How to Choose the Right Bible for You’s Find a Bible tool connects readers with Bible editions that best fit their personal study needs.

The Bible is the bestselling book of all time. Reliable sources suggest that 6 billion copies of the Bible have been printed, sold, or distributed in over 2,000 languages and dialects.

As Christians, we believe that the Bible has stood the test of time because it is God’s self-revelation to all people. By reading Scripture, we can know who God is and learn how we should live. The Bible also reveals the incredible story of God’s love for us and the precious gift of his only Son, Jesus Christ. It’s essential for believers to read and study the Bible to keep maturing in their faith.

Which Bible Is Right for Me?

If you’ve ever felt intimidated by all the choices you have when buying a Bible online, you’re not alone! One of the key questions people ask is, “Which Bible is right for me?” To find out, it helps to start by answering two other questions:

  1. Which translation should I choose?
  2. What type of Bible best meets my needs?

Bible Translation Scholarship Made Easy

There are many different Bible translations available, but most of them fall under one of two main categories: word-for-word translations and thought-for-thought translations:

  • Word-for-word translations seek to translate each word, preserving the word order and sentence structure of the original text. Some people refer to this as a “literal” translation. Examples of literal Bible translations include the King James Version (KJV), English Standard Version (ESV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
  • Thought-for-thought translations, on the other hand, attempt to translate each phrase (or thought) of the original Bible text into English. The goal of this translation method is to help modern readers understand the same meaning that the text conveyed to ancient readers. Examples of thought-for-thought translations include the New Living Translation (NLT) and New International Version (NIV).
  • A third category of Bible translation is the paraphrase. A paraphrase is often called a “retelling of Scripture” and is usually authored by an individual writer (rather than a team of scholars) who focuses on style and readability.

When you buy a Bible online, the best method for finding out which translation you prefer is to read the same passage in multiple versions. You can sample the New Living Translation by visiting Try out The Message by going to You can also compare other Bible translations here.

Different Bible Types for Different Needs

Once you know which translation you prefer, choosing the right Bible depends on how you want to use it.

If you’d like to use your Bible for in-depth study, consider a study Bible. Study Bibles often include indexes, commentary notes, maps, and other insightful features to help you understand God’s Word. Examples of study Bibles include: The Life Application Study Bible, The New Believer’s Bible, The Life Recovery Bible, and the Christian Basics Bible.

Devotional Bibles contain features that help illustrate how God’s Word applies to specific needs or personal concerns you may have at different stages of life. The HelpFinder BibleEvery Man’s BibleThe One Year Bible, and the Every Woman's Bible are examples of devotional Bibles.

Text and reference Bibles focus on providing a clear and simple presentation of the Bible text and often include features to help readers locate related verses in different parts of the Bible. If you’re looking to buy a text Bible online, concentrate on identifying a translation you prefer first—most Bible publishers carry an extensive line of text editions.

If you want one Bible with all of these features, plus access to rich media content via a companion app, The Filament Bible is a great resource for Bible readers of all ages.

Keep in mind that most of these Bible products offer choices in binding, color, text size, edition size, and price. Many Bibles also have options for a ribbon marker or thumb-nail indexing (which refers to side tabs that help navigate to different books of the Bible). When you buy a Bible online, you need to know where to find these details. At, for example, be sure to check the options listed under “Available Formats,” located to the right of the product title and description.

Use Find a Bible to Get Started

If you visit a local bookstore, you can ask a sales associate to lead you through the different Bibles in stock. To provide a similar shopping experience when you buy a Bible online, Tyndale put together a resource called Find a Bible. This tool offers a step-by-step guide to choosing the right translation and type of Bible for your personal Bible study needs. It also helps you navigate the additional features contained in each edition, to make finding the right Bible an enjoyable, easy, and straightforward process.