Here are some great options to get you started:
This Bible is a bit like the old medieval illuminated manuscripts and features tons of illustrations and word art. It doesn’t have notes in it, so you’ll need to find some additional resources for that. But it’s great for reading, praying from, and journaling in. The ESV translation is one of the most literal translations (“word for word”) of the original languages, which can make it a bit harder to understand. Find out more here.
The Happy Medium
The Filament Bible has access to tons of notes, videos, and other content accessible by scanning the page you’re on in an app on your phone. This makes the Bible a little more portable, but with the potential to access a ton of more content. The NLT translation is a “thought for thought” translation, which makes it easier to read, but less of a direct translation. Find out more here.
The Life Application Study Bible has tons of notes for easy access to explanations and interpretations. This is a really popular choice and what I got from my church at graduation. The trade-off to all of that is that it’s big and heavy. Its translation, the NIV, is probably the most commonly used in America and is a good middle ground between thought for thought and word for word translations. Find out more here.
A comparison of translations and bonus options:
- The Bibles at DCPC are almost all NRSV, making the NIV the most similar translation. The NRSV with the best notes is also very scholarly.
- You will also hear leaders in worship and Youth Group reading from The Message pretty frequently as it is the closest translation to how modern middle-aged Americans speak (but it was published over 20 years ago and it’s even started to sound dated sometimes). I’m still a big fan of The Message and find it the most readable Bible, plus this version has really great design.