Thursday, January 25, 2024

Three Tips for Choosing a Study Bible

Big Idea: Here are three tips to help you choose from the many Study Bibles available which help you understand the Bible better.

This series is about Bible study tools. There are many types of Bibles and helpful resources like a concordance or Bible dictionary. Information about their book and their electronic version are included. Cost and “how to use” will be addressed.

Three Tips for Choosing a Study Bible

A Study Bible may be the most important tool in your Bible tool box. It's a Bible, with notes and aids such as maps and charts to help you understand what you’re reading.

Here are three tips to help you choose one.

1. Choose a translation

Most study Bibles are offered in these versions. Read last week’s blog if you are unfamiliar with the differences and perspectives.

  • King James Version (KJV)
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  • New International Version (NIV)
  • English Standard Version (ESV)
  • New Living Translation (NLT)
  • Christian Study Bible (CSB)

And many more.

2. Choose the features important to you

Study Bibles have most of these features in some way or another. Knowing this list will be helpful as you look over what is available to you.

Notes on important or difficult verses. The notes are usually following a line on the page, written at the bottom.

Introduction of each book of the Bible often including an outline.

Articles of people, places and topics important in the study of the Bible.

A concordance in the appendix. A concordance is an index of words used in the Bible, indicating where some key verses are found.

Timelines and contextual notes.

Charts such as the life of Moses, the reign of King David, the life of Christ.

Cross references to other verses related to other verses in the Bible.

Maps related to Bible times such as the Exodus, the 12 tribes of Israel, the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul.

Some Study Bibles have other resources such as key word studies, or a topical index.

3. Consider between a general or specific focus

Because there are so many study Bibles, it helps to have an idea if you would like a more general study Bible or a particular focus.

General Study Bible. Since most translations want to give you the best translation of the Word of God for your use, they have created a study Bible with notes they deem very helpful. A couple of them are excellent.

Audience focus. Study Bible for Men. Study Bible for Women. Study Bible for teens. New Believers Study Bible. It would include notes, devotionals and a focus specifically to that demographic.

Theological or Scholar’s Perspective. A number of well known preachers have had their teaching notes and other tools they find helpful inserted into their Study Bible. Here are a couple of examples.

  • The Jeremiah Study Bible (David Jeremiah)
  • Charles F Stanley’s Life Principles Bible
  • The CSB Tony Evans Study Bible
  • The Fire Study Bible for Pentecostals
  • The Ryrie Study Bible (Charles Ryrie)

Thematic Study Bible. There are a number of Study Bibles associated with a theme that goes through the whole Bible. Some examples:

  • Archeology Study Bible
  • Complete Jewish Study BIble
  • Celebrate Recovery Study Bible

Study approach focused Study Bible. Some examples of this:

  • Kay Arthur’s Inductive Study Bible
  • Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible
  • Thompson Chain Reference Bible
  • Life Application Study Bible
An excellent in depth video from Jeffery Kranz on choosing a Study Bible.  He also has a helpful in-depth article about this. 

Electronic Study Bibles

From an electronic point of view, there are a couple places you can find a Study Bible online.

1. You can buy the kindle or electronic version of a Study Bible.

2. You can buy it through an app/website.

a. My husband and I share Tecarta app now called Life Bible where we have gotten several study Bibles for as little as $2.99 when they have a sale. We like to compare what different Bibles offer when we are studying a passage.

b. Logos Bible Study also has an electronic platform. It is free but buying various books to use can become expensive. Their Faithlife Study Bible, free on the platform, is excellent. 
c. has study Bible type intros with their NIV edition.


Cost of Bibles

Many study Bibles start around $20-40.  If you get a leather edition, which lasts for years and has good lay flat binding, could run you about $60-80.  However there are always Clearance Bibles (which are great by the way) at places like Christian Book Distributers and Lifeway, two big Christian book sellers. In fact CBD is having a winter Bible sale right now. 

I sometimes see study Bibles at a Thrift shop or library sale. 

Electronic versions are not much cheaper than the hard book cover Bible, which is your cheapest version.  
Tecarta, now Life Bible, has a sale a couple times a year when these electronic study Bibles are a couple dollars.  

The Bible is our bread of life. Dig in today!


Previous: The Quest for the Right Bible Translation
Up next: The Classic Halley’s Bible Handbook



1. Have you have a study Bible? Do you make use of the tools in it?

2. What do you think is the most helpful aid in a study Bible?  How does it help you in your walk with God?

No comments:

Post a Comment