Tag Archives: Bibles

Mark Bertrand on “Reference Bibles” vs. “Reading Bibles”

My friend Mark Bertrand has penned a column about a new niche of Bibles designed specifically for reading sessions. Perhaps you have given this subject little thought in the past. If you are serious about engaging with God’s Word I highly recommend you take the time to read, and think through, his points.

For those of you who are not sure what a “Reference Bible” is, I’ll explain. A reference Bible is one that has other Bible verses listed on the page so that you can easily “cross reference” other Scriptures which are related in subject matter to the verses you are reading. For example, here is a photograph taken of the TBS Westminster Reference Bible (can be purchased HERE):

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 12.22.54 PM

As you can see in the picture above, to the left and right of the Bible text itself, there are lists of other Bible verses that relate to the subjects presented in what you are reading. Many Bible readers love to pause and search out these other references to see what else the Bible says on this subject. It is an excellent tool for deeper Bible study.

However, aesthetically, when it comes to design layout, a reference Bible seems to have more in common with a dictionary or encyclopedia than a traditional book that you would read cover-to-cover. Hence, the recent trend toward producing “reading Bibles.”

Compare the image above with the new ESV Reader’s Bible from Crossway (available for purchase HERE):

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 12.34.14 PM

It makes for a dramatic difference in your reading experience. I encourage you to read Mark’s take on the impact of the design of the Bible you choose to read.

Best-Selling Bibles (October 2014)

Based on Dollar Sales

1  New International Version (various publishers)

2  King James Version (various publishers)

3  New King James Version (various publishers)

4  English Standard Version (Crossway)

5  New Living Translation (Tyndale)

6  Holman Christian Standard Bible (B&H Publishing Group)

7  New International Readers Version (Zondervan)

8  Common English Bible (Common English Bible)

9  New American Standard (various publishers)

10  Reina Valera 1960 (American Bible Society and licensees)

Based on Unit Sales

1  New International Version (various publishers)

2  King James Version (various publishers)

3  English Standard Version (Crossway)

4  New King James Version (various publishers)

5  New Living Translation (Tyndale)

6  Holman Christian Standard Bible (B&H Publishing Group)

7  New International Readers Version (Zondervan)

8  Common English Bible (Common English Bible)

9  Reina Valera 1960 (American Bible Society and licensees)

10  New American Standard (various publishers)

*This data is from the Christian Booksellers Association (not including sales through Amazon.com or at Walmart and other stores that are not a member of the CBA).

**By posting this data, I am not attempting to persuade readers to choose a translation based upon it’s popularity.