Saying you need a Bible for a Bible study sounds a bit silly, except that I attended My First Women’s Bible Study without one. It gave me the opportunity to fill my thought closet with words of incompetence and I went on a shopping spree for the “perfect Bible.”

bible shopping 101

My Bible purchase began with a phone call to my older sister, a Christ-walking Bible carrying woman. I knew she would have the answer since she’s friends with our pastor, and she did. My sister told me Pastor Steve recommends the Life Application Bible and even suggested that I would prefer the “large print” version. I wrote this down on paper and drove 30 minutes to the closest Christian Bookstore.

With my slip of paper, I asked the salesperson at the Christian Bookstore to locate the Large Print Life Application Bible. As a new Believer, I was full of pride knowing I could describe the Bible I wanted! There were at least 200 different Bible choices at this store, all sitting behind the counter of the salesperson’s register. If you wanted to buy a Bible, you were required to ask for a Bible.

My salesperson looked me in the eye and said “Which translation?” I thought about this, then said “You know, the Life Application One.”

She replied, “NIV, KJV, or another?”

Okay, I was feeling silly again. I did not research this (translation, I did not ask my big sister which translation I needed). Thus ensued a lengthy conversation with the Bible salesperson as she explained the benefits of the translations. Eventually I selected the NIV New International Version translation.

Once I selected the Bible translation, and the Life Application Large Print Bible, I found a slight problem: the Bible was too heavy! It was so heavy, that I could not carry it to church. I couldn’t hold my Starbucks coffee or hold the hand of my young child, so she would not disappear in a crowd of 5,000 people! It was not convenient for Sunday church, so eventually I purchased a “thinline” Bible to place inside my handbag and carry to church.

Another mistake I made with my purchase was the Bible translation. My pastor and the leader of my Women’s Bible Study both use the King James Version. Sitting in church with my personal Bible on my lap, I read a different translation than Pastor Steve and lost my focus. Now I leave my heavy Large print Life Application NIV Bible and my Thinline NIV Handbag Bible at home, and use one of the church provided KJV Bibles with the old smelly papers, tiny print and red ink. Hey, at least I’m in the same translation when the Pastor speaks! I have the Bible Gateway phone app…and I’ve started using that, but it distracts me to have my phone turned on while in Church,

At home and for Bible study, I continue to use my own Bible. This large print application Bible has become as common to me as my daily cup of coffee. Each morning in study, I sit with the words of truth and study the Bible.

Stasia Nielsen, Womens Bible Cafe™ Leader says this: As a missionary, we have traveled the world endeavoring to get the Word of God into the hands of those who do not have the great privileges we have here in modern society. I know one missionary, who while in prison in China, had but one page of Philippians that they kept crumpled in their clothing. He memorized it, and when he was beaten he would repeat the words over and over in comfort. He was eventually released. His story inspired me to memorize that book of the Bible. As a new Christian, I read King James Version as I felt it was closest to the original. As a new missionary, I chose the NIV because it was easier to read, and memorize and share with others. More recently I chose the New King James Version, because again it is the closest to the original without the old language that can be hard to understand from the King James Version.

My recommendation for your Bible purchase is to find one that works best for you. Go to the Christian Bookstore and discover the vast selection that awaits your purchase. Savor the different sizes, weights, leather colors and translations.

Once you select the Bible you like, have fun shopping for the perfect “Bible Cover.” Apparently they come in different sizes! They’re like shoes- you have to try them on your bible for the perfect fit! Find what Bible you’re comfortable with and then use it until it wears out….

These Are the Bibles I’m Using Today

Note: The KeyWord Bible is very difficult to use. I carry the thinline Bible to church in the translation my pastor reads from. The print is super tiny, though the Bible does fit in my purse. 

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With Love,

christine abraham

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She's an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

More posts by Christine Abraham

Join the discussion 38 Comments

  • Freida Lewis says:

    My favorite “hard copy” Bible is my NIV Life Application. I started using NIV because that’s what my Bible Study Fellowship class uses. On my iPad I have the YouVersion app, and that is what I use for most of my Bible studies because of its convenience…speed and lighter weight. I love the app because I have so many translations that I can compare. You can also add notes and use several resources. I’m a Bible geek also.

  • Shirley says:

    I am 52 and looking for a study/devotional Bible that I can understand due to having TBI (traumatic brain injury) and I so very badly want to be a christian woman and understand. I am overwhelmed with what would be the best one for me. My sister says the NIV and I definitely need it in large print and if possibly indexed and lays flat.
    Thank you,

  • Martha Nicole says:

    I like New King James Version and Amplified for further understanding.
    Look at biblegateway for the different translations and then go to and search for Children’s Bibles type in your preferred version.

  • Janet says:

    I wish to buy a Bible..Can you help me out.. I came to know there are different versions and types of Bible..Can anyone suggest me a good one..I am a 22 year old girl ..Please help me find a good Bible which suits me

    • I would recommend the Life Application Study Bible, NIV version.

      • Irene Smith says:

        I mainly use Large Print NIV Life Application Study Bible. My church and pastors use the NIV translation. I know the large print Bible is heavy but I bought a Bible Cover with a small strap and carry it that way. When I do my Bible Studies I use my NIV. I’m surprised about the comment of what translation Beth Moore uses. I have done over half of her studies and she primarily uses NIV though sometimes will use other translations on various Bible verses. I want to understand what I am reading and the Life Application Study Bible is perfect for me. I also have other Bible translations at home and will read from then as well. However if I don’t understand something in these other translations I go back to Life Application. We do several Bible Studies yearly and majority of the authors use NIV.

    • TERISA says:


  • Sheryl says:

    Take a look at the sword bible ERV (easy reader version) They have a website, it comes in different sizes from pocket to large print. It takes out the thees and thous but retains the rest of KJV. It als underlines and defines archaic words at the end of the paragraph.

  • Piper Maria Davenport says:

    I remember my first bible was a Children’s Bible. I started off at a Lutheran church, then Methodist, then Baptist, and in high school, I went to two Catholic high schools. After high school, I lost my way with God and found him again in 2008. It’s been a roller-coaster ride. I started off with the KJV, and moved to the NKJV. Now I have the NJKV Woman’s Study Bible and love it! I was told that the NLT was too lax and the NIV might leave room open for misinterpretation but that’s the one I would get if anything happened to my Bible. Cheers!

    • Courtney says:

      I also have the NKJV Women’s Study Bible and love it. It is a keepsake from my mom as well. I love all the notes and things that accompany the scriptures.

  • Katie says:

    I have several different translations now. The first ever Bible that I can remember reading from (that was my own) was the one that my Grams got me for my Christmas present the year I was a senior in HS. I purchased a NIV Study Bible because of recommendations from others, and while I like it (it was the personal size so that wasn’t a good thing) I started to branch out. Then I heard that the ESV study Bible was a good one, and I love all the resources that it has. Hubby doesn’t understand my need for so many Bibles yet, but hopefully one day he will. I get so much from each one and I love highlighting and writing things that stick out to me. Maybe once he has a favorite translation, then he will understand

  • Chris says:

    Hi, does anyone have a Bible suggestion for an 8-year old girl? My cousin has been asking a lot of questions when she comes across me reading my Bible. The more I answer her questions the more questions she asks. Her parents and I are happy that she has taken an interest in the Bible and knowing all about God. I want to encourage and help her by getting her an appropriate Bible of her own.

  • Joyce says:

    I like the NIV version. I was brought up using the KJV. My Dad was a pastor and through out the years he acquired many types of Bibles. He gave all of his children (me and my two brothers) a Bible with our name on it.. I have various reference Bibles and books to help me with my understanding. I put together a library with some of his Bibles as well as others.
    Regardless of which one I read I always ask for understanding.

  • Nancy says:

    My first Bible purchase was also the NIV Life Application Study Bible (regular print though). I even found a Bible cover that fit it and I used it for many years before giving it to someone who was in need of a good study Bible. Now I own just about every English translation/version of Bible that exists. I guess I could be called a Bible geek.

    • Rhonda B. says:

      Nancy, I have lots of Bibles, too…. My family knows what I want for birthdays, Christmas, etc… I guess I really am a Bible geek,too 🙂

  • Kathleen says:

    My church uses NLT and I have the Transformation Study Bible and I really love the applications it includes.

    For studies I tend to use my NASB, but I would like to get one that’s larger to do a little more notations. Considering the ESV…

    • Christine says:

      Try them out at until you find a translation that works best for you! I’m using the NLT quite often now, though I find I memorized my verses in NIV and when I want to look-up a verse based on memory, I have to use the NIV trnsslation. I’ve been fascinated with the different translations of the same verse. I grew up with one Holy Bible in one translation. Thanks for the comment Kathleen.

  • The Word it self says “…study to show thy self approved…” which means each of us could have two or three to really accomplish this over a life time.

    I like my KJV because so many memorized scriptures in my head are from it. I like my NIV because it sounds modern. I always love hearing the expounded word from an Amplified Bible so I am looking to get one of those.

    There are some that have two or four versions all in one. One of those might come in handy. Some days I wish I had a red letter one where all the words of Jesus are written in red ink.

    I have learned that I need a Bible I carry around that might be different from the one I use for in home study or devotionals. Just because they can get beat up traveling around. I attend Bible college and take my Bible other places. Ideally I prefer to keep one in the car.

    A lady I worked for as a Nanny had a Women’s bible that included stories and information about key female characters or history pertaining to the text and social or women’s issues it seemed like.

    Yes there are many many choices and it would behoove anyone to spend some time investigating before deciding on a new acquisition. If you wind up with one you do not like or will not use think of giving it away or selling it if need be.

    Many Christians in modern society it would seem either have too many or not enough. Others are struggling if you are and like the Stone Soup story the answers are in your houses.

  • Jane says:

    My favorite right now are: NLT – New Living Translation; ESV – English Standard Version; and the NASB – New American Standard Bible.

    I have the NIV, the Message, KJV, NKJV, NCV, RSV, NRSV, and several of some of the translations.

    Plus now that I am able to get on the Internet, I use;;; plus others.

  • Andrea says:

    I have four different versions. The KJV, NKJV, NIV and the Message. When I am doing a bible study or just doing daily reading to have at least two different versions. It gives me a better understanding. I also use some of the ones online if I am studying where I have internet access.

  • Emily says:

    I see the NIV seems to be most common. I also like the New Century Version. My mother-in-law gave me the Max Lucado Grace for the Moment Bible and I love it!

  • Sue Alice says:

    I went and got a Parallel Bible to take to church it has both the KJV and NIV translations in it. They are side by side, but the words of Christ are not in red. Zondervan puts out a leather and hard back copies. I found out that they have other versions of parallel Bibles. I use the NIV, but they have put out an updated version in 2010 the wording is really different this combines the THIV, and the NIV, I heard to make it more like the KJV version, as of yet I have not seen the new 2010 NIV version by Zondervan Also sometimes I use the Holman Christian Standard Bible the new version that came out in 2010 it is an really intresting Bible for studying.

    To mark in my Bible I use Bible Dry Highlighter in yellow these are refillable and are from GTL…..they come in green, blue and red. Also Starliter Dry Bible Highlighters…come in the same colors and you can find them at most Christians stores….or online at Christian book stores. I also use them to underline in my Bible studies.

    I hope I did not post to long on this and it has helped some of you. Also I have the Message Bible. ONE OTHER THING PLEASE: I carry Papermate pencils with me…the ones that have a junbmo eraser in them, and can fill with five leads….they are call Clear Points, click pencils…..Wal-mart, Office Max, or Office Deport has them, in 5 mm or 7 mm leads….that way I never have to worry over finding another pencil….they are always ready to go.

    Thanks for reading this, and blessing to all. Have a blessed weekend.

    • Christine says:

      I’m going to have to check the parallel bible. I am now using the New Spirit Filled Bible, NKJV and well as my Life Application Bible, NIV Earlier in the year I purchased the Key Word Study Bible that Beth Moore uses. I can’t stand it…it’s too much information and too confusing for a slightly ADD mind like mine. It was an online purchase and too late to return it, so it sits on a shelf waiting for me someday.

      • Sue Alice says:


        Been going to get the Key Word Study Bible, I tend to like more information, I checked out a old copy out of the library. The Parallel Bible is way to cool… I tend to compare versions and this way it saves time. Do not have two or three Bibles on my desk at once. Have a great Sunday and a blessed one. On my church only has around 2,000 members. Sorry it feels like more at times. {{HUGS}}

  • Susan says:

    Okay, I confess . . .I’m a Bible flip-flopper – – my favorite is my New American Standard (used at the Bible College I attended) . .but Beth Moore uses the NIV for her studies, so when I do her studies it’s the NIV . . .and recently I picked up a copy of The Message . . . . I too, love Bible Gateway . .
    I just so want His Word in my head, so that it will help me when I need it for comfort, encouragement and to witness. I love that we are memorizing verses – I am concentrating on remembering where the verse is . . so often I highlight it in my Bible and then when I need it to share or read, I know semi where it is in my Bible . . .so I am really focusing on memorizing where it is, too. That way whatever Bible is around I can find the verse that is the one I am looking for!

  • MaryAnn says:

    Thanks for the post Christine!

    I carry a KJV Bible to church, even though my pastor uses a different version. I like have the older translation as a reference. At home, I use my KJV but also use a parallel/comparative Bible with the NIV, NASB, and Amplified versions.

    My KJV is a large print and I love to use the Crayola Twisters and a pencil when I study. At church, I simply use a pew pencil to make notes.

    It would be interesting to see how many people actually write in their Bibles. It think the number is probably highter than what most people think.

    • Christine says:

      I write in my bible, usually I see a verse that speaks to my heart on a particular day or event. So in the margin I write the date and event beside the verse. I stopped using markers in my bible because it was bleeding to the other side, and pens would transfer the ink to the next page. Pencil seems to work best for me- though I can never find one with two kids and a project manager in my home 😉

    • Sue says:

      I write a date in the margin everytime I read sections. I love that I go to a section and see the prior dates that I read it. Sometimes I think, wow you should have really gotten this by now. Or sometimes I think that after I die my son will look through my Bible and see that I was studying it. Also, sometimes after a spell when I’m not studying my Bible, I’m shocked to see the last date since I was studying. Anyway, I write whatever I want in my Bible, and I love it. My favorite Bible turned out to be a small one that fit in my purse. I have to take off my glasses to read it. I finally managed to make a switch to a bigger one, though still thin. It has the thinnest pages I can even imagine in order to keep the Bible thin. Anyway, I love it. I thought I’d never give up my tiny one. I have several of my Mom’s Bibles — written in all the way through, highlighted, etc (she was a Sunday school teacher). I love having the Bibles of my loved ones. It makes me feel close to them.

      • Christine says:

        I too think of my bible as a family heirloom and treasure, leaving “messages” behind for my children and future grandchildren. This shows how much we value the Word- so that it passes from our heart into the generations that follow. Sitting beside my computer right now is a 100 year old bible, it belonged to my husbands grandmother. It was a bible she carried to church in England, her name is written in cursive, and her “life verse” is penned in the front pages. This is what I found written twice in her bible:

        While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor 4:18 KJV

    • Lauren says:

      I write in my Bible, too… usually with an ink pen. I may put a date down, circle or underline important words, and make notes on the bottom of the page about my thoughts/conclusions. IT really helps me to look back and see what was going through my mind…

  • Charity says:

    I have 2 KJV and until recently didn’t realize there were other translations or why that would be important. I read the children’s Bible to my babies and that turned a light on within me that I would like to learn more and be able to understand the verses within the Bible.

  • Lauren says:

    I have the KJV translation that I study from and use in church. Also have a copy in my office at work. But I love I’ve had so much fun typing in different verses and seeing the different translations. God’s word is so good!

  • Jennifer says:

    This was confirming to read. I oftentimes wondered the best translation. I have two: KJV and NLT. Both were given to me as a gift. I was given the NLT about two years ago, and found it very easy to understand, but I find myself drawn to the KJV. I always pray for understanding before I read my Bible, but I do find it helpful to have NLT on hand just to refer back to incase I’m stumped. I definitely find it encouraging to be a part of a Bible study for further understanding.

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