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Tips on Choosing a Bible

There are an incredible number of Bibles on the market today that come in a variety of translations and in a number of formats.

While choosing a Bible often a matter of personal preference, there are some things to consider as you decide which one to use.

For example, not all Bibles are translated directly from the original languages but are instead reworded versions of Bibles that have already been translated to English. They are often easier to read, but can lose the original meaning. Examples of this include the Good News Bible, the New Century Version, and The Message. While these can be excellent devotional Bibles, they should generally not be used as a primary source.

If you choose to use one of the above Bibles, it is our recommendation that you also purchase a Bible that has been directly translated. Examples of this include the New Revised Standard Version (this is in our pews), the New International Version, and the New American Standard Version. All of these versions provide solid translations of the original texts and therefore are essential for any deeper study of scripture.

While there are certainly many more excellent Bibles out there, here are the ones our staff has chosen as their personal favorites, picks for children and youth, along with descriptions of why they like them. If you want more information about each one, please feel free to contact us directly.

Brian’s Pick: The New Interpreter’s Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version)

Why: This Bible is one of the most well researched and informative study Bibles available. With over 60 of the world’s leading Biblical scholars contributing to it, you will not find a more well informed Bible. It is easy to read, offers background on each book, and provides extensive notes on the text. I use this daily and it informs every sermon I preach.

You can find this Bible for purchase by clicking here.

Caitlin’s Pick: The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation

Why: This translation is recent, first imagined in 1988 and then completed in 2009. The purpose was to pour over the Hebrew and Christian texts in their original languages and then translate them using the most inclusive means possible. Avoiding exclusion is a core value of my faith and being in this world. It seemed only natural to be drawn to a translation of scripture unbound by patriarchy or sexism unnecessarily. The result of this translation, for me, is a poetic telling of our faith history that draws me in and reminds me that at the core of our faith, and of who we are – God is there. We don’t always get it right – and certainly with our language too often we fail to bring ourselves together but this translation does its best to keep room for everyone.

You can find this Bible for purchase by clicking here.

Jerry’s Pick: YouVersion Bible App (New American Standard) & The Message

Why: My first pick for a Bible is actually an app on my phone. I use YouVersion App WAY more than I use any other Bible. The reason is because I always (ALWAYS) have it on me. Also, I can change and compare translations at the push of a button. As a bonus, the search engine to find the location of scripture is second to none.

You can find the YouVersion Bible by clicking here. Bonus: It's free!

The hard copy Bible that is on my desk is The Message, by Eugene Peterson. It’s a paraphrase version, so not really the one I would turn to for study. But for a tried and true church kid who grew up with the Bible, the fresh take on very familiar words is helpful to slap me out of the complacency of familiarity.

You can find this Bible for purchase by clicking here.

Julie’s Pick: The Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible


• Accessible for academics, pastors and lay people seeking biblical knowledge and spiritual formation

• Character development and behind-the-scenes information for key biblical stories • Relevant and day-to-day life applicable thought about why scripture matters in the present day

• I don’t write a single sermon without consulting it!

You can find this Bible for purchase by clicking here.

Tommy’s Pick: Harper-Collins Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version)

Why: I used this Bible in seminary and read it cover-to-cover. Extensive footnotes are a reminder that every passage has many layers. The intros help put each book in perspective. Honorable Mention: Common English Bible. Great for reading out loud.

You can find this Bible for purchase by clicking here.

Children’s Ministry Pick: Sparkhouse Spark Bible NRSV Translation

Why: Partners well with our current curriculum, but it also doesn’t coat the tough scriptures too much. It acknowledges that kids can handle the more troubling passages. It does however, offer great real world questions helping kids connect the stories they find in the Bible to their lives today.

Example: Genesis 4:3-4 (Cain and Abel !!!!) – Question Bible Lists: Why do you think brothers and sisters fight with each other?

You can find this Bible for purchase by clicking here.

Youth Ministry Pick: New Century Version, New Living Bible, The Message

Why: Youth need a Bible translation they can easily read, understand, and relate to. Almost every youth believes the Bible is hard to read and even harder to understand. The versions listed above use current, everyday language which helps alleviate the barriers associated with reading and studying the Bible.

These Bible translations are readily available for purchase through a variety of vendors. Just search for the translation by name.


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