How to Buy a study Bible

There are a number of things that you should consider whenever you buy a study Bible.  First, you have things such as the translation to consider.  See our guide on how to select a translation if you need help.  Then you need to decide whether you want a general study Bible like the NIV Study Bible or the Life Application Study Bible.  Or you may want a specialty Bible such as the Archaeological Study Bible or the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible.  Or you may want a study Bible that has notes authored by a certain theologian such as the Ryrie Study Bible or the MacArthur Study Bible.

Once you have an idea of what study Bible you want, you may have some more decisions to make.  Many Bibles come in different sizes a styles.  The hardback Bible is still the most economical but is not as durable as a leather Bible.  If you want a leather Bible, then there are still options.  There are different grades of leather to consider.  And there are colors to choose as well.  In a lot of cases, you can even get a duotone color Bible which consists of two colors of soft leather.  These come in all kinds of options from tan to purple.

In short, your options for choosing a study Bible are almost endless and more choices come out every year.  Whatever decision you make, keep in mind that the point of having a study Bible is so that you can better understand the Bible.  You want to make sure that whatever translation you select is something that you will enjoy reading.  Then you want notes that will be of use for you.  If you’ve never owned a study Bible, then you’ll most likely want to start with a general study Bible.  These are written by a committee and will have a fairly balanced view of theology.  If you choose a study Bible with notes from a theologian, you will get their take on theology.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just that you’ll only get one perspective.  Likewise, if you get a specialty study Bible, you may have great notes about what an excavation revealed about the city of Bethany but little of note on Mary and Martha.  All of these things are factored in when you make the decision to buy a study Bible.