3 Questions to Ask When Shopping for Your Next Bible

Need some help picking out your next Bible? We're here to help.

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God's Word changes lives. But how do you know which translation and style is best? Conside these three questions when selecting a Bible for yourself or to give as a gift.

Whether you're looking for your first Bible, replacing an older one, or giving a Bible as a gift, we can guide you through the Bible selection process. 

1. How Will I Use the Bible?

Are you a new Christian looking for an introductory Bible? Maybe you're looking for devotions or study notes built into your Bible. Or perhaps you have a long commute and would like an audio Bible.

Bibles come in a variety of sizes, formats, and features, giving you many options to choose from. Check out the descriptions below to discover what editions are available and what might be the best fit for you. 

  • Study Bibles are loaded with insights and commentary to help you dig deeper. They also include maps, graphs, concordances and charts that shed light on biblical times. Some feature people profiles and glossaries to give additional information.

  • Reference Bibles often include only the Scriptural text, though some include cross-references to help you find related verses. Compact and thinline Bibles are also found here. Many are perfect for traveling or taking to church.

  • Devotional Bibles include reading plans and stories, articles, insights, and study helps to encourage you to not only read God's Word, but also connect it to your daily life. 

  • Journaling Bibles provide the perfect way for you to keep a journal of your spiritual life right inside the Bible that you read and study each day. With covers and formats that look like journals, journaling Bibles feature ruled wide-margins for writing observations, reflections, prayers, praises, notes and journal entries.

  • Gift Bibles are ideal for special occasions like awards, Promotion Sunday, recognition for accomplishments and more. They’re also perfect to take on mission trips or for other times when you want to gift a Bible. Some gift Bibles are designed for specific groups of people—like those in uniform, brides and more.

  • Children’s Bibles are specifically designed for ages 1-12. Age-specific features designed to meet the spiritual and developmental needs of children encourage a lifelong habit of studying God’s Word.

  • Student Bibles help teens and young adults understand and relate to the Bible’s truths. Students appreciate the engaging cover designs and page layouts and how the Bible addresses the tough issues they face with clear, honest, and practical answers.

  •  Large Print Bibles feature larger-than-normal text, making it easier to read. This section offers all types of Bibles—Study, Reference, Devotional, etc.—all with larger text. You’ll even find compact-sized large print Bibles.

  •  Audio & Electronic Bibles offer a way to experience Scripture through other forms of media. Read or listen to the Bible anywhere with an electronic device, CD, or MP3. These are ideal for the busy person on the go. 

  • Outreach Bibles are designed with local churches and ministries in mind. These cost effective Bibles can be purchased and shared in bulk. Some editions even feature extra resources to answer common Bible questions, search for Bible references related to life issues, and help readers understand and apply the God Word. 

2. How Do I Choose a Translation?

Choosing a translation can be tricky. Above all, our advice is this: pick the translation that is most readable to you. 

While God is the author of all Scripture, the human writers wrote in three languages. Because these languages don’t translate perfectly into English, translators must decide whether they are seeking to convey the exact words or the central idea of the original text. These translation philosophies are often referred to as "word-for-word" or "thought-for-thought." 

  • CSB (Christian Standard Bible) Translation Philosophy: An optimal blend of word-for-word and thought-for-thought, Originally Published: 2004

  • ESV (English Standard Version) Translation: Word-for-word; a literal update of the RSV (Revised Standard Version), Originally Published: 1970

  • KJV (King James Version) Translation: Word-for-word from the best manuscripts available at the time, Originally Published: 1611

  • NASB (New American Standard Bible) Translation: Word-for-Word, Originally Published: 1970
     
  • NKJV (New King James Version) Translation: Word-for-Word; an update to the KJV, Originally Published: 1982

  • NIV (New International Version) Translation: Word-for-word and thought-for-thought, Originally Published: 1978

  • NLT (New Living Translation) Translation: Thought-for-thought, Originally Published: 1996

 

Bible Translations Continuum

3. What's the Difference Between the Binding Options? 

We offer Bibles in a variety of styles, colors, bindings and prices.

  • Basic Bindings (includes paperback and hardback) are typically less expensive options. Ideal if you're on a tight budget or giving multiple copies away.

  • Deluxe Bindings (includes bonded leather and leathertouch) offer you an upgraded feel over paperback and hardback. Bonded Leather consists of genuine leather pieces that have been pressed together. While the texture is smooth, it will feel rougher than genuine leather. LeatherTouch is faux leather, often available in different colors and featuring designs pressed into the cover. This will feel similar to genuine leather.

  • Premium Bindings (including genuine leather and calfskin) are the best bindings available. If you purchase through LifeWay.com, premium bindings of Bibles published by Holman come with a lifetime guarantee. If your premium Bible doesn’t hold up, you can contact us at contact@csbible.com and we will replace your Bible for free.


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