Should I use a study Bible?

Why You Might Want to Go Beyond the Study Bible for Your Personal Bible Journey

When you begin your quest to find the perfect Bible, you'll quickly realize that the choices are endless! Devotional Bibles, commentary Bibles, chronological Bibles, and, of course, the trusty study Bibles are all vying for your attention. It's like a buffet of biblical wisdom just waiting for you to sample.

But here's a little twist: when it comes to your own personal Bible study time, I'm here to suggest something unconventional—skip the study Bible.

Intrigued? Let's dive into why!

1. Dependency on External Interpretations

Study Bibles are full of interpretations, explanations, and commentaries on verses. Sounds fantastic, right? Well, it can be, but there's a flip side.

Depending solely on a study Bible might unintentionally stunt your growth as an independent thinker when it comes to scripture. Instead of immediately seeking someone else's take on a challenging passage, consider giving God the opportunity to speak directly to your heart through prayer and reflection.

2. Potential for Bias

Commentary is just that - someone else’s comments and opinions on the Bible. Study Bible commentary can be super helpful, but it can also carry theological or doctrinal biases. The interpretations and explanations often mirror the author's perspectives.

3. Stifling Personal Reflection

Bible study isn't just about gaining knowledge; it's a profound personal and spiritual journey. Relying on a study Bible can inadvertently suppress your own insights, reflections, and spiritual growth. Engaging directly with the text allows you to establish a deeply personal connection with the scriptures and nurtures a closer relationship with God.

4. The Temptation to “Cheat”

I know what you're thinking. “Katie, I get what you’re saying, so I’m going to get a study Bible BUT, I won’t look at the commentary until I am done with my personal study time.”

Ok, let’s be honest here. If you're struggling to understand a challenging passage, and the “answers” are right there at the bottom of the page, are you really not going to look? Trust me, I have tried to do this, and the temptation is just too great.

So, what Bibles do I recommend?

🥁 Drum roll, please...

Journaling Bibles!



Many people associate journaling Bibles with Pinterest-worthy artwork beautifully illustrating each page, but there are many benefits to using a journaling Bible as your main study Bible:

  1. They rarely have commentary so there is nothing to distract you from exploring your own insights and reflections.
  2. They have so much room for note-taking! If you write in your Bible (see my blog post on writing in your Bible here), you’ll have space for notes, questions, insights, and prayers.

Which journaling Bible do I recommend?

I personally use a large print ESV Journaling Bible for my study time. I suggest you decide which Bible translation works for you (see my post on choosing a translation here), and find a journaling Bible in that translation. 



So, while study Bibles can be a great resource, in my opinion, they shouldn't be your primary Bible study Bible.

Let go of the commentary, deepen your understanding of the scriptures, and forge a deeper connection with God. By doing so, you'll craft a more holistic and personal Bible study experience that resonates with your individual spiritual journey.

Happy studying! 📖✨


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