At first glance, my bookshelf and desk may lead you to think that I’m simply a collector of Bibles. To say I have a lot of them would be a vast understatement.

But honestly, I don’t just read them. I interact with them—and in different ways, too. So much so, that I decided to sit down and think critically about why and how I read the various Bibles I do. And it became obvious very quickly that there truly is a rhyme and reason to my methods.

In short, at any given time I have three Bibles that I’m currently and consistently using:

My “beater” Bible is always an inexpensive, lightweight (usually newsprint) version that I keep inside my purse. Sure, I could (and do) use a digital version loaded on my phone, but I personally enjoy the interaction with a physical book much more.

My beater Bible is far from pretty. It’s strictly utilitarian and it’s usually falling apart, too. If you peeked inside, you’d see lots of notes scribbled in ballpoint pen, underlined verses and a wide variety of small sticky notes throughout. Yep, this particular Bible takes a beating, but I use it constantly—whenever and wherever I am. To help it endure a little more wear, I usually cover it with a little clear Contact paper.

I also have what I refer to as my “beautiful” Bible. This Bible is the exact opposite of my beater version. I keep it pristine: no notes, no underlining, no marking of any kind and only a simple index card for a bookmark. (The latter serves as a great place to make a quick note if I simply can’t stop myself.)

My beautiful Bible is reserved only for reading or praying Scripture, and as such is usually only a text Bible, not a reference or study version. (This means it’s free of any cross-references or commentary notes. It’s the actual Scripture text only.) When I’m overwhelmed, stressed or simply craving peace, I turn to the pages of my beautiful Bible. The lack of notes and extra reference information means there’s more visual breathing room. It’s literally only God’s Word and my own thoughts at that point and time.

Lastly, my “broken-down” Bible features all my personal notes and Bible mark-up. Essentially, this is my study Bible and where I (literally) break things down in writing. Inside, are all my notes, highlighting and questions I may have. I strive to only use acid-free, fade-resistant pens and highlighters in this Bible to ensure all my notes will stand the test of time.

It may seem odd, but I usually opt for a pew Bible for this purpose. That’s because pew Bibles are often made with more tear-resistant paper and are constructed to last a long time. In other words, they’re designed to be handled and I handle my “broken-down” Bible a lot. To make my pew Bible a little more personalized, I usually wrap it with an old-school paper bag book cover or with a homemade Duct tape cover.

Like this post? Watch the video to get a glimpse at the three specific Bibles I’m currently using daily.

2 thoughts on “Different Bibles, Different Purposes

  1. are they all the same translation? I too have a collection of bibles, in several different translations, but not really a beautiful bible – they’ve nearly all ended up with some marks in them

  2. Good question, Sandra!

    I try to read two different translations simultaneously. Right now, my favorites are ESV (English Standard Version) which I generally use for study and the the NLT (New Living Translation) which I use for strictly reading.

    And my “beautiful” Bible is simply beautiful to me. It’s a Verse-by-Verse ESV Bible that I picked up for only about $20.

    I’m afraid the true “luxury” Bibles are (way) out of my price range.

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