God wants his people to spend time with him in an effort to develop a growing, intimate relationship with them. There are many ways to spend time with God. These include prayer, worship, praise and personal devotions just to name a few. One of the most important ways to spend time with God and to get to know him better is to spend time in reading and studying the Bible. There are two main things to remember when choosing a Bible.
(1) Personal Comfort
A very important step in choosing a Bible is one that most commonly gets over looked. That is to choose a Bible that is personally comfortable in size and style. This is a book that will be used on a daily basis and therefore should be a good fit for its owner. Some Bibles are designed with the scriptures to be written in two columns on each page while other Bibles have the layout of a traditional book. There are people who may need larger print that is in a lighter weight, easy to hold style. Bibles come in leather, paperback, magazine style, pocket size and giant size. It is a personal choice for each person as to what is comfortable but is one of the most important choices for anyone looking to own a Bible. If it is not comfortable it takes more effort to use it and if it takes a lot of effort to use it, there is less of a chance that is will get used.
(2) Choosing a Translation/Version
It can be an overwhelming task when it comes to choosing a Bible. There is a vast array of versions and translations available and while many of them are very similar, there are others that are extremely different. For someone who has not been involved in church or Bible reading previously, it is important to choose a version that is easy to understand. The best “beginner” versions are the New International Version (NIV) or the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Also easy to understand are the Living Bible versions. The important thing to know about the Living Bibles is that these versions are not direct translations of the Bible word for word but are in actuality paraphrases. The reader may miss some of the more minute details that are found when reading the Bible verse by verse, however it can be easier for the reader to understand passages that are typically more difficult to understand. The more traditional King James Version of the Bible is the one that most people may be used to hearing read in church or by grandma as a child but for Bible study and learning can be difficult to sift through. Many people like the King James Version when reading out loud because it is beautiful to listen to. A suggestion when choosing a Bible is to go to the public library and check out several different versions. This allows the reader to actually spend time in the different versions and thus can make a more educated decision. Many Christian bookstores will allow people to take books out on loan as well.
(3) Choosing a Style
Bibles also come in different styles that can make reading and studying easier and more enjoyable. There are study Bibles where the reader can find explanations and commentaries at the bottom of each page regarding the passages of scripture found on that page. Study Bibles also have additional information at the beginning of each book that tells background information about the book, who wrote the book and where and details about the characters in the book.
Devotional Bibles have areas of questions and answers and modern day stories woven into the scripture passages that help the reader apply the scriptures to their lives. These Bibles typically will have reading schedules in them that help the reader to make progress in their reading.
Finally, there are Bibles designed for specific people groups. There are women, men, children and teen Bibles that have the styles of the study and devotional Bibles but are designed specifically for those groups of people. Another newer trend in Bible styles are Bibles that have a study/devotional book that comes with the Bible as a “partner” to it. The books usually have an identical outer cover and look as its biblical counterpart and are designed the same way on the inside as well.