Many people ask about the best Bible to purchase for “Bible study”! I gotta tell you, it’s a personal decision! So like all things, you’re going to need to invest a little time and energy before you buy!
With that in mind, here is what I recommend. Go to www.biblegateway.com. It is an online Bible “app” that allows you to look up Bible verses in 30+ English translations. Now, take the next THREE Bible verses (Hebrews 11:1, Jeremiah 29:11, and Matthew 11:28-30) and search for them (type the verse into the search box), one at a time, in the following versions (use the drop down menu to the right of the search box):
- New International Version
- Easy-to-Read Version
- New Living Translation
- New Revised Standard Version (this is a version of the Catholic Bible that includes an additional 7 books called the Apocrypha)
Read each translation of each verse – they will all use different words to say the same thing! Whichever translation you like the best, the one that speaks to you the best , that would be a good one for you to get! Having said that, I ALWAYS recommend – no matter WHAT translation you get, to get it in the Life Application Study Bible. This Bible has plenty of great additional things in it that help you to understand context, time, characters (!), etc. It even has footnotes on each page that I use as sort of a Cliff Notes version of what I’m reading! I know FOR SURE that NLT and NIV come in the Application Study format. You can go on amazon.com to search.
ERV and NLT are the closest to modern language that we use in our everyday talking with one another. The NIV is a bit more traditional, but not as “formal” as something like the King James. Here are the links to the NIV and NLT Life application study Bibles on amazon.com:
I also highly recommend that, once you have a feeling for the one or two versions you think you like best, that you head to Christian bookstore to see them in person BEFORE YOU BUY ON AMAZON. The reason is that it will give you a better idea of if you want: paperback, leather, bonded leather, or hardback. Open it up, take a look at the print size, pay attention to how it feels in your hands, etc. I like a Bible that has room in the margins for me to write in, if I want to!
That can get you started and you can poke around amazon to see what you might like! I recommend you don’t get the “personal size” Bibles because the print is SUPER small! Even though it fits in your purse – you’ll need reading glasses to read it! Also, I like leather bound or bonded leather just because they are more flexible than hardbound copies and less likely to tear or fall apart than the paperback ones.
Here is a fact that not many people know: the Catholic Bible has 7 additional books in it (all in the Old Testament) than the main stream Bibles out there. So, if you want a Catholic Bible, you’ll find fewer choices of translation. I use the Catholic Youth Version because it reads better and easier to me!
I know that’s a long explanation to what seems like a simple question! But it is important to me (and more importantly to GOD!) that you have His Word in a way that is meaningful to you – otherwise you won’t read it because it doesn’t make sense or resonate in your heart!
Finally, once you have your Bible, I highly recommend two things:
- Put a post-it note on the Table on Contents page! That is super helpful for when you are asked to look up verses and don’t know where the books of the Bible are!
- Buy yourself a set of Bible book tabs. You put them on the first page of each book in your Bible – also makes life easier when looking up scripture!!!