As a new believer, I remember walking into a Christian bookstore and wondering which Bible I should get. There were so many different translations and study versions to choose from.
How could I possibly figure out which one was a good fit for me? After a lot of looking around and some research, I finally settled on the ESV Study Bible.
Maybe that’s you at the moment. As a new believer, it’s hard to navigate through all the Bibles out there and figure out which is best for you.
A lot of it is left to preference. Do you like word-for-word translations or paraphrased versions? Do you want a study bible? One with a commentary?
There are thousands of options and considerations.
In this post, I outline the best bibles for new believers.
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Which version of the Bible is the easiest to understand?
It’s important to find a version of the Bible that’s easy to read. You don’t want to feel like you have to unlock a code just to figure out what’s being said!
Personally, the most difficult translation to understand is the KJV — so I’d steer clear from that translation in the meantime.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad translation. But it’s written in Old English so it wasn’t written for our time. Unless Shakespearan language is your thing, you’ll have to reread verses for a good understanding of what’s going on in the text.
I can’t really tell you which version of the Bible is the easiest to understand, because it really is up to preference. Different people enjoy different translations.
Still, there are a few versions of the Bible that are easier to understand than others. Some of these easier translations include NIV, ESV, NASB, and NLT.
Best Bibles for Beginners
There are many options out there and as I mentioned previously, much is left to preference. Still, it can be hard to figure out which Bible will fulfill your needs as a new believer. It can get really confusing because this is all new to you.
That’s why I’ve compiled a few options best suited for you and your needs. Here are the best bibles for beginners.
New Believer’s BibleThe NLT New Believer’s Bible is perfect for beginners. It’s made specifically for new believers who’ve either never read the Bible or have only read bits and pieces. This Bible walks you through so you know where to begin and how to get the most out of it.
There are many other great features to this Bible as well. I’ll only list some of my favorites:
- “A glossary of Christian terms”: Many times, lifetime or long-lasting Christians will speak Christianize. New believers are left wondering what we’re talking about. This glossary makes it easy for new believers to look up terms they may not be familiar with yet.
- “Cornerstones notes”: These notes cover the basics of Christianity, which is really helpful for new believers. It helps you know and understand all the core beliefs.
- “Prophecies about Jesus”: This Bible lists the many prophecies of the Old Testament that are fulfilled in Jesus in the New Testament. Prophecy and fulfillment are one of the most concrete pieces of evidence for the existence of God.
Starting Place Study Bible
- book introductions so you can understand the background and history of each book,
- character profiles for the main characters of the Bible,
- and commentary notes to help you further understand what’s going on in the verse(s).
My personal favorite is the great Q&A throughout where you’ll get answers to the common questions you may have.
The NIV is more paraphrased than other versions, so I’d recommend reading it alongside other versions (such as NASB & ESV).
Christian Basics Bible
The NLT Christian Basics Bible is really nice for beginners or even for those who want to freshen up their knowledge of the Bible. It’s especially beneficial for those who want to learn how to apply the Bible in their lives.
A few of the great features include:
- a timeline of all the main events of the Bible,
- book overviews so you can know what to expect from each book,
- how each book applies to your life and what you can learn,
- and summarized notes throughout to help you explain what’s going on in the text.
There’s also a really awesome Bible reading plan included within. This will help you keep track of your daily Bible reading.
NIV Life Application Bible
The NIV Life Application Study Bible is a nice personal-sized Bible for those who primarily want practical application.
This Bible offers book introductions, timelines, life application notes, maps, charts, and more. It also includes an extensive dictionary/concordance in the back if you’re looking for something specific.
Since this Bible is small in size, it’s easier to carry around with you to church, bible studies, etc.
Just a quick reminder that the NIV is paraphrased more than other versions. It’s still a good translation, but if you decide to get this Bible, please read it alongside another translation (such as ESV & NASB).
The One Year Bible
The One Year Bible is a very unique Bible.
It’s designed differently from other Bibles. It’s a Bible created to help you get through the Bible in one year!
This is how it works. Each day, there’s a specific reading to go through. This reading takes about 15 minutes daily. That’s not a lot of time you have to commit to reading and it helps you stay on track.
This Bible is for the person who wants to read the Bible but doesn’t know where to start. The One Year Bible has everything mapped out for you so you don’t have to stress about it.
This Bible doesn’t feature commentary notes so it’s not for the person who would like to follow notes as they read. Of course, you could always look up good commentaries while you read this Bible.
ESV Study Bible
The ESV Study Bible is my personal favorite. (I might be biased – this was my first Bible as a new believer!)
This Bible is for the academically minded person who wants to dig deeper into the Bible. I chose this as my first Bible because that is who I am. I love to study and dig deep into the scriptures.
If that’s you too, this Bible is perfect for you. It includes study notes, charts, commentaries, cross-references, maps, and more.
My favorite feature is the book introductions. Before each book, you’re introduced to what the book will be about, the author, the purpose, etc.
Bible Translations to Avoid
Here are some Bible translations to avoid. This list isn’t exhaustive – it’s just a few translations I know aren’t good and/or accurate.
I’ve tried using The Message before. The author, Eugene H. Peterson, sought to make the Bible more contemporary and real to people in the modern world. Rather than a real translation with scholarship behind it, it’s more of a rendering of what Peterson believes the Bible says. It’s best to avoid this translation. If you do opt to get this translation, please get another good translation to compare the two.
The New World Translation
The New World Translation is the translation that Jehovah’s Witnesses use. This translation also doesn’t have real scholarship behind it. The authors delete verses, add words, and mistranslate to align with their faulty doctrine. The New World Translation is not faithful to the original languages and should be avoided.
The Passion Translation
The Passion Translation is much like The Message. It’s a paraphrased version of the Bible. The author of The Passion Translation is Brian Simmons. Good and accurate translations have a team of people who translate the Bible, but this translation was written by one man. Simmons adds concepts/ideas that aren’t biblical.
Picking out a bible is no easy task! I hope this list helps you figure out which Bible translation is best for you. As you continue to grow in your faith, I’m sure you’ll have various bibles to study from. I know my bible collection has certainly grown from when I first started. Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below. Be blessed!