Most Christians know that God calls us to read His Word.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)
But with the various versions of the bible available, which one is the best?
You may have grown up reading a bible and are still using the version that was sanctioned by your church. That’s awesome! Keep up the good work!
I didn’t grow up reading the Bible, per se, but I was familiar with it through the readings I heard in church every week. I also knew the Catholic version of my church differed from the Protestant versions.
So, what are the different options for bibles? The following link to BibleStudyTools.com is a great resource if you want to explore the different options in detail.
According to Wikipedia, the New Revised Standard Version is the version most commonly preferred by biblical scholars. In the United States, 55% of survey respondents who read the Bible reported using the King James Version in 2014, followed by 19% for the New International Version, with other versions used by fewer than 10%. The full article is HERE.
Need a list of Catholic versions? That’s HERE.
A wise religious advisor once told me that one of the most common questions she’s asked is, “What is the best version of the Bible?”
How brilliant and simple!
A free online resource I love is BibleGateway.com. It has a simple, searchable biblical database and allows you to easily select among many bible versions.
Pick one of your favorite bible verses and visit Bible Gateway. Plug your verse in the search field, then select a biblical version. Read the verse from that version. Then select another version and read the resulting verse. Repeat.
(Don’t have a favorite verse? Try using John 3:16.)
This simple method will show you several options quickly. Which version speaks loudest to your heart?
As an example, I’ve tried reading an old family bible that’s been collecting dust on our bookshelves for decades. Instead of feeling a connection, I felt frustrated. The older language just doesn’t work for me. I’m too distracted by the “thee”s, “thou art”s, and “cometh”s. My simple mind needs simple (current) language or else I lose focus.
My New International Version (NIV) Study Bible was a gift and became the first version that my husband and I actually sit and read together (a link to it is at the end of this post). But when I recently picked up my teenage New American Bible (NAB – Catholic) that I retrieved from my parents’ house, my brain said, “Ahhhhh”. The large print and basic language instantly won me over.
So, what version will win you over? Do the comparison at BibleGateway and find out. If you purchase a Bible, consider the size of the book and the print size.
Smaller print size creates a more compact version for easier transport but can strain your eyes, becoming a potential reason to stop reading. Larger print means larger physical size that potentially doesn’t fit on your bookshelf or in your handbag.
These points may seem silly, but they can really make the difference between whether the Word will become part of your daily life or a paperweight that eventually gets buried in your pile of discarded books.
If you’re not reading the Word today, it’s time to find the right one for you.
Browse the current list of Amazon best-selling Bibles to see consumer reviews and descriptions.
The ‘study bible’ I mentioned earlier is one that provide some explanation, context, and background information for particular chapters and verses. Below is a link to the one my husband and I use. Note – the personal size is compact, but the print size is pretty tiny. Also, I’d choose the hardcover version if I were buying it again.
What’s your favorite Bible version and why? How often do you read the Bible? Let me know in the comments.