There comes a time in ever believer’s path when they’ll have to choose a bible. Of course, you can study the Word of God through other people’s books, through books available at your church or through borrowed books. But to really read and study the Word of God, you really do need your own copy of the Bible – and a quality one at that.
Buying Bibles for the Long Term
It’s true that churches often hand out paperback bibles for free. You can also just ask your church about any “lost and found” bibles or spare bibles they might have available. You can also buy cheaply-made bibles online.
The problem with these methods is that you don’t really get a bible that you can have for the long term.
A great bible is something you can develop a relationship with. It’s your link to the Word of God. It’s your own keepsake where you can underline your favorite Bible passages and write your own notes.
If you’re just beginning to explore your faith in Christ, having an inexpensive temporary bible is a good first step. Once you’re on the path, however, you definitely want to have your own bible that you can rely on.
Once you’re ready to buy a bible, do so for the long run.
The Difference Between High and Low Quality Leather
High quality bibles tend to be genuine leather or leather bound. The leather can be made from a variety of calfskin, cowhide or in some cases goat skin. Some of the highest quality leathers come from Moroccan goats.
The difference between a high quality leather bible and an imitation leather bible is worlds apart.
First of all, the look and feel of high quality leather is tangible. You can instantly feel the care and craftsmanship that went in to making a bible just by running your hands over it. Imitation leather feels dull and hard, while genuine leather feels supple and luxurious.
You can get different kinds of leather depending on how much maintenance you’re willing to do. There are types of leather, like French Morocco for example, that can crack in time if you don’t specially care for it. However, French Morocco has a special kind of suppleness that people love. If you’re willing to spend a little bit of effort maintaining your bible, it can be well worth it.
If you don’t want a bible that will fall apart in a few years, opt for the genuine leather rather than the imitation leather or even what is called “bonded” leather. Bonded leather is when several strips of leather are glued together with very strong latex to make it look like genuine leather. Genuine leather means that one continuous piece of leather was used to make the bible. Studies have shown that genuine leather bibles can last up to four times as long as bonded leather bibles. Imitation leather, hardcover, and paperback bibles have a tendency to be just “temporary” bibles that might hold together for a year or two depending on use. Genuine leather bibles can often last throughout the reader’s lifetime and sometimes be in good enough shape to hand down to the next generation.
Choosing the Right Translation
Why are there so many different versions of the bible? Isn’t it just “God’s Word?” Shouldn’t translations generally match?
The problem is that when the bible is translated into English, there are often disagreements about how to do the actual translation. The translation mainly comes in whether to maintain literal translations, translating word for word, or to translate using a though-for-thought method (translating whole sentences or paragraphs at a time).
There are many phrases that when translated literally don’t carry the same meaning in English as it does in Hebrew. Colloquialism, slang or poetic language often just doesn’t make sense in another language. Literal translations of the bible translate the bible word for word anyway, preferring to keep God’s Word as close to the original transcriptions as possible. These bibles include the King James Bible, the New American Standard Version (NASB) and the English Standard Version (ESV).
On the other hand, you have bibles that aim to translate the meaning of God’s Word as much as possible. They stick to the word-for-word translation most of the time, but whenever there’s a conflict between meaning and literal translation, they opt to translate the bible in a way that conveys the same meaning in English. These include the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT).
Which bible should you choose? It’s really a matter of personal preference for you to choose which kind of bible you want to study. It helps to study the same type of bible as the rest of your congregation – Talk to your pastor to see what the rest of your church uses.
Selecting the right type of bible can make the study of God’s Word much easier and more fulfilling. Owning a high quality bible can also make the experience much more rewarding.
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