really nice ribbon marker
  • And… the Greek font looks great. Check it out:


Mark 1 in Greek


What Could Have Been Better


No bullet points here–just one major critique. In a deliberate move, the English on a page may cut off mid-sentence to try to more exactly match the Greek. Of course a one-to-one match is impossible because of the differences between the two languages (not the least of which is word order), but the intention is good, if not always perfectly executed in terms of matching English to Greek. Regardless, the unexpected editorial decision leads to awkward looking pages like this one (click image to enlarge):


Greek and English


To each their own, I guess, but I still haven’t gotten used to it, even after reading through full chapters of text.

But everything else (layout, font, book construction, feel, etc.) is spot on. I’m a fan of this Bible, and while I’m pushing myself to use a Reader’s edition (Greek only), when I want English and Greek side-by-side, this is my new go-to.

You can learn more at the Bible’s product page here. It’s on sale at Amazon here.




Thanks to Zondervan for the copy, provided to me as part of a series of ongoing posts about the 2011 NIV–though there was no expectation as to the content of my review.

8 thoughts on “Zondervan’s Newest (NIV11-UBS5) Greek-English New Testament

  1. Everything looks great but putting the NIV next to the Greek doesn’t make it an accurate or useful translation. No one should ever formulate a Biblical position or base their understanding of God’s word on the NIV. UBS5 is good and the format sounds well thought out. I just wish they had used a quality translation.

    1. Thanks for checking out the blog. Not knowing you, I don’t know what your objections to the NIV are. I, for one, wish (as I say in my hyperlinked post re: NIV11) that “mankind” had given way to the more accurate “humankind,” which is surely what the Bible has in mind when it speaks of humanity.

      That said, I disagree with your assessment. Where specifically do you find discrepancies between the Hebrew/Greek and the NIV? Obviously no translation is perfect (translation by definition is not one-to-one), but I think we’d have to have a lot of evidence and original language knowledge ourselves before we could make a good case against a translation team that is leading scholars from the field.

  2. Thanks for the review.

    The product info says it’s ‘Flexicover’. How flexible is it? Is it like a soft leather cover or a bit stiffer?

    Also, is it sewn binding?

    1. Hi, Graham–you’re welcome! The cover is somewhere between soft leather and hardback. It’s harder than a truly leather cover. To the touch it feels flimsier than you’d like, but it has held up well all the same. Yes, binding is sewn.

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