Things to Look For When Buying a Study Bible

by SharileeShares

An article on finding the best Study Bible for your needs. You need to look at factors such as the text, the layout, the cover and the study aides.

For believers, buying a new Bible is exciting. The smell of the print, the feel of the crisp pages on your fingers, and the clean, untouched pages. Buying any book is a great experience but a Bible is a believer's go-to book, the fount of knowledge and wisdom, and something that will be used on a regular basis, for years to come.

This article will look at factors to consider when buying a Study Bible.

Buying a Study Bible -- Factors to Consider

What to look for

For believers, buying a new Bible is exciting. The smell of the print, the feel of the crisp pages on your fingers, and the clean, untouched pages. Buying any book is a great experience but a Bible is a believer's go-to book, the fount of knowledge and wisdom, and something that will be used on a regular basis, for years to come. Choosing the best Bible for your needs is important, and there are so many options out there to consider.

This article will look at factors to consider when buying a Bible, and focus especially on the King James Version, because that is the version I use, and am most familiar with. There are 100's of Bibles out there in every version imaginable, so this will narrow the field. I was inspired to write this article after shopping for a Bible for my husband's birthday last month. I was surprised at the number of options out there when buying his present.

When purchasing a Bible, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the options to consider when buying your Bible: 

  1. Print: What size of print do you prefer? Does the text have the words of Christ in red? What kind of font does it use? 
  2. Layout: How is the text laid out on the pages?
  3. Size: How large is the actual book? 
  4. Study Guides: What study information is included?
  5. Cover: What is the cover like? 

What Kind of Print Does it Have?

What is the Size of Print? Are the words of Jesus Christ in red?

One of my motivations for buying a new Bible for my husband was that he found it near to impossible to read the one that he had. He had a large print Bible but it wasn't large enough, and he definitely needed a jumbo size print Bible.

For anyone with bad eyesight, I would recommend a jumbo, or giant print Bible. This print will be easy on the eyes and help to prevent eye strain. The large print is nice and big for someone who may have less than perfect eyesight but who can still see pretty well.

The regular print is okay for someone who can read other regular print books and most Internet pages. The advantage of regular print is that it allows for a smaller Bible, or allows for more room for study helps and commentary. For those without visual impairment, the larger print can seem annoying. I myself prefer a regular print over a jumbo or large print. I simply prefer the look of the page better.

There are still books printed in small print, as well. This feature is great for being able to create a small, portable Bible, and allows the printers to fit a lot of content, including study helps, within the pages of the Bible.

Another feature to check for is to have the words of Christ in red. This is a personal preference. Some prefer it but others find it distracting. Be sure to check out which one your Bible has. 



What Type of Layout to Get?

Layout makes a difference in the reading experience.

The next factor to consider when deciding on a Bible is layout. There are some standard layouts that most Bibles tend to follow and which to choose is a personal preference.

  1. The majority of Bibles made these days are laid out with two columns. The two columns are easy to read and use.  With this layout, the notes are found at the bottom of the page.  This allows for unlimited space for notes and commentary. 
  2. The middle column layout (or three column layout) has the advantage of all of the notes being between the columns, allowing for a more compact Bible. The printing for the notes is usually small, but it can make for a smaller, more portable Bible. As well, with the three-column Bible, the notes are closer to the text. 
  3. A one column layout has become more popular for its ease of reading --- this style of Bible tends to read like any other book.
  4. Another consideration is if there is room for taking notes. Although some readers are nervous about writing in the Holy Book, others love to jot down their impressions and lessons while they read. This is also good for taking notes during a sermon. 

Bibles With Plenty of Note-Taking Room

So you can interact with the text.
KJV TakeNote Bible

Tired of carrying multiple resources and journals when studying the Bible? The all-in-one KJV TakeNote Bible satisfies many needs in personal study. Each TakeNote Bible has wide...

Only $837.99
The Wide Margin Bible, KJV Reference Edition (Bible Akjv)

A tribute to the bookbinder's art, the Wide Margin Reference Bible makes an unparalleled gift for that special occasion in the life of a ministry or congregation. Constructed fr...

Only $274.95
Large Print Wide Margin Bible-KJV

For nearly 400 years, the Authorized Version of the Bible-popularly known as the King James Version-has been beloved for its majestic phrasing and stately cadences. No other boo...

Only $43.02

Size of the Bible?

Bibles are no longer always "big books"

When we think of a Bible, we tend to think of big, black book that is carried under our arm, weighing a ton. And the big books are still out there. Bible sizes, however, now come in all kinds of sizes. The four standard sizes are as follows, but there are dozens of different sizes of Bibles. 

  1. Large
  2. Standard
  3. Thinline
  4. Compact

Small Bibles are great for sticking in your purse or bag. They can be read in public and sit in a person's lap. For someone who carries their Bible around and needs portabality, the slim line Bible is an especially attractive choice. 

Bigger Bible can be nice because they allow for more notes and larger print. Some individuals prefer the feel of a bigger Bible. It really is a personal preference. 

Not all Bibles Need to Be This Big!
Not all Bibles Need to Be This Big!

Slim Line King James Study Bible

For a modern, sleek look.
The Kjv Slimline Bible

Big study Bibles are fine for home and office use, but people on the move need the UltraSlim™ -- the King James Bible that goes anywhere you go with style! Women appreciate this...

$12.19  $29.93

What Study Aides Does the Bible Have?

Look for commentary, maps, a concordance and references.

The difference between a study Bible and non-Study Bible is the study aides. A study Bible, by definition, has some helps to help you study and learn the Bible better. Here are a few things to lok for when choosing your Bible: 

  • References References are like links from one verse of Scripture to another. 
  • Maps: Many Bible have maps in the back. These are good for helping  you "picture" the events in a Scripture as you read. 
  • Concordance: The concordance is an index that lists words and phrases found in the Bible, and the place they are found. A concordance is good when you are thinking of a verse but you don't know where to find it. 
  • Bible Facts: Some Bibles will  have facts about Jewish culture during Biblical times, historical background and definitions of obscure words These facts can help you understand the context of the Bible better. 
  • Commentary is an author's opinion about what a particular passage of the Bible says. Commentaries can be useful in understanding difficult passages but I would encourage you to use caution because it is just one man't opinion. 

Study Bibles

With Enhanced Commentary and Study Aides
King James Study Bible

The most comprehensive King James Version study Bible published in 50 years. The King James Study Bible has more 2,000 pages packed with thousands of notes and commentaries from...

$15.76  $98.99
Life Application Study Bible (King James Version)

1990 Gold Medallion Award winner! The Life Application Study Bible is today's #1 selling study Bible because it helps people see how the Scriptures are relevant to today's issue...

$17.39  $43.51
Life in the Spirit Study Bible (King James Version)

Discover the Biblical Foundations of Life in the Spirit The Life in the Spirit Study Bible will help guide you into a Christ-centered, righteous and Spirit-led lifestyle. Previo...

$30.88  $20.24

What Kind Of Cover Does The Bible Have?

There are many kind of covers for Bibles available.

I found this one when speaking to my sister about this article. She informed that there are a great variety of covers available for Bibles. At one time, you simply chose between a black, blue, white or red cover and that was about  it. But now, there are some wonderful choices available. 

There are covers that appeal to the feminine heart with pretty colours and a soft touch. There are more masculine designs with a brown firm tone. There are also specialty Bibles done by a specific artist. The most unique cover is a water proof cover for taking the Bible anywhere into the wild forest! 

Bibles With Unique Covers

But the same message inside!
King James Version Reference Bible (Bible Kjv)

This study Bible is hot off the presses, having been first published May 8, 2012. The pink and burgundy cover is so beautiful and inside it is full of study helps and references.

Only $25.0
Waterproof Bible - KJV - Tree Bark

The durability of the Waterproof Bible gives you the freedom to take God's Word with you anywhere - boating, traveling, camping... with worry free confidence that your Bible wil...

$68.49  $57.81
Woman's Study Bible, Personal Size

The Woman's Study Bible is a priceless treasure, poignantly revealing the Word of God to a woman's heart. Now with a fresh, new look, The Woman's Study Bible is more relevant to...

$19.41  $15.0
KJV Study Bible (Two-Toned DiCarta Brown) (King James Bible)

Handsomely-packaged study Bible will help readers better understand the King James Version of scripture. More than 6,000 contemporary notes explain theological issues, confusing...

$26.49  $32.18
Lighting the Way Home Family Bible

For years, Thomas Kinkade has touched the hearts of millions with an art style that captures the warmth and wonder of life. Now the art of the Painter of Light is celebrated in ...

$28.49  $28.5

Bibles That Aren't Books

Audio, CD-Rom and E-Reader Bibles

One more way of reading the Bible doesn't involve reading a book, in the traditional sense of the word. You can get your Bible on C.D., on video, on Kindle, and on CD-Rom. These are different mediums with the same message. 

Each of these media types has its advantage. The C.D. is very good for someone that is not feeling well but still wants to hear Scripture. It is excellent for the sick or elderly who are encouraged by the hearing of the Word but may be too weak to read it for themselves. C.D.'s are also great for those whose sight is failing.

As well, the audio version is perfect for a commute or long road trip. Finally, some people are auditory learners and simply prefer to listen rather than read. 

C.D. Rom Bibles are great for people who prefer to do their learning either on the computer or through an E-reader such as Kindle. My brother-in-law studies a fair bit and he does his Bible research online, looking at different articles. He finds it very handy to have his C.D. Rom Bible right there for him to reference whenever he wants. 

Having your Bible on your phone or other portable reading device means you can read it anywhere and it will fit in your pocket. The message is the same but the way it is delivered is different than it ever was before. 

The Complete Audio Holy Bible: KJVersion -- Read By James Earl Jones

The complete Audio Holy Bible (King James Version) The vocal talents of two of the world's most gifted artists combine in service to the most popular book of al time, resulting ...

$79.81  $75.82
Holy Bible: King James Version, Video Bible, Value Price

Same great Bibles on DVD, repackaged at a lower price! These DVD Bibles are an extension of the audio Bible line, but with the added bonus of being able to see the Biblical text...

Only $9.99
The Holy Bible: Authorized KJVHoly Bible (ILLUSTRATED) on Kindle.

ILLUSTRATED VERSION: Contains 10 detailed illustrations from key Bible scenes, including:* The Sacrifice of Isaac* The Adoration of the Shepherds* The Calling of the Disciples P...

Only $0.99
The KJV Rainbow Study Bible on C.D. Rom

This Bible is available on C.D. Rom.

Only $29.98
The BIBLE in LIVE INK(tm). Patented Formatting Boosts Comprehension. With Large Print Options. A...

EXPERIENCE the ELOQUENCE of the World's Greatest Book with LIVE INK(tm), the greatest advance in reading in 1000 years.... LIVE INK is a patented text presentation method that h...

Only $8.59

E-Bay Also Carries Bibles

E-Bay carries many unique items.

I Hope You Enjoyed The Tour

And You Feel More Informed Now!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this tour of the different Bibles available and that the next time you go out to buy a Bible, you will be more armed to make a knowledgeable choice. There are many Bibles to choose from and it is good to have an idea of what you are looking for. 


"Study to shew thyself approved unto God." 

For an online Bible lookup, see the website, Bible Gateway. 

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Updated: 05/09/2012, SharileeShares
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SharileeShares on 05/15/2012

Paula, thanks so much for the comment. I am glad you liked the article!

Paula on 05/15/2012

Great Article!

SharileeShares on 05/12/2012

Cindy, I am so glad that you find it useful! There are so many choices available and it's good to have criteria when you start out. Have a great day!

CindyMurdoch on 05/11/2012

This is a wonderful article that covers all the aspects that one would need to consider in choosing a study Bible! Great job!

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