Tips on Buying a Bible That’s Right For You

The Bible is much more than a book of stories, but a toolkit on how to live life well–a life lived with meaning, purpose and direction. Get my tips on buying a Bible that’s right for you.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Buying bible

CONNECTING MY BIBLE TO “REAL LIFE”

At a young age, I understood the names and order of the books of the Bible but limited on my own. My technique was either start at the beginning or close your eyes and flip to something random.

Through years of guidance and education, I learned that the Bible is much more than a book of stories, but a toolkit on how to live life well–a life lived with meaning and purpose and direction. Just 8 years ago, I discovered how the Bible connected with “real” history (those things they teach you in school) and that most Bibles don’t follow a chronological order.

It’s understandable that many of us as adults want to revisit the things we learned as children in Sunday school or even try to decode the Bible for the first time, but many of us open it up to only feel overwhelmed. In choosing a Bible, we often question:

  • What do I do with this thing? 
  • Can I jump around or do I read from start to finish? 
  • What’s the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament
  • Why are there so many different versions? 

I’ve completed over 50 Bible studies in my adult life and I still crave more knowledge. Why? The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Instead of seeing the Bible as a historical document, look at it as a tool for living life well. It’s a reference book, workbook, daily meditation, counselor, advocate, inspiration and motivation to find purpose in your days.

The Bible is filled with stories, psalms, poetry, parables, history, analogies, promises, encouragement, and prophecy.

WHICH BIBLE SHOULD I BUY?

The first thing you need to do in choosing a Bible to buy is to find one that you love. There are some super creative ways to present the Bible these days. Find a style that appeals to you–one that you look at and think, I could use this every day! 

Maybe you like the cover or the way it feels when you turn the pages. Maybe it has room to write or multiple versions for comparison.

Make sure that your main Bible isn’t pocket-sized. While those are great to have on-the-go, they don’t have much room to take notes or provide bonus commentary. 

Have a favorite Bible but not sure you want to write all over it? Great! Set that aside and go buy one that you can write in. Even if it’s the same exact one.

I’m not being sarcastic, I’m being serious. Bibles are meant to be read–get one that can get messy in the process!

A few years ago an older lady sat down next to me and she opened this falling apart, ink-soaked, scraps-of-papers-Bible. I was in love. Here was my cute and pretty Bible, some of its pages untouched and this lady looked like her tears were staining the pages.

I wanted that for myself.

I went out that day and bought myself a new Bible that I loved. This week the binding on that Bible tore. A bittersweet, but a proud reminder of the day I committed to using this Bible six years ago. It’s filled with notes and bookmarks and prayers and photocopied diagrams and maps.

I love opening it because it feels alive with purpose and meaning and motivation.

Buying bible

WHAT’S WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT VERSIONS?

When choosing a Bible, you need to consider the different versions. If you’re new to this, you may be confused by the variety. I grew up on NIV so I use it the most. However, when I’m at church, people come in the doors with all kinds of versions and I love hearing the same verse in different ways.

So why are there so many? When the Bible was translated from the original Greek and Hebrew, there was room for interpretation. Some translations are a literal word for word while some are a complete paraphrase. Others combine the two concepts of words and ideas. I suggest you use multiple versions for comparison, and the good news is many apps and websites will do that for you for free! (Check Out YouVersion and Bible Gateway for starters)

Buying bible

BUYING A BIBLE

Ready to start choosing a Bible? There are so many types to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites:

Buying bible

1. PARALLEL BIBLES

Parallel Bibles offer multiple versions for side-by-side comparisons.

Buying bible

2. WOMEN’S STUDY BIBLES

These devotionals throughout the Bible geared specifically toward women are so diverse! Lots to choose from. 

3. JOURNALING BIBLES

Journaling Bibles are super trendy right now and useful for people like me who love to doodle and write. They come in all formats, from full blank pages to guided lines in the margins, so check out a few different styles.

4. SHE READS TRUTH BIBLE

This beautifully designed unique bible that uses the Christian Standard Version and accompanies it with verse highlights and historical information, as well as diagrams and timelines.

5. REFERENCE BIBLES

Reference Bibles usually come with detailed concordance and/or commentary. A concordance is basically an index of words and topics that will point you to specific verses. Commentaries vary from footnotes to full studies explaining difficult concepts or providing background for a reference.

6. QUICKVIEW BIBLE

I love the visuals in the Quickview Bible. It’s an NIV Bible alongside infographics to help you organize your thoughts as you learn the facts of the Bible. Includes reoccurrences of numbers in the Bible, and timelines of major characters.

7. ARCHAEOLOGICAL BIBLES

These Archaeological Bibles are for anyone who loves reading up on bible history and watching the History Channel. Any discoveries are documented in these color photo-filled Bible.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

So a few years ago, I made this Old and New Testament Summary Printable, and now I’m working my way through each book of the Bible! To get the rest of the printables, check out my Timeline Bundles for the best deal:

For more posts on spiritual growth, read:

Keep studying, friends!

Buying bible

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: 

Why You Need to Memorize Bible Verses (and Why It Doesn’t Have to be Hard!)

If you want to be strengthened and transformed by what you read in the Bible, you must make it a practice to memorize Bible verses.

Memorize bible verses

MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE

If you want to be strengthened and transformed by what you read in the Bible, you should be memorizing scripture. Because when hardships arise, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is some Biblical research.

The best thing you can do is the prep work beforehand so that if you know an area of temptation, you have a verse that automatically comes to mind in that situation to get you out of it.

"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:13

Or if you have moments where you feel exhausted or alone, you have verses of strength and encouragement that are sitting on the tip of your tongue.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." -Joshua 1:5

When I was young, most of my memory verses came from Sunday school songs. Now as an adult, my kids come home teaching us new Bible songs such as The Fruit of the Spirit. These are a simple way to recall positive character traits quickly and accurately. We use them as a foundation for our family rules at home.

"For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."  -Galatians 5:22

In the past when I’ve dealt with worry and anxiety, my go-to was Philippians 4:6-7.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7

When my children are acting up, I find verses that they can memorize to encourage them to make better choices.

"Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." -Colossians 3:20
Memorize bible verses

EVEN JESUS MEMORIZED SCRIPTURE

When Jesus was tempted in the desert after his baptism, each of his responses to Satan were scriptures. He didn’t flip to the concordance in his Bible and find a verse that corresponded (although that’s a great way to start memorizing scripture!), he knew it from memory.

This wasn’t because he was God in the flesh, it was because he studied scripture since he was a child. It wasn’t just a weekly reading, it was habitual. It was ingrained into his personality.

Scripture punctuated his conversations with others, helped him cope with hardship, and determined his decisions. It molded his mind and shaped his speech.

"But he answered, [to Satan] 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" -Matthew 4:4
Memorize bible verses

5 TIPS FOR MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE

1. PICK A VERSE

Choose one that relates to an issue you’re dealing with. Use your concordance to help.

2. LOOK IT UP IN MULTIPLE VERSIONS

By looking it up in multiple versions, you’ll gain extra insight into it’s context and application. Also, check the footnotes for commentary.

3. WRITE IT DOWN

Journal about it, write it over and over. What did you learn from the passage, what encourages you, or what actions does it inspire you to take?

4. DISPLAY YOUR VERSE

Post your verse in multiple places you will see around the house. Index card taped to the door, expo marker on the bathroom mirror, or wallpaper on your phone.

5. GET YOUR FAMILY INVOLVED

When I have to quiz my kids on a verse, I find I memorize it faster. Get them to practice saying the verse using hand motions for clues as you say it: “A person (points to self) without self-control (holds hands together) is like a city (points fingers together over head) with broken-down walls (interlock fingers and bend back).Proverbs 25:28

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

I’ve created a 9-week study on the Fruit of the Spirit for familes that focuses on scripture memorization. You can check it out in my shop:

Check out these other posts on spiritual development:

You’ve got this!

Memorize bible verses

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: 

Why Self Care is for Everyone (Even Jesus!)

Self care doesn’t mean self-obsession or self-deprecation but simply taking care of yourself. See how Jesus models this and find out what Bible verses say about self care.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclaimer for details.

IS SELF-CARE SPIRITUAL?

I recently came across the idea that as Christians we should be wary about the terminology self-care in the essence that this new “trend” is promoting self instead of God.

Anything in it’s extreme is dangerous. Self-care could be misinterpreted as self-indulgence. It seems that every product tagline these days ends with, “You deserve it!”. While caving into your every hearts’ desire is cautioned against, so is the opposite extreme.

I challenge you to look into how Jesus not only cared for others, but took care of himself, both physically, mentally and spiritually as he poured hope into others.

Bible verses about self care

5 WAYS JESUS MODELED SELF-CARE IN THESE BIBLE VERSES

1. BUILDING COMMUNITY

Life is not meant to be lived on our own, but to be daily encouraged by one another. Jesus learned at a young age to find community–people who could help guide and encourage him in his life.

When he was a boy, his parents left him behind when they traveled back to their hometown from Jerusalem. Upon returning, “they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:46) He sought out the wisdom of others.

He also cultivated friendships (remember the 12 Apostles?) and didn’t tackle his ministry on his own. They looked out for each other, encouraged and provided for one another.

Bible verses about self care

2. PRACTICING GRATITUDE

Gratitude is a practice, not a character trait. Jesus made a practice of being thankful. It was part of his everyday behavior.

“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” – John 6:11

He often spoke on gratitude as a remedy to worry in addition to being a source of encouragement for many.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew 6:25-27

Bible verses about self care

3. TAKING TIME TO EAT AND REST

The glorification of busy is leading to burn out, mental illness and more divorces. Even Jesus rested and advised others to rest after big events and in preparation for them. Are you resting?

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” – Mark 6:30-32

Bible verses about self care

4. DAILY PRAYER

Most importantly, prayer was a staple of Jesus’ self-care practice. If Jesus prayed, how much more do we need to? Look at these Bible verses on self care through prayer:

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16

“Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.” – Mark 6:45-47

Bible verses about self care

5. MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE

To know God better, you need to learn his character. Prayer is our chance to talk to Him, but how do we know what He’s saying back to us? When we meditate on scripture, break it down, study it, apply it, we can hear more clearly what God’s calling us to do.

Scripture can be an encourager, a motivator, a guide, a counselor, and a tool. Jesus quoted the Old Testament wherever he went. Obviously, he had done some studying. Jesus based his replies on scripture every time Satan challenged him!

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” -Matthew 4:1-4

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!

Still feeling selfish trying to make time for yourself?

Don’t misunderstand: Self-care isn’t an excuse to be selfish, it is a tool for self-reflection.

Integrate self-care into your life naturally! Did Jesus have Meditation Monday and Solitude Sunday? Of course not, he wove all of these aspects of his life together. When he finished preaching, he would rest and eat a big meal. When he was overwhelmed, he retreated to pray alone.

In short, start small–just check in with yourself daily. Sit and eat, don’t multitask! Set a regular bedtime for yourself and wake up early to have a moment for yourself. Start a prayer journal, or choose a Bible that you’ll actually use.

Grab this FREE Printable Self Care Challenge Worksheet when you subscribe to my newsletter and access my ENTIRE printable library full of even more freebies!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

Read these other posts on spiritual development here:

You’ve got this!

Bible verses about self care

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: