The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Bible buyers' guide

How to find your way through today's bewildering selection

Your daughter is getting confirmed. Or your nephew is getting married. You want to buy a Bible as a gift, or maybe you need one yourself, so you head off to the local store for what you expect will be a simple purchase.

But if you haven’t been shopping for a Bible recently, prepare to be overwhelmed. Your choices have expanded exponentially in recent years—there are at least 18 English-language translations available now.

Not only are there lots of new translations, but in the last seven years publishers have tailored their Bibles to meet the needs of various groups. In your bookstore you’ll find Bibles focused on particular genders, age groups, interests and life stages.

But don’t let the large section make you feel like you need to go to seminary in order to pick the right Bible.

“Folks who have been tutored by the Enlightenment, and have been trained to worship the scholars among us, have had the Bible taken out of their hands,” says Mary W. Anderson, pastor of Incarnation Lutheran Church, Columbia, S.C.

“We now believe it takes a Ph.D. to understand what the Bible really means, and we don’t think we can read it without an expert guide.”

The large selection of Bibles available can help further that impression, but selecting the right one may be easier than it looks. All you need to know are the answers to three simple questions.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

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