For the Love of Bibles: The International Inductive Study Bible (NASB)

The old IISB (in picture) is now called the New Inductive Study Bible.
The old IISB (in picture) is now called the New Inductive Study Bible.

If you are looking for a Bible with extensive study notes included, the International Inductive Study Bible (now called the New Inductive Study Bible) is the last Bible you should purchase. There is practically no explanatory notes or commentary in this Bible. But if you are looking for a Bible that will help you personally apply the principles of Bible study, then you should give this Bible serious consideration.

Developed and promoted by the good folks from Precepts Ministries International, this study Bible is designed for the person who wants to discover the joy of self-discovery. It’s one thing to look down at the bottom of a page to learn something from a scholar who put in the long hours and gleaned great insights to be shared. It’s another thing to put the hours in yourself. Can you guess which approach yields greater joy and longer retention?

Several years ago my wife and I went through the Precepts training and were certified as Precepts teachers. For both of us, the training was a great refresher course from what we had learned in seminary in hermeneutics. Not as in depth and intense as a seminary level course, but more than sufficient to equip a person with the basic tools needed for a lifetime of enriching personal Bible study.

The Precepts approach to Bible study is built around these three successive steps:

(1) Observation – What does the text say?

(2) Interpretation – What does the text mean?

(3) Application – How does the text apply to my life?

Far too often people approach God’s Word with the third question in mind without giving proper time and attention to the first two steps. Such a casual and naive approach can lead to much confusion and even heartache as God’s Word is mishandled. This study Bible helps you develop the discipline of getting these steps in order, giving you confidence in handling God’s Word for personal application to your life or teaching others.

You will probably not be carrying this Bible to church with you. It is not exactly designed for mobility. Until I got the new ESV Study Bible (to be profiled later), this was easily the heaviest Bible in my library. With wide margins for writing notes, by design the Bible has to be unusually wide to accommodate the extra space. All that to say, odds are that if you get this Bible, it will stay near your desk.

In the picture below, you will notice the use of the colored pencils to mark up the pages. Colored pencils are to Precepts study as bats and gloves are to baseball. The idea is that using colors and symbols to mark key words and concepts helps the student of God’s Word to actually “see” the themes and key truths emphasized in a particular Bible book. For example, if you were to open up my IISB to the 4th chapter of John, you would see a lot of red hearts on the page. Every time John uses the word love in that chapter I put a red heart over the word.  I don’t use the IISB near as much as I used to, but occasionally before I preach through a book, I will pull out my IISB, my colored pencils, and set out in another fruitful (and colorful) journey in Bible study.

My study notes in 1st John
My study notes in 1st John

A quick word about the translation.  Mine is the New American Standard (NASB). I know at one point this study Bible was also available in the New International Version (NIV). I am not sure if that is still the case. I would highly recommend going with the New American Standard (NASB). If you are going to do this type of in-depth study, you need a reliable literal (word for word) translation like the NASB, KJV, or ESV. To use a looser (thought for thought) translation like the NIV just doesn’t make a lot of sense when using this kind of study Bible.

Finally, if you are serious about getting a Bible like this, make sure you do your homework on what kind of colored pencils or pens to use. Bible paper is thin and if you use the wrong kind of pen or pencil you will end up with an exceedingly annoying amount of bleedthrough.


20 thoughts on “For the Love of Bibles: The International Inductive Study Bible (NASB)”

  1. I have been looking high and low for this bible. NIV (not the currently produced NASB only) and leather cover…the last bible I hope to purchase for the rest of my life. I have been enjoying studying the bible this way, but use printouts to make my marks since my bible doesn’t allow for much marking…and the study notes in it are pretty liberal in more ways than one. I want just the bible, maps, cross references and space to write! Please let me know if you know of anyone who wants to sell theirs! I have been hunting quite a bit. Thank you!

  2. I’m from Glasgow in Scotland and came across this site after looking for photos of this Bible as I’ve been trying to search for the marginal space. At the moment, I currently own the New Inductive Study Bible and it has been an amazing Bible to own! I LOVE the inductive Bible study method, I would never use any other method now in getting into the Word. I like to use my Vine’s for word meanings, which I love to do from time to time. I own a vast array of Bibles, which each individually have their uses, but nothing compares to my New Inductive Study Bible.

    I recently purchased a very rare copy of the International Inductive Study Bible, leather bound, from eBay. At the moment, I’m waiting on it being delivered but I’m looking forward to it. I enjoyed reading your blog about it and looking at the photos too. Its my intention to use both Bibles then pass them onto my daughters as heirlooms. (a thing that I learned from my pastor)

    My Senior Pastor owned the hardcover edition of the International Inductive Study Bible and I was always fascinated with his notations and markings throughout it. He has now passed it onto his daughter, who is my best friend, and it gave me the same idea.

    Thanks again for sharing and every blessing!

  3. you can try – google for the bible they have new and used ones

    also just google inductive study bible – i found many other places sell it online too

  4. I love this type of study. I also found that not all pens/colored pencils are created equally. I had a few of the Prisma Color Pencils, but I found that the lead was too soft for me. I then bought a package of Crayola Colored Pencils, again the let was too soft. I then bought the Crayola Twistable crayons, better but not perfect. Then I remembered that my husband had bought me a set of 120 Faber Castell Poloychromatic colored pencils and guess what, they are PERFECT. Nice color, keeps a sharp point and works perfect. They don’t smear or bleed. Like stated above, check out several before you buy. I’m donating those that didn’t work to our childrens group at church. Just thought I’d share a little “colored pencil knowledge” with you. Oh and for the times that you are in church and want to mark in your bible, Pentel has a pencil that comes with 12 different colored leds, kind of expensive, but a great tool to have. I got mine at a local bible store. Happy studying and god bless!

      1. Your welcome Pastor Brett. I just started doing the Precept Spiritual Gifts Study and in all honesty, I now understand the marking system that Kay Arthur uses a little better. The first time I did it, let’s just say it was a hot mess. I’ve also been encouraged by the study and the others in our class to make up symbols that I will remember. Love to study. Have a great week.

  5. With this Bible, I saw they’re coming out with “The New Inductive Study Bible – ESV” in July which I’m thrilled about. However, I can’t find a way to “Look Inside”. Does the copy you’re showing us contain the key for what you’re supposed to mark and what not? Does it TEACH you how to study in the Precepts fashion or does it just lend itself to their methods because of it’s layout?

    1. Sorry for the delay in responding, Haley. Did you find your answer yet? My copy is very old, early 1990s. And, yes, it does tell you how to do it. I don’t know about more recent copies, but I can’t imagine they wouldn’t. Hope that helps. Let me know what you find out and, if you get one, how you like it.

      1. Pastor Brett, if people are looking for a comprehensive key on precept markings for the bible, I found that you can google PreceptCamden and there is an excellent marking key that you can print off and use. I actually made my own key using the keywords and symbols from the Camden document. I then cut it to the appropriate size and placed it in my ESV Study Bible and my NASB Study Bible. You know you can never have enough bibles. Blessings to all.

  6. my daughter found a new – still in plastic wrap – older precept bible on ebay for around 40 dollars bound in leather – she bought it for a friend – also found a nice hardback on amazon for 10 for a friend

  7. For some reason that makes no sense what-so-ever the publishers of the NASB Inductive Study Bible have made the extremely bad decision to release the new version of this great Bible in a “more compact format.” Why would they do something that incredibly stupid? This Bible was MEANT to take notes in. How can you effectively do that when they have made the new one smaller? Are we supposed to buy magnifying glasses and learn to write smaller? I am desperately seeking a copy of the original NASB Inductive Study Bible, not the shrunken down one (The New NASB Inductive Study Bible). Do you all know of any way at all or where I can find one? I have looked everywhere that I can think of so any help would be greatly appreciated. And please excuse my tone in this reply as I am in no way trying to say any of this is your fault at all. It just really bothers me when publishers have a perfectly good product and then ruin it later. Especially when it comes to the Bible! Thank you for your assistance.
    Quint Prince

    1. Sorry, Quint, I’ve not kept up with the publishing history of this Bible. I’d just wear out the search engines if I were you in finding what you want.

  8. Quint, have you tried looking at All You might find one there or even at that’s always a good resource for me.

  9. Looks like they’re finally releasing this in the ESV. Even though it’s been a very long time since I did a Kay Arthur Bible study, I’m thinking about picking it up just for the marginal note space.

  10. The IISB is the best Bible . I have used t for years. The Inductive study method is a only method that you need to learn. My first Precept Upon Precept Bible Study Course experience was in the early 1990’s and I have been in love with this Inductive method of study and I have been using it ever since. I feel strongly about showing others how to discover Biblical Truth for themselves. Precept Upon Precept is a Bible Study method that teaches the right way to study God’s word. It allows you to know God intimately, to know what He teaches first hand and not filtered through someone else.

  11. Which version should I purchase in The New Inductive Study Bible.ESV or NASB.I am new to bible study.Was looking for NIV but have not found one.

    1. Hi Nita,
      I suggest you spend some time with each one before you make a decision. Personally, I would choose the NASB because it’s slightly more literal than the ESV, which I find more helpful for intense Bible study, which is what the IISB is all about. I think the NIV would not be a good choice for this particular study Bible since the NIV is more of functional equivalent translation, rather than a formal equivalent translation like the NASB, ESV, KJV, or NKJV.

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