Christian Book Distributors frequently send out a catalogue to advertise the Bibles they sell. The one I recently received (January 2019) has 68 pages of Bible “bargains.” The two pictures on the front cover are the Baker Illustrated Study Bible and the New Living Translation Holy Bible, both said to be “new.” Of course they are not new in any sense except the packaging (especially the covers) and names.
At a recent Bible study, comprising about 14 of us older men and the teacher (the pastor of the church most of us attended), I asked what versions of the Bible the men were using. There were a variety: New King James, New American Standard, New Revised Standard, English Revised Standard, Good News (my version), Ryrie Study Bible (probably NASB), and the couple of nerdish men using their i-phones.
Of course there are dozens of “versions” of the Bible: two of the most popular are the King James (KJV) and the New International (NIV). Other heavyweights are the English Standard Version (ESV), New KJV, Living Bible (LBV), New Living Translation (NLT), The Message and the New American Standard Version (NASB).
Attaching the name of someone famous (or once known to be famous) to the Bible helps sales: note the Hendrickson KJB, the Nelson KJB (in this case the publisher), the Maxwell Bible, the CSB Spurgeon study Bible, the Thompson Chain-Reference Study Bible, the KJV Old Schofield Study Bible, the Jeremiah (not the prophet) Study Bible, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, The NLT Swindoll Study Bible. The KJV Henry Morris Study Bible, the Holman NKJV Full-Color Study Bible and the KJV Dake Annotated Reference Bible. Holman is also a publisher and Finis Jennings Dake was an American minister and evangelist known primarily for his writings on the subjects of Pentecostal spirituality and Premillennial Dispensationalism.
Reformers and other charismatics have their Bibles too: for example the NKJV Spirit Filled Life Bible (third edition), the Fire Bible, and the KJV Life in the Spirit Study Bible. Listed on the same page in the catalogue are the MEV Spirit-Led Woman Bible and the MEV Spiritual Warfare Bible.
The emphasis on women’s Bibles includes titles such as the CSB She Reads Truth Bible (There is also a CSB He Reads Truth Bible), NKJV Women, A Woman After God’s Own Heart Bible, (NKJV), Thou Art Loosed Bible (T.D. Jakes, ed.), NKJV Women of Faith Devotional Bible and the NLT Everyday Matters Bible for Women. Women can also have a variety of “full-color” Bibles, including pink and with a “soft leather-look.” The publishers have obviously done their research and know what the women like.
The Amplified Bible has been around for a long time, but is now also called the Battle Field of the Mind Bible and is also available in a parallel, large-print edition, amplifying it even more. It is also known as the Everyday Life Bible and there is, naturally, a Study Bible version of it as well. However “amplified” doesn’t mean that it sounds better when it is read aloud.
For those with double vision, Parallel Bibles can help. Such binary readers can have at least the KJV and NIV to compare, but also the NLT and the NKJV, The Message, the CEV, and NASB. In addition to parallel versions, there are side-by-side, journaling and note taking versions. These are big Bibles and you should be prepared to look important and spiritual if you carry one.
There are also specialty Bibles, which include the Greek and Hebrew texts, but also insightful versions like The Bible by Jesus and a James Moffat Translation with Concordance. Even J.B. Phillips can be bought for a price, as can the Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible.
Now the good news for older men wearing bifocals: there are 6 pages of giant-print and large-print Bibles, in the KJV, NKJV, CEV, and NASB. These are big Bibles, most topping 2000 pages, but you can buy they in almost any color, even purple or turquoise, and indexed as well. You might want a little suitcase with wheels if you buy one. These big Bibles don’t seem to have real leather editions, although you can have bonded leather, burgundy (indexed) black, brown, saddle brown, charcoal, navy blue, purple and, of course lots of other options (such as indexing, soft-cover, hardcover, bouquet design, and even genuine leather). You probably will want your credit card to buy these as they are expensive.
A further section on specialty Bibles includes the NIV First Century Study Bible, the ESV Archaeology Study Bible, The NKJF Ancient-Modern Bible, the Geneva Bible, The Orthodox Study Bible, and the Tyndale New Testament. A couple of our Bible study men (no names mentioned, of course), who are interested in minute details might wish to buy one of these.
Turning to foreign language bibles, there is not much to interest our group, although a select few might read Spanish or German. But there is a considerable selection of languages: Arabic, Chinese, German, Farsi, French, Haitian, Hindi Nepali, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Sharif, Tagalog, Vietnamese and, especially Spanish. There are, in fact, four pages that advertise Spanish Bibles—study Bibles, bilingual Bibles and even Full-life and Spirit-filled Bibles. I guess the latter two should also be listed in the “specialty” section.
The final two pages are “Bible bargains” that include the NIV Bug Collection Bible, the NIV Charm Bible, the NIV Glitter Collection Bible, the NIV Rock-Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens and the NKJV ReadEasy Bible, Compact Edition with a “soft leather-look” in hot pink. I don’t like the sound of several of these Bibles. I guess it is OK to be charmed by the Bible, but who wants a bug in it?
Most of the Bibles in the catalogue are available in various colors, even chocolate, caramel, lilac, Caribbean blue and raspberry. I like burgundy and plum, but I might try mint, smoke and Cobalt blue.
If you don’t like hardcover, there is softcover, and if you don’t want a big Bible, buy a “thinline.” And for those who find it difficult to find Genesis or Revelation in the Bible, buy an indexed version.
Most of the Bibles have colored maps, so it should be easy to trace Abraham or Paul’s journeys. One Bible, the NIV Zondervan Study Bible overs 20,000 verse-by-verse notes and a concordance as well, but it totals 2900 pages and you have to call to get the price—always a bad omen
I’ll close by reminding my Bible study friends that there are Bibles for their grandchildren as well: the CSB Kids Bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible, the ICB Big Red Bible (especially for 7 to 10 year olds who do not yet wear glasses), the CSB Big Picture Interactive Bible and, for the really bright kids, the CSB Defend Your Faith Bible. Perhaps you have only granddaughters. Never mind, get the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls or the NIV Adventure Full-Color Edition, which is on sale in hardcover for only $17.99.
Men of the Bible study: rise up and buy! Since the 7th century there have been 450 translations into English. By comparison, there are over 7,000 languages in the world and over 2,000 of them do not have one line of Scripture.
where there are over 400 churches, but not all with English Bibles