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 each 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.

Line Matching (Line-On-Line Printing)
Each line of text exactly matches the position of a line of text on the reverse side of the page. This minimizes show-through even on the thinnest papers.

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 theuser's name as well as other information like marriages, births, family trees, etc.

Red Letter Edition
A Bible with the words of Jesus 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.

Smyth Sewn (or Sewn) Binding
Smyth Sewn is the highest quality book binding available because the pages are physically sewn into the book using binders thread and further reinforced with fabric backing and adhesive to create the most usable and durable books available. Smyth Sewn Bibles lay completely flat when open, making them easier to read and write in.

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 text on a page.

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 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
Originally written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, the Bible must be translated into the language of the reader unfamiliar with those languages. As with any translation project, the challenge is to retain not just the literal words, but the nuances and idioms. It’s not always easy to express ideas or concepts found in the original language. Word Studies help to bring out the fuller sense of what the original author intended to convey. Most study Bibles feature some degree of word studies. Some Bibles, such as the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible and the Thompson Chain Reference Bible, feature detailed word studies.

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