Deciding on the right study Bibles can be really difficult. There are so many to choose from, so many different translations, a variety of devotional styles, focuses, purposes, and factors to delve through. If you have never owned a Bible, let alone a study Bible, then you may be overwhelmed by the choices available. How could you possibly choose? How do you know what one is the right one?
I bought my first Bible only about 7 years ago now and I had no idea there were so many options. In fact, there weren’t so many options! Now I love to nerd out in the online bookstores and when this whole COVID-19 gunk is over with I am so excited to get back to perusing the Bible book aisles of the local bookstores! My inventory is growing and I have grown to appreciate the variety of Bibles available. I want to recommend my favorites to you in hopes it may help you decide on your first, or next, Bible!
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The NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson has been my absolute favorite for deep-dive Bible studies. It is jam-packed with wonderful commentary, articles, Biblical definitions, images, outlines, and more. It has an awesome subject index, maps, and even a concordance in the back.
One of my favorite things about this study Bible is that it doesn’t have the fluffy, foo-foo style a lot of study Bibles seem to have, and doesn’t have an opinionated tone either. (Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the foo-foo ones as well, but there is a time and place for those).
Speaking of foo-foo, NKJV Women’s Study Bible from Thomas Nelson is an absolutely incredible study Bible for women. This was my first experience with a Bible specifically for women and I fell in love with it. I feel like it is the right mix of foo-foo and cut-and-dry. By that I mean it doesn’t feel overly fluffed up, and all the fluff is warranted and backed up by scripture.
This study Bible is not the kind of women’s Bible that plays on feelings and is fantastic for anyone who would like to dive into scripture to learn more about being a Biblical woman. I have pulled this out when studying with my husband and used a lot of articles and notes from this Bible for many of the studies throughout the blog.
This was my favorite personal study Bible as I got familiar with studying scripture. It is the one I typically take to church and Bible studies with me. This Bible is a wonderful day-to-day study Bible for any woman.
The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible from Thomas Nelson is by far my favorite personal Bible these days. I love Max Lucado’s books and was so excited when he launched this devotional-style Bible. I bought one as soon as it was available and have no regrets.
Along nearly every page Max Lucado has a devotion to go along with the passages to help explain the relevance and importance. He does such a wonderful job of making things relatable while also encouraging readers to really go deeper into the Word. In the back, there is a fantastic 30-day reading plan, as well as some other goodies.
This Bible is great for Bible students at any stage, whether just starting out with study Bibles or reading of God’s Word, or whether you have been studying the Word for years. It’s a wonderful devotional style Bible to have on hand.
I have had my Quest Study Bible from Zondervan for quite a while and love to dive into it for practical application types of studies. It is a wonderful study Bible to companion with other types of study Bibles. It’s very cut-and-dry, and I love how easy it is to navigate.
It is a bit more condensed than most of my Bibles but it doesn’t feel like it when you open it up. It has the margins nicely lined up with Q&A format notes, and some expanded articles on the bottom. I really love that the notes are addressed in Q&A format throughout. It makes it pretty easy to find what you’re looking for, helps you dive deeper into scripture & navigates some great practical application for what God is telling us through the Word.
The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bibles from Zondervan is a wonderful asset to have. One of the things we should all be aware of is the culture of Biblical times in order to help us better understand what is written and what we can learn about God through His Word. The fact that so much of the culture was different does not mean it is not relevant.
There is so much to learn from studying the cultural aspects of scripture, and we also learn how similar today’s culture is in a lot of ways. Regardless, it is a valuable piece to learn as a student of the Bible. This study Bible has been a huge help and asset in my study and a wonderful companion to my other more broad-scope study Bibles and resources.
What are your favorite study Bibles?
I have a growing collection of study Bibles and these five are absolutely my favorite, hands down. They have added so much depth to my study, and I certainly feel I have grown in my knowledge of the Word, as well as of who God is and who He says I am.
Please feel free to let me know what your favorite study Bibles are as well as any questions you may have about these wonderful resources!