7 Best Study Bibles for 2020

7 Best Study Bibles for 2020

In ministry, you need to study and know the Word you are living and teaching about. Study Bibles can be a tremendous help. While every version of the Bible is available in BibleGateway.com, YouVersion, and many other apps, I like to have a Bible next to me – usually more than one translation. Some of the Bibles I like may not be the ‘best sellers of 2020’ but I have found them to be valuable. The list of 7 best study bibles for 2020 will include some of the best-sellers but not the most read version.

The Most Read Version of the Bible

The most-read version of the Bible continues to be the King James Version (KJV). I personally do not read it anymore, but many do and there are churches that believe this to be the best translation of the Bible. It was the first version I ever read and I still remember many verses from that version. However, for today’s readers, it may not be the easiest to read.

Which Translation to Use?

There are so many types and translations of Bibles within the category of Study Bibles. Some emphasize study notes and concordances. Others focus on cross-referencing and even the Strong’s Concordance numbering system. Others are comparative, including comparisons to the original languages alongside a current translation.

Translations are also another determination you would need to make in choosing a Study Bible. I want to say also, that I am distinguishing ‘Study” bibles. I love to read The Passion Translation. It is new and highly descriptive. However, I don’t view it as a Study Bible. I also enjoy The Voice Translation. It is written in more modern English with great attention to accuracy and maintains the poetic feel of the King James Version. Again, I would not include it as a Study Bible. At this time, both have few additional resources like extensive concordances and commentary.

7 Best Study Bibles for 2020

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The Most Accurate Translations

The translation considered to be the most accurate continues to be the New American Standard Bible and it is one I definitely use for study. The English Standard is in the same category and somewhat easier to read than NASB. These are word-for-word translations. Others are thought-for-thought and along some which are a paraphrase.

I often use a couple of translations for study and comparison but, when I write, I may very well use a newer translation such as the Passion, NIV, NLT, or The Voice. I do that for the readability factor for my readers. I also do this when teaching Bible studies and will include information about translation. I often include the Greek or Hebrew definitions of words in order to bring clarity to what a particular passage may be saying. Especially since each translation may translate the same word in a slightly different way.

7 Best Study Bibles for 2020

The LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE

The Best Selling Bible continues to be The Life Application Study Bible. It has much to offer and comes in various translations with the most popular being the Holman Christian Standard Bible. There are Life Application notes, Book Introductions, Profiles of Bible Figures, Harmony of the Gospels, Charts and Maps, Cross References, Index to all notes, 70-page concordance, Christian Workers Reference, and much more. It comes in several translations including New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), New King James Version (NKJV), and those also come in large print! You can click to purchase it below.

NIV Life Application Study Bible

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MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE

The McArthur Study Bible by Dr. John Macarthur is very popular. Dr. MacArthur based his study of the Word and there are over 20,000 of his notes, charts, maps, and articles from Dr. MacArthur. Each book of the Bible has a thorough introduction. There is a 125-page Concordance, 80,000 cross-references, Bible reading plans, timeline of Old and New Testament chronology, There is much more included with this comprehensive Study Bible. It includes the NIV version, NKJV, English Standard Version (ESV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB).

MacArthur Study Bible

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THOMPSON CHAIN REFERENCE NKJV

Thompson Chain Reference Bible is a wonderful Study Bible with its own easy-to-learn reference system. It has over 100,000 topical references in over 8,000 chain topics. It has so many other features in addition to this incredible reference system which makes topical studies much easier. It includes a concordance, Alphabetical index, Outline studies of the Bible, Bible character studies, wide margins, references, subject headings, an archaeological supplement, and more! It is available in KJV and NKJV’

Thompson Chain Reference Bible NKJV

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The Amplified Bible

The Amplified Bible allows you to read the Bible with the Greek and Hebrew definitions included in the text. In addition, you can purchase comparative versions. For instance, Amplified and NKJV. You can even get a 4 version comparison – NIV, KJV, NASB, and Amplified. It comes in large print editions as well. This is a comparative Bible and used to understand the meaning of words. It is not a reference Bible. It is an excellent resource to help expand the meaning of verses and remaining true to the original languages.

The Amplified Bible

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NEW SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE BIBLE

The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible is the work of a team of scholars brought together by Jack Hayford, founding Pastor of Church on the Way. The focus is the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit. looking at issues of Spirit-filled living in the context of solid biblical scholarship. In includes Kingdom Dynamics – 41 themes throughout the Scripture that give us values. Word Wealth – More than 550 key terms defined and brought to life pulling the language from the original Greek and Hebrew to everyday English. Detailed Book introductions and Truth-In-Action – Practical charts pulling out practical application from every book of the Bible.

NLT New Spirit-Filled Life Bible

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NASB New Inductive Study Bible

Inductive Study is a method of studying the Bible which involves 3 parts – Observation, Interpretation, and Application. Observation answers: What does the passage say? Interpretation answers: What does the passage mean? Application answers: How does the meaning of this passage apply to me. The Inductive Study Bible includes step-by-step instructions on the Inductive Study Method. It also has diagrams, inner margin references, individualized overviews and instructions for every book of the Bible, wider margins for note-taking, and blank pages for your own notes. There is also a large Bible Study Helps section with concordance, maps, Bible reading plans, historical charts and much more.

The Inductive Bible study method is a tried and true method of personal study. Its study tools and questions teach you how to understand and apply Scripture to your own life. Through an effective system of Bible-marking, the Bible itself becomes a personal record of insight and growth. 

NASB New Inductive Study Bible

Click Here to Purchase From Christian Book

Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English bible

Keyed to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and the only complete interlinear Bible available in English, this one-volume Interlinear Bible offers pastors, ministers, students, and laypeople a time-saving tool for researching the subtle nuances and layers of meaning within the original biblical languages. Featuring the complete Hebrew and Greek texts with a direct English rendering below each word, it also includes The Literal Translation of the Bible in the outside column. Strong’s numbers are printed directly above the Hebrew and Greek words which enable those with no prior knowledge of Greek or Hebrew to easily access a wealth of language reference works keyed to Strong’s Greek/Hebrew dictionaries, analytical lexicons, concordances, word studies and more.

The Hebrew is based on the Masoretic Text and the Greek is from the Textus Receptus. The sources of the texts are documented in the preface and are essentially the same (with some minor variations) to the Hebrew and Greek texts used by the KJV translators.

The text of this Bible is very small – 4 pt – because it is one volume containing the entire Bible. It is also possible to purchase a 4 volume set written in 7 pt text.

Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible

Click Here to Purchase From Christian Book

Coloring/Journaling Bibles

Just for fun, here are some beautiful coloring Bibles. They are great for personal reading and enjoyment as well as “Journaling Nights” with other ladies.

ARTISAN COLLECTION BIBLES

The Artisan Collection Bibles are beautifully crafted with wide margins giving you room to journal, reflect, take notes, and create art. In addition, the larger print makes it easy to read. It comes in a variety of beautiful covers and there is a version for girls as well. If you love to journal, write and color in your Bible, this one is perfect.

NIV Artisan Collection Bible

Click Here to Purchase From Christian Book

NIV BEAUTIFUL WORD COLORING BIBLE

The NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible is exactly what it says. It is beautiful and gives you full-color art and open spaces for your own creativity and journaling. There are 500 full-color illustrated verses. The wide 2″ margins give you ample room for notes and journaling on high-quality paper. I own this Bible and it is beautiful. If you enjoy coloring it is perfect. The one showing below is specifically for Teen Girls. There are many beautiful covers to choose from for adults and teens.

NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Teen Girls

Click Here to Purchase From Christian Book

HCSB ILLUSTRATOR’S NOTETAKING BIBLE

Another wonderful Bible that combines Bible study with journaling and coloring is the HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible. Each two-page Bible spread contains a line-drawn illustration that you can fill in with whatever colors you choose. It includes three varieties of illustrations: (1) filigree, (2) Scripture quotes, and (3) drawings that illustrate the topic of the corresponding Bible text. It’s ideal for Bible study, homeschool moms, coloring book enthusiasts, and the scrapbooking community. There are over 600 illustrations. It also makes a wonderful gift.

HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible

Click Here to Purchase From Christian Book

Study Tips

Here are some things I do when I’m studying and preparing a blog or a Bible Study. First, of course, I have a subject matter, Book of the Bible, or a specific section of Scripture I am focusing on. Let’s say I’m doing a Study on 20 Ways God Shows His Love For Us. I usually have a few Scriptures in mind on that subject and I can start there in whichever translation I prefer. I use Google to find more Scriptures, quotes, and other information.

For instance, I would Google, “scripture on God’s Love.” Lots of posts and articles will pop up and I have a few I use regularly like BibleStudyTools.com and DailyVerses.net. I go to the post, get the Scripture reference, then go to BibleGateway.com, type in the reference (John 3:16) and choose the translation I want to use in my Study. I copy and paste the Scripture into my study and then go back and copy the link to that particular scripture so that I can cite it in my study.

I will then go look at the same Scripture in some other translations. If I am doing a word study, I go to BibleHub.com, find the Scripture and then go to Strong’s concordance. You can also open various commentaries from there. I refer to my own Study Bibles for any commentary or clarification they might offer. I also do this when I am using a newer translation that might sound as if it is completely wrong because it doesn’t read at all the same as KJV or NKJV. Usually, I can clarify the discrepancy. Or, I choose to use another translation that is more appropriate and accurate.

Being able to utilize a variety of translations, including online resources, will make your study easier and help you teach. As you become more and more familiar with the Word and it’s meaning, the easier and more natural your teaching style will be.

If you are studying for yourself, the same things apply. The idea is to ‘study,’ not just read or skim. However, you also need those times of just reading in order to feed your spirit and relationship with Christ. Reading, praying, and listening are vital to our individual growth and relationship with the Lord.

I hope these Bibles and study tips are helpful to you. You can also go to The Shoppe and find more resources.

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**We use verses from different Bible translations. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.

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Podcast 7 Best Study Bibles for 2020 and some Study Tips!

6 thoughts on “7 Best Study Bibles for 2020”

  1. I love all of this information about the best study Bible for 2020. I’m a NIV girl, myself, but I’ve recently been enjoying the Complete Jewish Bible. And I totally agree that reading in different versions helps us gain a better understanding of the text.

    1. Erin – I love to compare the various versions. Sometimes, when I’ve read one version for a long time, I end up skimming because I know what’s coming. Reading a new version causes me to really pay attention! Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. I have the Life Application Study Bible and have been loving the commentary on every page. It is pretty thick. I originally ordered it from Amazon in the large print but couldn’t handle just how thick that version is. So I returned it and got it in regular print, which the Bible is still pretty chunky. BUT I LOVE IT! Thank you Fleda for all your encouragement. ❤

    1. Thanks Donna – it’s nice to have input on the Bibles. I own several of them but not all. So it’s great to have feedback. The biggest problem with the Study Bibles is size – they are sometimes huge! However, they are great for their purpose. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. A wonderful explanation of the various Bibles available today! I grew up reading KJV and it remains dear to my heart (even though it sometimes feels like a tongue twister to read aloud!). I’m glad you included the amplified Bible. I have found it to be very helpful!

    1. Heather – the KJV means a lot to me as well since it’s the first version I read after salvation and what I remember from childhood. However, the words used in it are pretty unrelatable for today’s young people! I love the Amplified as well. There are so many great Bibles out there so just had to pick a few to highlight. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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