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What Is The Best Study Bible To Buy

Choose A Bible Translation That Works For You

My 5 Top Study Bibles and WHY? | Thereâs so MANY Bible Versions WHICH do I choose?

You have many options when it comes to Bible translationsand while most people have their favorites, each one plays its part when it comes to better understanding the Bible.

The Bible was originally written in the languages of Hebrew and Greek . Over the millennia, these old documents were translated into the dominant languages of the time and place, and then re-translated, and so on.

Translating ancient texts for modern readers is a tough and involved process. There are many ways it can be donebut most English translations of the Bible fall on a spectrum from formal equivalence to functional equivalence.

Formal Equivalence

Formal equivalence translations are sometimes called word-for-word versions of the Bible. While strict word-for-word translation is impossible outside of interlinear Bibles, versions on this end of the spectrum aim to choose words that directly mirror the words the original language uses as well as the structure of the original-language sentences.

This can be helpful when it comes to recognizing and recalling word patterns across the Bible. If youre especially inclined to look up words in their original languages , youll likely enjoy a formal equivalence translation.


  • New King James Version
  • New Revised Standard Version
  • New American Standard Bible , the poster child for formal equivalence.

Functional Equivalence


A Blended Approach

Compass: The Study Bible For Navigating Your Life

Thomas Nelson

The concept behind the Compass Bible is just as the title implies. It was designed to help people connect with God by pointing them in the right direction and revealing how they fit into God’s story. Compass is written in what is known as the Voice translation, a mix of “word-for-word” and “thought-for-thought” translation approaches. Especially enjoyable is its translation of Revelation, one of the Bible’s most difficult books to understand.

Compass makes a great gift for a new believer, a seeker, or anyone who wants to take a fresh and meaningful journey through the Scriptures.

The Most Popular Bible Of The Year Is Probably Not What You Think It Is

This analysis is by Daniel Silliman, an instructor of American religion and culture for the Heidelberg Center for American Studies at Heidelberg University.

Americans dont lack access to the Bible, but it remains a big business for publishers in the United States. In fact, 88 percent of Americans have a copy of the Bible in their homes, according to a 2015 report from the Barna Group. Most homes have more than one copy, and nearly a quarter of people have more than five. Nevertheless, 13 percent of Americans said they bought Bibles within the past year.

So why do Americans seem to have an insatiable appetite for Christian scripture?

A new study Bible out this week underscores how simmering questions about the accuracy and authority of translations drive demand for new versions of an old text. A mix of firm authority and breezy accessibility seems to be key to the commercial success of many study Bibles.

No official sales projections are publicly available, but if history provides a guide, the NIV Zondervan Study Bible could easily sell 100,000 copies by the end of the year probably a lot more. The new study Bible by Zondervan, a Christian publishing house in Grand Rapids, Mich., owned by HarperCollins, could follow earlier blockbuster sales. The last NIV study Bible, published by Zondervan in 1985, sold more than 9 million copies.

One of the Bibles most popular translations is the NIV and newer versions, like the ESV also sell remarkably well.

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The Modern Study Bible

The Bible has the title of the worlds best-selling book, ever. Moreover, with 40 million Bibles sold in 2015, the Bible market is doing better than ever. So it is no surprise that the Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

As of September 2016, the full Bible has been translated into 636 languages, the New Testament alone into 1442 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1145 other languages.

Study Bibles are just a few of the available versions of the Bible. These Bibles are designed for people who wish to become real students of the word. They provide scholarly insight that is designed to help the student develop a stronger grasp and understanding of the original texts, context, and meaning. They produce Christians who rightly divide the word of truth.

Paraphrase Translations Of The Bible

Best Study Bibles for Preachers and Pastors

A paraphrase translation of the Bible seeks to make the Bible more understandable to the reader.

It may elaborate more on the context in a way designed to help the reader understand the passage better.

To paraphrase means a restatement of a text or passagegiving the meaning in another form, as for clearness rewording.

A paraphrase often uses a lot more words in an effort to more fully describe the meaning of the words coming from the original language.

This helps readers to easily perceive additional shades of meaning they might otherwise struggle to see in a standard translation.

A good comparison can be made by comparing a well-knownpassage like John 1:1 in the King James Version and the Phillips version:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, andthe Word was God. KJV

Atthe beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, waswith God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. Phillips

A paraphrase translation like the Phillips translation uses more words and its easy to see that it is still very accurate and does not add or subtract from the original.

It just helps make it more understandable.

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The Life Application Study Bible

Tyndale House Publishers

In 2019, this top-selling, award-winning study Bible was updated and expanded in its third edition with fresh and relevant insights.

The Life Application Study Bible helps readers understand Gods Word as they read, and it teaches them how to apply it to the problems and questions that arise in daily life, whether in one’s job or in one’s relationships. The study notes are at the bottom of each page, so you dont have to search for them.

In 2020, the NTL version of the Life Application Study Bible ranked among the winners of the Bible category in the Christian Book of the Year Awards by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association . The Life Application Study Bible is published by Tyndale House Publishers and comes in several popular translations, including NIV, NLT, NASB, KJV.

The Quest Study Bible is designed for readers with unanswered questions and for those who want to dive deeper into knowing God and his Word. With articles and resources from today’s most trusted scholars, you’ll find answers to hundreds of popular and challenging topics.

This study Bible also includes helpful sidebar notes that bring clarity to confusing passages. Book introductions identify themes, characters, and events. Whether you are a new believer or a seasoned Christian, the Quest Study Bible will give you the tools to intensify your understanding of Scripture.

The Bible Exposition Commentary 6 Volumes

Countless pastors, teachers, and students have pored over the best-selling Be seriesand now these insightful studies are available in one complete set for a spectacular price! From Genesis to Revelation, Wiersbe unpacks the meaning and message of Scripture with a skilled exposition that remains ever-mindful of practical application. Approx. 3000 pages total, six hardcovers from Cook.

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The Jeremiah Study Bible Nkjv: Jacketed Hardcover

Reading and understanding the Bible doesnt have to be such a hard thing. The Jeremiah Study Bible is a simple tool for both seasoned and new believers.

It breaks down the word into three what the Bible says, what it means, and what it means for you.

The author is Dr. David Jeremiah, a leading Bible Teacher in the world. His work is one of the best study Bibles, thanks to features that enhance understanding of the word.

The study Bible presents biblical insights in a way that makes them easy to understand. After reading this study Bible, your life will be transformed.

One of the features that make this a great study Bible is an introduction you will get to each of the books.

Inside, there are more than 10,000 study notes that provide greater insight and understanding of the word. If you want to learn more about important themes in Christianity, you can read the 55 articles.

The sidebars contain archeological, geographical, and historical information for your perusal. It does not end there.

Dr. Jeremiah shares links to additional digital resources, including online videos, photos, and illustrations.

What Is Your Goal

My Top 5 Recommended Study Bibles (Links in Description)

Your main reason for buying a study Bible also matters. Do you need it for Church or for Sunday school? Will you be using it mostly at home?

If you want a Bible to use on-the-go, then avoid the huge large-print versions. That will be too bulky and best for use at home.

Those in Bible school may prefer the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, which simplifies the topical study of Gods word.

To know the original meanings of certain words, buy the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. Or, you may purchase an Archeological Study Bible for in-depth historical and cultural understanding.

In short, your primary goal will determine the type of Bible you buy.

Also Related: The Top 17 Best New International Version Bibles.

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What Is The Best Bible For Beginners

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV

It is not at all a difficult answer for me to give when the question is raised, What is the best Bible for beginners? Without hesitation, I can say that the best Bible for beginners is the Life Application study Bible. If you are a new Christian and looking for a good Bible to assist you in drawing closer to Christ, then I cannot recommend a better Bible then the Life Application. As I always say, the study notes in the Life Application Study Bible are delivered in a way that make you feel as though you are having a one on one sit down with your own personal pastor. The study notes are informative but more than that they are challenging. The notes challenge and guide the reader in their everyday walk with the Lord.

Another great attribute that makes this the best Bible for beginners is the personality profiles. The Life Application Study Bible does an outstanding job at introducing the people that played a significant role in the Bible. The Personality profiles not only introduce you to the people in the Bible, but provides the reader with their strengths and weaknesses. These biographies given for each person in the personality profiles, provides the reader with a more in depth understanding of the failures and victories that the most evil and the most God fearing people alike.

A Study Bible For Beginners Should Be Thorough

A Study Bible for beginners should be thorough and substantial enough for a deeper study of Gods Word

A study Bible for beginners should be thorough and substantial enough for a deeper study of the Bible. The main reason for getting a study Bible is so that you can go deeper into Gods Word. Hearing sermons and being in a Bible study group are important, but studying the Bible for yourself is a vital part of growing spiritually.

A study Bible is an all-in-one-volume resource of the most used tools to understand the Bible better. Its often the first serious book that people buy when they want to study the Bible for themselves.

Most study Bibles have a similar line-up of tools and resources. There are pretty standard options like notes and commentary, cross-references, concordance, book introductions, etc Study Bibles come in all the major English translations of the Bible like the ESV, NIV, NKJV, KJV, and the NLT.

The biggest difference among Study Bibles is how many notes there are and the amount of detail they get into.

Each Study Bible has different contributors that write the notes, which are usually at the bottom of each page, often in a smaller sized font than the actual text of the Bible. Some Bible will have minimal notes while others have notes for many if not most verses in the Bible.

Study Bibles are not meant to be comprehensive Bible commentaries, but they should scratch the itch for the most common questions that beginning Bible students will have.

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Best Catholic Bibles 2021

Dating back over 2,000 years, the Roman Catholic religion is the oldest Christian religion in the world. Just as any other Christian religion has its own interpretation of the Bible, so does the Roman Catholic Church. For this reason, the church has its own version of the Bible, which is used as a guide for all its different ceremonies and teachings.

Of course, all of the different Bibles on the market essentially hold the same information. However, some Bibles offer a few unique features that could give you greater satisfaction overall. Find out which options are a cut above the rest, and find the best Catholic Bible to join you on your spiritual growth quest.

If you are looking for a large font size bible, please check out our 10 Best Large and Giant Print Bibles.

Typical Features Of The Best Study Bibles

Best Study Bibles for Preachers and Pastors
  • Annotations explaining often misinterpreted scriptures, hard to understand passages, and doctrine, and theology.
  • Pictures of critical historical ruins and archaeological artifacts of the period that is concurrent with the passage.
  • Contextual information on the passages setting and authors reason for writing the book and his background.
  • Specific details about each book of the Bible in an introduction.
  • Biographical information of main characters in each book.
  • Different possible interpretations or meanings based on the definitions of the original language.
  • A Bible dictionary and a concordance.
  • Historical maps of the Holy Land.
  • Timelines for each book of the Bible.
  • Devotional Bible reading plans
  • Real life personal application of the passages you are reading.
  • Scriptural references and parallels to other books of the Bible, many times tying the New Testament and the Old Testament narrative together.

It is also very common for study Bibles to be arranged around a theme or purpose. For instance, the Spirit-Filled Life Bible is arranged to show how the Holy Spirit is a vital part of the modern day believers life. The Ryrie study Bible shows how salvation is by grace alone and teaches dispensational theology.

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The Best New Study Bible

The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

I have included The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible for the simple reason that it is the unique and helpful study Bible to be released in a long time. With solid theologians like N.T. Wright endorsing the Bible and with all the help that understanding the context is, in a biblical study this Bible needed to be mentioned.

One of the things that have helped me teach the scriptures is knowing what was being said in the context of the listeners. What were they hearing when it was being said.

The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible is an excellent asset for the serious student of the Word of God. It may not be the best study Bible if you are buying your first study Bible, but you should consider getting it as you are expanding your study Bible library.

Here is a little more about the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible.

Should You Get A Study Bible

Any believer who really wants to know more and to become a more effective believer should consider buying a study Bible.

Do you want to grow a stronger and deeper faith? Get a study Bible!

Are there reasons to not get a study Bible?

I think it is good for a mature believer who has already read a study Bible for years to go back at some point and read a plain old Bible with no study notes to get a fresh perspective.

A careful and prayerful reading of the scriptures by a mature reader can bring new understanding as they consider the truths found in the Bible in a new light.

Beyond that, I just cant imagine not having a study Bible.

A good study Bible helps you accelerate your growth as a believer.

If you are curious about something your pastor said, or that you heard in a Bible Study, or in some other teaching, you can look up the subject in your study Bible and be like the Bereans were.

The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.

Dwight L. Moody

If you are preparing for ministry, or preparing to go to seminary, a study Bible is one of the first things you should get. It will help you lay the foundation for bigger things to come.

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The Jeremiah Study Bible:

Drawing on more than 40 years of study, Dr. David Jeremiah has compiled a legacy resource that will make an eternal impact on generations to come!

The Jeremiah Study Bible focuses on three simple things: what does the Bible say, what does it mean, and what does it mean for you? Comprehensive in scope yet easy to understand, The Jeremiah Study Bible is a 2,200 page, one-of-a-kind study tool.

  • Unique introductions to each book of the Bible from Dr. Jeremiah
  • 8,000 individual study notes with both insightful and practical content
  • Words of Jesus in red-letter print
  • Hundreds of enriching sidebars with word studies, historical insights, and geographical and archaeological information
  • More than 55 full-page articles exploring the essential themes of the Christian life
  • Thorough cross-reference system that guides readers through the Bible
  • Links to additional online resources
  • Teachers topical index
  • Colorful maps, charts and tables



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