Five Questions to Ask Before Getting a New Bible
Choosing a new Bible can be a daunting task. There are thousands of options. What are the questions you need to ask before buy a new Bible?
My grandpa is a mechanic. My uncles are mechanics. My dad is a mechanic. There is one thing I learned from them. When you have the right tool for the job, the job goes by a lot smoother. I don’t have a lot of tools for working on my car. I don’t know how many times I’ve nearly given up in frustration while working on my car. What would be a simple and quick task for my dad will take me several hours of frustration…because I don’t have the right tools.
I believe the same can be said for the Bible. I believe the Bible is the most important tool for a Christian to own. But there are so many options to choose from. How do you decide? How do you pick a new Bible? In the end, you have to go with what works best for you. But here are five questions to think through that I hope will help you with your search for a new Bible.
How will you use it?
This might sound like a dumb question (and yes I do believe dumb questions exist), but there are more purposes for the Bible than just reading. With each purpose you need to think through the implications of what type of Bible you might want to get.
If you are using it for primarily studying, then you probably want a good study bible with notes and commentary to follow along. If you are using it primarily for teaching and preaching in front of people, then you might want a thin line Bible. That way you don’t get tired from holding it. If you are using it simply for daily reading, then you might want a version that leads you through Bible in a year.
Whatever way you intend to use your new Bible, there is probably a Bible that would work best for your situation.
What translation will you get?
The Bible was not originally written in English…it wasn’t even written in Old English. Instead it was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Therefore it has been translated into English for us to be able to read it today. With any language, there are multiple ways to translate certain words and phrases. There are also whole schools of thought on how to translate the Bible…word for word, thought for thought, paraphrase, etc. Therefore there are hundreds (if not thousands) of different translations of the English Bible.
Take some time to study up on each translation to decide which one works best for you.
How often will it travel with you?
It used to be that your Bible would go with you everywhere you would go. But with the rise of smartphones and tablets, your can have a Bible with you wherever you go. If you’re Bible isn’t going to travel that much, you might be able to save a little and get a hardback, paper, or imitation leather version.
But if you are going to be carrying your Bible around with you all the time, you probably need to get a little sturdier version. There is nothing like the feeling of a good leather bible. They also seem to just get better with age.
How much will you be writing in it?
I recommend everyone writes in their Bible. But everyone will have different levels that they mark up their Bible. Keep this in mind. If you do a lot of writing, you will want to look for a Bible with larger margins. If you only do the occasional highlight or underline, then it won’t be as important. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to make notes in a margin that is thinner than the pen you are writing with.
How long do you plan to keep it?
This question kind of ties back into the first one we asked. I have heard of people who get a cheap new paperback Bible every year. They buy one, read through it in a year, make notes in it as they go, and then give it away when they are done.
I have heard of other people who say to get one Bible that will last you the rest of your life. As you use the same Bible you will become very familiar with it. It will become a close friend that you know where everything is and has all you notes in one place.
If you plan to keep your Bible for a long time, it is well worth the investment to get a solid Bible that will last you a long time.
One last piece of advice:
Don’t be afraid to get a Bible. You really can’t make a mistake here. The only mistake is to not have a Bible. If you end up buying a Bible that you don’t like, just give it away to someone. Take 30 seconds to pray and ask the Holy Spirit who you should give it to. Whoever comes to mind first, give them the Bible. Then go buy yourself another one until you find the one you like. You can never go wrong this way.