How to Choose a Bible

Valerie Riese
Victory Through Surrender
3 min readSep 24, 2020


Choosing the right Bible for you is fun because you get to pick out something unique for you and how you want to experience God’s Word. Whether you’re practical, creative, or more personal, there’s a Bible to suit your style.

Why are There Different Types of Bibles?

What is the difference between a reference Bible and a study Bible? Why is there a Bible for soldiers and another for teens? Isn’t the Bible the same for everyone? How do I choose the right one for me?

We all have unique learning styles, and God speaks to us in different ways. How we learn and connect with God also changes during our lifetime.

Each type of Bible includes features to supplement Scripture and appeal to a certain audience.

Shopping is fun, right ladies? I hope you’ll get excited to shop for your own Bible after I share a little bit about the different types of Bibles.

What is a Reference Bible?

Reference Bibles are the most basic, and therefore, the most common and affordable. The text is written in two columns on each page and consists of Scripture and verse references. Similar or related verse references are printed in small text on the margins or in a thin column in the center of the page. Reference Bibles are distraction-free and are also available in larger fonts.

What is a Study Bible?

If you’re the studious type, then a study Bible is for you. Study Bibles provide background information to explain the historical context of scripture. The study helps may also explain the meaning of Scripture.

The top portion of each page consists of Scripture and verse references, just like a reference Bible. The study helps are printed at the bottom.

A study Bible written for a particular audience will present the study helps from a certain point of view. For example, a children’s study Bible will be written in simple language with information appropriate for the developmental age.

What is a Journal (Note Taking) Bible?

Journal Bibles are for the creatives and scribblers! Note taking Bibles are Reference Bibles with extra-wide margins to take notes or draw illustrations.

What is a Devotional Bible?

If you want a Bible written personally for you, then get a devotional Bible. Devotional Bibles are reference Bibles with accompanying articles and reflection suggestions to help the reader apply Scripture through the lens of a specific interest or need, such as motherhood, marriage, or drawing closer to God.

What is a Parallel Bible?

My dear friends, don’t stress if you can’t decide which Bible translation you like best! Parallel Bibles are made just for you! Parallel Bibles include two versions alongside each other in one book. The text looks similar to a reference Bible, but each column is a different translation. Comparing different versions offers a unique insight to the reader, so parallel Bibles are perfect for people who have two favorite translations.

What did I choose and why?

I love study Bibles and journal Bibles because they help me learn. Unfortunately, these Bibles are not made in a comfortable font size for my compromised vision. So I improvise.

I found the largest print Bible on the market (Holman NKJV 18-pt font), and I use a page magnifier. I bought clear, round packaging labels and tiny notepad paper. I journal on the notepad and then stick it to the page.

I have a Holman HCSB Study Bible that I use for reference, along with my magnifier of course!

Enjoy your Bible!

My friend, it’s not about the best or the right style — it’s about your style. God made you unique. He knows how you learn and what you like. He just wants to spend time with you, so whatever you choose, make it about the time you share with God!



Valerie Riese
Victory Through Surrender

Co-director of Candidly Christian. After suffering years of debilitating anxiety, I learned that victory over anxiety comes only through surrender to Jesus.