Study Bibles are instrumental when it comes to daily immersion into the word of God.
They can help you gain a deeper understanding of the word while simplifying it at the same time. However, knowing the one to choose can be a problem, especially if you do not know what to look at.
Every month, there is a new study bible on the market. Still, you can gain access to so many Bible apps free of charge.
So, which are the best study Bibles? Must be they be written in line with a particular ideology?
Does it have to come in a specific language, size, or color? We are going to show you how to choose a study Bible and dive further into a few suggestions.
How to Choose the Best Study Bible
A study Bible isn’t just any Bible. You cannot walk into a bookshop and simply pick the first one you get.
There are so many versions and translations that you have to be careful to choose the best study bible for you.
Here are a few tips to guide you through the whole Bible-choosing process.
Which is the best bible translation?
The Bible you buy should be written in a translation you can easily understand. Also, make sure the translation is the same as that of your church minister.
It will be easier for you to follow the teaching and preaching in Church. When studying the Bible on your own at home, it will also be easier for you to understand what you are reading.
No need to have lexicons and bible dictionaries. If that’s what you want, then the New International Version (NIV) translation is the best choice.
However, you could be at home with the King James Version KJV) or New King James Version (NKJV). Go ahead and buy one in your favorite translation.
What is your goal?
Your main reason for buying a study Bible also matters. Do you need it for Church or for Sunday school? Will you be using it mostly at home?
If you want a Bible to use on-the-go, then avoid the huge large-print versions. That will be too bulky and best for use at home.
Those in Bible school may prefer the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, which simplifies the topical study of God’s word. To know the original meanings of certain words, buy the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. Or, you may purchase an Archeological Study Bible for in-depth historical and cultural understanding. In short, your primary goal will determine the type of Bible you buy.
Carry Out Research Beforehand
Ask your friends about the Study Bibles they are currently reading. Why do they consider these Bibles as their favorites? What features draw them towards these Bibles the most?
It could be because the translation is easy to understand. Or, the additional notes are in-depth? The price could also be the reason your friends prefer a particular study Bible.
Find out from people you admire, whether Christian believers, leaders, or teachers. What are their favorite Bibles?
As you gather this information, don’t forget, you have your own personal preferences. After you have gained enough knowledge and confidence, you can go ahead and buy your favorite study Bible.
Now that you know how to choose a study Bible, you should know the best study bible 2020. We have compiled a comprehensive list of 15 study Bibles to help make an easy choice.
Read on to know what each one of our options portends for you as a student of God’s word.
1. Quest Study Bible
The Quest Study Bible is the best for you. You will get answers to your questions from thousands of articles and notes from reputable Bible scholars.
The topics addressed in this study Bible include the hindrances to prayer, reasons for tests from God, and so on.
In addition to understanding challenging issues in the Bible, you will gain clarity on confusing topics.
Every book in this study Bible has a detailed introduction covering the characters, events, and themes.
The Quest Study Bible will help both new believers and seasoned Christians to gain a better understanding of God’s word.
For what reason is the Quest Study Bible considered one of the best? It is available in different translations, making it such a versatile study Bible.
Inside, you will find more than 7,000 notes designed to address specific questions. A group of Bible scholars has equipped it with more than 350 informative articles.
It is easy to navigate, thanks to the article and subject indices.
2. The ESV Study Bible.
The ESV Study Bible was first published in October 2008. Since then, it has gained a foothold among the best study Bibles available on the market today. You only need to look at the list of notable scholars that have endorsed it to realize where it stands. So far, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Mark Driscoll, R. Kent Hughes, and John Piper have put out their support for this study Bible. Unlike other Bible versions, which are hard to understand, this particular one is available in Standard English. No wonder it is referred to as ESV or English standard Bible.
In 2009, the Bible was awarded by the Evangelical Publishers Association (ECPA) as the Christian Book of the Year. It was so popular after publication that it sold out almost immediately, becoming the best Bible since then. The ESV Study Bible has now been compressed into a smaller, more compact version for use on-the-go. Both the expanded and compressed versions contain at least 20,000 notes. It is an easy guide through the word of God, given the comprehensive book introductions, timelines, charts, and illustrations.
3. The NLT Study Bible.
If you are having trouble understanding outdated Bible translations, we recommend the New Living Translation. Written in modern English, it is easy to understand. You will find it a very fun-filled, informative Bible. Its purpose is to help you to understand the Bible as a single piece of word from Genesis to Revelation. A standout feature of this study Bible is the well-thought introductions that explain the books of the Bible. The Bible also has simple but effective timelines that take you back to the time when the books were written.
Why would you want to buy this study Bible? Let’s start with the authors. It was written by Barry Beitzel, Daniel Block, John N. Oswalt, Norman Ericson, Tremper Longman, and others. For sure, there is a lot to be gained from the insights provided by the more than 50 contemporary Bible scholars. It contains at least 300 theme articles, more than 25,000 study notes, and at least 220 charts. Before you commence your Bible study, you will read more than 80 introductory articles. If that does not awe you, then the more than 50,000 cross-reference verses would.
4. The Life Application Study Bible.
The purpose of the Life Application Study Bible is just that. It is meant to help you apply the word of God in your life. Reading it, you will gain deeper insights into God’s word and use it to answer common questions and problems.
One thing you will realize is that the Bible addresses most, if not all, of the life’s issues you may have. You will learn to look to God’s word regarding your work, relationships, and so on. On each page, you will find study notes at the bottom. The good thing is that you will get the Life Application Study Bible in your favorite translation.
What features define this study Bible? Inside, you will get up to 10,000 study notes, 100 profiles of Biblical characters, and 400 charts & maps. Each of these features is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to comprehend its content. When you find a hard-to-grasp concept, the concordance (dictionary) will come in handy. If you are a worker in the ministry, this study Bible is going to make your work very easy. From the first page to the last, words attributed directly to God appear in red.
5. Compass: The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life.
Want a Bible study that points you in the right direction? The Compass Bible is designed to do that and more. It will help you to closely connect with God while revealing how you fit into the greater story of God. Other study Bibles can either be thought-for-thought or word-for-word translations.
The Compass Bible combines the best of both in what is called the Voice translation. One of its strongest points is the translation of the book of Revelation. It makes the book extremely easy to comprehend. New believers will find this study Bible great. Making your way through the scriptures couldn’t be any easier.
Inside, you will find numerous study notes on cultural, devotional, historical, and theological thoughts. That will help you to understand the word of God from all possible dimensions.
At the beginning of each book is a comprehensive introduction to start you off. The daily reading plans will help you cover the Bible within less than one year. To help you to easily navigate it, the study Bible contains seamless topical guides.
6. The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible.
While studying the Bible, you might find yourself greatly constrained of time to learn Hebrew and Greek. What you need is a study Bible that makes it easy for you to learn the two Biblical languages.
That’s the reason you need the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. Within no time, you will get acquainted with the elaborate structure and extensive vocabulary of Hebrew and Greek.
The reason to buy this study Bible is that it provides great lexical aids, exegetical notes, and concordance numbers. When you read the Bible in the original languages, you are likely to comprehend it better than before.
Some of the unique words might even have several meanings in English. After reading it, you are likely to fall in love with God’s word even more. The author is Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, a Cyprus born Bible scholar.
7. The Thompson Chain Reference Bible.
The Bible contains numerous topics, subjects, personalities, and ideas. As such, the best study Bible 2020 should be one that enables you to easily access what you are looking for. With its standalone reference system, the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible stands out in a lot of ways. If you decide on following Jesus, it will create for you a map from the beginning of the Bible to the end. You don’t need to have attended a seminary to read and understand the word of God.
It was first published in 1908, with improvements being made in subsequent years. Even though originally based on the King James Version, the study Bible is now available in different translations. Available versions include the New King James Version (NKJV), New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and English Standard Version (ESV).
You can buy the Thompson Cross-Reference Bible in its paper version or as an electronic file. One thing you will love about this study Bible is how it explains notes about key Bible characters. You will also be introduced to Bible archeology if that’s an area of interest.
8. The Starting Point Study Bible.
If you are still new in the Christian walk, the Starting Point Study Bible will help your journey take off successfully. You will start off by learning what it takes to lay a strong foundation of faith in Christ. In subsequent topics, you will learn how to build on the foundation for a more fulfilling life in Christ. You will learn to listen to the word of God, as presented in the Bible. It also explains the meaning of the word and its application in your daily life.
The Starting Point Study Bible is available in several translations, the most popular being the NIV. Each of the books starts with a comprehensive introduction to help you understand the background. With so many articles on concerns about your relationship with God, you can never go wrong.
One of the things you will learn is how to be a real Christian. Each page has a center column with indices, reading plans, maps, and concordance. The study Bible comes as a result of the work of the Next Generation Alliance and the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (LPEA).
9. The Amplified Study Bible.
The Amplified Bible is great when it comes to helping you understand scripture in original languages – Greek and Hebrew. You don’t need to first study and understand Hebrew and Greek to understand the original nuances. All you need is a burning desire to uncover all about God and His word.
The study Bible is very unique in the way it shades the meaning of the word in the original languages. You will enjoy using the standalone system of italics, punctuations, synonyms, and references. The word is amplified right before your eyes, one verse after another.
Apart from the in-verse explanations of the meaning of God’s word, the study Bible also has an introduction to every book. The ribbon marker makes it easy for you to pick up Bible study from where you left. If you intend to gift someone with this study Bible, the presentation page will come in handy.
Newer versions of the Amplified Bible feature large print and provide a smooth reading experience. The wording is clearer and the understanding you get from it way deeper than before.
10. The Comparative Study Bible.
Reading only one version of the Bible may leave you feeling like you didn’t get the full meaning of the word. At such a time, you need a comparative study Bible to help you compare Bible verses from the different translations.
As such, the Comparative Study Bible includes four major versions. We are talking about the King James Version, Amplified Bible, New American Standard Bible, and the New International Version. You can read the text in all the four versions while making comparisons for better understanding. It is the best when it comes to avoiding loss of meaning in translation.
It features a two-page spread with complete portions of the scripture from all the four Bible versions. You can easily discover the different meanings and nuances all on the same page. Also, the study Bible introduces you to the original thoughts of the translating committees. You don’t need to be an expert in Aramaic, Greek, or Hebrew to know what God says in His word. The print is easy to read and doesn’t require you to wear reading glasses.
11. The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV: Jacketed Hardcover.
Reading and understanding the Bible doesn’t have to be such a hard thing. The Jeremiah Study Bible is a simple tool for both seasoned and new believers. It breaks down the word into three – what the Bible says, what it means, and what it means for you.
The author is Dr. David Jeremiah, a leading Bible Teacher in the world. His work is one of the best study Bibles, thanks to features that enhance understanding of the word. The study Bible presents biblical insights in a way that makes them easy to understand. After reading this study Bible, your life will be transformed.
One of the features that make this a great study Bible is an introduction you will get to each of the books. Inside, there are more than 10,000 study notes that provide greater insight and understanding of the word. If you want to learn more about important themes in Christianity, you can read the 55 articles.
The sidebars contain archeological, geographical, and historical information for your perusal. It does not end there. Dr. Jeremiah shares links to additional digital resources, including online videos, photos, and illustrations.
12. NKJV Study Bible, Hardcover, Full-Color, Comfort Print: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word.
Since its publication, the NKJV Study Bible has sold at least 2 million copies. That wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t a sure guide through God’s word. The NKJV Bible Study contains materials that have been artistically prepared by some of the top-most Bible scholars. It has numerous cross-references to introduce you to related Bible verses and passages.
In simple terms, it offers a complete Bible study system for new believers and seasoned Christians. As the title suggests, it is solely based on the New King James Version of the Bible.
Now to the specifics. The study Bible contains more than 15,000 verse-based study notes to expose you to an in-depth meaning of the word. A comprehensive introduction gives you a cursory look at the content of all the books. There is nothing better than the in-text charts and maps appearing on most pages. When you encounter difficult terms along the way, simply refer to the concordance, and you will be sorted.
13. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Leathersoft, Green, Red Letter Edition: Bringing Life The Ancient World of Scripture.
Do you often wish you could get all the details in a Bible story? The NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible contextualizes Bible stories by providing a deeper cultural background.
Thus, you can use it to discover the richness of the cultures behind the stories in the Bible. As you turn the pages, you will encounter expert analysis of the culture, literature, and customs of Biblical times. Every explanation will bring you closer to discovering the true meaning of each passage in the Bible.
The study Bible is based on the New International Version, which is easy to comprehend. Some of the notable contributors include theologians Dr. Craig S. Keener and Dr. John H. Walton.
In 2017, it won the Bible of the Year Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). It features study notes on most of the verses and at least 300 contextual topical articles. Some of the illustrations inside include photographs, diagrams, maps, and charts. Words that are directly attributable to Jesus are presented in red print.
14. NKJV, Spirit-Filled Life Bible, Third Edition, Ebook: Kingdom Equipping Through the Power of the Word.
As a Christian, it is not enough to be immersed in the word of God. Having a spirit-filled life also matters. That’s why you should ensure you buy the NKJV, Spirit-Filled Life Bible. The idea of writing this study Bible was conceived by the Church or the Way pastor, Jack Hayford. He put together a group of spirit-led Bible scholars to produce this resource. It will teach you how to live in God’s Kingdom, exercise spiritual gifts, and claim the promises of God.
The popularity of this study Bible is due to the easy to use features with which it comes. With over 650 reviews of the word, you will understand the Bible better the way it was originally intended. You will expand your understanding of the Kingdom with copious notes from spirit-filled teachers, preachers, and writers.
The study Bible also has the Truth-In-Action section with thematic charts to provide you with the practical application of the word. At the beginning of each book, there is a detailed introduction and outline. The study notes touch on key passages in the Bible to help you understand the Bible better.
15. KJV Sword Study Bible.
Based on the original King James Version of the Bible, the KJV Sword Study Bible comes with a standalone reference system. To help you easily understand the word, the authors of this study Bible have broken down the references into sections.
The three main parts include God, The Plan of God, and Man. Each of the components is then broken down into different topics and themes. Each subject has a unique code that appears on each and every page that touches on it. A clear index on the margin directs you where to find a particular topic or theme.
Word directly attributable to Christ, and God appear in red. Everywhere in the study Bible, you will find the names of God and old disused terms clearly underlined. Inside, there are many articles, charts, chronological timelines, harmonies, and Jesus’ names and titles. Also included is a comprehensive concordance on 300 pages and maps from Biblical times.
If you have a problem with the difficult terms in KJV, you may buy the KJV-ER version. ER stands for “Easy Read.” Here, you wouldn’t have to grapple with “thee” and “thou.” With the best study Bible 2020, you get a range of covers. There is genuine leather, bonded leather, ultra-soft leather, and softcover – each with its own price.
So much about the best study Bibles. By now, you should have identified a resource that is going to serve your unique needs. It all depends on whether you are a student in a seminary or a Christian looking to understand God’s word more.
The right study Bible will not only expound the Bible but also help you grow spiritually. It is a companion to everyone seeking a closer relationship with God.