When taking seminary courses, students usually want to use the same Bibles throughout their studies for familiarity. But which Bibles are best for students in seminary? It can be difficult to choose because different Bibles are made for different purposes. Some are specifically for studying, while others are decorative or designed primarily for travel. You’ll also have to choose between versions (e.g. NIV, KJV), on which your seminary school might have a preference.
The Reformation Study Bible
The English Standard Version (ESV) version of the Bible has grown increasingly popular with seminary students since its first publication in 2001. Although there have been criticisms on the translation in the ESV, it is very readable and can be used to complement any King James Version. When choosing Bibles for seminary students, it is best to look for readable volumes that come with references for the student to chase down. The Reformation Study Bible delivers on all counts.
Even more important, the Reformation Study Bible is extensively cross-referenced, with thoughts and explanations from known biblical scholars and comprehensive introductions that help move the reader through each of the passages. This Bible is large enough for seminary students to read for long hours at a time, and is also encased in an attractive, durable cover that will stand up to years of use.
Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible
This is one of the best Bibles for seminary students in the New American Standard Bible. The NASB is clear and easy-to-read, with larger text that won’t strain your eyes. It contains lexiconal aids for both the New Testament and the Old Testament, plus a detailed concordance and references for key words in both Hebrew and Greek. For seminary students who are just learning original translations of the Bible, this is a handy reference.
Although it is not designed to give you the full text of the Bible in Hebrew or Greek, this Bible will help you understand both languages in a general context. It is great for when you need certain words translated because the dictionaries help you find the references you need.
NIV Zondervan Study Bible Software
An increasing number of seminary students are turning their studies to the computer. Regardless of the hard-copy Bibles you use, a reliable software program will make your studies easier and will allow you to work online or in word-processing software without having to turn to print as well. The NIV Zondervan Study Bible is available in print, but the software version is much more practical for students who are accustomed to using technology.
The primary benefit of this Bible for seminary students is the ability to search for words, phrases, concepts, scriptures and more with just the click of a button. Rather than thumbing through an awkward concordance, you can have access to what you need simply by running a search. This will eliminate much of the time wasted during study hours, and will most often give you more accurate results. As far as Bibles for seminary students go, this one is top-notch.
KJV Pocket Concord Reference
When looking at Bibles for seminary students, size is an important consideration. Many of these students attend large campuses where they are constantly running from one class to another, often with heavy bags on their backs. A small, compact Bible is essential in these cases because it lessens the weight and makes travel easier. In this case, the KJV Pocket Concord Reference is the best.
This tiny Bible is only 7.1 x 4.4 inches, but the typography is readable in a semi-bold print with red lettering for the words of Christ. In addition to being a full KJV Bible, it also contains a glossary in the back and room in the margins for small notes. It won’t strain your eyes as much as other pocket Bibles because of the clear text, though you might want to switch to a larger version for studying at home.
Finding the best Bibles for seminary students might take time, and it is possible for a student to wear out several Bibles over the course of his studies. However, you can experiment with a number of versions to find the one that is right for you. Just remember to consider these important points:
- Hardcover vs. Softcover (durable vs. lightweight)
- Study & Reference vs. Plain Text
- Version (check your seminary for preferences)