Selecting Your Bible

Bible Help

Selecting a Bible can be challenging—and yet it's one of the most important purchases we make. To help you with your selection, we've assembled these informative guides. We hope you find them helpful. If you need more information please call one of our Product Specialists at (800) 922-3462, or email us at

CBD Bible Finder
Use our Bible Finder Search Engine to find your next Bible.

A Guide for New Bible Readers
Help for those new to the Bible.

About Bible Bindings
What's the difference between bonded leather and genuine leather?

About Bible Types
Study Bible, Wide Margin, Topical, etc.

About Personalizing
Imprinting a name on the cover of your Bible

About Translations
Plot a course through the maze of Bible translations.

About Large & Giant Print
How large is Large print?—Giant print?

Choosing a Study Bible
A guide to finding your ideal study Bible.

Glossary of Bible Terms
Concordance? Paraphrase? Definitions for terms you'll find on our Bible description pages.

Historical Bibles
Important Bibles from the history of the English Bible, and books on the fascinating history of the Bible


Indicates a Bible containing notes which help explain or clarify the Bible text.

Book introductions
Essays of varying length written to give you a brief overview of the contents of a Bible book or section.

Center-column Reference Bible
Bible with references listed in a vertical column located in the middle of the page between two columns of Bible text.

Chain Reference Bible
Bible with references grouped into categories with a numbering system to link topics together.

Chronological Bible
Bible that arranges passages in the order in which the events most likely occurred.

Alphabetical index of important Bible words, showing you the verses in which the word occurs. A concordance can be very helpful when finding a particular verse you may have in mind, even if you only remember a few words of the verse. It is also a very useful tool for studying a particular topic or subject. Many Bibles have some sort of concordance included, even if only a small, limited one. Concordances are also available as separate books, and as such are geared toward a particular translation.

Dead Sea Scrolls
Scrolls from just prior to the time of Jesus that were discovered in the 1940s. Archaeologists and biblical scholars have studied the Dead Sea scrolls and have found them to contain portions of nearly all of the Old Testament books. Most modern translations incorporate the scholarship of these archeological findings, giving them a distinct advantage over older translations.

Combination Bible dictionary and concordance—usually brief and often used in Children's bibles.

Translation footnotes help explain the meaning of a particular word or verse.*
Textual footnotes help explain variance in the text from traditional readings. Harmony of the Gospels
This reference tool attempts to harmonize identical passages or stories from each of the gospels and places them in a chronological order to help you easily compare the different events in the life of Christ.

Placing text on the cover of a Bible—usually the name of the owner. More information about Imprinting.

The Hebrew or Greek text of the Bible with a literal English translation of each word. As the name implies, the English translation is placed between lines of the Hebrew or Greek text.

See Thumb-Indexed, below.

In-text Maps and Charts
These maps and charts allow you to easily access information that is relevant to a passage of scripture on the same page. This lets you access the information at a glance instead of turning to the back of your Bible. Charts are especially helpful in organizing a vast amount of information that can be scanned quickly. When it comes to a list of Jesus' miracles, parables, or journeys this tool can be very helpful.

Bible of single page sheets held together in a ring binder. The pages usually have large margins to allow for notes and comments. The binder allows you to add additional pages of your own notes and commentary.

Parables and Miracles
Some study Bibles provide an outline in the back of the Bible guiding you through all the parables and miracles of Jesus and where they can be found in each of the gospels.

Parallel Bibles
consist of different Bible translations placed side-by-side in one volume. Each page contains a complete Scripture portion from each of the versions so that the reader may easily compare the differences and similarities between the versions.

A paraphrase uses an existing translation as a starting point and rewrites that text using different words or formats, as opposed to actually translating directly from the original Hebrew and Greek text.

Presentation Pages
one or more pages at the front of a Bible, for recording the user's name as well as other information like marriages, births, family trees, etc.

Red Letter Edition
a Bible with the words of Christ printed in red.

Reference Bible
A Bible in which the text contains cross-references to related words, phrases or Scripture verses. The references can be located in a side column or columns, a center column, at the bottom of the page, or at the verse or paragraph breaks within the text.

Side Column
A Bible listing references in the inside and/or outside columns of the page.

Single Column
A Bible with just one column of Bible text on a page, much like a book.

Study Bible
A Bible with additional helps for studying the Scripture text. These helps may include: cross-references, notes on the same page, maps, concordance and/or dictionary, and other helps.

Subject Index
a listing of major Bible topics, each followed by a passage or passages of Scripture about that topic. Some subject indexes also reference topics covered in study notes, devotions, and book introductions.

Study notes
are also included with study Bibles. These notes are not part of the actual text of the Bible but are included as helpful tools for those readers who want to understand more about God's Word. Study notes sometimes give additional information about the meaning of specific Bible passages or tell some additional facts about biblical people, places, and times.

Table of Weights and Measures
Biblical terms for weight, capacity, and length are shown in their equivalent American measure to help readers understand some of the ancient terms.

Text Bible
A Bible containing only the Scripture text – no additional helps. For example, most pew Bibles are text Bibles.

Thumb Index
Groves in the side of the pages (similar to the grooves in a dictionary) which provide quick access to the different books of the Bible.

means to take the original Greek and Hebrew Bible text and put them into today's language to make it understandable. The terms "Translation" and "Version" are often used interchangable, and mean essentially the same thing. For more about translations, click here.

Trim Size
Trim Size refers to the size of the interior paper portion of a Bible. It is the size the paper is "trimmed" to during the binding process of production. Paperback covers are the size of the paper as well. A Hardcover usually extends over the Trim Size by about a 1/8-inch on all sides of the Bible. Leather and imitation covers usually extends over the Trim Size by about a 1/4-inch on all sides except the spine, which adds about a 1/8 inch.

Typeface and size
refers to the shape and size of the letters on a page in that Bible. Bible publishers strive to provide the most legible and attractive appearance for each Bible style and edition. The size or shape of a particular typeface can affect its readability.

Verse References
A Bible with cross references included at the end of the verse to which they are related.

Wide Margin
a Bible with wider than average margins of blank page between the text and the edges of the pages. Excellent Bibles for note-taking.

Word Studies
Since the Bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, we have had to translate our Bibles. Like any translation some of the nuances are lost, since English does not always have ways to easily express ideas or concepts found in the original language. Word Studies help to bring out the fuller sense of what the original conveyed. Word Studies are provided in such study Bibles as the Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible, The Thompson Chain Reference Bible, and even in some editions of the new Holman Christian Standard Bible.