It seems like a new study Bible comes on the market every month in the United States. How in the world are we to choose which one to buy? Here are a few tips:

1) First, choose your translation.
Most study Bibles come in a variety of translations. I prefer the NIV for all around use, and the ESV for detailed study. I also consult The Message, the RSV and the NASB.

2) Next, decide what you want as far as “study” notes.
Different study Bibles focus on different things. They also come from different theological perspectives. Some focus on theological notes, some on archaeological aspects, others on practical issues, and yet others on women’s concerns and various other areas of emphasis. Here are a few Study Bibles that I would highly recommend:

The NIV Study Bible – a great all around study Bible
The Archaeological Study Bible – excellent for background and cultural material
The ESV Study Bible – excellent, perhaps the best study Bible on the market
The Life Application Study Bible – very good, practical in focus
The MacArthur Study Bible – good study notes
The HCSB Study Bible – an excellent resource (Southern Baptist)

by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor