Why You Need More than One Bible: A Guest Post

Way back when, I was pretty much a lone voice when it came to writing about the design and manufacture of quality Bibles. It’s not like that anymore, and hasn’t been for awhile. Against all my expectations, an ever-expanding network of enthusiasts has grown around Bible Design Blog. There are other blogs, there are online discussion groups — in short, a community was born. Now I’d like to showcase some of the voices of that community.

One way I’m going to do this is by inviting people whose work I’ve admired to contribute guest posts to Bible Design Blog. Today I’m sharing the first one, a thoughtful feature by Randy Brown, creator of BibleBuyingGuide.com. I think you’ll enjoy what Randy has to say.


Why You Need More than One Bible


Starting with One

Like Mark, I’ve spent a lot of time and research trying to find that ‘One Bible.’ The Bible I could do everything with. It would be the Bible I read from, carried with me, studied from, studied in, taught from, and preached from. I searched for a long time for this one Bible and now I don’t believe it exists.

I found many Bibles that had features I liked, but I never found a Bible that had all the features I wanted. If I liked the font for reading, it was either too large to carry or had nothing else in it. If it had everything in it I wanted, the font had to be small to make it all fit.


This is the problem of the “Jack of all trades” Bible. A Bible that tries to fill every purpose and do everything doesn’t really do any one of them well. What’s a better solution? Use more than one Bible. Figure out how many different ways you use a Bible – what all of your different needs are – and use the best Bible you can for each purpose.

How many Bibles you need depends on how you use your Bible. I will use myself as an example and show how I use my Bible. This will determine what my needs are, how big or small it needs to be, how large of a font I need, and what tools I need it to supply.

Here’s what I use my Bibles for:

  • Read
  • Study
  • Mark
  • Carry
  • Teach
  • Preach

Let’s take a closer look at each of these uses.

One for Reading

When I’m doing my everyday reading I like to use a comfortable font. Sometimes I read my Bible at my desk or at the table. In this case, the size of the Bible doesn’t really matter. Most of the time though, I like to lay the Bible on my lap and read from my favorite chair. Sometimes a little kitten wants my lap. And of course its little kitten friend also wants my lap. And then the kitten’s momma. The next thing I know I have a kitten on my shoulder, one on my lap, and the momma cat laying like a baby across one arm (okay, I’ll admit she’s spoiled a little). Now I need to hold the Bible in one hand while I read.


NB: The photo above was Randy’s idea of how to illustrate the point, but I told him we needed a photo of him sitting in the chair covered in cats. Guess what? He agreed! See below. — JMB


Remarkable powers of concentration.


That’s not a Study Bible. It might not even be a Bible with large print. It’s definitely not a large Bible. Also, I don’t need extra information distracting me and trying to tell me what to think about a passage. I just want to read. This Bible might not even need references or a concordance. Or verse numbers for that matter.

So I need a Bible just for reading, with a nice enough font and no distractions. This most likely won’t be the Bible I use for sermon prep or for preaching from, and I might not carry it with me.

One to Study In

I like marking in my Bibles. Wide Margin and Journaling Bibles are great for this. It’s a way of inductively studying God’s Word. It also helps me find things quickly as I’m scanning the page. I like making chain references and writing definitions. A Bible that I’ve written all of my notes in isn’t a good choice for reading. I like to read a Bible unhindered – without any distractions. I need one that I can write in and mark up and it won’t be my reading Bible. This could be the Bible I preach from, but it’s probably not the Bible I do my daily reading from.


One to Study From

For study I like Bibles that make life easier without giving me the answers (or their version of the answers). To me a good Study Bible is a Bible that gives you good tools to do your own study. This usually means Bibles with charts, topical lists, word studies, etc. — the Longprimer, Thompson Chain Reference, and Hebrew Greek Keyword Study Bible are a few good examples. They’re not exhaustive, but they do have some good tools. Some of the tools don’t take up much space, but they can get quite extensive. For example, the Thompson Chain Reference has an archaeological supplement that takes many pages. I like to be able to go to a chart to quickly find any miracle or parable of Jesus. That’s good to have for study and sermon prep, but I don’t need to have that information with me when I’m out somewhere. I don’t need it when I’m holding my Bible in my hand for my daily reading.

The same can be said for Study Bibles with commentary. I love extras, but I don’t always need them with me. I especially enjoy archaeological facts. I enjoy using Bibles that are filled with archaeological information. Information about cultures, places, historic events, and facts about everything. I also like Hebrew and Greek word studies, topical lists, dictionaries, and maps. They can’t really replace the tools you would use as your desk-reference material: commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, etc. They just provide some good basic info in one convenient volume. If I use a Study Bible for study and prep, I’m just as likely to use more than one.


The more I carried these features around with me the more I realized I didn’t need to have it with me. These things are great for study at home, but if I’m sitting in the pew, or standing behind the pulpit, the chances of me needing a full bio of Xerxes is, well . . . I don’t. Okay then, that means I don’t need to carry a study Bible. Those can stay at home.

One to Carry

I love reading the Bible in the car when I’m waiting for my wife and her mother to finish their shopping. (I love the reading part, not the waiting part.) I’ve tried every type of Bible I own — well, except for a gigantic loose leaf from Hendrickson. That one won’t fit in the front seat. I find that the personal size or smaller is perfect for front-seat, behind the wheel reading.

Phones and tablets are convenient for this, but I like my Bible to look like a Bible. I want others to see that this book is still being read. This has sparked many conversations in parking lots that never would have happened if I was holding a phone. I also don’t want to worry about a battery. I’ve left home thinking I could just use my fully charged phone to read from only to find that some app was draining power so fast that it wasn’t usable by the time I got there. Now I take a printed Bible.


If I’m just reading, then I only need a good text that’s comfortable to read and hold. Every now and then someone will ask a question that I need to look at the verse to answer. If this happens I might need a good concordance, a topical index, harmony of the Gospels, charts of parables, and so on. I decided I wasn’t going to carry these tools for ‘just in case’ when I can look up anything I need to on my phone (fully charged with no apps running in the background, of course). If I did want these tools I would use a hand-sized Bible like a Cameo, Brevier Clarendon, Clarion, or similar. This Bible needs to be easy to carry and read. Basic tools are fine, but not necessary.

Sometimes I don’t feel comfortable carrying an expensive Bible. Sometimes I like to have a ‘beater’ that I can throw around and not worry about what happens to it.

One to Preach From

Every preacher is different. My preferences might be completely different from yours. I know they’re different from Mark’s — the present-day writer, not the Gospel writer. (I’ve read somewhere that they’re not related, but I haven’t confirmed that myself). I prefer to preach from a verse-by-verse format with columns that are not too wide. Why? I wear bifocals and if the columns are too wide, the edge of the column is out of focus and it’s hard to read without moving to the side a little (very minor complaint, but still). Single column paragraphs can be too wide for me. Also, if I’m reading at an angle I tend to not know which line to start on when I get back to the start of the next line.

Verse numbers can be difficult to find and I spend an extra second or five looking (an extra pause can be a good thing, though). I like to place my finger on the verse where I’m stopping. If I have trouble finding the reference that can be difficult. This is partly my inexperience with paragraph format behind the pulpit. It’s also partly that I’m always using a different Bible, which keeps me from having any kind of location muscle memory. I’ll settle on one soon, though. Then I’ll remember where all of the verses are. I keep telling myself that. With that said, I love paragraph format for reading. The text flows much better. So, I like having at least one of each format.

Having commentary, study tools, maps, and character bios is nice for personal study, but I don’t need them behind the pulpit. The Bible I prepared my message in will most likely be a different Bible than the one I’m preaching it from. For sermon prep I need tools, but for preaching I don’t want any distractions.

One to Teach From

For teaching I might actually use a Bible with distractions in it. I might want chain references, word studies, maps, character studies, etc., to help me bring out a point in more detail. I might teach from a Study Bible, or the Bible I write my notes in. I might read a quote from a note or an article. I might teach directly from a chart. If I decide to use a Study Bible to teach from, I’m just as likely to use more than one. Although, I might only use one at a time. This might be the Bible I study from, but it isn’t the Bible I read from, carry, or preach from.

Electronic Bibles

It would seem then that an electronic Bible would solve all of these problems. You can use a tablet or a smartphone that’s easy to hold in one hand. You can have as many translations as you want. You can make the font any size and style you want. You can add your own notes and choose to see them or not, you can color-code, underline, highlight, etc., and turn them on and off as you want to.

While an electronic Bible would solve these problems they also bring with them other problems of their own. The first being the most obvious: battery life. I’ve charged my phone and left the house without taking a Bible with me because, “I’ve got my phone. I’ll just use that.” Only to find that by the time I got to where I was going my battery was dead because of an app running in the background.

Then there’s the distraction this causes to others. People look at you and wonder, “what’s he doing?” I like it to be obvious that I’m holding a Bible. This alone is a witness to others.

I love being able to carry 50 study Bibles in my pocket; I just don’t want that to be the only format I have with me. I love electronic Bibles and I use them, but they will never replace my paper bound Bible. I don’t choose one or the other — I choose both.

For on the go I like using a good basic Bible without all the extras and then use my phone if I need that bio of Xerxes.


Perhaps the best reason that anyone would need more than one Bible is so they have access to more than one translation. My church uses the KJV as our primary Bible. I love the translation. It’s beautiful to read and it sounds right to me. However, when I’m teaching or preaching I sometimes like to bring in other translations just to add clarity. Old English isn’t as easy to understand as modern English (well, most modern English).

Even for personal study, looking up a verse or passage in a different translation is a great way to get clarity. I like to have one primary translation, and then one or two supporting, and reputable, translations to add variety.

No translation is perfect as words can have a range of meanings. To make things worse, words can change meaning over time. Multiple translations can help clarify passages of Scripture and help you see a verse in a different way. There is also the point of manuscript variance. It isn’t usually a doctrinal issue, but there are variants and having a translation based on a different manuscript can be helpful in understanding these variants. It also helps to know what others are reading.

From One to Many

I started out looking for one Bible to rule them all and quickly had to use more than one because no one Bible fits every purpose. There are many different needs and it is sometimes best to have a specific Bible to fit a specific need. Having to use more than one Bible to meet these needs is not a burden. There is true virtue in using more than one Bible – whether it be size, features, tools, translation, a look and feel that melts in your hands and calls you to it, or one that you can use anywhere without worrying what happens to it.

I need one for reading, one to study in, one to study from, one to carry, one to preach from, one to teach from, and another translation to support all of these uses. Some of these uses can be combined. My daily reader can be my carry Bible. I can use the same Bible for sermon prep and marking. I can use the same Bible for study that I use for teaching. I’ve preached from all of them, but I prefer to preach from a large print Bible with no distractions other than what I’ve written myself.

That can be a lot of Bibles to buy and keep up with, but each one would suit its purpose better than any other. Sure, I could simply pick a Longprimer, Concord, or Westminster and be satisfied. After all, those are amazing Bibles. However, in our world of choices, and for all of those vastly different uses for a Bible, it’s a good investment to own and use more than one instead trying to find that one Bible that I could settle for that would do many things but none of them well.

About Randy

Today’s guest post is by Randy Brown, creator of BibleBuyingGuide.com. Randy reviews Bibles in all price ranges to help people make the best choice for their budget. His mission is to promote Bible reading and study, and to share quality publishing.

Message from Randy: I’d like to give a special thank-you to Mark for allowing me to guest post on Bible Design Blog. It is truly an honor. Thanks Mark!

Your Turn

How about you? Have you been able to find that one Bible that does everything you need it to? Do you use more than one?

43 Comments on “Why You Need More than One Bible: A Guest Post

  1. Maybe the Swiss can figure out the “all in one” bible:) If Matthew or Randy walk in with many bibles for battle, I shall put my hand on their shoulder and say “You are most welcome here”

  2. I always recommend to people that they own at least two Bibles: one for reading, and one for reference. I’m currently using the Heirloom Legacy for reading, teaching, and preaching, but when I’m going into a meeting or Bible study where I expect to look up a lot of verses, I’ll take a Cambridge Pitt Minion with me. Although, I’m thinking of replacing the Pitt Minion with a Clarion soon, since the larger font would be much easier to read on the fly.

  3. Thank you for this article. It clarifies a lot to those who search for the “perfect” Bible, as I do. You are perfectly right: many purposes, many Bibles. From now on I will reconsider my own thought. I have felt uncomfortable Preaching with a Bible I don’t use in my study time or daily reading. As for me, I have adopted a new Bible for my daily reading, however I use the same one for studying and preaching: a textual translation, the better one I have found.
    Blessings and greetings from Spain.

  4. An honest appeal to practicality and pleasure in one place. Excellent job, Randy.

  5. Thank you, Mark, for laying the foundations for this “community” of Word-Lovers. It is a great
    sign to see you begin to call in other contributors and perspectives. Both you and Randy are a treasure of insights and easy to read. I also have been on a search for the “perfect” Bible,
    never thinking that several were needed to fulfill the several and differing reasons we have
    for searching and reading the Scriptures. Thanks for provoking me to think about this in a whole new way.

  6. I agree Randy. There is no perfect, “do it all” Bible. When working with the finite attributes involved in Bible design, you can compromise, and get a jack of all trades, master of none. The alternative of being mission specific, and having the proper tool for the job is by far the best way in my opinion. Great article Randy. I first started my reviews because of Bible design blog and Biblebuyingguide.com Keep on inspiring.

  7. Good article. But why doesn’t the “a Bible for every purpose” logic work with spouses when people like us go to add “just one more”?

    • Dear Brother Alan, Our dear wives have been given to us to balance us. Because, for the good ones, people and relationships trump “things”, they just see it as an additional thing. Most ladies don’t really understand why you need more than one hammer or more than one wrench or more than one screwdriver. “Love is patient, love is kind” It’s easy for us guys to get caught up in the search for the more perfect Bible. Truth be told, some of our ladies can’t tell you why they ‘need’ three dozen pairs of shoes. Each gender has it’s own foibles. If she’s open to learn, I would use the flat-head/philips-head screwdriver analogy: each has its own unique application. So also, some Bibles are perfect for reading, some for study and others for investigative study or devotional reading. Dan

      • It was a joke. My dear wife has been with the Lord for 2 1/2 years now. And, for the most part, she was fine with it. 🙂

      • Or, alternatively, it is not a male vs. female characteristic at all, but a personal/individual one. I am the Bible collector in my marriage – my husband is content with one, though he does have several (one to update to the NASB without “thee and thou”, a couple that wore out, a couple given to him at graduation). I have at least fourteen, and would have more if I didn’t make a point every so often of getting rid of the ones that I truly don’t use.

        It does seem to me similar to the desire that drives shoe purchases – I want a winter boot that’s warm, a fall boot, shoes for wearing with dressy outfits, shoes for running, sandals for the heat, flip flops for the pool, etc, so the argument about a Bible for each purpose makes total sense to me.

        Also – I had to do a double take, because at first, I thought Alan meant “just one more” spouse. 🙂

        • Thanks, Amanda. I stand corrected! While JoDee and I are both “pack-rats”, I am the compulsive ‘buyer’ in the house (groceries, guns, books, Bibles); JoDee is the one who makes “George scream” [G.Washington-$1 bill] coming out of her hand. It is only in my latter years here on this earth, and of walking with the Lord, that I have come to be aware of all the great varieties
          of translations and features in high quality Bibles that are available. I very much appreciate
          EvBible, BibleDesignBlog, and all the community of the faithful who make this a reality and a learning and growing experience. God bless you, dear lady. Dan

  8. Great article: now I know why as a 74 year old pastor I still haven’t found the one perfect bible to replace my scores of Bibles on my shelf. Maybe the hunt is the best thing!

  9. Pingback: Why You Need More than One Bible: A Guest Post – Bible Design Blog | Got Truth Decay?

  10. Pingback: Why You Need More than One Bible - Bible Buying Guide

  11. The perfect Bible, for me, would be an interleaved (ruled/graph paper) PCE KJV including Apocrypha, with John Gill-Matthew Henry-John Lightfoot-John Rice-Adrian Rogers-W.A. Criswell-J. Vernon McGee commentary, Oxford maps, large print, wide margin, bound in highland goatskin, weighing less than 3(00) pounds and costing less than a Nelson Gift and Award Bible. **sigh** Dad always said if you’re gonna dream—dream BIG…

  12. For electronical Bibles, battery life is only an issue on smartphones and tablets, not for e-ink e-readers. The main question here is how much devices one is comfortable with carrying around for different purposes just as with printed Bibles, as e-readers don’t have a phone integrated yet for the most part (however, consider Whispernet).

  13. Dear Friends:

    I have read Randy Brown’s post about the one all purpose bible with interest. I inheireted a Schofield Reference Bible (KJV) from my father, vintage 1954. This was my father’s only bible, and if I had been entirely satisfied with Schofields notes as my parents were, I would still be using it (after repair). I began a search for “the bible” for me that has taken up a few years, and a fair amount of money. The bible I bought for a using bible while I sought the perfect bible turned out to my surprise to meet all my requirements except legibility in dim light. It is a Cambridge Personal Concord, purchased at EVB for less than $50. I learned that the features contained were sufficient for general study, and the size, feel and binding were perfect for one-handed reading that I do so much of. I found that for me I want something more flexible than a hardbound, and firmer than the lovely goatskins that are so attractive. The Calfskin was just right for holding with one hand, with the features, (the same as the full sized Concord) it became my primary bible, and for sure, the King of the Lampstand. There was one and only one problem, the font while quite readable in most light was not readable in a rather dim sanctuary.

    I tried other bibles all of them good ones at prices of $75-$200, all had some problems due often to size and clunkiness. The TBS Westminister Reference Bible almost does it all. It has no commentary, it is reasonably well built with good materials, it has all the aids and appendicies on could want, and a huge quantity of cross-references all laid out to aid easy reading. I am finding it a bit large for holding in one hand and reading for extended periods. It is perfect for taking to church or reading at a desk or table, but it hasn’t displaced the little humble Personal Concord that I bought just to have a decent bible while I looked for the one I wanted. The previous edition of the Cameo had the same dictionary in it that the Concord has along with the features in the latest edition, this with clear 8 point type might end up being the all purpose bible for me. Even if I find one though, I am convinced that it wouldn’t satisfy everyone. Satisfaction depends on how one uses his bible, what works for me won’t work for everyone. I for instance have come to terms with the Authorised translation, I once found it difficult to read, I now have been able to deal with the archaic words that can be misleading, and enjoy the elegant language rather than grumble about it, not everyone has been able to make the same adjustment. My parents thought that the Schofield Reference Bible was the only one they could rely on, I have my doubts about Schofield’s notes and scholarship. I look forward to paring down the number of bibles to two for regular use, perhaps one if the Cameo works out, if I can find that particular edition.

    Happy reading friends, may you find your “perfect” bible, or at least your “perfect pair” of bibles.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

  14. Dear Friends:

    I want to make a short addition to my rather lengthy comment above: The perfect bible will in the end be the one the individual reads. I know folks who own a large number of bibles who do little time actually searching the Word and making it part of their whole body of knowledge. Find the “perfect” bible if you can, or several of them if you can’t, but be sure to read the bible as if your soul depended on it. Nothing substitutes for time spent in the Word of God.

    Yours in Christ

    Don Denison

  15. Pingback: Guest Post on Bible Design Blog: Why You Need More than One Bible | Randy A Brown

  16. I am grateful to know other people have ‘lots’ of bibles and can justify them in this way. I’m no preacher and don’t yet know the Word well, but I have lots of seemingly mutually exclusive requirements, added to my need for large print.

    I have a LCBP Note taker which is wonderful for marking, though the paper is not very resistant to my gel hi gliders ( may have to stop using those, at least the pink and green) BUT I would like that facility in other translations *as well*. From someone else, necessarily.

    Not pretty, but functional I hope, I’m actually going to spiral bind a parallel NKJV / AMP with plain 60gsm computer listing paper and see how that works! Got my guillotine, got my binding machine off Ebay. Just got to clear my desk!

    I am grateful I can afford one or two premium editions, which is just as well because a lot of the cheaper text blocks are printed with really smelly ink, which makes it impossible to read for long, or willingly. I have allergies, you see.

    But my quest continues for a very wide margin, >1″ ( which isn’t wide to my mind), large font NKJV withOUT red letter and toxic emanations from the ink, with good references – that would be Wonderful.

    I am battling with the translations too. I favour Majority/Byzantine/TR on the whole, yet value the readability of some of the other sourced translations. But to know where the ‘issues’ are? Do we have a comprehensive list somewhere? I’m looking, and it’s interesting what is affected, I think. I got very cross at a tiny omission in John 7:8 – the word Yet gets left out in some, e.g. ESV – which makes Jesus a liar, because He did go to the festival, and if He’d considered not going, that would have broken the law (or at least the later additions), making Him a spotted Lamb. I’m not having that, so looked at my LCBP with renewed affection, being not only KJV but from the edition prior to all the changes made by Westcott and Hort, so they tell me. My later KJVs don’t actually reassure me on that score.

    And as Don implies, the final and greatest danger in all this is spending more time on these considerations than actually reading the Bible! I have noticed this happening, that and trying to design a good bible marking regime at the expense of actually getting started. And not stressing if it isn’t perfect! I recognise the cloven hoof prints here!

    I had considered an NASB blue Quentel, then wobbled over the translation, waiting for a NKJV instead, only to find they are seriously considering a red letter! Please NO! The website’s FB page is currently polling opinion after their survey. DO please have your say.

    I think red makes a nonsense of Quentel’s lovely red numerals, and loses readability and elegance imho. I don’t like marking red text either, not that I’d mark a Quentel! But where else was I going to get a finely bound, non smelly black text large font NJKV? (Not to mention line matching which is why not an ‘ordinary’ Schulyer. )
    Clarion has disappointed me when I was checking the bindings (twisted spines, and corner issues), and the font though amazingly clear, is still marginal for me.

    Since, when I hold out hope for some physical attribute, I am endlessly disappointed, I take warning that they don’t matter provided the text is as accurate as possible and legible! At least we are allowed to own them and read them, thank God.

  17. ETA to add my binding efforts will be interleaved with the plain paper

    And if you have influence with publishers (and I believe you both do!) might you encourage someone to emulate the enormous margins, or to interleave, for we notetakers, in NKJV, NASB, ESV etc?
    It’s obviously possible to make a reasonably sized volume with 2.5″ margins in 11 pt font, because that’s just what LCBP achieve! New text block, I know, but they would walk off the shelves, I’m sure!
    SInce Schuyler are asking for feedback, we should oblige! 🙂

  18. Dear Fellow Word-Lovers,
    Our modern society has spoiled us: we can get our cars and our computers almost any way that we want them, because the features are added in during the assembly process just for us!!
    Bibles have to be designed from the start so that they all come out the same way. The military has the same problem when choosing weapons–what will “fit” everybody. Until and unless the technology for assembly/printing/publishing Bibles changes enough to allow a lot more latitude
    in options, we’ll have to compromise on some issues for the sake of our brothers and sisters.
    I applaud Schuyler for taking the risks (financial and otherwise) to print and market a very large number of different top-quality Bibles (think: translation, color binding, format, size, etc. etc.) for us despite the fact that all of us have differing tastes and preferences. God Bless
    Schuyler, and you, my fellow believers, for being willing to compromise where you can, and support Schuyler with your purchases. Dan

    • I did 🙂 Just got an NASB Quentel in dark brown. It’s a joy to hold and read. Beautifully clear and the gilding looks almost bronzed when open and the red shines through the gold, which complements the brown very nicely. And the paper is wonderful.

  19. Pingback: How Many Bibles? | Cogitatio - thinking.meditation.reflection.

  20. Pingback: Rich & Blessed with Many Translations, Designs, and Bindings | The Geeky Disciple

  21. I’ve been looking for 2 bibles one for study & one to carry around with these features, please advice: nkjv in leather vinyl cover; ribbon markers; thumb indexed;maps;large font; big concordance;topic verses; introduction & summary in every book; references;red notes;foot notes;etc. I want bibles with all these features. I’m not prepared to settle for anything but this. Advice me which bible have ALL of these features. I am in SA, m prepared to ship them to South Africa.

  22. I read either K.J.V. or E.S.V. my bibles consist of giant E.S.V study bible single column with notes below it make it easy to read but has notes if I want them . Thompson chain reference this is my second one first one was lost in moving . This one was bought by my wife and son 19 years ago for my Birthday . Three month later we lost our son to a auto accident so it stays in the house and is my home study K.J.V. bible . My daughter and family bought me a foundation study bible for Christmas it is K.J.V. too . I use it for group study just cause . I have a amplified and N.I.V. that are for cross reference for my study/reading . I carry a leather E.S.V. pocket new testament every where for years I carried a cheap N.T. until it fell apart or I gave it to some one. I have a thin line K.J.V and E.S.V. bible to carry to church . I have a set original 1611 reprint and N.K.J.V. just because I wanted them file the neat little blue E.S.V. with a Celtic cross on it under the I wanted it column . I keep Give away bibles too dollar tree has bibles once in a while I keep a couple of those around plus a half dozen assorted new testaments I keep one in my bag I carry and one in the car . As Mr. Brown points out reading in public sometimes draws attention . If they say they don’t have a bible to read I fix that 🙂 A brown goatskin single Column E.S.V. is my next years Christmas list As I believe it is an important enough book to own a High quality one

  23. I have read this article 3 or 4 times now. The first time, I went through my 5 or 6 bibles (KJV, NKJV, NIV of different flavors) and decided that the one version I loved the most was KJV. Though it was a bit harder to read quickly, as I had to decipher the phraseology on the run, I still thought I would make that my “Go To.” So, I ordered a beautiful, but frugal, Local Church Bible Publishers “Mid Size Wide Margin Black” in ironed calfskin. I loved it. Then, I started reading Mark’s writing on the readability of the single column, I HAD to have a Clarion in KJV – Brown calfskin. I love it. But then, I had a friend preaching to me (see what i did there?) the readability. So… I had to try an ESV. In the mean time, i was reading away happily in my Clarion KJV as my daily reader and carry along. My LCBP sits on my desk for studying, the Clarion on the table next to my favorite chair. Again, I went to Mark and Randy. I wanted a study bible, so immediately order that. However, I started thinking on the dimensions. Goodness, I may need a wheel barrel to get that bible to the car! So, before it ever arrived, I started looking for something easy to carry, easy to pack away and take to dialysis 3x a week, and most importantly something easy to hold in one hand. I don’t know how I overlooked the Clarion ESV, but I did. I ended up getting a Cambridge Pitt-Minion ESV. I LOVE this bible. it is the closest thing to perfect that I own. And now, i have fallen in love with the ESV.

    I was just reading through this post again, and then I will go back to Mark’s writing on the subject. At this point I’m going to get either the Clarion ESV, or the Crossway Legacy. It’s a tough decision!

    thanks guys, for all the help spending our money! 🙂


    • Hi Steve, I have a Clarion (NKJV) and a Legacy, the dark brown Calf Skin, from just before the Black heirloom. Comparing the type faces, although the Clarion is smaller and has zilch in the margin department, IMHO the typeface is darker and clearer. But if you’re a note taker, this ESV is good enough to make some notes at least, as the ESV parallel to your Church Publishers note takers ( love mine too). I think somewhere on this site you’ll find that the calfskin older ESV legacy version has thicker paper than the newer black heirloom, but the same layout.

  24. Mark,
    Thank you so much for allowing Randy to write a wonderful article. Over the years through God’s providence, I have many selections to choose from when I want to read scripture. From Allan to Zondervan many translations to choose. As I was reading the article, I remembered back to a simpler time, when with a single KJV and a Strongs, I felt like no problem was too difficult to tackle. Now, by the time I choose what tools to use its almost too late to start. I agree with several commenters above, Thompson,Scofield, Ryrie, and so many more are great for being given another’s answer, but when finding it on your own with the Spirit’s help, scripture is the best commentary of scripture. I recently ordered the TBS Westminster and have fell in love with the cross reference system and archaic words in the column so you do not have to move off the page. I guess the skinny of the ramble is, do not get so many that it becomes a hindrance to your study and not help. Please both of you keep up the great work of championing quality scriptures that will stand the test of time.

  25. Hello, I stumbled upon this article when I did a search on how many Bibles that $130 could buy for those who own a total of 0 Bibles. The reason I did that specific search was because I saw a nice leather bound Interleaved ESV Bible on Dayspring.com for $129.99 and I was appalled. What are we doing? I personally have 13 Bibles in our home for 6 people! This is excessive. I was hoping to find an article on “Why We Do Not Need Lots of Bibles”.
    I understand the need to study and it is, of course, very nice and handy to have a couple of versions at home to use. But, I don’t think most of us in America are aware of what a luxury this is and what an Americanized view we have of owning many Bibles for the use of having several to pick from when we are reading. To have several for several purposes? This is a luxury.
    There are numerous people in foreign countries and probably our own who would love a Bible. Do you know of the pastors in other countries who don’t own even one Bible? Or the persecuted believers in prisons who have no Bibles at all but only what is in their memory? What about the North Koreans who hope to get a New Testament from a weather balloon that Voice of the Martyrs drop there?
    I realize that we can get so caught up here in America and want the perfect Bible that does everything or many Bibles so we have it all at our fingertips. But actually most of us do-it’s on the Internet. Search Biblegateway.com or use the YouVersion Bible app or any other Bible website for different versions. You can also search online for commentaries and Greek lexicons. It is endless and most of it is free!
    Please just rethink your purchases and the amounts of Bibles and commentaries and Christian lit you own. Peruse your shelves, take a count and start being intentional with your purchases. And if you find that you have too many Bibles, then donate them to Christian Resources International. Give money to Voice of the Martyrs and/or Bible societies. Pray for the Word of God to get in the hands of those who want and need it.

  26. I am new to this site. I to have been searching for an all in one study bible. I have a great collection of all kinds of bibles. I look forward to reading more on your site.

  27. Pingback: Why you probably need a new Bible | Darryl Burling

  28. i need to get easy to read bible to post me please. I am deaf and love to read the bible everyday. my bible go to break so i need new bible easy to read to psot me please. My address 13 Kingdon Street,Krugersdorp, Krugersdorp North, South African,1739

    thank you

    Miss Sabrina van den Bergh

  29. You are right that we should have more than one bible. In my opinion, however, the best bibles for the modern reader are the ESV and the 1984 NIV side by side. ESV for literal (or formal equivalence) translation and the NIV for thought-for-thought (or dynamic equivalence) translation. They both try to render the bible in easy-to-read, modern english but due so with two contrasting (but practical) methods, and are widely loved to boot. For a no-nonsense study of the bible, I recommend them highly for starters. For style alone, the only two bibles which have really achieved this to a significant degree are the King James Version and the all too neglected Knox Bible, which deserves more attention. The Knox version is the only other bible that comes close to matching the elegance of the KJV.

    I am disappointed at the 2011 revision of the NIV. I have no problem with gender neutral renderings when the original language actually intends it that way, but that one goes a bit further than what the biblical writers meant.

  30. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been feeling terribly guilty about wanting another bible when the one I have is perfectly acceptable.
    However there are times when I wish it was more transportable, and times I wished I had a place to write in it for study purposes.

    I love how you laid everything out, and how it makes me feel at ease now if I go and purchase a few others.

  31. Pingback: How to Choose an All-Purpose Bible - Bible Buying Guide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *