How To Pick A Bible For Yourself

When choosing a Bible, there are many factors to consider. What translation do you prefer? Do you want a study Bible with commentary notes or a plain text Bible? What size and binding do you prefer? With so many choices, it can be overwhelming to pick the perfect Bible for yourself. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right Bible for you.

how to pick a bible

How To Pick A Bible

What are the Different Types of Bibles?

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What’s the difference between a study Bible and a reference Bible? Is there a Bible that is appropriate for soldiers and one for teens? Isn’t the Bible for everyone the same? How can I find the best one for me?

Each person has a different learning style, and God speaks to each of us differently. Throughout our lives, how we learn and connect to God changes.

Every type of Bible has features that supplement Scripture and appeal to a specific audience.

Shopping is fun! After I explain the differences between Bibles, I hope you will be excited to start shopping for your Bible.

What is a Reference Bible?

The most basic and most affordable reference Bibles are available. The text is divided into two columns and includes verse and Scripture references. The text of similar or related verse references is printed in small fonts in the margins and a thin column at the center. Reference Bibles can be used in large fonts and are free from distractions.

What is a Study Bible?

A study Bible is the best choice for serious students of the Bible. Study Bibles offer background information that helps to understand the historical context of scripture. Study Bibles can also help to explain the meaning of Scripture.

Each page’s top section contains verse and scripture references. It is similar to a reference Bible. The bottom of each page contains the study aids.

Study Bibles written for specific audiences will show the study help from a specific point of view. A children’s Bible for study will, for example, be written in simple language and contain information appropriate to the child’s developmental age.

What is a Journaling Bible (Note Taking)?

Journal Bibles are great for creatives and scribblers. Note-taking Bibles can be reference Bibles with extra margins for drawing illustrations or taking notes.

What is a Devotional Bible?

A devotional Bible is a Bible that seems to be personally written for you. Devotional Bibles can be reference Bibles that include articles and reflections to help the reader understand Scripture through the lens of a particular interest or need.

What is a Parallel Bible?

Do not worry, my dear friends, if you are having trouble choosing the right Bible translation! Parallel Bibles were created just for you. Parallel Bibles have two versions of the same book. Although the text appears similar to a reference Bible, each column represents a different translation. The reader will gain new insight by comparing different versions. Parallel Bibles are great for those who have two favorite translations.

What are the BEST and WORST Translations?

Everyone wants to know the best and worst translations. This is a complicated question!

Most people are saved by asking for advice from others on the best Bible or being gifted with no knowledge of the Bible translation.

Is there anything wrong with this?

Asking for the best Bible you should get will depend on who you ask and your preference. Everybody has a different opinion about the best translation or version. Maybe it is their perfect Bible.

It is not perfect for you. You may have a different reading style and reading level than others. You might find what you like the most boring.

It’s so wonderful to receive a Bible as a gift. I wouldn’t suggest that you ignore it and throw it away. Accept it with grace and work with what you already have. Once you’re ready, dive in to find a Bible that suits your needs. That is exactly what I did, as I said above.

This post should help you understand the process of picking a new Bible.

Are Not All Bibles The Same?

Each translation is taken directly from the original text, but they are and are not.

Some people say that the word-for-word translations of Bibles are difficult to understand and recommend new believers not use them. Some claim that the thought-for-thought translations are easier to understand and read but open to interpretation, which can confuse new believers. Paraphrasing Bibles are a way to summarize the main points of the Bible without going into too many details.

Bible Translations

All Bibles contain the same information, but how they present it varies. Listed below are nine popular versions, their abbreviations, and the level of their translation: literal (word-for-word) or loose (thought-for-thought).

Word-For-Word/Literal Translations

To be clear, it is impossible to translate exact words word for word. A word’s meaning in one language may not be the same in another. You’ve probably struggled to learn another language.

In this instance, word-for-word refers to the fact that the team of translators tried to keep words as close to the original words as possible.

KING JAMES VERSION (KJV). The KJV has been the most widely used literal translation for many years. Because the wording may be a bit old-fashioned, it is not as easy to understand.

THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION (NKJV). The King James Version’s original style but updated vocabulary from the KJV.

NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (NASB). Sometimes pronounced Nas bee. The NASB is the most exact translation into English. Although it is easier to understand than the KJV, it is not as well-known.

AMPLIFIED BIBLE (AMP). This version includes the original text. It adds or expands on the text using definitions of words.

THE ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION. The ESV‘s philosophy is to preserve the original text in its entirety using modern words while keeping the style and personality of each biblical writer.

Thought For-thought Translations

In thought-for-thought bibles, it is prioritized to translate the thought or concept of a word into a new version. This is a common example: “It’s raining cats & dogs outside” would be translated as “It’s pouring down rain.”

NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV). This translation is considered a modern one that is extremely popular due to its ease of reading.

NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (NLT). This translation is believed to be faithful to ancient texts and easy to understand in modern languages. This translation is very popular in churches.

Paraphrase Translations

This is the most controversial type of translation. Paraphrasing is a way to tell something in your own words. Paraphrasing is not a translation but rather an opinion. These aren’t meant to be used for studying but for reading.

THE MESSAGE. (MSG). A Bible that reads like a story. It can be translated into conversational English.

THE LIVING BIBLE (TLB). This Bible’s purpose is to explain what the author of Scripture intended to say (not exactly what they said) and to provide information for the modern reader.

What translation should you use?

I can’t tell you what is best for you. The best Bible is the one that you choose to read. Having a Bible to understand the heart of Jesus Christ is important.

If you are comfortable with the Bible version, you can begin with an easier-to-understand version. It’s not required. Many Christians have struggled to read their Bibles throughout their lives. They started reading the King James Version, and they never looked back. Others (like me) get a different translation each time they purchase a Bible.

No matter what “experts” say, do what is best for you.

You can choose the translation that you prefer. However, until you are more mature in your faith, I urge you not to use paraphrase Bible. I have found that these Bibles leave much to be desired regarding doctrine. They are sometimes incredibly bizarre in their interpretations. While paraphrasing Bibles can be interesting to read, they will not give you an accurate picture of Jesus Christ or your salvation. They are not to be avoided. They shouldn’t be used as a basis for your beliefs.

The Bible Translation That I Use

Since I am a pastor, I have a unique need for more than one Bible. For my sermons, I primarily use the New King James Version. It is the best compromise when speaking to a congregation with many different versions.

For my personal devotions and reading, I use the New Living Translation. I find it easier to read and speaks closer to the language I use daily.


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In conclusion, picking a Bible for yourself can be a daunting task. However, by following the tips in this article, you can find a perfect Bible. With so many options available, there is certainly a Bible out there that will speak to you and help you grow in your faith. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your local Christian bookstore or do some research online. And most importantly, don’t forget to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

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