For the Love of Bibles: Study Bibles, pt. 5 (the best? and where to buy)

Today is my final installment in this series of posts about study Bibles.

The final questions are: What to purchase? Where to purchase?

When it comes to where, you basically have a couple of options here. You can go to a store and purchase a study Bible or you can go online and order one. I purchased most of the Bibles in my collection in a store.

The advantages of going into a store are many. You can handle it and take a look at it first. You can have the confidence of knowing exactly what you are getting. You have no shipping fees. If you decide to return it, there is much less hassle. You do not have to wait for it to arrive in the mail. The only disadvantages are that you might be limited to what is in stock and you probably will pay closer to retail, if not the retail price.

You can probably save money by ordering online through Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, or Westminster Bookstore. It should also be fairly obvious that you have a virtually endless variety of choices online. But before you decide this is the path for you, make sure you factor in shipping costs, the potential for a disappointing product (sometimes it’s an aesthetic issue, sometimes practical, like the size of the words on the pages being too small to read), the possibility of damage in shipping, or a faulty product (I had to ship back my first ESV Study Bible because the print was blurry). Before you ever buy a Bible online, I recommend you at least handle a friend’s copy.

Because I am such a conservative spender, in spite of all the potential problems, I still purchase most of my Bibles online. But I will say this: the ideal is to find a good sale in the store. And whenever that happens, jump on it.

So what do I think is the best study Bible? I’ll recommend two: First I would recommend the ESV Study Bible. I plan on writing a full review in the future, so stay tuned. The only reason I would say don’t get an ESV Study Bible is if you require one to be highly mobile. Unless you want to really build up your arm muscles, you won’t want to be lugging this monster around. If you really want to have a study Bible that you can carry with you to church, work, etc., then I suggest that you give consideration to the MacArthur Study Bible. It is available in the New King James Version (NKJV) and New American Standard (NASB). Rumors have been flying for a couple of years now that it will eventually be available in the English Standard Version (ESV) as well.

If you can afford both the ESV Study Bible and the MacArthur Study Bible that would be ideal. The advantage of having two study Bibles is having another point of view (I wrote in yesterday’s post about the danger of only having one viewpoint on a given Scripture verse or passage).

Up to this point I have been operating under the assumption that you are interested in purchasing a new study Bible. Something to think about, especially if you are interested in saving money, is to purchase a used, or to borrow from the automobile industry…pre-owned, study Bible. If you have a good used bookstore in town and have the opportunity to stop by regularly to see if the study Bible you are interested in is in stock, you could save quite a bit of money. Chances are not very good that the exact study Bible will show up for you locally in such a manner and if you want to go with the used study Bible option, you will most likely need to go online to someplace like www.abe.com to find what you are looking for.

A final alternative option is order a new but damaged copy of the study Bible you desire. Christian Book Distributors is an example of a place you can go online to find a variety of “slightly imperfect” Bibles available at greatly reduced prices

Well, I hope you have benefited from this series of posts on Study Bibles. Leave a comment to let me know how this has been a help or enjoyment for you.

Future installments of “For the Love of Bibles” will include more complete reviews of the ESV Study Bible, the MacArthur Study Bible, as well as posts about my first thinline Bible, pocket New Testaments, high end Bibles, and much more.

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