I have a friend named Mike. Mike is a bible scholar. Big Time. In our 20-plus years of friendship, I have always thought he has a billiant mind. And whenever I have a question about the bible, I ask him.
A couple of years ago, I asked him what I thought was a simple question.
What’s the best bible to use?
He shrugged his shoulders and looked at me very matter of factly and simply said, “The one you have.”
No. Just no. Where was the deep and profound analysis of all of the bibles in the world? Where was the recommendation of the specific bible that I just have to have? Where was the validation that I needed to buy a shiny, new bible to get my Jesus on? So I rephrased the question.
Based on your studies as a bible scholar, and based on your teaching of bible to the masses, what’s the best bible to use?
“The one you have. But since you obviously don’t like that answer, any study bible should work for your needs.”
Now we were getting somewhere. A study bible! But wait, is he saying that I need to study the bible more? Is he saying I’m less of a Jesus girl because I need a study bible? Is he judging me? Let’s try this again.
I’m thinking about writing a blog post or recording a podcast about bibles. Can I interview you for my listening and reading audience?
“Yes, but if you ask me that same question again you will get the same answer. The best bible for anyone to use is the one they have.”
And so it began. My quest for the best bible ever. But guess what? He was right. In order to connect with the word of God, you need to read the word of God. That starts with reading the bible. Any bible. What Mike knew that I didn’t know was that while I read the bible, I didn’t have a solid bible-studying practice that would allow me to get to know my bible intimately. I needed to know if there was a built in commentary about the scriptures. I needed to know if there were resource maps that would help imagine the geographic locations of the bible. I needed to understand the different versions of the bible and what makes them different.
As a mom of three inquisitive teenagers, I also needed a bible that could answer their questions. The tough questions. Thank you, Apologetics.
The Apologetics CSB Study Bible for Students fits the bill. As most bibles do, it illustrates the Old Testament and New Testament seemlessly. But because it is Apologetics, the commentary is perfect for learning more. Typically used in the discussion of religion, the term apologetics is used describe the reason something exists. Apologetics can answer the easy questions, “Why was Jesus crucified?” to the tough questions “Why does God allow evil?” to the questions only the teen mind could formulate “If God made everything good, why shouldn’t we smoke pot?”
If you have questions, this bible has the answers.
After you have developed a solid practice for reading and studying, personal preferences do matter. Because Mike was right. At the time I originally asked the bible question, I had no idea what my current bible could do. I actually needed to open it and read it consistently (not just in times of trials). My preference has changed dramatically over the past five years because #40s, and now, these are all considerations:
- The size of the print. The bigger, the better.
- The style of the language. Theology is important, but if I haven’t been to seminary, I’m not going to understand heurectics. Yes, I am quite proud that I used that word properly. And I’m even prouder to know where my shortcomings are when it comes to biblical comprehension. These days, I use the New Living Translation (NLT), the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and Christian Standard Bible (CSB). They are all easy for me to study the scriptures and understand what I’m reading.
- The size of the print. It’s just that serious, y’all.
- The reference information provided. I like to know who authored a book of the bible whenever I read a scripture. I also like to know the historical context of the events leading up to the writing of book. I want to see the things that happened.
- The size of the print. Did you think I was playing?
- The relevance and appplication to your daily life. Probably more important than the large print, this is a huge deal. I need a bible that includes inspirational messages and can help me when I’m frustrated, encourage me when I want to give up, and reinforce God’s love in a way I can understand.
- And of course, the size of the print. #40s
As with anything in life, we encounter seasons that will require our needs to change. Even our needs in a bible. For the season that our family is currently in, The Apologetics CSB Study Bible for Students fits the bill.
I’m curious, what’s your favorite bible? What factors are important to you in selecting a new bible?