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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

How to Buy a Bible

There are a number of things to keep in mind when you get ready to buy your new Bible. Here are some tips.

First, decide on the version. This is the most important decision you have to make. Some versions are very literal—others just a paraphrase of the Bible. Not all Bible versions are accurate—some are outright frauds.

If you are a new Christian, I suggest getting a New International Version (NIV) Bible. This Bible is, by far, the easiest to understand—and it remains faithful to the original text. More experienced Bible readers may prefer the New King James Version (NKJV). The NKJV Bible is a more precise translation—though not quite as easy to understand. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is the most literal Bible translation. Most Christians don't use it as their primary study Bible. However, it is an excellent reference Bible which you can use to help determine what a particular Scripture really means.

If you can afford it, I suggest buying one of each. You will benefit from reading more than one translation. You will learn your personal Bible preference(s). And you can refer to all three versions to better understand what a Bible passage really means.

For young children, the New International Readers Version (NIrV) is recommended. It is a simplified version of the NIV. This Bible is also appropriate for adults who want an English Bible but have trouble with the English language.

Second, if you are buying online, pay attention to the size of the text. The size of the text is measured in points. Don't rely on descriptions like "large print" or "giant print"—instead look for specifics like "9 point type" or "11 point text." The larger the point size, the bigger the text.

Third, the Bible should include footnote references at the end of selected verses. That is, at the end of some Bible passages, there should be a reference to another Scripture that speaks to the same issue. This will help you in studying the Bible.

Fourth, I recommend buying a separate, reliable Bible commentary. This will help you to better understand Scripture. This is the one I use and recommend: Bible Knowledge Commentary (2 Volume Set) (Bible Knowledge Series).

Fifth, if the Bible is going to be used as a primary study Bible, I recommend buying one that has a "ribbon marker." This will make it easy for you to keep your place in the Bible.

Sixth, some Bibles are "thumb indexed." This is desirable—though few Bibles contain this feature. Thumb indexing means that you can tell where a particular book in the Bible is located by looking at the indentations on the outside of the Bible.

Finally, I highly recommend that you also buy some Bible CDs to listen to. It will soon become a habit. If you are going to listen to the CDs while you fall asleep—as I do—they should be "voice only" not dramatized. The speaker should also speak slowly. The speaker I like to listen to when I fall asleep is Charles Taylor. His CDs can be ordered from

You can also download the Bible. One good resource is the Bible Verse of the Day page on this website. Just click on the audio link and you can listen to the speaker as much as you like before you buy.


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