Who knew that finding the right Bible could be so hard?
I certainly wouldn’t have made that assumption.
However, a year or so ago I started to hunt for the perfect Bible for me.
In case you haven’t been in the market for a Bible over the past few years, I must say that the options seem endless!
There are SO many different translations now, so many different styles of covers, so many interior formats (side-by-side translations, journaling, etc.), so many types of study Bibles with various resources, and the list goes on…
I’d written about half of this post several months ago, but had gotten distracted and never finished it. Recently, a friend reached out asking for my thoughts on purchasing a new Bible- which one would be right for her? I figured it was time to finish this post in case it could be a help anyone else as well, whether they are looking to buy a Bible for themselves or as a gift for someone else.
Here’s my list of Top 5 Favorite Translations:
- New International Version (NIV)- This version of the Bible is a modern translation that is very accurate to the original text, and honestly just what I’ve been using since becoming a follower of Christ. It is widely used and super easy to read. The NIV is considered a dynamic translation, which simply means that its writers attempted to strike a balance between the literal translation (word for word) and the intent of the writer (thought for thought). I use the NIV Study Bible as my main Bible and I love all of the footnotes, cross references, etc.
- Christian Standard Bible (CSB)- This version is also an easy to digest translation, and equally true to the original text. I’ve always heard that this translation strikes the best balance between readability and literal accuracy. This is the translation of the She Reads Truth Bible. I have this Bible as well and love it too. It is BEAUTIFUL, has lots of helpful maps, timelines, charts, and devotionals.
- English Standard Version (ESV)- This is essentially a literal translation of the Bible. It is a trusted version if you are looking for a literal translation, and is also relatively easy to read and comprehend. The Daily Grace Co. uses this translation for their bibles, which I LOVE! They are GORGEOUS, have lots of room for note-taking or doodling, and are often on sale.
- The Amplified Bible (AMP)- This translation is designed to “amplify” the text with additional explanations within brackets and other forms of punctuation. It can be super helpful with comprehension. I am still on the hunt for an Amplified Bible for myself (I’ve been using my YouVersion Bible app up to this point. Here is one that might be good:
- The Message (MSG)- This is considered to be a paraphrased version of the Bible, as opposed to a translation. It definitely reads differently than the other versions listed, as it uses more American slang than any other version. I love how it paints such vivid word pictures. Even though I probably wouldn’t choose the Message as my primary Bible, I love to read it alongside a more traditional translation to help with comprehension.
Also, there are side-by-side translations of the Bible now. So one Bible will include two parallel translations. For example, I’d love to have the NIV / The Message Parallel Bible.
Beyond these different translations, there are also different formats to consider:
- Study Bibles
- Journaling Bibles
- Coloring Bibles
There are SO many options!!!
Hopefully, I’ve given you a little background to get you started. However, if you’re like me, it’s nice to have someone else do the legwork and give you specific options that you may like.
Here are some links to specific Bibles I love:
If I’m totally honest, I never settled on just one. I have my main Bible, an NIV Study Bible. Then, I also use several other translations to help deepen my understanding. I’m not necessarily endorsing this method for everyone, but it is what is working for me right now. I guess I just finally got serious about studying my Bible and once I did, I couldn’t get enough!
(While there is no substitute for a paper Bible that you can hold, read, highlight, mark-up, flip through, etc., I love using online resources for Bible study as well, which I talk about in this post. Also, this post contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.)