Several years ago in a conversation between two friends, one asked the other for her recommendation of a Bible. The responding friend, lightheartedly but also seriously, said, “the best Bible is a read one.” Her pointed response made a lasting impression upon me. With so many biblical resources at our fingertips today, it can be overwhelming to know where to start or where to go next. Since the Bible is the preserved text God designed for us to know him more deeply, to know our history as the people of God, and to know the overarching story of creation, fall, restoration, xxxx(look this up!), this is where we must always go first. The Bible. But which one? Obviously, there are too many choices to cover but I wanted to scratch the surface by sharing my personal favorites! Over the course of the next two posts, I’ll share my favorite three Bibles, why each has found a special place in my heart, and how each has caused my faith to deepen over the last several years.
Let’s jump right in!
- The Daily Bible in Chronological Order – This is the first Bible I read all the way through. To read the Bible in order of how the events really took place is eyeopening! Did you know the book of Job, although it appears in scripture just before Psalms, occurred during the time of Genesis, the first book of the Bible? Crazy!
This Bible has dated readings (although don’t let that trip you up…it’s not the dates that matter, it’s the order). At the beginning of each section there is a little boxed paragraph giving insight to what is about to occur. At the time of my reading through this Bible, I had very little understanding of the themes of the Bible and not a great deal of familiarity with many of the stories. But, the Lord was faithful to open both my mind and my heart as I read through his holy scriptures for the first time.
Because it is in order, this Bible reads more like a book, one big long story (which is what the Bible actually is – one great big amazing story!). I would find myself excited to dig in day after day to continue seeing how the story would unfold.
The biggest key to my finishing the entirety of this Bible was the decision to start in the New Testament. I had attempted and failed one too many times by starting in Genesis on January 1. So, this time I started in October with the more familiar stories of Jesus and the early church.
To my great surprise, however, this particular Bible reading whet my palette for the Old Testament. I grew to love and yearn for the stories in 1 and 2 Samuel, the Kings, the Chronicles, Ruth, and even the minor prophets.
It gives me great joy to look back and remember this pivotal time in my faith. I pray, above all things, for you to be drawn deeply into the heart of God by way of the Word of God!
- The Women’s Study Bible, NKJV. I appreciate this description of this translation by Thomas Nelson, “The NKJV preserves the authority and accuracy, as well as the rhythm and beauty, of the original King James Version while making it understandable to current readers.” I did not have a familiarity with the NKJV until a counselor I dearly love began using it in our sessions. As her readings it from it struck me time after time, I finally asked about the translation. Then, I bought it as a Mothers Day gift to myself in 2015 and have loved it ever since. This particular Bible is sentimental to me in many ways. 2015 was a hard time in my life and marriage and this Bible holds all of those tears and prayers and stories.
I love the feel of this Bible; the leather is soft and flexible and pretty. It travels well and reads easily. One of my favorite things about it is the place at the front to record Family History and Family Memories, but most especially the page reserved to record “My Spiritual Mothers.” For each special woman (three specific women have profoundly impacted my walk with the Lord), I can record their names, godly characteristics, spiritual gifts and a special verse. Every now and then I turn to this page and consider the kindness of God to shower me with the immense gift of wise and wonderful women who have shepherded my journey with him.
There are also quotes throughout this Bible from saintly women whom I’ve grown to admire, such as Elisabeth Elliot, Ruth Bell Graham, and Anne Ortlund. Additionally, there are many topical excerpts such as a whole Motherhood Series, a Women’s Ministries Series, and insights on Priorities, Grief and several on the Attributes of God. Many of these writings have shaped the Biblical framework through which I now see all of my life.
In my next post, I’ll share the Bible I’m using now in day to day reading and studying. And, I’ll share the one thing that really lit my fire for God’s Word!! Be sure to subscribe, so you won’t miss it!
I’d love to hear all about your favorite Bible in the comments!