Personal Bible The purchase, or gift, of a Bible is a very important matter for the believer! The Bible my mother purchased for my High School graduation gift stayed with me through the ups and downs of life as a constant Companion--until the binding was totally worn out! (And there was no more room to write notes in the margins and fly leaves.)
The Bible is a Light, Bread, Guidance...and the still, small Voice of God in a noisy, cluttered up world. So the following facts should be considered in order to make an informed decision when getting a Bible:
- Consider whether you want a Genuine Leather, Hardback, or Paperback edition. Leather insures a long lifetime; hardback is good for in depth study, with the pages easy to turn; and a paperback is also easy to look up scriptures quickly.
- Decide which level of grammar is easiest to understand. There are Bibles in "basic English" or ones on a collegiate level use of vocabulary. Some like the Cotton Patch, or the Precious Moments Bibles would appeal to younger believers. (Other examples are the Living Translation, or NLT, and the Message.)
- A Red Letter Edition has the words of Jesus printed in red to distinguish them from the rest of the narratives. But many New Testaments do not have this feature.
- Some Bibles have a lot of pictures in them to help illustrate the Bible times and customs. Others have no pictures at all.
- One also has a choice between a Plain or a Study Bible. The Study Bible usually has charts, lists, maps, and introductions in the front of each book giving the author, date, and place of writing. Many contain other bits of biblical information as well. (Examples are the Nave's Study Bible and the Thompson Chain Reference Bible)
- Also, the inclusion of Footnotes must be considered. Several denominations, or schools of thought print Bible promoting their beliefs, so a wise choice must be made in this regard. (Examples are the Geneva Bible, the Holy Spirit Bible.)
- Another fact of bibliology is the consideration of Age in translating. Many believers retain usage of the King James Version of 1611 because it has been used for memorizing verses a lot (although it has been revised several times since then.) Others
prefer a more modern translation since it has the advantage of recent manuscript discoveries, etc. (Examples are NIV, NASV, ESV)
- Some Bibles are translated in a stiff, literal, true-to-the-original wording; and these are used for intense study or research. Other Bibles are "paraphrases" expressing the intent and thought of the author. They make for easier reading and devotional Bibles. Some are a happy medium in between.
- Another fact to keep in mind when picking out a Bible is Who did the translating: a single scholar expert in original languages such as Moffat, Philips, Berkeley; or a translating committee, made up of a number of scholars from different denominations working together.
- The size of a Bible is a fact worth considering. In the olden days each family had a huge, large Family Bible for the coffee table or mantlepiece. It was over a foot long and up to a half foot deep! But it contained a lot of pictures and lists of information! (And eventually, a lot of ribbons, baby hair, and momentos!) For personal use your Bible could/should be much smaller and easier to carry. In fact some are small enough to fit in a pocket or purse, or glove compartment of a car.
- Along with the Text of the Bible, many Bibles have a Concordance in the back which is a "type of dictionary" with references for quickly looking up verses. Some are extensive, others are minimal, just referencing important theological, or common words.
- Tabulated or plain. Some new Believers who have not yet memorized the books of the Bible, find it helpful to have a Bible that has indented tabs on the outer edge of the Bible so they can find the location of a book quickly. Other Bibles usually just have a gilded edging, or plain edge.
- The Cost is another consideration, but not a big concern, because with the modern printing technology and digital inventions, Bibles are printed easily at minimal cost---although a person can spend more for more features. If a person is desperate to obtain one, there are Bibles available free because of orgs like the Gideons, American Bible Society, Cru, Salvation Army, or your local church.
- And finally, a fact that should not be overlooked is the usage of a particular Bible in the congregation one belongs to. During Sunday morning meetings, the congregation may be asked to recite scriptures, and the whole congregation would read from the same translation. A believer may consider obtaining a Bible that is the same as the one recited in Church. Or own two Bibles: one for church, and one for home personal study and devotions with all the features desired.
It would not take long to rummage through these Facts concerning a Bible, and then venturing out to purchase one that will become your constant Companion. In the long run this survey will prove to be a blessing in you deciding. For reading (studying) the Bible is not just a good thing, it's a God thing!