Frequently, I am asked which study Bible I recommend. If you want to dig into the Word, then a good study Bible is the best investment you can make. The best study Bibles are like a commentary on the entire Bible, along with informative maps, charts, and articles. In a good study Bible, the cross references alone are worth the price of the Bible. Personally, even though I have a 4000 volume theological library that I use in my study, I still utilize a number of study Bibles on a regular basis. To be fair, I haven’t tried all of the study Bibles available, but I have tried enough to be able to provide some insight. Here are my rankings of the best study Bibles.
THE BEST AVAILABLE
First of all, please know that my endorsement of any study Bible doesn’t mean I agree with everything in it. The Bible itself is the only inerrant, infallible book on earth. Study Bible’s are not inerrant or infallible. Some take a more Reformed view than I personally have, but I still get great benefit from them. There are four study Bibles that seem to be head and shoulders above the rest. While they each have different strengths, you won’t go wrong with any of these…
The ESV Study Bible – A favorite of many, particularly those who prefer a more Reformed look at theology. Based on the excellent ESV translation, this study Bible is solid all around, but the introductions to each book of the Bible are superior to those in other study Bibles. This Bible also does a good job of summarizing different evangelical views of key passages, such as the different interpretations of the millennium in Revelation 20. Probably the best overall in my opinion.
The Grace and Truth Study Bible – Released in 2021 and edited by Dr. R. Albert Mohler of the The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, this study Bible has quickly become one of my favorites. It is intentionally not as massive and detailed as the ESV Study Bible in order to appeal to a broad range of readers. However, I found it extremely helpful and sufficiently in-depth. It is available in both NIV and NASB.
The Jeremiah Study Bible – With notes personally written by iconic Bible teacher Dr. David Jeremiah, this study Bible wins my “Best in Class” award. Most substantive study Bibles have an academic feel to them – not surprising since they tend to be written by seminary professors. The Jeremiah Study Bible feels more personal and has tremendous theological depth while being a little more succinct in key places. The special articles on key concepts are extremely well done.
The NIV Zondervan Study Bible – This massive study Bible is one of the newest on the market. Edited by Dr. Don Carson, one of the preeminent conservative evangelical theologians of our day, this study Bible has the most academic feel of any I have used. However, the advantage of this trait is the wealth and depth of information. One of the highlights of this Bible is the articles at the end on various theological subjects such as “sin” “the kingdom of God” and “holiness.” This study Bible is also the most visually appealing of them all with some extremely well done charts and maps integrated throughout. One limiting factor is that this study Bible is tied to the 2011 NIV version.
The CSB Study Bible – One of the newer entrants into this field is a solid choice that really has no weaknesses. It’s just that no part of this Bible is better than all of the others. Every aspect of it is very good, but not the best. Perhaps the best reason to purchase this study Bible is because it is based on the excellent CSB translation – a translation that I hope grows in popularity.
The MacArthur Study Bible – It’s hard to believe this classic is now more than twenty years old. Dr. John MacArthur has provided a great gift to the church with this work. There really isn’t a weakness – it’s solid through and through with maybe the best overall notes at the bottom of each page. Those notes have the best cross references of the bunch and frequently cover terms and verses that others skip over. Another highlight is the introductory articles that cover such subjects as “How we got the Bible” and “How to study the Bible.”
There you have it: Corbin’s list of the best study Bibles. From this list, which is the best study Bible for you? The one you will read!